Calavera Empanadas & Tequila Bar

4.2
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110 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Latin American
At Calavera, we do two things: empanadas and tequila! We opened in Raleigh, North Carolina in September of 2011 and what was once "the little empanada place on the corner" has become one of downtown Raleigh's must stop spots. Choose from 11 varieties of empanadas and up to 70 tequilas and mezcals plus whatever exotics we have in that week. We take pride in using the freshest ingredients in not only our food, but our cocktails as well. Whether you're a seasoned empanada aficionado or just curious to find out what these little baked treats are all about, we look forward to seeing you soon!
What 110 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.2based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.2
service
4.2
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
78% of people would recommend it to a friend
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B
Charlotte
14 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Grateful to find this gem via Open Table search. We enjoyed the veggie quesadilla and the Champ empanada along with shared queso and chips. The bartender was kind enough to make a virgin watermelon mojito for me. Staff worked well together to provide excellent service. Great vibe on a Saturday night, really enjoyed the music mix of 80’s tunes too - Bowie, Talking Heads to name a few - along with the art and ambiance.

VH
1 review
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was so good!! The waitress was amazing! And gave us free shots for us! We were celebrating a bachelor party and this restaurant did not disappoint!!!

RR
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on September 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I stumbled across this place as I was heading for the Morgan Street Food Hall. This is much better. It's nice and quiet, and the Empanadas are made to order. I personally recommend the Cubano and the Holy Frijoles!

OC
1 review
Dined on September 7, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

We love the new location. My only complaint is that our carnitas nachos were cold. Other than that our experience was great. Our empanadas were delicious and filling. Our server was very nice.

V
Raleigh
6 reviews
Dined on September 6, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 2

Go to Makus or Che’s in one of the food halls instead. The empanadas seemed like they had been heated from frozen, the salsa was runny and flavorless, and the margaritas were just ok. Service was poor and it wasn’t busy.

FE
Raleigh
5 reviews
Dined on August 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was our first time to Calavera in their new location. We made reservations for 4 outside and we were seated promptly when we arrived. Service was prompt and friendly. All the empanadas were good..but the Bulgogi and the Champ were standouts. Guacamole was above average - we were scraping the bowl at the end. This is a great place for groups and we hope it stays around for a while!

LH
Raleigh
10 reviews
Dined on August 25, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

The service was terrible. The empanadas tasted like they had been frozen. The margarita was not good. We were the only people in the place. We won’t be back.

OT
1 review
Dined on August 22, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 1

Sucked. Service was so slow. Didn’t see one employee for five minutes after sitting down

RF
Western NC
5 reviews
Dined on July 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This little gem was outstanding. The empanada pastry was buttery and flaky. I ordered “The Champ”, and the mushrooms were cooked so perfectly, that I ended up ordering a second one. I loved the outdoor seating and cute string lights. I will definitely come back! Thanks for a great date!

OT
1 review
Dined on July 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Went for a birthday, good food and service and really fun!

AT
1 review
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 3ambience 4

The main reason I probably will not recommend Calavera is due to an incident that happened with our table of 14 guests all getting the wrong food, numerous times and not one time did the manager come out and speak to our table. Working in the service industry it was poor leadership, no effort to own up to the mistake and no visibility for guests to feel any compensation. The servers did great but of course felt no support when they continued to bring out the wrong food to us and not just once but at least 4 times for one order. We ended up paying full price for our food after waiting for 2 hours for corrections. People had to leave due to time constraints so some people never even got the right food but ended up with a bill for it.

KR
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on July 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Delicious empanadas and drinks. Drinks were a little pricey. They have outdoor and indoor seating. Great casual date night.

F
Raleigh
7 reviews
Dined on October 22, 2017
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

It's a very neat and fun place. Strawberry Mojito is excellent !

t
Raleigh
2 reviews
Dined on October 21, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very light menu but the empanadas are great. They also have a fantastic color with queso fundido.

R
Raleigh
19 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We always enjoy Calavera! The empanadas are high quality given the ingredients used and the rotating options available. The drinks are fun, on trend, and there’s a really great selection. Even the chips and quac are well above standard. Try the Tecate Mojito for a festive cocktail!

OT
Raleigh
4 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The service was great, food, drinks and decor amazing :)

NC
Raleigh
4 reviews
Dined on September 16, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

This was our first time here. There were 4 of us and we all enjoyed the food very much. The nachos were excellent and very filling. Loved the cocktails!
Great, fun, casual place to go. I recommend a reservation because they were packed. We did have a reservation and were seated as soon as we got there. Very friendly and attentive staff.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 16, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Have eaten at the Carrboro / Chapel Hill location, and enjoyed it. When we were going to be in Raleigh I knew I had to try that location as well. Wonderful experience, fantastic food, great service.

