Cantina 18-Raleigh

4.6
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247 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Mexican / Southwestern
Open since March 2010, Cantina 18 is located in Raleigh's historic Cameron Village, just minutes away from downtown.

Chef-proprietor, Jason Smith relentlessly searches for the freshest seasonal ingredients from North Carolina farms and purveyors for his affordable take on on Southern-Tex cuisine.

Open for lunch, brunch and dinner, seven days a week, Cantina 18 offers a variety of dishes ranging from taco platters, nachos, sandwiches and seasonally inspired entrées.

A family-friendly neighborhood favorite, Cantina 18 provides great food, creative drink options, outdoor-patio seating and hospitable service... always at affordable prices.
What 247 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.6
food
4.5
service
4.5
ambience
4.5
value
Noise · Moderate
94% of people would recommend it to a friend
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DS
Raleigh
13 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was my first time visiting this restaurant and I will definitely be back. From the moment we arrived the staff was so attentive and engaging. Our waiter was awesome and he made sure we all were pleased with our meals. I meant to take a picture of our meals before we ate but forgot. Added bonus is all the food is local to NC meaning it's fresh and not processed. I love that!

R
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Jason and his team at Cantina 18 made our daughter's 15th birthday a fun and enjoyable night for our family and her guests. The food is delicious, the service amazing, and the ambiance is festive!

J
Raleigh
3 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Cantina 18 is wonderful. The wait staff always works as a team which creates superior service. Food was delicious as well. Would definitely recommend.

D
Raleigh
11 reviews
Dined on September 27, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 3

We've eaten there a number of times. Our chicken quesadilla was bone dry. Service was OK, but quite loud if seated indoors. The menu is interesting, but the food has become very average. If you're looking for al fresca dining, it fits the bill, but there is better mexican fare to be had in Raleigh.

SS
1 review
Dined on September 27, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 2

We had a reservation at 6:15 pm, and didn't have to wait at all. However, the noise level was Very Loud, because of a private party upstairs. The food was very good; our waitress was nice, very friendly. She did check back with us, but failed to keep our water glasses filled. Overall, we enjoyed our meal, and would recommend it, and go back again.

OT
Raleigh
12 reviews
Dined on September 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 3

My husband and I took our grandson there for lunch recently.
All the food was great and our grandson got the biggest piece of Adobo Salmon that have ever seen served in a restaurant. Our server was friendly and brought us a sample to taste that was quite good. A good place to go.

OT
1 review
Dined on September 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved it!! Service was amazing.

SS
1 review
Dined on September 20, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 3

I was disappointed with the cost for what we received. We enjoyed the chips at the table, but $6 for queso was pricey. And our fajitas only came with lettuce, sour cream and white shredded cheese. No rice. No beans. No salsa or pico. The shrimp were a good size and the sautéed onions and peppers were good, however NOT seasoned at all! I was overall just disappointed especially given the cost.

TF
Raleigh
35 reviews
Dined on September 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 3

Great neighborhood place for a quick lunch with friends or a group.

PP
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was delicious as always! We particularly enjoyed the heirloom tomato goat cheese guacamole and seasonal heirloom tomato, cucumber and onion salad! Light and fresh! Cantina never disappoints!

Cantina 18-Raleigh
Responded on August 14, 2019

Hey Paige, So glad you enjoyed our new seasonal items! More to come soon! Thanks, Will Gouz General Manager

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WE
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best Mexican in town. Hard to beat the Cauliflower tacos, can't believe it's cauliflower!

Great service & great meal all around

Cantina 18-Raleigh
Responded on August 14, 2019

William, Glad you enjoy those cauliflower tacos! Hope to see you again soon! Thanks, Will Gouz General Manager

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MH
Raleigh
16 reviews
Dined on August 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Cantina 18 is one of my favs

Cantina 18-Raleigh
Responded on August 10, 2019

Thanks, Mardi! We appreciate the nice feedback! Best, Will Gouz General Manager

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AT
1 review
Dined on August 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was flavorful and delicious. Food was delivered in a timely manner.

Cantina 18-Raleigh
Responded on August 14, 2019

Hey Ann, Thanks so much for the positive feedback! We really appreciate that! Thanks, Will Gouz General Manager

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LV
1 review
Dined on July 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I really loved 18 Seaboard, so I thought I would try this restaurant. The service was excellent. So many choices that were not your typical Mexican restaurant options. I had salmon which was moist and delicious. My friends enjoyed their food as well. I definitely recommend this restaurant and will be coming back.

Cantina 18-Raleigh
Responded on August 9, 2019

Hey, Lisa! We really appreciate the continued support! Thank you for the feedback! Best, Will Gouz General Manager

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OT
Charleston
2 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great healthy food! Love the grilled salmon and the build your own salad!

Cantina 18-Raleigh
Responded on August 9, 2019

Thank you so much for the feedback! We hope to see you again soon! Best, Will Gouz General Manager

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PA
Raleigh
4 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Food was delicious and service was very good.

