About Mesa Latin Kitchen
Mesa Latin Kitchen is a modern, tapas-style restaurant in Durham, North Carolina offering a unique array of sensational Latin cuisine. Each of Mesa’s mouthwatering dishes is full of bold Latin flavors, with each recipe masterfully created by renowned James Beard Award winner. Patrons can indulge in a meal and drinks inside the spacious restaurant, at the custom cement-topped bar or outside on the beautiful patio.
The menu features small plates, large plates, desserts and an array of craft cocktails. Guests can experience the flavors of Latin America while noshing on authentic specialties. With vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available, Mesa Latin Kitchen has a palate-pleasing dish for everyone.
The word Mesa means “table” in Spanish, and we welcome you to our table as openly as you would dine at your own.
Latin / Spanish, Tapas / Small Plates, Global, International
Hours of Operation:
Tuesday - Saturday : Lunch 11 am - 2:30 pm / Dinner : 4:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Sunday : Brunch 11 am - 2:30 pm / Dinner 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Closed On Monday
$30 and under
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Latin American Theme
Florencio Varela & Oscar Hernandez
Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Entertainment, Full Bar, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Takeout, Wheelchair Access
Whether celebrating a special occasion with family and friends or hosting a corporate outing, Mesa Latin Kitchen can accommodate all your special event needs.
Mesa Latin Kitchen Ratings and Reviews
We went for dinner with friends, our sec ...
We went for dinner with friends, our second time dining at Mesa. The place was not very busy (unlike our first time there when it was packed). The food was delicious. We shared several small plates and a couple of entrees all of which were excellent. The drinks, including wine, beer and the special cocktail were very good. Chris, our server was terrific, great recommendations, attentive service, glasses refilled even after we stayed and chatted for a while after dinner. We will definitely come back.
From start to finish, this was a fantast ...
From start to finish, this was a fantastic find. The food was fantastic, and the goat cheese flan is absolutely amazing. Flan is my absolute favorite dessert; I've eaten it at every opportunity. This one is very special. And the sangria was fantastic too! Thank you Mesa Latina!
Good atmosphere, great food, horrible waiter
We had a delicious dinner, however, the evening was almost ruined by an inattentive, defensive, and argumentative waiter named Frankie. I am 67 years old, and I cannot a remember such a horrible waiter. Go to Mesa, but if Frankie is your waiter, ask for someone else.
After just a single visit, my impression ...
After just a single visit, my impression is that this is a place that could be great -- its menu items theoretically look thoughtful and interesting -- but Mesa doesn't quite follow through with food that is as great as the menu sounds. Don't get me wrong -- this is not a bad place -- but, for the same price elsewhere in this foodie city, you can get better food.
We were a party of 4 on a Friday night, and we enjoyed the good $5 specialty cocktails. The atmosphere is pleasant -- if a bit generic. We decided to approach our meal in a small plates/tapas style, with everyone sharing. Together -- over the course of an hour or more -- we ordered the smoked bacon-wrapped figs, grilled octopus, seafood ceviche, smoked cauliflower, grilled asparagus, Cuban guacamole, smoked pork ribs, stuffed flounder. Among these items, nothing really stood out except the asparagus -- which was simple and excellent. The octopus was pretty good, as was the cauliflower (although there's something not quite right about the sauce.) The Cuban guac -- which includes pineapple -- does not improve on the guacs most of us are familiar with.
Don't get me wrong -- nearly everything was good. The only real disappointment was the seafood ceviche -- an undifferentiated mess without any clear taste focus. It's just that there was nothing at Mesa that makes me want to go back, and nothing that quite rose to level evoked by the menu or represented by those price points. (Not that the prices are outrageous either -- just inappropriate for the quality of food.)
On the positive side, our waiter was attentive and knowledgeable. This was especially important for me, since I have celiac disease and cannot eat anything with gluten (or anything that has touched gluten). When the asparagus arrived with a breaded, fried garnish, he quickly brought me a few extra "uncontaminated" asparagus, and he was able to confirm or deny gluten content in menu items. So props to Mesa for that!
