The taste of Mexico comes to Chippy Alley – Restaurant review: Tortilla – Caroline St, Cardiff

Tortilla restaurant on Caroline St, Cardiff

Tortilla on Caroline St, Cardiff (photo used with restaurant’s permission)

Cardiff’s Caroline Street (a.k.a. ‘Chippy Alley’) is well known for its kebab houses, burger bars and, you guessed it, chip shops, but now you can also grab a Mexican burrito from newly launched restaurant, Tortilla.

Tortilla opened back in September on the former site of PiPi’s Greek restaurant, becoming the third burrito bar to open in the city centre following Bar Burrito in St David’s 2 shopping centre and Mission Burrito on The Friary.

The Cardiff restaurant joins 25 other branches of Tortilla throughout the UK, 19 of which are based in London . However, the restaurant insists that it is not a franchise or “some big soulless restaurant group”, explaining that the idea was only made possible with help from friends and a dedicated team who are passionate about bringing fresh, tasty California-style burritos and tacos to the UK.

Inside, Tortilla Cardiff is decorated in uplifting shades of yellow and blue, with a geometric tiled floor and chandeliers hand-made using recycled Corona bottles – all of which have been consumed by guests at Tortilla’s other restaurants.

The interior of Tortilla restaurant in Cardiff

Photo used with kind permission of Tortilla

What intrigues me about Tortilla is that, despite focusing on traditional Mexican food, the restaurant prides itself upon serving ‘real California’ burritos and tacos. So, what is the connection between Mexican food and California?

Well, Tortilla was set up by husband-and-wife Brandon and Jen in 2007, following a four-year search across London for decent burritos and tacos. The couple are originally from California and used to enjoy spending their time in the taquerias (taco restaurants) of the Mission District of San Francisco. I was very surprised to learn that this is actually the self-proclaimed burrito capital of the world, as opposed to Mexico; hence why Tortilla specialises in ‘real California’ burritos and tacos.

The interior of Tortilla restaurant in Cardiff

Photo used with kind permission of Tortilla

As far as the menu goes though, I couldn’t spot any major differences between Tortilla’s ‘real California’ burritos and tacos and that of traditional Mexican burrito bars. 

First, choose whether you’d prefer to have a burrito, a naked burrito (a.k.a. salad) or tacos; after 3pm, you can also choose to order a chicken quesadilla or nachos topped with cheese sauce, jalapenos, pico de gallo and guacamole. Each meal costs £5 except for large burritos and naked burritos, which cost £6.

Then, choose your filling from a choice of grilled chicken, steak (+£0.70p), barbacoa (shredded beef;+£0.70p), carnitas (pork) or vegetarian. Tortilla is committed to stocking fresh ingredients (never frozen), with fresh deliveries to the restaurant six days a week, while the restaurant only uses Red Tractor chicken and pork and grass-fed British beef. 

I ordered a medium chicken burrito with coriander rice, peppers and onions, black beans (apparently this is one of the Californian twists on the menu, as opposed to refried beans), guacamole, Monterey Jack cheese, pico de gallo, sour cream and a medium salsa verde. The chargrilled chicken had a delicious smoky taste and all the ingredients tasted incredibly fresh and full of flavour. 

Chicken burrito

Chicken burrito

Meanwhile, my guest ordered a large grilled steak burrito with coriander rice, onions and peppers, black beans, iceberg lettuce, guacamole, Monterey Jack cheese, jalapenos, pico de gallo and hot salsa roja. He commented that the steak was very tender and the filling was tasty, although he felt the burrito could’ve been wrapped better as it kept falling apart in his hands. 

Beef burrito at Tortilla Cardiff

If you fancy something else to accompany your main meal, you can take your pick from several sides and extras including tortilla chips (£1.20/bowl), guacamole (£3.50/bowl), salsa (£2.50/bowl) and sour cream/cheese (£1/bowl). 

To drink, choose from a Margarita cocktail (£4.50), a selection of beers (£2.95 – £3.95) or a range of soft drinks (£1.10-£1.95). I opted for a Margarita, served in a rounded glass jar with a coating of sugar around the rim. This had a fairly sharp taste and it wasn’t the freshest Margarita I’ve ever tasted; I wasn’t surprised to discover that it came from a frozen drinks machine – a bit like an alcoholic Slush Puppy!

Margarita cocktail

Margarita cocktail

On the whole, we had a great time at Tortilla and I’ve already paid the restaurant a second visit. The value for money is great, the food is delicious and the atmosphere is happy and lively – what’s not to like?

30-32 Caroline Street
CF10 1FF
(029) 2022 1908

If you enjoyed reading this blog post, you might like to take a look at my other Mexican restaurant reviews.

I was invited to Tortilla as a guest and our food and drinks were provided complimentary; however, I was not obliged to write a positive review.



  1. November 11, 2015 / 8:03 pm

    This looks fantastically fun and delicious!

    • November 22, 2015 / 6:21 pm

      Thanks Melissa, it was lovely. Would be a great place to take kids as long as you steered clear of the spicy fillings. The coriander rice was delicious.