Cantina 18-Raleigh
Responded on August 9, 2019

Hey Phillip, Thanks for the great feedback. The kind words mean a lot to us! Best, Will Gouz General Manager

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1
Charleston
2 reviews
Dined on July 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Really enjoyed Cantina 18. The noise level does get very loud at times. Hopefully I can come at a less crowded time!

Cantina 18-Raleigh
Responded on August 9, 2019

Hey Maggie, Thanks for the feedback! The restaurant can definitely get pretty lively at times-- hopefully we will see you again soon despite that! Best, Will Gouz General Manager

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L
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

My husband and I are regulars, and often bring a friend or two. The food is always really tasty, and the service is consistently good. I appreciate that you always accommodate my food allergies--you are one of my few safe places to eat. THANK YOU!!

Cantina 18-Raleigh
Responded on August 9, 2019

Lisa, Thank you so much for that awesome feedback! So happy we can accommodate those allergies for you and provide a consistently great experience. That means so much to us! Hope to see you and some friends again soon! Best, Will Gouz General Manager

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r
1 review
Dined on July 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

well worth the drive from greensboro for date night

Cantina 18-Raleigh
Responded on August 9, 2019

Robert, That means a TON to us! Thanks man! Hope to see you again next time you are in Raleigh! Best, Will Gouz General Manager

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OT
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on July 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Yummy. Salmon!!

M
Raleigh
24 reviews
Dined on July 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Interesting, fresh menu that accommodates everyone. Fresh farm-to-table ingredients and creative twists on old favorites. A sure bet for lunch or dinner.

OT
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The glazed Salmon was so wonderful! Done perfectly, moist on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside with the accompanying grit cake & sautéed spinach. Will definitely order again.

YU
Raleigh
21 reviews
Dined on June 14, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

love going there but the wait staff need to dress appropriately .

WL
Raleigh
5 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Greeted and seated promptly. Food and service were both excellent.

c
Raleigh
39 reviews
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Anything connected to Jason Smith is awesome. Cantina 18 has innovative interesting Mexican food, and they're skinny Margaritas are amazing. What's not to love

LH
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on May 24, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Food was tasty, ambiance was lacking. Drinks were a little expensive for the amount.

SS
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everyone loved the food!! Service was efficient and friendly.

OT
Raleigh
6 reviews
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 3

Fairly nice staff. Pretty bland food. Have been a few times and it’s been slightly better

J
Raleigh
3 reviews
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 3

Service was great. Food was just ok. Several flies in the restaurant which I’m not a fan of.

OT
Charleston
3 reviews
Dined on May 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 4

Great casual dining experience. Love the create your own salad!

A
Western NC
5 reviews
Dined on May 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and service.

RB
Raleigh
5 reviews
Dined on April 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food and service were fantastic. We love coming here for upscale Mexican cuisine.

EN
Orlando
1 review
Dined on April 21, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 4

The best part was our server, and the service was just mediocre. We went on Easter Sunday, and the restaurant was surprisingly dead. The food was really just average and lackluster. Honestly feel like I could have gotten the same sort of quality out of taco bell, and a much better price tag.

My wife had a quesadilla, and there was next to no cheese in it and the rest of the toppings were lacking as well. She had a specialty one that was supposed to be filled with pineapple and jalepeños, but literally had 4 tiny pieces of pineapple (1 per slice).

Was very disappointed.

j
Raleigh
46 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Relaxed Mexican cooking, great service, reasonable prices -- what's not to like?

OT
Raleigh
8 reviews
Dined on April 7, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 4

Drinks took forever to get to the table. Had finished appetizers before getting drinks. Chicken bone in taco. Two people in the group got sick after meal. All in all pretty bad experience. I have had good experiences here before so maybe just a bad night.

AM
1 review
Dined on April 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Quiet Sunday evening. My daughter who has a very strict diet due to auto immune issues had a made to order salad, actually for the second night. We went Saturday night too. Because they had made to order fresh vegetables it worked out great for us. I had the Chipotle Ceasar salad with Salmon and it was a perfect portion with not too much dressing. I did ask for the dressing on the side, which they forgot and put on anyway, but Thank God it was not drenched like most places. Just a hint of Chipotle....perfect. My wife had a vege wrap that was delicious as I ate some of it. My drinks were perfect. Cost was very reasonable for everything. Great restaurant.

CM
Raleigh
8 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fun atmosphere with great food and drinks at a great value!! Neighborhood gem.

DL
Western NC
1 review
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Fun atmosphere for a casual dinner with friends. Food and service were very good.

TM
Raleigh
3 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Queso wasn’t warm, salsa somewhat bland, Tacos were good, salmon entree not great. Service was good & waiter was nice!

L
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 2

We are here Friday and the experience was all around terrible. We ordered queso and it came out cold. Our chips also came out cold and the Salsa was just blah. Our server was slow. We ordered a pitcher of margaritas and our pitcher set at the bar for 10 mins before we received it. We order the fajitas for 2 and they brought out chicken. We informed them and we had to wait another 20 mins on our entree. The steak was tough. It was definitely not worth the money I spent. I will not be back.

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