Review: Cantina Double Steak Quesadilla from Taco Bell

It’s been established that I like Taco Bell for their value menu items and not the premium priced stuff.  I’m like that with most fast food places and I gravitate towards interesting, well-priced promotional menu offerings and the rest of it I tend to brush off.  With that said, I just had the new premium-priced Cantina Double Steak Quesadilla and it has instantly become one of the best Taco Bell products I’ve ever had. Double Steak Catina QuesadillaTaco Bell describes their new Cantina Double Steak Quesadilla like this:

A double portion of marinated premium thick-cut steak combined with pepper jack cheese, all folded in a grilled tortilla. Served with nacho chips and fire-roasted tomato Cantina salsa and reduced-fat sour cream for dipping.

At $4.99, even though this is a higher priced entree, it’s a great deal because you’re getting a filling, complete combo meal.  Adding in a drink will push the price over the six dollar mark, but this product as-is provides a great value.  Premium-pricing aside, I’ll still respect a product if I feel like I’m getting a fair deal.  For fast food and the pricing trends I’ve come to expect, the Cantina Double Steak Quesadilla gets a passing grade.

Cantina Double Steak Quesadilla Taco BellNot often do we get a new product that is a combo in itself, and with the Cantina Double Steak Quesadilla, chips and salsa are included and this was a great move by Taco Bell.  What makes the decision to include chips and salsa so smart is Taco Bell is able to feature their new fire-roasted tomato Cantina salsa.  Taco Bell packages all of the components of this product together in the same well-constructed thin cardboard box and makes a surprisingly decent item for grubbing on the go.  Fast food should excel in value and packaging and Taco Bell accomplishes both.   I’ve always hated that old paper/plastic packaging with the other quesadillas and happy it’s no where to be found with the Cantina version.Taco Bell Cantina QuesadillaThe cups of reduced-fat sour cream and Cantina salsa are sized just right so you’re not squeezing your quesadilla or chips into a tiny container and barely scraping the lacking remnants.  I finished my meal with both sour cream and salsa to spare and I felt like I got more than enough for my dipping.  As far as taste and heat go, the Cantina salsa is pretty mild, but has a great flavor which matches very well with either the quesadilla or the chips.  I would’ve preferred a little more heat to the Cantina salsa… maybe amped up to a medium, but the blend of peppers, garlic, fire roasted tomato and onion were a nice fit.

Cantina Steak Quesadilla Taco BellThe double portion of steak is prepared with a marinade of lime, spices and Worcestershire sauce.  As you may or may not know, Taco Bell has gone through a couple of steak makeovers over the last couple of years and they think they finally nailed it with the steak.  To me, it’s still steak from a fast food joint so I’m not expecting much.  It’s passable and less chewy than previous versions.  The flavor of the steak comes through enough because there’s plenty of it to go around with this.  The Cantina Double Steak Quesadilla excels far above the previous incarnations by using pepper jack cheese instead of that standard three-cheese blend that we’ve come to expect in so many Taco Bell products.  The pepper jack cheese melts perfectly and the flavor pops in a way that the three-cheese blend never could.Taco Bell Double Steak QuesadillaI love quesadillas and Lorena Garcia/Taco Bell came through with an impressive new fast food product in the Cantina Double Steak Quesadilla.  It’s the total package for me by combining a generously sized quesadilla stuffed with steak, some cool sour cream to dip it in and a bit of a bonus with the chips and Cantina salsa.  So far with the Cantina line of products, I’ve considered it to be an OK attempt at trying to branch out into fast casual territory.  The thing of it is, I still would like to see this narrowing gap between Taco Bell and Chipotle/Moe’s/Q’doba to become a thing of the past, but I’m afraid it’s here to stay.  I might find myself not minding this too much since Taco Bell now has a clear winner that has me thinking this is flat out well executed fast food.

Pros: Pepper jack cheese is a huge improvement over "three cheese blend". Filling and a combo in itself with chips and Cantina salsa included. Good amount of steak. Packaging.

Cons: Fast food steak is fast food steak. Cantina salsa could use more heat.

Taste: 9.00/10
Value: 7.25/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 6.75/10
Price: $4.99

Overall GrubGrade: 8.75/10

More Info: http://www.tacobell.com/food/menu/cantinaBell
Nutrition Facts:
Serving Size: 438 grams
Calories - 960
Total Fat - 45 grams
Saturated Fat - 19 grams
Sodium - 2070 milligrams
Carbs - 97 grams
Dietary Fiber - 9 grams
Protein - 43 grams

51 comments on “Review: Cantina Double Steak Quesadilla from Taco Bell

  1. MP says:

    I will definitely try this.

