Cantina 18-Raleigh

4.6
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254 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Mexican / Southwestern

Top Tags:

Casual
Fun
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 254 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
4.5
food
4.6
service
4.5
ambience
4.5
value
Noise · Moderate
87% of people would recommend it to a friend
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KW
1 review
Dined on November 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Some of the best food we’ve had in a long time. And most definitely the best guacamole we’ve ever had. Excellent meal, will definitely go back.

LK
Raleigh
5 reviews
Dined on November 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It was my first visit to Cantina 18. The general manager greeted me at our table and welcomed me to the restaurant after I shared I hadn't dined there previously. The service was outstanding. The food was delicious and a good value. I will return!

JS
Philadelphia
13 reviews
Dined on November 9, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always a good time. Food and service never disappoints. Great place to watch games and enjoy a few drinks and the short rib nachos.

MS
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on November 9, 2019
Overall3food2service4ambience4

Was looking forward to trying out this restaurant because we have enjoyed the other restaurants in the area owned by the same people. Staff was very friendly, but service was slow for drinks and food. Had the black bean and avocado nachos for an appetizer and it was very good. But, our entrees each had overcooked meat (mine was especially surprising since I'd ordered what I consider the simplest food on the menu, a chicken quesadilla). The black beans I got on the side were bland, also surprising.

MH
Raleigh
19 reviews
Dined on November 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I love Cantina 18. My guest from out of town also had a great experience
She commented on the wonderful meal and service

j
1 review
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall3food1service5ambience3

The service was great, but the food wasn't at all. The food was missing flavor. This was my first time going to the Cantina 18 in Raleigh. I've tried the other location and the food was way better there! I was excited to bring my husband so he could try it, but the both of us were not pleased with the food at all which was very disappointing!

P
Raleigh
14 reviews
Dined on October 17, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food is always delicious. The service is excellent.

DS
Raleigh
16 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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 on October 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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
12 reviews
Dined on September 27, 2019
Overall2food2service2ambience3

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
Overall3food4service3ambience2

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
Overall5food5service4ambience3

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
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Loved it!! Service was amazing.

SS
1 review
Dined on September 20, 2019
Overall3food3service5ambience3

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
38 reviews
Dined on September 9, 2019
Overall5food5service3ambience3

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

PP
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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
20 reviews
Dined on August 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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
Overall5food5service5ambience4

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
Overall5food5service5ambience4

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
Overall5food5service5ambience4

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
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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
3 reviews
Dined on July 9, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Yummy. Salmon!!

M
Raleigh
25 reviews
Dined on July 2, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience4

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
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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
Overall3food4service3ambience3

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

WL
Raleigh
5 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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

c
Raleigh
39 reviews
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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
Overall4food4service4ambience4

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

SS
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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

OT
Raleigh
6 reviews
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall3food2service3ambience3

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
Overall3food3service5ambience3

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
Overall5food5service3ambience4

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

A
Western NC
5 reviews
Dined on May 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food and service.

RB
Raleigh
5 reviews
Dined on April 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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

EN
Orlando
1 review
Dined on April 21, 2019
Overall2food2service3ambience4

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.