Cantina Laredo, the US-based upmarket Mexican restaurant chain, has opened its first restaurant in Europe, in the St Martin’s Courtyard development in London’s Covent Garden, and stated that it intends to open a total of 35 sites across the UK and Ireland. The 220-cover Covent Garden restaurant spans two floors with a total floor space of 7,218sq ft and features a bar specialising in tequila and a private dining room. Oriole Restaurants Ltd has been selected by Consolidated Restaurant Operations (CRO), Cantina Laredo’s parent company, to the first European franchisee of the Mexican restaurant brand. John D Harkey Jr, chief executive of CRO, said: “The restaurant opening in London markets the first Cantina Laredo in Europe, bringing the authentic taste of gourmet Mexican cuisine to another market. It represents further significant expansion of the footprint of our brand and solidifies our global appeal.”