Best mexican food I've found in this whole mexican-food-forsaken city.
The decor is a bit dated and weird, but that's typical of mexican restaurants in America so I'm used to it.The music wasn't really what I would have expected but seemed fine. Also, it's a bit small so definitely not the best choice for anything but an intimate dinner.
The food, however, was scrumptious! The meat tasted exactly as it should, spiced to perfection and cooked until perfectly tender. Some of the sides were a bit strange but tasty nonetheless and I was sad to see some classics left off the menu (mole, etc.).
The owner came over during our meal and spoke to us at length about mexican food, Chicago, and his life story. Brilliant guy, very friendly and definitely knows his stuff.
My only complaint is the portion to price ratio. The flavour was spot on, nothing wrong with it at all but the price means I'll not often frequent this restaurant. I like to walk away from a meal feeling satisfied but that won't happen here without a few starters to share before your main meal.
Still, top notch flavour and top notch people. Eat there now!
I know I've only been twice, which means that I'm not even close to being a regular, but I have to confess that this has become one of my favourite restaurants in Leeds. Strong statement, right? Especially since I've eaten here on but two occasions. Well, I shall explain, of course-but trust me on this. Even if you've not the patience to read the full story, get yourself down for what has to be one Leeds' premier places for true Mexican food.
So, firstly, this could be a frustration for some but for me it's whimsical, and adventurous-there aren't set opening hours. The days they're open for business are marked by either a sign notifying folks that they're 'open Tuesday' or 'open tonight', which is only ever up in the window. I like that. It means you've to be off the cuff, and whilst it means you can't necessarily plan, if you happen along Otley road on a dusky warm evening and they're open, it's a win. An extra win, because you happened to be in the right place at the right time!
This time, I didn't beat about the bush. This time, I went for something exciting -not just a fajita. (Although, I remember those being delicious.) I went for the Oaxacan beef dish, which was simply divine. The flavours that the beef strips were soaked in, saturated in, were utterly mouth watering and all the acrudiments that accompanied the main dish were all cooked to perfection -delicious tortillas, beautifully seasoned rice, spicy beans. I've said this before, and it may become a catch phrase of some kind, but I'm jealous of my past self because she was in the moment eating this incredible food, and I am not.
The ambience is such that you're easily transported away from the busy road, but perhaps the decor could do with a bit of an update. The service, although consistently friendly and full of warmth, was perhaps on the slow and relaxed side -we did have to wait rather a long time for drinks, then tacos, then food, then our bill. Nevertheless, this had no impact on my enjoyment of the amazing cuisine, so I've not nixed a star for that. Essentially, you will find flashier places to dine, and you'll find places with speedier service, but will you find somewhere as mouth watering? Not likely. And for all the flash, and lightening speed wait staff of their contemporaries, I'd much rather a mouthful of nirvana. Wouldn't you?
If you're out in Headingley during the day, chances are you'll pop to Caliente's neighbours Brod or Dare for lunch, and wonder what this place is like for an evening meal. The answer is...frustrating.
Frustrating, in the main, because the food is good, but the service is shocking. Yes, the place is tiny, and yes, it gets busy, but there is no real excuse for the wait you have to endure before getting your food. The staff themselves are friendly, but, unfortunately, this doesn't make your food come any quicker. Maybe it's a ploy to force you to buy another Mexican bottled beer, or maybe it's just to annoy you, but either way, it kind of spoils the experience.
The dishes, which are a good example of cheap Tex-Mex and Mexican cuisine (the nachos and refried beans are the real standouts) are cheap-ish (all between about £5 and £8) and like the other tiny cafes on this stretch of Otley road, the atmosphere is helped by the crowded interior. Overall, Caliente will provide you with an fairly enjoyable (but very long) evening.
I completely agree with Alex on this, Calliente Cafe is a decent little place, but the service really is awful. It's not because anybody is unfriendly or rude, but more to do with a small business trying to accomodate the high demmand of custom. This is solely down to their location. Right in the heart of throbbing student metropolis, Headingley, it is the perfect venue to go for the mass birthdays that happen by default, or just for a meal before you go out to the souless bars across the road.
The food aint bad though. I just wish it wasn't where it is. The ammount of time it takes to get your food does not make you want it more, it just irritates. Whack Calliente Cafe in a slightly quieter area, such as on the Hyde Park/Burley merge, and I think it might well fare better.
Caliente Cafe is a cosy mexican restaurant in Headingley. THe opening times confuse me though because whenever I really fancy a mexican, it's not open and I end up in Dare instead.
Having said that, one time it was open, and I had some tasty food and made a flux capacitor in my guacamole and refried beans and it was ace.
The usual bottled beers are on offer (I think we had Sol or Corona), and the staff were pleasant, and the food was tasty. We had a prawn cocktail and chicken fajitas, and I can't remember what mine was, I think it was enchiladas, but when I think of enchiladas I mostly think of the fizzy ones I had at Chiquitos that made me feel poorly. Caliente Cafe didn't make me feel poorly. It made me get a tattoo of a flux capacitor.
Reasonably priced, authentic mexican food. Om nom.
I moved to Leeds from Austin TX summer of '09, and after trying a few restaurants that purported to be Southwestern, finally found bliss and a real Margarita at Caliente Cafe. The owner and staff were friendly, the wait long-but worth it. I've traveled a lot throughout central Mexico and thought the food tasted Oaxacann--I was surprised when the owner said he'd been to Oaxaca for training! The food is divine, a real treat-if you live in the area, try it some time or you'll be missing out.
They have a nice variety on the menu at Caliente with a god choice of veggie as well as some very meaty dishes. There are some interesting salad and lighter choices, so it's not all just beans and cheese like with many Mexican restaurants. The portions are generous and the staff friendly, and they even have home-made ice cream on the menu for pud, if you have any room left for that!
Best mexican food in town.
Have been 30+ times over last few years, and NEVER been dissappointed. I've tried every dish on the menu (not in one sitting!) - and every one is freshly cooked and tastes fantastic.
Portion size has shrunk over the years, but the prices havn't changed much, and I used to think perhaps the portions were too big, as I always left just wanting to go home, rather than moving onto a bar.
Not a large place, only basic decor (cafe furnishings), never sure if you can book or not, no bar area, and not fast service (only because its all cooked fresh & proper!!).
Owner is generally there on weekends (which is a rare thing in this 'chain filled' world.
Can be a little 'cramped' on a weekend if you are wanting a quiet meal (tables are quite close) - but that wouldn't be the case if it wasn't as good as it is !!!!
Have not been for some time, but went last week. I'd forgotten just how good the food is. Heavenly burrito, prepared by someone who clearly loves food and knows what they are doing. May take slightly longer to get your food than a typical restaurant but that is the price of quality. Cannot honestly say I've experienced such good food anwhere in the UK for a long time. If you like Tex-Mex or are veggy (lots of options) strongly recommend it.
If you love excellent food and cocktails this is the place for you!! The freshness and flavour of every dish is just second to none. I am a vegetarian, and quite frankly cannot find a better choice and standared of dishes anywhere else in the UK. It is also great value so you can afford to relax and enjoy a 3 course.sometimes 4 in my case meal (as I can never decide what to choose). The cocktails are great too no nasty brightly coloured sugary syrups or slush like frozen rubbish. I love the margaritas and the daiquiris alike, all made with full strength alcohol and fresh fruit (the way it should be). In my opinion this is top quality food with flavours rarely matched at mitchelin star restaurants and a friendly team who make you feel at home. (AJ LONDON)
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