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El Cactus

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104 1st Avenue, Coralville, IA 52241-2602
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11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Closed now
See all hours
Mon - Thu 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Fri 11:00 am - 10:30 pm
Sat 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Dining options: Dinner

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 24 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 8
  • 10
    Very good
  • 4
  • 0
  • 2
Rating summary
  • Food
    4 of 5 stars
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
    4 of 5 stars

We enjoy the chips & salsa. The food is good, not great. The staff seem friendly. I wish they served fountain drinks, Dr. Pepper or Mr. Pibb.

4 of 5 starsReviewed December 19, 2014
Tiffany T
Iowa City, Iowa
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24 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Iowa City, Iowa
Level Contributor
52 reviews
27 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2014

We enjoy the chips & salsa. The food is good, not great. The staff seem friendly. I wish they served fountain drinks, Dr. Pepper or Mr. Pibb.

Thank Tiffany T
Level Contributor
33 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 12, 2014

Was in this place twice and the first a customer complained of a fly in his rice and waiter came over with a spoon and removed fly from tic on customers plater and then said it's ok amigo. I fished it out for u the 2nd time in I watched a roach crawl a across floor I'm not going back... More 

Thank oriole1129
Level Contributor
379 reviews
192 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 113 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2014

El Cactus is our local goto place for Mexican. They have all the standard dishes you expect, and they are well done. They also have some less typical dishes including mole, gorditas, and some seafood dishes. Great margaritas too.

Thank IaTravel
Cape May, New Jersey
Level Contributor
21 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2014

Traveling I-80 West, I wanted something close to hotel and having good reviews on Trip Advisor. Although not a large number of reviews to date I especially liked "where the locals eat". We have found those to be very good places. We were promptly seated and warm chips & salsa immediately arrived to table. Our drink orders were promptly taken... More 

Thank R W
Des Moines, Iowa
Level Contributor
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2014

This place is fantastic! The service is always excellent and they have the best margaritas and pollo loco I've ever had at a Mexican restaurant. Homemade salsa is also very good. Became our regular place when I was in college and I always make it a point to return and eat here anytime I come back to Iowa City.

Thank Back2Back00
Level Contributor
57 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2014

Tucked away gem. A simple menu but with great tasting food. Friendly and efficient staff. Would certainly not hesitate to recommend.

Thank htur61
Andalusia, Illinois
Level Contributor
112 reviews
62 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2013

Parking was ok and location was good. Entered the restaurant and was not greeted and wasn't sure if it was seat yourself. Bar was small but looked ok and seating area was small but sufficient. Service brought chips right away and salsa was very good and chips were warm. Staff was very pleasant. Ordered a ice tea and it was... More 

Thank RobHarley
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2013

We had a lot of taste buds screaming for Mexican. Cactus was easy to find and looked like the real deal. After going inside and speaking with Carlos I knew it was. After eating the burrito,tacos and real home made chips I have to say this family business is a very good place to eat. Drove the Harley and had... More 

Thank denny f
Iowa City, Iowa
Level Contributor
12 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2013

This is by far the best Mexican in the Iowa City/Coralville area. Do not confuse this restaurant with the 'Cactus' restaurants downtown and on the East side of Iowa City--you'll find a completely different experience! The staff and food are incredible and the margaritas can't be beat. The establishment is small-- probably 20-25 tables but well worth a wait if... More 

Thank Salina M
Iowa City, Iowa
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2013 via mobile

It's a good place to eat. Food is very nice, service is good. Location is good but they really need to repair their parking lot.

Thank Sammy369

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Restaurant Details

Location and Contact Information

  • Address: 104 1st Avenue, Coralville, IA 52241-2602
  • Location: United States  >  Iowa (IA)  >  Coralville
  • Phone Number: (319)354-0444

Price and Cuisine

  • Cuisine: Mexican


Open Hours
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
11:00 am - 10:30 pm
11:00 am - 10:00 pm

Questions & Answers

Questions? Get answers from El Cactus staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do you have gluten-free options?
  • Is there a dress code?
  • Do you allow dogs on the outdoor patio?