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“Tapas, Tequila and atmosphere; oh my!”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Calavela

Calavela
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Ranked #59 of 1,444 Restaurants in Raleigh
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Latin, Mexican, Spanish
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Bar scene, Families with children
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Lunch, Full Bar, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff
nc
Level Contributor
26 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Tapas, Tequila and atmosphere; oh my!”
Reviewed August 15, 2014

The tapas are great! A huge variety of tequilas. I love the chasers you get with them mucho. A little loud inside and crowded too. Very popular with the locals. A place to enjoy a taste of Mexico in NC.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank yeoleseahag
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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96 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    57
    34
    4
    1
    0
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Garner, North Carolina, United States
Level Contributor
106 reviews
60 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“superior food, great service”
Reviewed July 2, 2014

Ashamed I have not tried them sooner. Awesome empanadas, served hot and fast. LOVE the havana jerk and habenero pork but be sure to get the 3 sampler and try them all. AJ was great waiter, attentive and orders accurate. DEFINITELY will be back

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank PAyscue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Mind blowing selection of Tequilas plus GREAT food & service”
Reviewed June 26, 2014

Decided to try this place on suggestion of a friend. It happened to be 1/2 price shots of tequila Tuesday! I am not a tequila aficionado so was happy that the staff was knowledgeable and helpful. The shots are served with this awesome bloody mary type(but way better) palate cleanser/chaser. The guacamole & empanadas (we had chimi churri and chicken tinga) were delish and really fresh. Fun and funky Day of the Dead décor.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank CynthiaRaye
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Knightdale, North Carolina
Level Contributor
173 reviews
130 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“You should at least visit just for the decor and ambiance!”
Reviewed June 22, 2014

Calavera is a very tasty option for late night, after work or dinner as well. They have multiple speciality tequilas, cocktails, beer and wine. I've never had a bad empanada there and my favorites include the al pastor, holy frijoles and the poblano loco. They also usually offer a few specialty seasonal cocktails like strawberry mojitos for the summer and a few desert empanadas as well. You must try the king of kong if you like Nutella. They make their empanadas daily and they can run out in the evening but there are always options, which you can't beat at $3 p/ empanada. The decor is beautiful with bright colors, great lighting and Day of the Dead motif. Their bar is pretty small and the waiting area is standing room, but you can always have a cocktail while you wait.

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank jermsshan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“So Much Potential, So Disappointed”
Reviewed June 14, 2014

I have been waiting to try Calavera (or Calavela as it is now known as) for quite a long time and finally decided to make a trip here for dinner with an out-of-town friend. Let me start by saying the atmosphere in this place is great; cultural and funky as you would want. If you can, snag a seat upstairs by a window looking down onto Davie St. or outside on the picnic tables.

Now, on to the disappointing part. First off, chips & salsa are an extra here, not a standard. We paid $6 for chips and queso and an extra $3 to add a tiny bowl of salsa on. The whole time we were trying to force ourselves to enjoy $9 worth of chips and dip, there were 3-4 flies circling our table- unappetizing to say the least.

Next, the drinks. I ordered the spicy pineapple margarita and my friend ordered a standard lime margarita. With the amount of ice they put in each glass, I got about three good sips out of the thing. And at $9 a pop, that makes each sip a bank-breaking $3.

Finally, on to the infamous empanadas. My friend attempted to order hers without cilantro in it but was told that "the ingredients are pre-mixed together," so you can't take one ingredient out.I ordered the Holy Frijoles empanada, but was served one with steak in it. After waiting another ten minutes for the wait staff to replace my order, I was met with pure disappointment at what tasted like a bland pocket of dough. It would be a really cool concept to offer "mix & match your own ingredients" so patrons can design their perfect empanada.

I was further disappointed by the fact that they have discontinued the "half-off empanada Thursday" special that influenced my decision to come here on a Thursday. Come on guys, offer some specials! Look at your competing Latin American restaurants and take a note on what "value" means to the customer.

Overall, I left feeling shortchanged and honestly, embarrassed that I had suggested Calavela to a friend who is new to the city.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank MoogleMouse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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