Cortez Seafood + Cocktail

4.8
77 Reviews
$30 and under
Seafood
*We use Opentable to supplement our main reservation system. If you can't find the date you are looking for here, please call or text the restaurant directly at 919.342.8227 as it may still be available through our central booking.*

The Cortez is a fresh seafood and small plates experience with a freshly kept selection of tropical cocktails that draw on our food memories, travels through the years, and Mexican-American heritage. James Beard Nominated Chef Oscar Diaz's menu is a reflection of his weekly walks through the farmer's market and the bounties brought in by our local fishermen. The beverage menu is rounded out with rotating craft beers and a curated wine list.

Safety precautions

Cleaning & Sanitizing
  • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
  • Common areas deep cleaned daily
  • Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
  • Sanitizer or wipes provided for customers
Physical Distancing
  • Limited number of seated diners
  • Extra space between tables
Protective Equipment
  • Waitstaff wear masks
Screening
  • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace
What 77 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.8based on recent ratings
4.9
food
4.8
service
4.8
ambience
4.6
value
Noise · Moderate
96% of people would recommend it to a friend
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YA
vipYvetteA
Greensboro
2 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We always have a great experience, love the food

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Raleigh
3 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service4ambience5

The food was excellent and enjoyable to share with our friends who joined us for dinner.

F
vipFoodie
Raleigh
3 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Expensive for what you get. Charging for $5 bread, really?

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Raleigh
20 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Truly fun time with my family

EK
EdwardK
Raleigh
2 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Great flavors in food prepared with fresh local ingredients and served in creative ways...The grilled market fish was fabulous! Who knew mullet could be so good! we’ll be back.

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall3food5service3ambience4

First time here as we just moved into town. Food was delish but the wait for it was pretty disappointing.

T
Tess
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on April 11, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great atmosphere. Fresh flavorful dishes! Will be back. Definitely recommend the sailboat, its agreat value you dont want to miss.

W
Wildflower
1 review
Dined on April 11, 2021
Overall4food5service5ambience5

The gambas are to die for... I always order them. This visit I also ordered raw oysters which were very tasty. I have been here several times and am never disappointed with anything I order. The cocktails are on point and I LOVE the ambiance. My only critique is the price. I have no problem spending good money on delicious food however the prices here are just higher than comparable restaurants. Regardless I keep going back. I would def order more if the prices were just a little lower!

A
Adonis
Austin
6 reviews
Dined on April 11, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

AMAZING!! We will be back, often. The ambiance, alone, is enough to win anyone over. Enter into a beautiful outdoor garden, or a unique indoor garden experience...both complement an authentic drink and food menu that do not disappoint. It's been a while since I've had a dining experience this wonderful-from start to finish. Shout outs on the smoked papa's appetizer, the rum pineapple cake, the fish tacos, even my smashburger was better than any burger place around here. chef's kiss yall. bendiciones...gracias. 🙋🏾‍♂️❤

MP
vipMarilynP
Raleigh
2 reviews
Dined on April 10, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience3

The food at Cortez was good, but perhaps not as inventive as I have had there pre-COVID. Also very noticeable was much smaller portion for the small plates compared to the past. We had to order 2 plates for some items instead of the usual one.

KT
KatieT
1 review
Dined on April 10, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food and drink were exceptional, the restaurant was clean, and the wait staff was excellent. We will definitely be back. The bar across the street adds some noise when sitting outside so sit inside if anyone in your party has problems with hearing.

T
Tacos
Raleigh
2 reviews
Dined on April 9, 2021
Overall4food5service5ambience5

Great food, great atmosphere. Nice cocktails. A little loud and not so much social distancing but it’s a small place.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Raleigh
3 reviews
Dined on April 7, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Outside seating was fun . Nice atmosphere in good weather.

SB
SarahB
Western NC
1 review
Dined on April 7, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food and service will be going back for sure.

CJ
CliffJ
Raleigh
8 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Broke our anti-Covid isolation and came and enjoyed our favorite restaurant in Raleigh! We felt perfectly at ease on their patio, and the food was perfect NC seafood ala Oscar.

MB
MarciaB
Raleigh
27 reviews
Dined on April 4, 2021
Overall4food5service5ambience4

There were 4 of us, and we shared several small plates. All were to die for! Especially loved the octopus and the mushroom toast!! Love that the plates arrive as soon as they're prepared. Will definitely be back often. Outside dining is great except for street noise. Do not care for the cocktail list--too far out and too strong on froo-froo presentation. I don't like smoke, vinegar, or hot peppers in my drinks. Prefer boozy real drinks, simple vodka or gin with added herbs or cucumber, for example. Classic Manhattans, sidecars, Cosmos, for example. Just sayin'.

JB
JesB
1 review
Dined on April 4, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Just perfect, super polite staff, clean, patio seating was shaded and offered heat towers. Great drink selection :)

OT
OpenTable Diner
Raleigh
4 reviews
Dined on April 1, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing food. Just amazing. So tasty.

KC
KarinC
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on April 1, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always amazing service and even more amazing food!!!

JL
vipJasonL
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined on March 28, 2021
Overall2food2service2ambience1

The weather was lousy and we had reservations for outside so we asked about inside seating instead. The host was rather obnoxious honestly and although they may have been fully booked, it clearly didn't appear that way. Our server was very sweet and kind and tried her best to fix the table that was quite unstable but not successful in the end. The service was not particularly attentive and we left after eating a dozen oysters instead of staying for dinner. Not sure I would give them another chance.