    • Andrew says:

      I just had it. Fantastic. Top 3 item from Taco Bell. The Pepper Jack was a big surprise. The author of the review is correct in his evaluation of the steak, but it was noticeably better. I felt like I was getting something completely new from Taco Bell. Fantastic value. Fantastic taste. I’m full when I thought I was going to need my Beefy Nacho Griller to come in and finish the job.

      • MP says:

        Tried it yesterday. The meat was in tiny chunks like it’s from a stew with the same brittle consistency; like pulled pork consistency. It was totally lacking in heat & soggy but tasted really good & the salsa was delicious; restaurant quality. Most of the meat was in the center slice like Ryan’s. I’ll probably get it again once in a while.

  2. JF says:

    I haven’t had a TB Quesadilla since they first introduced them as I was never impressed with it.

    Your review does have me interested in giving this a try. Like you, when I hit up TB it’s for some cheap soft tacos, a crunchwarp supreme or a volcano burrito. Pretty much stick with those, although have tried quite a few of their LTO’s (and in the minority of not being a fan of the DLT – maybe if they could do that with a soft taco shell).

    Appreciate the review, as always. If do try this over the next couple of days will share my impressions.

    I never had their Cantina Salsa, so also looking to give that a try. I actually loved the Salsa you used to get when they offered taquitos.

  3. BigBelly says:

    based on that review, I might give it a try. I loved their packets of fire roasted sauce, hope this stuff is as good!

  4. Jon says:

    Wow the one i had for lunch today was comepletely different. balled in brown parchment and tucked into a corner of the box. with all of the steak on one side and tasteless pepperjack. the salsa and chips were decent. but the quesadilla was not good

  5. al says:

    i cant stand peper jak cheese and to much sodium. meh my taco bell days r over.. gla du liked it though… and next time get ur own hot sauce and out it on there.:)

  6. Michael says:

    Looks poorly toasted.

    I will have to try it,new cheese sounds interesting. And if the box prevents moisture then good. I like tb quesadillas.

  7. Chris says:

    “7.25/10″ – That seems a little low on the value rating. I had this today and you get a lot for the money.

    My local Taco Bell location can get skimpy on the meat sometimes, but other than that I thought $5 for a “premium” quesadilla and chips wasn’t bad at all. The new cantina salsa is awesome for a fast food place and I also felt it could’ve used more heat. At least it was flavorful and seems higher quality.

    I think their cantina burrito is decent after you order with no lettuce and add cheese. Not a Moe’s/Chipotle level entree, but decent fast food grub for sure.

    The double steak quesadilla will be my standby at Taco Bell for the foreseeable future.

  8. Alex K. says:

    I was going to try it regardless, now I guess I really have no option. I’m not sure I want to try it while the BCB is still around, though… I need to take full advantage of those things.

    • Robert says:

      Ha! I feel the same way about the BCB. That Beefy 5 Layer thing needs to disappear. So disappointing in comparison.

  9. Chris says:

    Also, I doubled up on the salsa. Not a sour cream guy.

    • Robert says:

      That was a brave thing to admit here. *pat pat*

    • Raiders757 says:

      Nice to know that we have that option, as I am not a big fan of sour cream either. Especially when it comes to Mexican influenced dishes. I don’t hate the stuff, but it interferes with the flavor far too much for me. I enjoy Mexican influenced spices and salsa way too much to water it down with filler. I know a lot of people love the stuff with Mexican influenced dishes, but it just gets in the way for me. Same with guacamole, except guacamole is actually pretty gross and worthless.

      All that said, This might be the first item at TB that I’m willing to pay more than a dollar for. I only go to TB to get a meal for under $5, but this seems like it might be worth it, if only for a change of pace.

      Why not? If I don’t like it, I’ll go back to my four regular tacos fresco style.

  10. Steven says:

    Just had one of these and thought it was AMAZING! I have not said that for anything Taco Bell has released in quite some time. The new steak coupled with the new pepper jack cheese was delicious! The price is on the scary side but given that it comes with chips and salsa and also a side of sour cream, I feel it was well worth the price and a good value.

  11. Ross the Boss says:

    I thought this was exceptionally good for a Taco Bell product. Tasted like something I would actually order at a Mexican restaurant! Agree with the salsa being perhaps a little spicier, but they’re trying to appeal to the masses and fact is, spicy lovers will be more willing to eat something more mild, rather than mild lovers who be willing to eat something spicier.

    This + the Beefy Crunch Burrito = TB HEAVEN (and no, I don’t mean tuberculosis)

  12. JF says:

    Didn’t see anyone else mention this, but noticed at a nearby TB they also offer this with chicken for $4.89.

  13. Chris aka NamebranD says:

    I wonder if they’d let me sub a cup of lava or Baja sauce in place of sour cream?

