El Cantaro Vegan Mexican...

Overall rating: 4.5 stars 19 Reviews
Opened in late May 2013, an all vegan restaurant located in New Monterey area. Colorful, clean and warm ambiance. Closes at 9pm. Price: Moderate more-less
Vegan, Mexican
791 Foam St (Irving Ave)
Monterey, California 93940

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  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Accepts credit cards


First Review by magickbaby

Vegan and Mexican!

5 Posted on 08 / 18 / 2014

We were so glad to find this place. All the dishes have an extra ingredient or two that gives them some delicious flavors. Our group ordered a wide variety of plates and everyone shared. I especially liked the burritos, potato tacos, kale salad, mango smoothy and watermelon drink. We can't wait to be back in this area again to enjoy another meal here.

Pros: Variety of interesting dishes., Tastes very good., Specials of the day.
Cons: Slow ordering, people ask questions

all vegan Mexican

5 Posted on 08 / 11 / 2014

After visiting with friends in Pebble Beach, I stopped by El Cantaro for lunch on the way out of town last Sunday. So pleased I did. They were easy to spot with vegan right on their sign, but I did a double take once inside to remind myself that it was a vegan place. Very nice to have authentic Mexican and I couldn't decide what to get as I was alone without anyone to share with. I ended up ordering the tortilla soup, crispy potato taco plate with black beans and a watermelon fruit drink. They also provide chips and salsa (which I personally didn't find too spicy). I was so stuffed as I finished it all. The service was very quick and friendly and the prices were reasonable. Their Friday and Saturday closures did not affect me, but it is something to be aware of.

Pros: all vegan Mexican, reasonably priced, quick service

Best Mexican Bar None

5 Posted on 06 / 26 / 2014

Not even expensive restaurants have been better than this small place up from the Monterey aquarium. Susan the manager was wonderful. I have owned 3 award winning vegetarian restaurants since 1975, and I know a good meal. We ate here with the former owner of the Pastry swan bakery in Palm Springs, and they agreed. The wife hails from Mexico, and gives a thumbs up.

Pros: Authentic, View Of Bay

Amazing and beautiful people!

5 Posted on 05 / 02 / 2014

I have been in the area for a month and even though this is California, it's been a bit difficult to find vegetarian/vegan places. Most restaurants are happy to create a vegan dish for you if you wish, but sometimes these are chefs that have no idea what that means!
El Cantaro was a true find and the food is amazing, the people wonderful and the prices extraordinary! My vegan taco was 3.95$..... Really? When is the last time you got anything for that price that was delicious and filling and vegan! My husband loves the burritos and they are gigantic!
We are leaving this area soon but will always remember this place as one of our vegan restaurants we have visited all around this great country!

Pros: Good food, Friendly staff, Great prices

amazing food! :D

5 Posted on 04 / 01 / 2014

I took my non-vegan, meat-loving family here today. They were pretty resistant to it, I had to beg and plead and pay for everyone, and I could still only get the ladies of the family to come along. But I would say that it was a success! :) The food was wonderful, and so authentic! Although the salsa was too spicy for me.
I got the vegetable burrito. I wanted to do without carrots and sub in onions, but she said that it was a pre-made vegetable mix so I couldn't omit the carrots. But I was able to add the onions and eat around the carrots. I also was able to choose a whole wheat tortilla - that was pretty great! The whole thing was amazing - I totally stuffed myself. So yummy :)
My grandma and aunt both got the vegetable enchiladas. They did make comments about the fake dairy products ("what is it made out of? It's not melting like normal cheese.") and they said that the green Enchilada sauce was very good and flavorful but a bit spicy. They ate about half their meal.
My other aunt got the pozole and an extra side of rice. Ate everything, and said that it was good, just tasted a bit "different".
My little cousin got a "cheese" quesadilla with rice and beans, off the kid's menu. Completely cleaned her plate, and loved it all. Didn't notice anything "different" (cause she wasn't expecting anything different maybe?) ;)

Overall though it was a good experience, the food was amazing, and I hope it opened my family's eyes a bit to how good and totally normal vegan food is, when done right.

Pros: great food and all vegan, very authentic, nice people
Cons: only use disposable forks/spoons/plates, too spicy! no mild salsa offered?


A Vegan Dream Come True

5 Posted on 03 / 16 / 2014

Giving up cheese is difficult, so many vegans opt out of Mexican food,giving this place a special WAHOO in my mnd. They use Daiya brand cheese and a couple of their own.All super fresh, endless options, loved it!

Pros: Super friendly staff, Fast, Super fresh

great food and nice staff

5 Posted on 10 / 17 / 2013

This restaurant is a great find. Everything we had was fresh and tasty. Be sure to get a hot chocolate. The chocolate is from Oaxaca and it tastes great. The staff/owners are very nice.

Pros: great food, nice people
Cons: none

Amazing Food!

5 Posted on 10 / 13 / 2013

We were in Monterey for 4 nights and we ate at El Cantaro all 4 nights. We were so happy to have found this place and recommend it to anyone who wants good vegan Mexican food. The pozole and handmade corn tortillas were amazing! The enchiladas and taquitos were some of our favorites. We also had the fish tacos which were quite yummy. It's good to know that most of their veggie meats are also non-GMO and soy free. The next time we're in Monterey, we will definitely go back.