Went for date night (first time visit) l ...
Went for date night (first time visit) last weekend... the menu was completely different. When we asked why, the manager did explain that it was Duke University graduation weekend, so they limited their normal tapas menu (with 40 items) to just apps, salads and entrees with minimal choices. I was extremely disappointment in this as we came for TAPAS... it would have been nice to have notification of this BEFORE I made a reservation.
Service was very slow that evening. The server in our section was quadruple sat almost at once. Anyone who has ever been in food service knows, that is horrible for the server and the guests. Server was friendly and apologetic, not his fault though.
I paid almost $30 for an OK flank steak, steamed green beans and wedge French fries that lacked any seasoning. Overpriced in my book... My husbands brisket was dry.
We would be willing to try again sometime for Tapas... just hate that we were "punished" for a graduation weekend.
Ambiance was nice, servers were friendly.
My husband and I had a -wonderful- meal ...
My husband and I had a -wonderful- meal at Mesa last Friday night.
We got there at about 8pm, and found it to be a lovely space. We had a table inside because the patio had gotten a bit crowded, but we were happy. It was comfortable and contemporary, and the atmosphere was enhanced with background music courtesy of the Buena Vista Social Club internet radio station (I know because we enjoyed the music so much that we asked).
We started off with a couple of glasses of red wine, and enjoyed the complimentary warm plantain chips and salsa.
My husband had the Skirt Steak Churrasquinho (medium rare). It came with tomato escabeche, vegetable escalivada, steak fries, and a chimichurri sauce in a little metal container. He really enjoyed his meal, because he cleaned his plate!
I had the Ropa Vieja. The shredded meat was cooked to perfection with olives, garbanzos, peppers, and onions, and it came with black beans and green rice (prepared with green peas and cilantro). It was off-the-charts delicious. It was also a lot of food, so I ended up taking a little bit home).
Our waiter was friendly and attentive, and we thought the prices were very reasonable.
This was just our first visit. I can assure you that we -will- return!
Mesa was a Mess.
Overpriced buffet service on Mother's Day. No menu service this day because it was Mother's Day. Really? $29.99 per person plus beverages for food that was decent but not great. Dinner rolls were stale. Waiter was the overbearing type. And insult to injury was 20% gratuity charge added to bill. It was BUFFET service. Everyone had to get up and serve themselves. Never again...
What a pleasant surprise!
We have come to realize that Durham is full of great restaurants in some of the most unexpected locations: we now add Mesa to that list. Pleasant welcome to a warmly and wonderfully decorated space including a large outdoor area that would be great for a special event. A lot of Cuban dishes but prepared with a creative touch that went beyond the traditional recipe. So many great choices for vegetarians as well. We ordered multiple small plates and appetizers for all to share. Everything was flavored perfectly and was some of the most tasteful food I have ever eaten. We will definitely return and will spread the word. Our server was Chris, and he made us feel right at home.
Mesa is an upscale restaurant in a fringe neighborhood. I was happy to see that Mesa took an opportunity to bring something special to the area. The place is nicely designed and appointed. We found the tasting menu rather overpriced for beans and rice with some meat. The food was nicely prepared and presented but our black bean soup tasted almost exactly like the black bean side we had with our dish. Kinda funny. For $60 a 2 item (each) tasting menu was a bit of a disappointment. We did see some unusual sounding flat breads we may try when we visit again for $11. There's a nice bar and occasional cigar nights. There is also a lovely outside area for dining and events. Best wishes.
Wide menu variety.
I appreciated the opportunity to sample a number of dishes and the waiter was very helpful in describing a number that he would recommend for our group. The noise level was a bit high for hearing all of the conversation with some out-of-town guests but the environment was energetic and might have requested outside seating had it been a bit warmer that evening.
Sunday night tapas
We were visiting Duke U and wanted to find a light meal close by campus. We found Mesa Latin Kitchen soooo close to west campus and off the beaten path from the foodie scene in downtown Durham. The place looks like an old Chinese restaurant from the outside but is absolutely beautiful inside- great ambience. We ordered martinis ( which were great) and followed up with empenadas and grilled asparagus - delicious. And because we had small plates. - we were able to order flan for dessert!! Just the perfect place!!