D
Drewp
Raleigh
3 reviews
Dined on March 27, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

One of the best experiences in downy Raleigh

DG
DrGDM
Wilmington
1 review
Dined on March 27, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

We finally felt brave enough to venture out to a new restaurant and The Cortez did not disappoint. Super small place with a modern, tropical vibe. Very limited menu, but everything was beautiful and delicious. Service seemed a tad slow.

ZN
ZilolaN
Raleigh
3 reviews
Dined on March 26, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Cocktails and food was excellent except sevichi. Nice ambiance and space outside.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on March 21, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I go to Cortez at least once a month every time for a different occasion and I always leave feeling so satisfied. The decor and menu create the feeling of being on vacation and their staff is ALWAYS warm and attentive. The manager Pepe is so present and always there to provide a smile and solid recommendation. I love cortez! 10/10 recommend!

N
Nathalie
Richmond
1 review
Dined on March 19, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This is definitely late but I went to Cortez Seafood on 3/19 and I can not stop thinking about the amazing experience I had! Firstly, I had stopped by before my reservation to drop off some bridesmaids proposal boxes for my bridesmaid-to-be, and asked if they could get them set up at our table beforehand as a surprise. The gentleman at the host stand even went out of his way to show me the table we would be at and asked how I would like everything placed. When I got there, they had not only set up the presents, but had glasses of champagne ready at our table. Such a great touch! Not only do they go above and beyond for guests, but the food and drinks were amazing! Definitely try the Charred Pulpo and Smoked NC Papas. My girlfriends and I could not stop talking about how good it was. I highly recommend you come try this place! I can't wait to go back again!!

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on March 16, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing food, ambiance. And the services was top of the line.

A
Anonymous
Raleigh
12 reviews
Dined on March 14, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

First time back to the Cortez since the pandemic. We chose outdoor seating on the patio. It was a pretty evening, so the heaters were not on or needed. There was some street noise/music from other restaurants but to be expected on Glenwood. Everything was delicious (oysters, seafood, steak). Our food came out at mismatched times, though, which was unfortunate in that I finished eating while my dining companion was just getting their entree. Next time will ask to have everything held until all is ready.

T
Tye3
Raleigh
2 reviews
Dined on March 13, 2021
Overall2food5service1ambience5

I’ve visited the restaurant several times! The food is always awesome and the service is always great! However, this visit was not the same. We had a 6:15 reservation for outdoor seating that we booked using open table. When we arrived we were told by the hostess that we have a seat inside. We explained that we booked outdoor and showed the reservation she explained it shows in her system as well but indoor seating was selected for some reason and insisted that we would be seated indoor. There were empty tables outdoor so we couldn’t understand why we were being seated indoor? She explained that those seats are for people who booked for outdoor as well at 6:45 and she doesn’t want them to come and not have the seat they requested. This was so shocking for us as we were standing in her face in the moment with a reservation for outdoor seating in her system and on my phone. She made it very clear that our reservation was not as important as their other guest. Her tone felt condescending and matter of fact. Her body language also felt aggressive. After humiliating us for 10 mins. We finally asked for a manager who had the business acumen to figure out arrangements for us to sit outside as requested in our reservation. He offered a free drink and small plate and an apology but there was no apology from the hostess. I don’t want to believe our race was a factor in her actions but I can’t think of another explanation for the lack of importance for our reservation. We also noticed that no one sat in those seats until after 7 pm. She also told us that we have a two hour window which we were fine with but we also noticed others who arrived before us that were still there after we left. Please note our server was EXCELLENT and made it a lot easier to spend our money there after how we were treated!

RX
RachelX
1 review
Dined on March 6, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food and service were excellent! Our drink and food choices were all delicious but there was a lot in the menu left to try... We look forward to going back!

k
vipkennan
Raleigh
9 reviews
Dined on March 5, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Cortez has a fantastic outdoor space. The heaters keep you warm and the food is unparalleled. We had the seafood starter plate that had a nice mix of oysters, ceviche, crudo and octopus. The Gambas Al Ajillo was spectacular as always and is our constant favorite. The cocktails were complimentary to the awesome meal and we can't wait to go again soon!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on March 4, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great as always!

CO
COLLINSC
Raleigh
5 reviews
Dined on March 3, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Service and reservation were excellent. Food was delicious as always. Highly recommend.

BM
BritanyM
Raleigh
5 reviews
Dined on February 28, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had an absolutely wonderful birthday dinner here. The oysters were amazing and so fresh! Each dish we ordered was full of flavor. The interior was cute and cozy. I felt like I managed to take a mini-vacation. We agreed we would definitely return

HB
HeidiB
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on February 27, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Everything was awesome, I will recommend the Ceviche, the Brussel sprouts and the steak it was delicious!!

m
mer123
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on February 27, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I can't tell you how many people I've taken here and love it! The food is amazing and well priced. One of my top 3 restaurants in Raleigh. 10/10 recommend.

KM
vipKathyM
Raleigh
6 reviews
Dined on February 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Whole fish dish is always excellent. Knowledgeable and friendly staff.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on February 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great place, great food. Server was super nice and accommodating. The octopus appetizer is delicious!

C
Caroline
Raleigh
4 reviews
Dined on February 25, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience5

It was delicious as always!

CC
CChat
New York Area
14 reviews
Dined on February 24, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Cortez is fantastic. Outdoor seating with excellent heat lamps. Every share plate we had was delicious (and I think we tried almost everything)! Cocktails are fun and inventive. Highly recommend.

SA
SaraA
San Diego
1 review
Dined on February 23, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We loved our experience! Wonderful cocktails, the Sailboat was phenomenal, such a fun night out. Thank you for being there for us!

FAQs

Cortez Seafood + Cocktail offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (919) 342-8227.

Cortez Seafood + Cocktail is rated 4.8 stars by 77 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.