  2. November 11, 2015 / 8:10 pm

    These look yummy, I love Mexican food but not sure about the Californian twist, maybe I need to try them ???? X

    • November 22, 2015 / 6:17 pm

      It didn’t taste all that different to me, if I’m honest. I am sure you’d like these burritos 😀

  3. Natasha Mairs
    November 11, 2015 / 8:12 pm

    Love the lights!!! what a really cool and fun idea

    • November 22, 2015 / 6:16 pm

      Glad you liked the lights! I thought they were really clever too.

  4. November 11, 2015 / 8:43 pm

    I love Mexican I would love something like this to open around where I live

    • November 22, 2015 / 6:16 pm

      Cardiff is lucky to be home to so many lovely restaurants – I am spoilt for choice! Hehe

  5. November 11, 2015 / 10:32 pm

    I’ve never been to Tortilla but I have seen a few branches around. The food looks good so I might try it some day.

    • November 22, 2015 / 6:15 pm

      I definitely think it is worth a visit once, maybe more if you like it 🙂 It’s relatively inexpensive, so you don’t have much to lose.

  6. November 11, 2015 / 10:45 pm

    This looks a great place to eat – and sounds fab too. I have never tried a burrito!Kaz x

    • November 22, 2015 / 6:15 pm

      Oh wow, you need to lose your burrito virginity for sure! I love burritos; tasty, filling and nutritious!

  7. November 11, 2015 / 11:18 pm

    I love burritos and Mexican food so this looks and sounds delicious!

    • November 22, 2015 / 6:13 pm

      Thank you, I am sure you’d love this place then 🙂

  8. November 12, 2015 / 12:55 am

    This looks like an amazing place to go! I love burritos and I think I may have just fallen in love with these!

    • November 22, 2015 / 6:14 pm

      I can confirm they tasted as good as they looked! 😀

  9. November 12, 2015 / 1:38 am

    I LOVE mexican food and this place looks delicious! xxx

  10. November 12, 2015 / 11:22 am

    Mexican dishes are among my top list of favourite food. Very delicious and healthy.

    The place also looks beautiful and worth visiting.

    • November 22, 2015 / 6:13 pm

      Thanks, I really enjoy Mexican cuisine too. However, we have a lot of burrito bars in Cardiff now and it can get a little boring, so I do like to visit traditional restaurants which serve a more extensive menu too.

  11. November 12, 2015 / 11:30 am

    Mm this looks tasty!!! I’d never risk unwrapping mine though, wouldn’t have a clue how to get it back together and eat it afterwards haha

    • November 22, 2015 / 6:12 pm

      We didn’t unwrap ours, I just cut it in half for the photo 🙂 My friend’s burrito fell apart slightly though, it could’ve been wrapped up a little better.

  12. November 12, 2015 / 12:43 pm

    I adore Mexican food and the burritos look incredible, I love a really well stuffed burrito.

    • November 22, 2015 / 6:11 pm

      They were delicious, the chicken was so tender. I’d definitely go back again!

  13. November 12, 2015 / 2:59 pm

    Do you know where the ones in London are the food looks like it is high quality and delicious. What toppings do they have for vegetarians?

    • November 22, 2015 / 6:10 pm

      They seem to be pretty much all over London, but I think you can find out on their website (see the link at the end of the post). I think they offer roasted veg, fresh salad and onions but not sure if there were additional options for veggies or not.

  14. November 12, 2015 / 3:07 pm

    Oh wow, those burrittos look absolutely amazing, I am all hungry now x

    • November 22, 2015 / 6:10 pm

      Thanks Jenni, it certainly was very filling 🙂

  15. Jessica McDonnell
    November 12, 2015 / 8:14 pm

    This sounds like a wonderful place to eat. It would be nice to see what veggie dishes they do, I love a good veggie burrito!

    • November 22, 2015 / 6:09 pm

      Ooh, I’ve never had a veggie burrito. I’m not sure what they would put in that, I know they had a lot of roasted veg though.

  16. November 12, 2015 / 11:57 pm

    I think my husband would love it here – I’m encouraged by the fact that you have made a second visit!

    • November 22, 2015 / 6:08 pm

      hehe, that’s good to hear. I’ll have to make a third soon 😉

  17. November 13, 2015 / 10:25 am

    I have heard nothing but good things about Tortilla, I really need to go!

    • November 22, 2015 / 6:08 pm

      It’s definitely worth a visit at least once and not too pricey either!

  18. November 13, 2015 / 2:40 pm

    This looks like a fab place to visit, love Mexican food!

    • November 22, 2015 / 6:07 pm

      Me too 🙂 It was lovely, but I think I prefer a traditional Mexican restaurant as opposed to a burrito bar.

  19. November 13, 2015 / 8:52 pm

    Looks really tasty. I love food like this, as it’s easy to eat and full of flavour.

  20. November 16, 2015 / 4:43 am

    Mmm, the food looks heavenly! I would love to give this place a try. Such a shame I live nowhere near Cardiff! LOL

    Louise x

    • November 22, 2015 / 6:06 pm

      Aww, you’ll have to give it a go if you ever happen to be in the area 🙂

  21. Emma
    November 17, 2015 / 2:53 am

    We have one near us and I’ve been meaning to try it. Mexican food always looks so messy but I love it

    • November 22, 2015 / 6:21 pm

      I know what you mean… it’s worth getting your hands dirty for though 🙂 So tasty and filling.

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