Cantina 18-Raleigh

4.4
273 Reviews
$30 and under
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 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.

Safety precautions

Cleaning & Sanitizing
  • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
  • Common areas deep cleaned daily
  • Sanitizer or wipes provided for customers
Physical Distancing
  • Limited number of seated diners
  • Distancing maintained in common areas
  • Extra space between tables
Protective Equipment
  • Waitstaff wear masks
  • Diners must wear masks unless eating or drinking
Screening
  • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace
What 273 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.5
service
4.4
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
83% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
OpenTable Diner
Raleigh
2 reviews
Dined on March 11, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Love this place!

AP
vipAPMorris
Charlotte
35 reviews
Dined on March 7, 2020
Overall3food3service4ambience3

For the value of the meal you pretty much get what you pay for. The Queso is bland and needs a kick or options of adding Chirizo or even peppers would balance out well with the chips. At $6 a bowl....it is only a moneymaker. The fajitas should have red and green bell peppers with the onions and added lime squeeze on delivery would help the flavor. Looked like they just topped off the skillet veggies with grilled chicken. No punch or flavor. I have had Tex Mex from AZ to NM to TX all my life and some simple tricks to the ingredients would make it more authentic.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on February 28, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Delicious food and great service!

R
Raleigh84
Raleigh
10 reviews
Dined on February 22, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

One of my favorite spots to eat. Upbeat, modern, excellent food and service. You feel like you are at your Uncle’s house enjoying a family meal. The margaritas are great!

RR
RichardR
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on February 21, 2020
Overall2food1service4ambience2

The food has never been that great and I’ve decided ONLY to go for drinks, and chips and salsa.
Preparation, presentation and the attention to balance of taste really lacking

B
Bogart
Raleigh
12 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Enjoyed our leisurely meal with friends this past weekend. Despite the crowd we did not feel rushed to eat and leave to make room for others. We had excellent, attentive service from our server. He checked in with us often and kept the chips flowing to our table. The meals we had were delicious. Prices were very reasonable. Our only complaint and disappointment was with the pitcher of House Margarita which we thought was tasteless and very watered down. We certainly did not feel the effects of a well made Margarita. We love the atmosphere of the place and will certainly return. We will just not order the Margaritas again. We do recommend Cantina 18 for a casual dinner with friends or family.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Raleigh
5 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The short rib fajitas for 2 were the perfect Valentines Day meal. You also can’t go wrong with the margarita pitcher.

S
Setho
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience4

It was a great atmosphere with great food and the best queso I have ever had.

k
katiek
New England
3 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Destiny was the perfect server and the celebration for my 8 year olds birthday was wonderful!

e
eatdrinkandfriend
Raleigh
3 reviews
Dined on February 7, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Was a bit disappointed- ordered the special and it was almost room temperature (sweet potato enchilada) and the mojito was just ok- I anticipate a yummy mojito when at a Mexican restaurant. May try another time. I love Harvest 18 so I thought this would be just as good.

a
alfrescodevotee
Raleigh
3 reviews
Dined on January 24, 2020
Overall5food4service5ambience4

I invited a friend for lunch there. She had never been there I only once. The waitress was very helpful in our beer select, bringing tastes of the two we were interested in. The food was fresh and delicious. And when I asked for a container, they provided a COMPOSTABLE container. Love this place. Will be back.

T
Tksmitty
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on December 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The tacos were deliciousness I had chicken shrimp and pork belly. So good!

JA
JeanA
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on December 14, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Jason and his team always deliver. Attended a wedding reception there back in Sept and it was amazing as well

J
vipJames
Raleigh
27 reviews
Dined on December 11, 2019
Overall3food3service5ambience4

The service was excellent. The food was ok but nothing special.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on December 9, 2019
Overall1food1service3ambience5

The food was actually not great. The chips were oily and not crunchy. The salsa was flavorless. The main dishes were eh. The rice was crispy inside the burrito. I won’t go back any time soon. And that makes me sad.

MA
vipMeA08
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on December 3, 2019
Overall2food1service3ambience4

What happened to the food at this place?! It used to be pretty good for a neighborhood spot, but the last two times we have been, the food has been worse than terrible (shrimp tasted spoiled, the soup was inedible, the calamari was absolutely not calamari, and the chicken was very poor quality). I hope they either improve the quality of the food, or close up and let something that tastes better move in. This is too nice of a location to be wasted on poor quality food.

KW
KrisW
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.

Cantina 18-Raleigh
Responded on December 10, 2019

Kris, Awesome! Glad you enjoyed everything so much. Hope to see you again soon! Will Gouz General Manager

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LK
LynnK
Raleigh
6 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!

Cantina 18-Raleigh
Responded on December 10, 2019

Hey Lynn, Thank's so much for the kind words! So glad you enjoyed your visit with us! Will Gouz General Manager

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JS
JohnS
Philadelphia
17 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.

Cantina 18-Raleigh
Responded on December 10, 2019

Hey John, Come back any time! Thanks so much! Will Gouz General Manager

Report
MS
MelissaS
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.

Cantina 18-Raleigh
Responded on December 10, 2019

Hey Melissa, Thank you for your feedback. We are always excited for the opportunity to improve. I have passed this along to my culinary team and take all criticism seriously. Thank you for the opportunity and we hope to exceed your expectations on your next visit! Will Gouz General Manager

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MH
MardiH
Raleigh
23 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
jarjah22
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
Paulatics
Raleigh
14 reviews
Dined on October 17, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food is always delicious. The service is excellent.

DS
vipDebraS
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
vipRebekah
New York Area
8 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
vipJulia
Raleigh
6 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.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on October 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Loved the staff!

D
vipDave
Raleigh
14 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
SallyS
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
vipOpenTable Diner
Raleigh
13 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
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on September 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Loved it!! Service was amazing.

SS
SandraS
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
vipTriangleFoodie
Raleigh
43 reviews
Dined on September 9, 2019
Overall5food5service3ambience3

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

PP
PaigeP
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
WilliamE
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

Report
MH
MardiH
Raleigh
23 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
AnnT
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
LisaV
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
vipOpenTable Diner
Charleston
4 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

Report
PA
PhillipA
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

Report

FAQs

Cantina 18-Raleigh does offer delivery in partnership with Postmates. Cantina 18-Raleigh also offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (919) 835-9911.

Cantina 18-Raleigh is rated 4.4 stars by 273 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.