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Cortez Seafood + Cocktail, Raleigh, NC

Cortez Seafood + Cocktail

4.8
4.8
681 Reviews
$30 and under
Seafood
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.

Reservation Cancellation Policy: As we are a small restaurant with limited seating, No Shows and Reservations cancelled with less than 12 hour notice may be subject to a charge of $20 per person.

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.

Make a reservation

2 people

7:00 PM


Booked 17 times today

Order delivery or takeout

Dining areas

Additional information

  • Dining style
    Casual Dining
  • Cuisines
    Seafood, Mexican, Tapas / Small Plates
  • Hours of operation
    Dinner Tue–Thu 5:00 pm–9:30 pm Sun 5:00 pm–9:00 pm Happy Hour Tue–Sun 5:00 pm–6:00 pm Weekend Dinner Fri, Sat 5:00 pm–10:00 pm
  • Phone number
    (919) 342-8227
  • Payment options
    AMEX, Discover, Mastercard, Visa
  • Dress code
    Business Casual
  • Executive chef
    Chef Oscar Diaz
  • Neighborhood
    Raleigh
  • Parking details
    Turn into the alleyway marked by the Cat Mural and you will find a private lot in our rear side of the building. Additional parking can be found at the parking deck behind the Carolina Ale House and street parking all around Glenwood South. We are handicap accessible!
  • Additional
    Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Dancing, Entertainment, Full Bar, Gluten-free Options, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine

What 681 people are saying

Overall ratings and reviews

Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant

4.8
4.8 based on recent ratings
  • 4.9Food
  • 4.7Service
  • 4.7Ambience
  • 4.5Value

NoiseModerate

Loved For

  • Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill

    Best Food

  • Raleigh

    Best Food

  • Raleigh

    Lively

681 Reviews
  1. Honeybee

    Chicago

    20 reviews

    5.0

    20 reviews

    Dined 5 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Best mussels we’ve had - and were in our 60s. Superb ceviche and swordfish. Excellent service. Generous wine pours. We will be back!

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  2. JohnE

    Cincinnati

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 6 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    Great food and excellent service. I would return in the future.

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  3. nwelsh1401

    Cleveland

    40 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    40 reviews

    Dined 6 days ago

    overall5food5service3ambience5
    We love the vibe of Cortez: casual with stellar, unique food. We take advantage of the small plates so we get to taste a few things. Fresh oysters were exceptional as well as the chargrilled ones. Our grilled romaine salad hit the spot- fresh, unique and light. We shared the burger - voted 2nd in Raleigh, it does not disappoint! Ended our meal with the churros, a must! Delicious food and reasonably priced too!

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  4. OpenTable Diner

    Orlando

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on September 15, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    This was my first time visiting, and it was absolutely amazing. I was referred by a friend and could not be happier to go. We tried a little bit of everything. The service is probably some of the best in all of Raleigh to be honest. The drinks were amazing as well.

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  5. ToddT

    Charlotte

    6 reviews

    5.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on September 13, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Outstanding restaurant and service. I cannot say enough about how innovative Cortez is. Can’t wait to return.

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  6. MargaretE

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 12, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    The food was delicious (especially the shrimp), service was awesome, and they made his birthday very special! We'll definitely be back.

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  7. Krit

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 10, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Simplemente espectacular. I celebrated my anniversary in this restaurant and they went above and beyond to make this experience unforgettable. Thank you.

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  8. Drewp

    Raleigh

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on September 10, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Food is always amazing. Love this chef. Both his restaurants are incredible

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  9. RikaEata

    Raleigh

    6 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on September 9, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    We loved our date night experience at Cortez--the food, service, and ambience were just what we needed. It's definitely a fun place to go with beautiful scenery, but we didn't feel like the food was "just instagrammable"--it was better! The Tuna was a standout.

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  10. OpenTable Diner

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 6, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    The reservation, food, wine, service and whole experience was great.

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  11. OpenTable Diner

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 6, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Great experience. The way the outside seating is setup you forget you are on Glenwood Ave. Swordfish was great! Will be back!

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  12. sandman

    Raleigh

    5 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on September 1, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Amazing food and service. Sat outside and atmosphere was very relaxing.

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  13. OpenTable Diner

    Raleigh

    9 reviews

    5.0

    9 reviews

    Dined on August 25, 2023

    overall5food5service4ambience5
    This is one of our favorite restaurants, food is delicious and so flavorful. We have enjoyed every meal we’ve ever had. We brought our friends and they were very impressed. Try it:-)

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  14. AnnaC

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 24, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    A MUST!!! PLEASE TRY THIS PLACE!!! :) This is a must!!!! The shrimp...oh my goodness!

