El Cantaro Vegan Mexican Restaurant

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 64 reviews )
Contact
831-646-5465
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791 Foam St, Monterey, California, USA, 93940

Opened May 2013, an all vegan Mexican food restaurant located in New Monterey area. Colorful ambiance. Order at the counter. Menu uses some faux meat. Open Mon-Thu 11:00am-9:00pm, Fri 11:00am-3:30pm, Sun 11:00am-9:00pm.

Categories: Vegan, Take-out, Mexican

64 Reviews

First Review by magickbaby

Excellent Taqueria Food! - Edit

Hits the spot when you want classic taqueria fare. Very large menu, all vegan! Friendly service and atmosphere. Close to, but not in the middle of, the touristy shops at the aquarium.

Pros: Tons of options All vegan menu

Cons: No churros :*(

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Excellent and authentic Mexican food. - Edit

This is a very tasty and authentic all vegan Mexican joint. Nothing fancy, but very good.

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Authentic deliciousness - Edit

Delicious, well seasoned, tasty, authentic Mexican food, that happens to be 100% VEGAN! Very affordable, satisfyingly good. Friendly knowledgeable courteous personnel. Will definitely plan return visit.

Pros: 100% deliciously vegan, affordable, ample portions, friendly knowledgeable courteous personnel

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Wow! - Edit

Best vegan mexican food we've ever tasted. Even my non-vegan boyfriend loved it!

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so good! - Edit

We aren't privileged enough to have such an awesome selection of Latin food on the east coast. We both got combo platters, which were huge and very fair priced. I've never had a chille rolleno before and it was spectacular! I want another one!

Pros: so many options, large portions, ridiculously delicious

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Good meal, great dessert - Edit

found this place through happy cow, and was not disappointed! We walked from the Monterey bay aquarium. My sister (lacto-ovo veg) and I (vegan) split combo 1, which was a tamale, an enchilada, rice and beans, and a side salad with avocado. Enough for both of us! The tamale especially was amazing. We also each got an agua fresca, and there were complimentary chips and salsa. Then we got fried plantain and the chamoy/mango dessert, both of which were just incredible.

You order and pay at the counter and rhey bring you the food and clean up after. We got a table just before the lunch rush, but seating is limited. I wish they used more eco-friendly reusable products in their dine-in, it was all served on paper plates.

Pros: Vegan, Large Portions, Friendly staff

Cons: Small

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Best vegan Mexican food ever - Edit

Wonderful place! Everything is delicious. Could eat here every day. Wish they would open a restaurant like this in my neighborhood. First time I have had chile releno in many years since becoming a vegan!

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second time visit disappointment - Edit

I ordered Sopes, Mexican hot chocolate and chicken enchiladas. Everything was amazing besides the enchiladas. The red sauce wasn't great and the "chicken" had a tofu texture. The lettuce on the sopes were from salad mix and the beans were very watery. The beans would slide right of the sope. My friend ordered a plain quesadilla, you have to like vegan cheese to enjoy it but the tortilla was amazing! Sadly they weren't selling horchata when I went. The staff was super friendly and gave me everything I asked for (utensils, to go boxes, extra salsa). Love it!
UPDATE
My second time going was a terrible experience. I ordered online. They gave me no lettuce or jalapeños on my torta. Their horchata was watery, they gave me the wrong type of beans AND told me it would be $4 if I wanted the COMPLEMENTARY chips to go. I called them the next day to complain. The owner was very kind and offered a refund or another meal free. Basically anything I wanted, he'd do. He said that there was a new girl at the register and it ain't the first time this had happened. After I talked to the owner, I can't stay mad at El Cantaro. It's too good.

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So good I could live here - Edit

The food was amazing and everyone was friendly. I got combo plate 3 so I could try more.

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amazingly delicious!! - Edit

Wow this vegan Mexican restaurant is soo incredibly good. The chips taste homemade and everything taste authentic. I love love love the food. Every time I'm in Monterey I make it a point to eat here.

Pros: authentic tasting Mexican, no msg, 100% vegan,

Cons: always full of people.

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No Cheese! - Edit

Found this place after we'd already eaten dinner so we were there for dessert and discovered they don't offer any cheese alternatives on their extensive, creative menu. The menu impressed us but the lack of cheese substitutes meant we probably won't be back.
Dessert was delicious chocolate cake with a thin coffee sauce that they could have eliminated. I couldn't see that it served any purpose and was pretty bland. I wish it was made more like the Mexican chocolate drink that's so good.
The mint chocolate ice cream was standard, soy based.
It is clean and easy to find with a small parking lot in front which is always helpful.

Pros: Parking lot, Clean, Creative menu

Cons: No substitute cheeses, All ice cream was soy based

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so good! - Edit

Amazing food that anyone can enjoy regardless of food preferences. 100% vegan.

I tried the potatoes tacos, beef empanadas and taqueria.

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Authentic yummy food - Edit

El Cantaro will not disappoint. They have a huge menu and fresh homemade ingredients and drinks. I ordered the seitan chicken mole with rice and beans. Their seitan steak burrito is good too. All orders come with chips and salsa. They have things like pea protein, seitan, or just Whole Foods ingredients like nopales, potato tacos, and mushroom tacos. There is something for everyone.