Surprised and Impressed
I drove by this place for years because it doesn't look like much on the outside, but we finally went in and were pleasantly surprised. Nice vibe, classy place. The food was delicious--especially the manchego gnochi. I will say the empanadas were TINY though. As a vegetarian I could basically only eat the small dishes, which were really quite small, but they were delicious. My only complaint is slow service. You could tell the waiters were running around like crazy, but ours was incredibly friendly and helpful despite. When one dish took longer than expected, we got it on the house!
Good food: need to improve service and feel
The food was definitely good, but an overbearing server ruined some of the fun. For a fairly pricey restaurant, the place lacks in character. They have the basics done right, the presentation needs to improve to match the price tag.
Amazing food, music on Saturday nights!
We love this restaurant! The food is really unbelievably good- we usually have the coconut rice that comes in a coconut shell (so tasty and great presentation!), the guac is the best I have ever had, the cauliflower is incredible, and the ceviche is great! We have had other dishes and are never disappointed.
The service is sometimes slow, but overall a GREAT PLACE!
Eclectic and impressive!
Covers many different LA countries in tapas (small plates) which are very well executed. Highly recommend the shrimp ceviche, guacamole with plantain chips, Cuban sandwich sticks and both epanada. Wait staff very knowledgable and helpful!
Looking for a great place for Sunday Brunch
This was a great place for Sunday Brunch!! The decor is nice with a great bar area but most importantly my meal was awesome. I had green eggs and chorizo, and a bread pudding for dessert. I am not even a bread pudding person but with strawberries and chocolate who could resit!!! It was delicious and not too sweet.
This restaurant is near downtown Durham but not in the usual locations. I think the location will become very hot soon because it is near new retail and housing.
Because of the name I originally thought this was a typical Mexican or Latin restaurant and didn't go until I heard that it used to be Gregorias and then I realized I had to go because I loved that place.
They could use an exterior decorator but the inside is nice. I enjoy the locally owned places and like that this place has good food and is better than other typical Latin places. Looking forward to taking my friends when they are in town.
Unique fare in a food city
The menu is varied and interesting. The modified tapas format lets you choose only the "snacks", sides, or small or large plates--as you go. We had the malanga fritters, rice cakes, and cassava bread with pork, which was plenty for the two of us. We enjoyed it all, and the flan dessert was wonderful. The beer list is limited.
We were among the early comers outside, but our service, while friendly, suffered a bit as more people arrived.
The interior decor of this place is awesome, and our server was fabulous. The Cuban food is very authentic, and while not my absolute favorite, I'd definitely go there again. The chocolate dessert (a warm chocolate cake with Godiva chocolate sauce, served with salted caramel ice cream and garnished with diced strawberries and praline pieces) is the best dessert I've had in a very, very long time!!
Tapas at a good value
Mesa may not be as trendy as Mateo but it has a large parking lot right in front of it. In addition the portions are a generous size (for Tapas). Mesa's grilled octopus is 2-3 times the one you will get at Mateo. At the bottom of the menu are some larger dishes which would be an entree for one person and are much easier to share if you have 4 or 5 people.
Pleasingly Latin, in more than just in the name
Our first but not our last visit to Mesa. Obviously a very popular venue, their several rooms were all full by 8pm. Service was attentive but not intrusive, prompt and knowledgeable. The ala carte menu was limited because their Valentines menu was featured. We'll for sure be back to experience the full ala carte. The selection was nevertheless very broad. The wine list has some interesting options and is predominantly South American - no complaints there. We started with cocktails before sampling four of the small plates - octopus, mussels,curried quinoa and mushrooms on chiapata - washed down with an Aglianico (for him) and Primus red blend (for her). The bill was reasonable enough not to deter us from returning again but with friends. LIve music was provided by a quartet on drums, guitar, trumpet and keyboard playing subdued latin music with a few interesting covers. I was concerned about the volume initially but it proved to be very comfortable even though we were only four small tables away from the group. Recommended.
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