My experience at Calavera was extremely good. Tucked away on the corner of Blount and Davie, Calavera is on the edge of the business section of downtown. The downstairs dining and bar area is cozy.
I tried a number of cocktails. The mojito and pisco sour were fantastic, very flavorful and more than sufficiently strong.
The service was good. The bartender was appropriately friendly and attentive. Most importantly, the empanadas were terrific.
The Al Pastor – pork, cilantro, pineapple and lime – was very good. The Pollito Borracho – chicken marinaded in Modelo Especial with peppers and herbs – was excellent.
Calavera bills its empanadas as “high end” and “bad …” This sounds cool, but does not really do them justice. Despite being covered in pastry and peppers, there was no mistaking that there was free range chicken in the pollito borracho.
Although I stopped in for a small bite, this was still one of the most satisfying Mexican/Latin American meals I’ve had in Raleigh.
There was only one disappointment: Calavera is not open for lunch.
[2011.12.18. Editor's note: Calavera now serves lunch weekdays 11 am - 2 pm.]