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  15. Gripster

    Raleigh

    10 reviews

    4.0

    10 reviews

    Dined on August 17, 2023

    overall4food4service4ambience4
    Enjoyed our dinner. Shrimp dish was unusual but very good. A little messy to eat though. The tuna was great. The potatoes were not great for us. It was our anniversary and they provided some champagne which was a nice touch. It was a little noisy for an anniversary. We were seated near speakers and it was a boisterous crowd. Parking downtown anywhere is always a challenge

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  16. OpenTable Diner

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 16, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Great experience! Really enjoyed the ambience, food and vibe

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  17. JenniferH

    Raleigh

    26 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    26 reviews

    Dined on August 15, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Honestly, I was blown away by the outstanding service provided upon entering Cortez's front door. Both the hostess and waitress were exceptionally kind and warm to our entire party. The food is always delicious, but it tastes even better when you have such a great experience to go along with it. The vibe is outstanding and even the cocktail names had such character. Overall, Cortez is a great local spot to frequent time and time again.

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  18. Clew

    Detroit

    40 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    40 reviews

    Dined on August 15, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    The beverages were great. The Gambas Al Ajillo and Mussels & Picadillo were very good. Channel provided excellent service.

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  19. OpenTable Diner

    Raleigh

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on August 15, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Food, drinks, service were all great! you can tell they put a lot of work and attention into even the smallest details

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  20. OpenTable Diner

    Raleigh

    2 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on August 14, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    The new tuna dish is awesome - highly recommend!!!

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  21. OpenTable Diner

    Raleigh

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 13, 2023

    overall4food4service4ambience4
    Overall, we were pleased with our experience at Cortez. We had ceviche along with octopus and fish collars . All items were fresh and prepared very nicely.

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  22. TomR

    Exclusive

    2 reviews

    1.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on August 13, 2023

    overall1food3service1ambience3
    The restaurant was quaint. 1 page menu. We ordered 1 app, and it was ok. The biggest concern was service. Hostesses were chatting when we arrived for our reservation. We waited in front of them while they finished chatting to greet us. Ordered a bottle of red, glass of white and an app. App and white came quickly. Our waitress hung at the cashiers station for 20+ mins talking with another waitress while my bottle of red sat at the bar. Finally another server brought us the bottle of red, but it had been so long my wife cancelled the bottle, tabbed out and we went to another restaurant.

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  23. OpenTable Diner

    New York Area

    1 review

    vip
    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 13, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    The best seafood and service in Raleigh hands down.

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  24. JulieH

    Greensboro

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on August 12, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Everything we had was amazing! This was our first date night after having a baby a few weeks ago and it did not disappoint. We sat at the bar and loved watching the open kitchen as the chefs worked absolute magic in such a small space. The food was incredible; the fried green tomatoes with tuna were hot and the flavors complemented each other so well. The raw oysters were fresh and delicious. The grouper crudo was the best I’ve had in a long time. We will definitely come back for a date night again.

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  25. Enjoyable

    Raleigh

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on August 10, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Fabilous spot with great ambiance and even better food. Definitely looking forward to going back!

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  26. ediblerock

    Raleigh

    30 reviews

    4.0

    30 reviews

    Dined on August 10, 2023

    overall4food5service5ambience4
    Uh-Maze’-ing food and service! The seafood is boyish compare and creative. The oysters and the “Cortez Sailboat” were just delightful. Service at the bar was terrific. Highly recommended, especially for a date night.

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  27. OpenTable Diner

    Chicago

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on August 8, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Such a great first experience, food was delicious, drinks were great and our server Kelsey was the best we’ve ever had in any Raleigh restaurant. Thank you for a wonderful experience!

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  28. OpenTable Diner

    Raleigh

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 4, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    This was our sexy time back, we brought friends because we enjoyed it so much. It was just as good the second time. Good and service!!

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  29. BryanW

    Miami

    25 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    25 reviews

    Dined on August 4, 2023

    overall5food5service4ambience5
    The food was excellent. Gambas were fantastic. Cocktails were very good. Soundtrack was very enjoyable. Loved the vibe

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  30. OpenTable Diner

    Raleigh

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on August 3, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Always the best. Service and food is outstanding. This is one of our favorite places ever.

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  31. ExceptionallyMediocre

    San Francisco

    2 reviews

    4.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on July 30, 2023

    overall4food4service4ambience3
    4 of the 5 things we ordered I'd say were very well made. The ceviche didn't meet expectations: could've done with a little more tang and heat, and maybe more than nine small pieces of fish. There was an issue with one of our dishes, and they took it off the tab, and comped us a dessert (also delicious), which showed accountability and responsiveness on the part of management/ chef. Cocktails were great. We sat inside, and felt ventilation could've been better given they have an open kitchen. Will go back.

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  32. OpenTable Diner

    Raleigh

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 29, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    Everything about our dinner was wonderful. Dee took great care of us, and the food was outstanding.

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  33. OpenTable Diner

    Richmond

    9 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    9 reviews

    Dined on July 29, 2023

    overall5food5service4ambience4
    Was extremely excited to visit since it’s hard to get reservations! Definitely lived up to the hype. The sailboat was extremely delicious, and the burger was amazing. Will return for sure!