J
Raleigh
4 reviews
Dined on September 1, 2017
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Stopped in for empanadas and a drink on my birthday and was not disappointed! My mojito was awesome and the empanada was just what I wanted. Love the spicy habanero sauce.

OT
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on August 26, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We had a party of six and had made a reservation in advance. They seated us right away. Waiter was very attentive. Food was delicious and cocktails even better! We definitely all left with our bellies full!!!! Would definitely recommend this place and will be returning myself.

w
Raleigh
4 reviews
Dined on August 25, 2017
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 1

Empanadas were quite good Pastry was light and flaky. Service was good. Kudos to our waitress for being able to read lips. Yes, the noise level is horrible. They have got to get some sound dampeners

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 12, 2017
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

A fun little find in downtown Raleigh. Very colorful young crowd. The traditional empanada and the Buffalo chicken empanada where most memorable. Louder than normal.

AH
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on August 8, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We love Calavera!! Never had a bad experience or a bad meal. Everything is delicious

T
Raleigh
60 reviews
Dined on August 4, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This place has great empanadas, great drinks. Over all good spot.

OT
Raleigh
7 reviews
Dined on July 28, 2017
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Nice establishment. Very accommodating . Staff is very helpful and nice. One draw back of this place is that it is really small and it gets crowded quick. Overall enjoyed my visit.

OT
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on July 28, 2017
Overall 1food 2service 2ambience 5

I made my reservation for 6:15 but due to the storm and the traffic, my friend was running late. Our server was very nice but I noticed she seemed to be in a rush to take our order. We went outside for a cigarette and the host and server told us our food was at the table. Then a manager (I guess?) came outside to tell us that they needed the table because they had another reservation coming up which I thought was very rude. I understand but we'd been planning to stay for a bit and have drinks because it was Friday evening. I've never experienced anything like this in a restaurant and I've worked in a few restaurants myself. I didn't realize tables had time limits on how long you could be there. I also got the wrong empanada. I probably will not be going back or recommending. The guy was very nice when he said it but it just rubbed us the wrong way. It was just disappointing because I always recommend it to friends and I'd never experienced that before.

OT
Raleigh
2 reviews
Dined on July 21, 2017
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 2

They sat us downstairs in bar for a reserved table several days in advance! Way too noisy. Food and drinks have gone downhill

TM
Raleigh
3 reviews
Dined on July 20, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had the Pigly Wigly empanadas, elote, chips and questions, and key lime empanada. The BBQ in the empanada was of such quality you'd be lucky to get it at a BBQ restaurant! Everything else also tasted amazing and the service and atmosphere were excellent too.

OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on July 17, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and drinks!

OT
Raleigh
12 reviews
Dined on July 10, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The empanadas were even better than I remember. I will be back. So many more to try!

OT
Raleigh
3 reviews
Dined on July 7, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 3

Empanadas were awesome! Started with habanero and mango quacamole which was delicious. We had the chicken tinga and the Spaniard for dinner. Then ordered the dessert empanada with banana and Nutella. Prices are very reasonable but it was hard to hear each because there was loud group in the room. Overall a fun place for dinner.

C
Raleigh
4 reviews
Dined on July 4, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love this place for their mojitos and empanadas. Every time it is so great!

SG
Raleigh
3 reviews
Dined on July 3, 2017
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Calavera is a regular staple. Great choices in empanada's and the kicker being the the movie The Three Amigos is playing constantly.

n
Charlotte
3 reviews
Dined on June 27, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Amazing food. The Piggly Wiggly is my very favorite. I also love the King Kong! The drinks are fabulous. Also, the brisket nachos are a huge hit with everyone I take!

OT
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on June 25, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

the food and the service were amazing the drinks were too, but we got some wine, and it was terrible.

OT
Raleigh
4 reviews
Dined on June 25, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great!! Arrived early on a Sunday and the 4 of us enjoyed everything!

OT
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on June 22, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I really love the empanadas here. I wish you would bring this deliciousness to VA. I also love the location with all the windows (to see the city) and the vibrant atmosphere.

HM
Raleigh
6 reviews
Dined on June 2, 2017
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Everyone loved all the empanadas we tried! My favorite was the chicken tinga.

c
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on May 26, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

From out of town but always try to swing by when in the area! Delicious!!!

FL
Cleveland
19 reviews
Dined on May 20, 2017
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Generally good but took forever to get drinks, at least 15 mins after we got there and already had some food in front of us.

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