Pros: Amazing pozole & handmade corn torillas, Very friendly staff

My non-vegetarian family LOVED it!

5 Posted on 08 / 30 / 2013

First, I'd like to begin by saying that the food here surprised me in just how tasty it really was. I didn't really feel like eating mexican food, but we came here because the vegan options in Monterey were slim. I left having to rave about the experience!

The food tasted like it had come off the line of a Michelin star winning kitchen and chef. The flavor was so well balanced. The food was nourishing. And my older brother (not vegetarian) announced to us all that he'll be telling stories of this place.

Great food... Low price. $6-$7 a dish. And the store front was clean, new looking, and the service was quick and friendly!

Pros: tasty, low price, nourishing


5 Posted on 08 / 28 / 2013

We visit during our driving trip from Vancouver , BC down the PCH. The food is amazing. They have many traditional dishes I have never tried. My favourite is the yams in cinnamon syrup with vanilla soy ice cream for dessert. I am still dreaming of it.

Pros: delish, good price, clean and friendly
Cons: not near my home in Canada

Yummy, Inexpensive, lots of choices

5 Posted on 08 / 05 / 2013

only one complaint:

They are closed Fri and Sat, due to religious reasons. I respect that, but those are terrible nights to be closed in the restaurant business!

They still earn 5 stars, and here's why:

A high quality true vegan restaurant in Monterey! Wahoo!
SO excited to have a high quality, delicious all-vegan restaurant in the area - the menu choice is large, with many unique offerings, and the food is flavorful and delicious! Also reasonably priced. :) Restaurant is colorful, cheerful and bright, spotlessly clean. We need this place to survive - tell all your friends!

Pros: yummy, many choices, clean and bright
Cons: uses non-recyclable paper & plastics, not open Fridays & Saturdays


5 Posted on 08 / 04 / 2013

This place is so awesomely delicious. We were in the area and stopped by fit lunch. My husband and I liked it so much that we had to stop for dinner as well before going back home

Pros: tasty, friendly , good portions
Cons: loud music, small

Love it!!

5 Posted on 07 / 08 / 2013

So delighted to find a new vegan restaurant when visiting family in Monterey! The food and location are fabulous! A must visit!

Pros: Great, all vegan food, Nice staff, super location, Good prices

Why the crazy hours?

2 Posted on 06 / 30 / 2013

We really wanted to eat here, but they are closed Fridays at 3:30pm and all day Saturday. Hard to believe -- right next to the big tourist draw, Cannery Row, and hours like this? We visited from the San Luis Obispo area, only found out about this place around 4pm on Friday, bummed we couldn't eat there. Had Thai food instead.

Cons: closed Fridays and Saturdays
  • LukeNysen LukeNysen

    You'd love the toes off of this restaurant!! The food here is nothing short of amazing. I recommend you find a day they're open and head to Monterey just to give them a shot. 2 stars is hardly fair when you haven't even tried their food.


Wow - unexpected - absolutely great - you must go

5 Posted on 06 / 26 / 2013

A gem - great food - good prices - 2 blocks from Monterey Bay Aquarium - we had lunch at El Cantaro, went to the aquarium and then went back to El Cantaro for a snack - we will eat at El Cantaro anytime we are in the area - don't miss this

Pros: great food and prices, very friendly, all vegan and all organic

Awesome Mexican food that happens to be vegan!!!

5 Posted on 06 / 16 / 2013

We discovered this place while in Monterey for a wedding. What a gem! They have a huge menu, generous portions, biodegradable tableware and napkins in a friendly and cozy atmosphere. On top of all this, the food is amazing. If not for the word vegan on their sign outside, you could not tell. This food is pure amazing and authentic Mexican cuisine. We will definitely be back!

Pros: Huge menu, Excellent food, Biodegradable tableware and napkins
Cons: Limited weekend hours

Great new VEGAN restaurant

4 Posted on 06 / 12 / 2013

I was very happy to find this new vegan restaurant and finally had a chance to try it. It is really fast food, our order was served very quickly. They have many great choices, I had the tamales with black beans and rice. I look forward to going back and trying more things. They could improve by having better plastic forks and spoons but otherwise it was a great experience.

Pros: Good choices, Spicy and tasty Mexican food, Quick service
Cons: Small plastic forks

Vegan yumminess !

4 Posted on 05 / 30 / 2013

I had the quesadilla. First off the tortilla was home made. It was full of mushrooms, salsa, vegan sour cream, and Daiya cheese. Sooooo good ! My husband had the vegetable enchilada plate..lets just say he didn't say a word cause he was too busy eating !! We had fresh squeezed orange juice to drink and home made chips and chipolte salsa ! The staff is so friendly and courteous. All around an excellent experience ! I will definitly be back !

Pros: friendly, clean atmosphere, tasty !
Cons: portions could be a tiny bit bigger
  • RoxeneKimes RoxeneKimes

    'Bout time! We believe this is the first vegan restaurant on the Peninsula in recent years. Thank you. We both enjoyed our meals today.

    Albeit, some of the food was too spicy (tamale sauce). Also, a larger portion of beans and rice would have been nice, but you still get a B+.



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Last updated: 2014/04/02


Added: 2013/05/30


Added by: Guest