Harley Young tackles some tacos in the city centre

What: Sandinista

Where: 2 Old Bank St, Manchester M2 7PF

Food/ Drink type: Latin street food

When: Sunday to Wednesday: 12pm - 3am, Thursday to Saturday: 12pm - 4am

Independent or chain: Independent

2024 02 01 Sandinista Outside
Outside Sandinista Image: Confidentials


Sandinista is located on Old Bank Street, sat back from the hustle and bustle of the city centre’s more trodden paths like surrounding Cross Street and St Ann’s Square. From outside, Sandinista looks fairly inconspicuous during the day time - apart from the A-boards outside with a few weekday offers on, and a sign in the window that reads ‘Beers, Beats & Dope Shit’, you’d probably not even realise that a plethora of tacos and tequila lie just behind the front door.

The inside of Sandinista is like an Americana-style dive bar had a baby with a pirate ship; there’s leather banquettes, old tin signage, a well stocked back bar, tall wooden stools and a mermaid figurehead for good measure. The kitchen sits to the right of the bar and is open plan, allowing you to ogle your enchiladas as they’re made in front of your very eyes. 

2024 02 01 Sandinista Inside 2
The bar Image: Confidentials
2024 02 01 Sandinista Inside 1
The booths Image: Confidentials

The Main Event

I picked the halloumi tacos - a dish available on the £10 lunch deal menu, served with a house beer or soft drink and a portion of gordos. The tacos themselves were fragrant and full to the brim, drizzled with a healthy squeeze of lime over the top for added tang. The raw and pickled red onions, diced coriander and guac were all beautifully fresh and melded together well to further enhance the saltiness of the halloumi. Alongside the gordos - a deep fried corn snack in the shape of a wheel - this was plenty of food for a lunchtime fix. 

Dave went for the spiced chicken enchiladas (also available on the lunch menu) but with a non-house IPA. These bad boys were served as a portion of four neatly folded triangle-shaped parcels of cheesy-filled goodness and fully satisfied our cheese pull quota for the week. I couldn’t help but nick one and noticed how the spices used to season the chicken focused more on flavour than being fiery. There’s still a kick, but not so much that you’re left gasping for a gulp of your bevvy after each bite. Just the right amount, in my opinion.

If we hadn’t had plans for the rest of the evening we’d have probably stuck around a lot longer, given Sandinista plays banger after banger when it comes to setting the ambience with music. 

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Left to right: Spiced chicken enchiladas, halloumi tacos and gordos Image: Confidentials

Judgement Day 

Sandinista is a great spot for grabbing a bite to eat (or a cheeky tequila-based cocktail) any day of the week. For under £30, we left with full bellies and full of nostalgia thanks to the killer playlist of alternative 90s and 2000s tracks that soundtracked our meal. 

If you’re looking to take advantage of the lunch deal, head down on a weekday between 12-4pm. Outside of those hours, if you’re going to a gig, the theatre or a comedy show on the same day you can enjoy 20% off your order when you present your ticket - talk about a solid night out. 

Sandinista, 2 Old Bank St, Manchester M2 7PF

Follow Harley Young on X @Harley__Young

Sandinista is on Confidential Guides

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The scores

All scored reviews are unannounced, impartial, and ALWAYS paid for by Confidentials.com and completely independent of any commercial relationship. They are a first-person account of one visit by one, knowledgeable restaurant reviewer and don't represent the company as a whole.

If you want to see the receipt as proof this magazine paid for the meal then a copy will be available upon request. Or maybe ask the restaurant.

Venues are rated against the best examples of their type. What we mean by this is a restaurant which aspires to be fine dining is measured against other fine dining restaurants, a mid-range restaurant against other mid-range restaurants, a pizzeria against other pizzerias, a teashop against other teashops, a KFC against the contents of your bin. You get the message.

Given the above, this is how we score: 1-5: saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9: sigh and shake your head, 10-11: if you’re passing, 12-13: good, 14-15: very good, 16-17: excellent, 18-19: pure class, 20: nothing's that good is it?

  • Food 8/10

    Spiced chicken enchiladas 8.5, halloumi tacos 8, gordos 6

  • Ambience 4/5

  • Service 4/5