REVIEW – Illegal Jacks, Lothian Road


Edinburgh Spotlight Recommended!

Lothian Road

Illegal Jacks continues its high standards with friendly service

By Chiara Pannozzo

‘I love Illegal Jacks’, is the phrase I hear almost every time I mention this Lothian Road eatery. Yet despite a faithful following, Illegal Jacks is still striving to become better by ensuring that they cater to their customers every whim. Alongside the delicious Mexican food, they have introduced a number of extra features, turning them into so much more than your average restaurant. The comfy leather booths are perfect for sipping a margarita whilst watching the world go by, and their new alcohol license makes this possible. The choice of freshly made quality food will have you making some nail biting decisions, but fear not, if you need some help choosing between a burrito and a steaming hot plate of chilli, you can tweet your dilemma as Illegal Jacks also has free wi-fi. And if this wasn’t enough, the restaurant’s owner Jack Grills is fully endorsing the social media revolution by allowing customers to tweet their reservation request. A simple message to @illegaljacks will guarantee that there is a table waiting for you with your twitter name on it.

Having firmly jumped onto Jacks band wagon, I thought it only fair to share with the good folks of Edinburgh the amazing meal we had at Illegal Jacks just a few nights ago.

The main event

The menu at Illegal Jacks truly is a taste of Mexico. Split into two sections, Jack’s four step plan and Jack’s specials, offers a wealth of choice. The four step plan allows you to choose between burritos, tacos or a quesadilla, with a choice of chicken, beef, sauteed vegetables or vegetarian chilli. Both the chicken and beef are marinated with Jack’s ‘so good it must be illegal marinade’, with the later being supplied by local butchers Campbell Brothers, and is farmed in Perth. The specials include a range of meat and vegetarian dishes including fajitas, chilli, nachos, salads and buffalo wings.

Humongous burrito

We started off with nachos and dips, which included guacamole, salsa and sour cream (£3.50). The chips were warm and crunchy, and the dips fresh and authentic. Then we sampled the buffalo wings, which were marinated in cajun spices and hot sauce (£5.25 small).  As a lover of all things spice, the hot buffalo wing delivered. The fiery looking sauce had a similar effect on my tongue, leaving my chilli craving satisfied. If however you prefer a milder alternative, the cajun spiced buffalo wing was equally delicious, well seasoned and moist.

Moving onto the main course, both myself and my dining partner chose from the four step plan. I had a beef burrito with black beans and hot salsa (£7.25).  My initial observation when it arrived was how large the burrito was. This is a restaurant that is certainly value for money. When I peeled back the foil and bit into it, I could taste the quality of the beef, and how well all the other ingredients complemented it. Stuffed not only with the beef, but with rice, black beans and Monterey Jack cheese, this really was an excellent burrito.

My dining partner had the haggis quesadilla (£6.80).  Originally added in a to the menu for burns night, it has proved so popular it is now a permanent feature on the menu, and it is clear to see why. She raved about how delicious the quesadilla was, stuffed with haggis and cheese. This also came with pinto beans, mild salsa, guacamole and sour cream.

Haggis quesadilla

The meal was perfected thanks to two accompanying 5am saint and punk IPA BrewDog beers (£3.65).  If wine is more your thing, a decent selection of whites and reds are available.

Social venue

Although there were only two of us dining at Illegal Jacks, with seating for over 100 people, there’s more than enough room for you and your friends. You can also reserve whole areas of the restaurant for events. Currently there are areas being used for gaming nights and social meet-ups. Illegal Jacks is also very family friendly, with baby changing and under 12s eating for half price, it’s not quite as taxing on the family wallet. Before you know it, the whole family will be sporting Jackaholic t-shirts, available for purchase in the restaurant.

You can find Illegal Jacks on Twitter and Facebook, and you can also watch some of their excellent videos on YouTube.

We have previously reviewed Illegal Jacks.

Opening hours:

Mon – Thurs: 1200 – 2200
Fri – Sat: 1200 – 2300
Sun – 1200 – 2200

Suitable for disabled? Yes, ground level access with adapted bathroom.

Now with alcohol license

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