Review: El Chapo

Our visit to El Chapo was a spur of the moment decision based on the fact that it was somewhere new that we hadn’t been before and due to the downfall of snow, was within skating distance to the Lyric. What a great decision it turned out to be.

Specialising in Tequilla, Tacos and Tapas, El Chapo has taken the place of the former Birdcage restaurant on the Stranmillis Road and is the second restaurant from the team behind the Boston Grill in Lisburn.

With so many tempting Mexican and Spanish dishes on the menu, the choice wasn’t easy. We wanted them all. “Tapas or a Large Course? Ok, let’s compromise… let’s have a mixture of both and share!”

From the Tapas menu we opted for the Chorizo Chunks and Calamari. The Chorizo Chunks were served with a garlic, honey and red wine glaze and were scrumptious! When the salt and pepper calamari arrived, I really didn’t want to share it. It was so tasty and probably one of the best starters I have had in a very long time. I loved the fact it wasn’t greasy and had a nice dry, crunchy coating. I think I may have to make a secret return visit and ask the chef to make a big plate of this just for ME! Averaging around £4.95 each, the mouth watering descriptions of the Tapas would definitely lure me back to graze on for a few hours.

Large Courses were typically Mexican - Burritos, Fajitas, Chimichanga (Deep Fried Burrito), Tacquitos, Quesadillas and a Chilli Bowl all reasonably priced at under a tenner. It was time to roll up the sleeves, remove the lippy and get down to business.

Fajitas were favoured on this occasion along with the Tacquitos. The Chicken Fajita Plate came out on a sizzling platter with peppers and onions tossed in a tomato salsa and served with the usual Mexican garnish of guacamole, salsa, sour cream, cheese and soft tortilla wraps. An explosion of colour and flavour! Assemble your own, fill the tortilla as full as you possibly can, get stuck in and let the saucy consistency dribble down your chin. Awesome! Who can eat Mexican without getting messy?

We tucked into the Tacquitos with a bit more dignity (knife and fork). They were filled with chilli beef and melted cheese, then baked in the oven and topped with homemade salsa, guacamole, sour cream, spring onion and fresh chilli. Another outstanding dish, oozing with freshness and flavour. Due to the generous portion sizes, side orders were definitely not required and dessert had to be declined due to time pressures (we did manage a sneaky Margarita though).

Loved our choice of seat, which gave us full view into the busy kitchen where we watched in awe the skills and speed of the head chef. By the time we were leaving to go to the theatre, this place was buzzing. Staff couldn’t have been more accommodating and friendly.

Food is served throughout the day from lunchtime into the evening seven days a week. Definitely worth a visit if you are the Stranmillis area.

Excelente mexicano la comida!

El Chapo can be found at 93 Stranmillis Road. For more information and their menu go to and keep up to date @elchapobelfast on Facebook and Instragram.

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