Pros: Great location and food

Cons: Closed on Saturdays

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wow! so many choices - Edit

The food was great
There are so many items on the menu it's hard to decide
I had the combo with a potato taco, taquito and an enchilada. All were good, but the spinach enchilada in green sauce was my favorite

Pros: huge menu, enchilada, potato taco

Cons: need more chocolate deserts

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Extensive and Delicious Menu - Edit

This place has the best burrito and Mexican hot chocolate I've ever had. They pair perfectly with a cold Monterey night. They have an extensive menu with many gluten free options. They have several mock meats so you'll probably be able to find one to your health and/or taste preferences. The inside sitting area is cozy and is a very short walk from Cannery Row.

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Amazing!!! - Edit

My husband and I were so excited to find a vegan Mexican restaurant and when we arrived, we were not let down. The service was great and the food was delicious!! We had a sope, sautéed mushroom empanadas, taco, taquito, and a spinach enchilada. Everything was so good, that on our way back home we ordered a chicken torta for the road. We live in Los Angeles and have been to many vegan restaurants, but this has made our top list!! We can only hope El Cantaro will one day show up in LA.

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amazing!!! - Edit

I went here with my family and it was perfect! I'm the only person in my family who doesn't eat meat/dairy and they loved it here. My brother got the chicken burrito and couldn't even tell that it was not real meat. I really recommend getting the tortilla soup because it was really good!!

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A little bland - Edit

I was expecting something hot and full of flavour. Both our dishes were kind of tame to the point of bland. We ate a tofu burrito and chickn flautas, I poured the salsa dip all over mine in an effort to improve the taste. Maybe some hot sauce on the table would help??

Pros: Quick and friendly service, Reasonably priced

Cons: Dull

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amaze - Edit

Utterly amazing. The showstopper that I had was the mole negro. It blew my mind. Such rich, flavorful mole. We also loved our fish tacos and burrito. The spiced coffee, hot chocolate, rice pudding, and fried plantains were also bomb.

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Vegan Mexican - Edit

El Cantaro Vegan Mexican Restaurant is a nice little place with a decent sized seating area and humble interior. I guess I was expecting more of a traditional Mexican Restaurant but the interior was average. The food is prepared in a semi-open prep area visible from the tables. While everything seemed clean and nice enough there was a sense of disorganization. We arrived and simply wanted to view the menu and were handed a poor b&w photocopy of a very long detailed menu. After pondering the numerous items we decided to split a few things. While the food was all good, I can't tell you what we had because of the length of the menu and the time we spent mulling over everything. I can tell you the Crispy Potato Tacos were delicious. I'll give them a four star but I'd say I'm really between a 3 and 4. Their menu can be simplified and clarified. I will go again and I will start to more systematically review the various items.

Pros: Food tasted good, Many choices

Cons: Too many choices/confusing, Options, sides, etc. confusing to newbie

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Good, but not Great - Edit

I met my life long dream to eat a Chile Renello as this one was vegan. I was so pleased.

Also, the portions are quite large. I couldn't finish everything that came with it. Not even close. For most people, the food was enough for 2 or even 3 people as it had a side of a rice, beans, 3 tortillas and a large portion of chips and salsa.

On the downside, for some of the ingredients, the quality was not up to par. The tortillas were from the brand name Mission and is questionably vegan, the chips were a bit stale.

Pros: Price, Large Portions, Many Choices

Cons: Qualify of Some Ingredients, It didn't taste great

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Oasis in Monterey - Edit

Comfortable atmosphere, amazing number of options, fast service, generous portions and delicious taste

Pros: parking, location, fast service, authentic

Cons: closes too early!

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Unbelievably fresh and good - Edit

My first visit to El Cantaro and I couldn't be happier. As a new Vegan, I'm working my way through the process and everyone was incredibly helpful. But more importantly, the food was wonderful with interesting textures and tastes. I will be a steady and loyal customer!!!

Pros: staff, flavors

Cons: nothing !!

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Awesome food - Edit

My partner and I very much enjoyed our meal here. We shared a mole negro and veggie enchiladas. I've had and made mole negro sauce before, but this one was like night and day. It was incredibly complex, slightly smokey and chocolatey with a hint of sweetness. The enchiladas with tomatillo sauce were also delicious.

The only two things I'd like to see changed are the reliance on fake meats on the menu as meat substitutes and the use of paper plates and plastic utensils even for dine-ins. The latter took away the overall dining experience. That said, I'd highly recommend this place and would happily come back if we ever found ourselves in the area again.

Pros: delicious food, inexpensive

Cons: fake meat, paper plates & plastic utensils

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Great Vegan - Edit

First time at this restaurant, but we will be back! Awesome food!

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Best Mexican Bar None - Edit

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. His wife hails from Mexico, and gives a thumbs up. We ate here every day of our five day vacation!!!

Updated from previous review on 2014-06-27

Pros: Authentic, View Of Bay, walking distance from the Aquarium

Cons: small parking lot, metered street parking

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great mexican food - Edit

we were vacationing in Monterey and looked for a vegan restaurant on Happy Cow - could not believe that this is the only one! But, it turned out for the best because this is the best Mexican food I have had in years. We had the mole sauce and fish(tuna) taco and both were excellent. The staff was very helpful as there are LOTS of choices. My only wish is that this restaurant was in San Diego.

Pros: FOOD IS EXCELLENT, FRIENDLY STAFF, GOOD VALUE

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