Fast Food Review: Cantina Tacos from Taco Bell
You should never confuse Taco Bell with authentic Mexican food… ever. So when the fast food Mexican mega-chain goes for a taste of legit Mexican tacos, we will all point and laugh. Even though I say this, I take Taco Bell for what it is and have been known to go for a taco or three at 2am. For a cheap, quick taste of quick-serve Mexican grub… for a lot of people, Taco Bell is the only game in town. Here’s Taco Bell’s attempt at a “real” taco with the introduction of Cantina Tacos.
It’s no surprise that chicken and steak are two of the available options for the new Cantina Tacos. A newcomer to the bunch is (thankfully not shrimp) carnitas or as the gringos say “shredded pork”. Each taco was an overpriced $1.69. I say overpriced because there are far heavier menu items on the cheap Taco Bell value menu. There’s not too much to say about each one of these so watch how creative I’m about to be…
- Chicken Cantina Taco: Two corn tortillas, filled with marinated all-white-meat chicken and doused in chopped onions and tasteless cilantro. (Nurition Info: 170 calories, 2.5g fat, 25mg cholesterol, 350mg sodium, 27g carbs, 3g fiber, 1g sugar, 11g protein)
- Steak Cantina Taco: Two corn tortillas, filled with marinated steak and doused in chopped onions and tasteless cilantro. (Nurition Info: 180 calories, 2.5g fat, 15mg cholesterol, 270mg sodium, 26g carbs, 3g fiber, 2g sugar, 9g protein)
- Carnitas Cantina Taco: Two corn tortillas, filled with new slow-roasted carnitas shredded pork and doused in chopped onions and tasteless cilantro. (Nurition Info: 200 calories, 2g fat, 35mg cholesterol, 260mg sodium, 26g carbs, 3g fiber, 1g sugar, 9g protein)
See what I did there? So yeah, when the only variable is the meat, there’s not much else to talk about. Sadly, the diced onion and cilantro mix barely gave off a taste. I can usually taste cilantro from the parking lot of most Mexican restaurants and I was shocked at how little impact it had with the Cantina Tacos. I guess the onion/cilantro mix is there for texture and moisture because the tortillas are quite bland and dry. What can I say about the proteins involved? The marinated steak pieces were abundant, but way too chewy and rubbery. The chicken was OK and just made me think of every other chicken item I’ve had at Taco Bell. The carnitas were a tasteless mush and virtually unidentifiable.
In closing, let’s find some redeeming qualities with Taco Bell’s new Cantina Tacos. Each of my tacos came foil-wrapped and pretty piping hot. Also, each taco comes with it’s own fancy lime wedge… which is actually nice because you can add a hint or pour it on. I was afraid Taco Bell would create some funky lime sauce or something. Another redeeming quality… not soaked in cheese or cream sauce so it’s pretty low cal/low fat. I generally like the simpler menu items, but didn’t find myself enjoying the latest creation from Taco Bell. The few positives aren’t enough to change my overall opinion. Cantina Tacos are quite mediocre and not worth a buy.
Pros: Lime wedge. Not a ton of fat and calories.
Cons: Tasteless cilantro. Overpriced when compared to the value menu. Rubbery steak. Carnitas mush. Not filling... must double or triple up to make a dent in your appetite.
Grubbing on-the-go: 7.50/10
Overall GrubGrade: 5.25/10
More Info: TacoBell.com