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  34. ThomasG

    Washington DC

    5 reviews

    3.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on July 29, 2023

    overall3food3service2ambience3
    Expected more from a James Beard nominee. Employees seemed miserable from the moment we walked in (29 July 2023). Not just one or two, but every person we interacted with. That suggests the culture of the restaurant, ie management, is poor or dealing with some issues. We enjoyed ourselves DESPITE the vibe being off. But what’s up with the stank? We don’t expect to be entertained, but don’t be Eeyores. Welcome us. Smile a little. Offer opinions on the menu and pairings. Scrub the “too cool to care” vibe. The thing is, we wouldn’t have cared much if the food blew us away. It was average with the exception of the excellent shrimp starter (butter sauce helps…probably a 2k calorie dish). Ceviche was OK, nothing special. Whole fish tasted like…fried fish, ie oil. No hero flavor. Bland. The salsa that came with it was fantastic though, which covered it. We had two drinks, a dozen oysters, two starters, and shared a salad and the whole fish — in for over $250. Expect more for that price tag. Meh.

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  35. Evie

    Raleigh

    2 reviews

    3.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on July 28, 2023

    overall3food4service1ambience3
    We sat on the patio. For the first 45 mins there were only three tables, yet the server failed to bring anything that we ordered. One of our party waited nearly an hour for shrimp. It was like he kept forgetting that we were there. We had to remind him that we ordered coffee. But, the food is always good, so hoping this was a one time service screw up.

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  36. OpenTable Diner

    Raleigh

    2 reviews

    4.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on July 26, 2023

    overall4food4service5ambience5
    The food is delicious but very rich! Would love to see a fresh crisp salad on the menu to balance out some of the decadent dishes. The service was wonderful and we always love the fun atmosphere.

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  37. KevinC

    Raleigh

    31 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    31 reviews

    Dined on July 25, 2023

    overall5food5service4ambience5
    We LOVE Cortez, and dine here 4-5 times per year. The vibe and the food are wonderful. We usually start with the smoked Papas (delicious) and the Gambas Al Ajillo (always extraordinary) and then order entree’s. But I should add that all of the small plates are terrific. Recent entree’s included swordfish, carne asada, fried whole fish and the double smash burger (you can just order the fries as a side, by the way - they’re great!) The cocktails are whimsical and delicious, and moderately priced. Pro tip: there is limited free parking directly behind the restaurant, and paid parking another 100 feet or so west of the that area ($7 for 6+ hours). If I have any complaint about Cortez, at times (usually at the end of the meal) the service can get a bit… languid. It took about 15 minutes for our check to appear at the end of our last meal at the restaurant. But I’m quibbling: we love the place and will be back soon. If you haven’t tried Cortez, you definitely need to!

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  38. jfindsandfun

    Raleigh

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on July 22, 2023

    overall5food5service3ambience5
    The food is divine, and I LOVED the design of the restaurant! It’s beautiful. It’s small, but very cute, tucked in. We’ll definitely be back! The swordfish was SOOOO GOOD!! The Watermelon cocktail and the The last call are delicious!! My husband really enjoyed the churros!

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  39. OpenTable Diner

    Raleigh

    13 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    13 reviews

    Dined on July 22, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Food was excellent and service was great. Definitely will go back again.

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  40. laadiva

    Raleigh

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on July 21, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Another successful dinner at The Cortez! We went to celebrate my friends birthday. We were first seated outside, but it was a nice day so we asked if we could move outside. The service as good, I feel like we had 3 servers. I understand they bring the food out when ready but with that many servers I also feel they need to communicate better. I assuming when we moved (and we had already placed our order) they didn’t inform our original server so when we went outside we had another server come and try to take our order. Not a biggie, but I felt like I had to always ask for a refill on my drinks. The food was great as always! They also brought back the beans with the octopus instead of the bean and spinach purée ( not sure if my last review led to that) but just in case I will also suggest they sell those beans on the side; they are that delicious. We never have a bad experience here. Always my to go to place for raw oysters. We did try the shrimp this time and it was good. I did not get any pics of the oysters this time, but they are always fresh! I will say they did increase the price of oysters, but everyone is increasing prices, and the service didn’t lack with the price increase like some places! They also play the best music while dining!

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Safety precautions

  • Cleaning & sanitizing

    • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
    • Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
    • Common areas deep-cleaned daily
    • 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

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 681 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable.

Make a reservation

2 people

7:00 PM


Booked 17 times today

Order delivery or takeout

Google Map for Cortez Seafood + Cocktail

413 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, NC 27603-2198

Dining areas

Additional information

  • Neighborhood
    Raleigh
  • Hours of operation
    Dinner Tue–Thu 5:00 pm–9:30 pm Sun 5:00 pm–9:00 pm Happy Hour Tue–Sun 5:00 pm–6:00 pm Weekend Dinner Fri, Sat 5:00 pm–10:00 pm
  • Cuisines
    Seafood, Mexican, Tapas / Small Plates
  • Dining style
    Casual Dining
  • Dress code
    Business Casual
  • Parking details
    Turn into the alleyway marked by the Cat Mural and you will find a private lot in our rear side of the building. Additional parking can be found at the parking deck behind the Carolina Ale House and street parking all around Glenwood South. We are handicap accessible!
  • Payment options
    AMEX, Discover, Mastercard, Visa
  • Executive chef
    Chef Oscar Diaz
  • Additional
    Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Dancing, Entertainment, Full Bar, Gluten-free Options, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine
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