  14. Ric says:

    Had one today for lunch and I thought it was excellent. They’ve finally got a decent steak product, never really liked the steak they had before. In my opinion the quesadilla was on par with one from Q’doba but a few bucks less and they throw in chips and salsa. Speaking of the slasa, it was excellent as well. I’ll ask for a double order of it instead of sour cream next time.

  15. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Had this today. Was good. Steak was a bit chewy, which I expected, but the taste was very good. There was also a huge amount, I was a bit shocked when I saw the size of the package. I couldn’t even finish it all in one sitting. Only complaint was that my salsa was congealed somehow, and was a solid mass in a bit of juice.

  16. Kendall says:

    I tried it and liked it. Strangely though, they totally skimped on one half of my quesadilla and packed the other full of steak. Salsa was OK although it could have had some kind of kick. I’m just not a fan of their tortilla chips. Overall, I’d do it again for the quesadilla.

  17. JF says:

    Had this earlier today and thought it was really good, possibly great, considering other TB fare.

    I haven’t had their steak in awhile either (since it really didn’t taste or have the texture of steak) and was surprised by how good it was. I’m not sure if it was just me, but I actually thought it could have used a bit more cheese, or possible a cheese mix, as the dominant taste was the steak.

    Loved the salsa too. I’d probably get it again, but unless they change their chicken, will stick with the steak.

  18. jeremy says:

    http://slumz.boxden.com/f630/review-new-cantina-double-steak-quesadilla-taco-bell-1945197/
    this guy stole your review and changed “overall grubgrade” to “overall food grade”

    • Ryan says:

      looks like this person stole tons of my stuff… and stuff from the impulsive buy too.

      • jeremy says:

        Yeah I understand maybe posting a link to this site, or even copying the review and giving you credit for it. Plagiarism is plagiarism

      • Parrish says:

        You can actually report him and his site can get blacklisted. It is copyright infringement and on top of that he took your pictures too. But I think the worst thing was his attitude about it all, I hope his site gets taken down.

      • Alex K. says:

        It’s low as f*ck. Maybe you should consider at least watermarking your pictures?

    • Raiders757 says:

      Damn, that’s outright plagiarism and whoever is responsible should be called out on it. Give credit were credit is due, and if your going to do such thing, at least get permission first. WTF?!

      • jeremy says:

        i registered on that site to call him out, but i have to wait 24 hours to be able to post.

        • Boxden says:

          GET OVER IT. I will post what I want on my site!!

          • Steven T says:

            Except the part where you’re posting it on your site as your own material which is pretty much illegal. Stealing intellectual property even if it is just a review for a fast food item, theft is theft.

          • MP says:

            Wow. Pure ignorance. Somebody didn’t earn their high school diploma.
            What’s the matter – can’t come up with your own thoughts & pictures? We know you just want the traffic & ad revenue to line your pockets.

          • jeremy says:

            looks like all of “grimeydinero”s posts with stolen content are gone from that site…pwnd

          • Ryan says:

            Yeah I reached out yesterday.

  19. Fred says:

    I’m a native of Phoenix, AZ, and I will say that I was shocked by this quesadilla. As others have said, this actually tastes like something you could get from a mid-level real Mexican restaurant. Even the salsa, while super-mild, actually tasted like actual picante sauce, and not the usual Taco Bell ketchup with a few spices thrown in it (compare the ingredients on the hot sauce packets to a packet of ketchup sometime).

    Luckily, the chips still tasted like a weird mix of everything else that had been thrown in the fryer so far that day, otherwise I would have thought that this was all some sort of weird hallucination, and that I was actually still back home in bed.

    • Jam says:

      Maybe something you’d get at Macayo’s or some other such gringo place, because there’s no such thing as “picante sauce” in real Mexican restaurants. Picante sauce is gringo sauce. It’s good, and I was shocked by this quesadilla as well, but when it comes to a discussion on “real Mexican”, it’s a bit disingenuous to make such comparisons.

  20. Steven T says:

    I tried this yesterday and compared it to the regular steak quesadilla and even though it’s pricey the quality is there. Compared to the regular quesadilla it had a lot of meat and a lot of cheese while the original didn’t have much of each and seem to have more of that mayo sauce they put in it than anything else. Even though the quality is there I’m not sure I could recommend it at $8 for combo with a drink up here. Way too expensive.

  21. Tom says:

    Tried this one today… Not too bad… Had some weight to it… Salsa was not too hot but had decent flavor for fast food and the sour cream was nice on the Quesadilla… The chips were just okay… They tasted of the Cinnamon Sticks they were undoubtedly cooked in the same oil as…

    Overall not a bad offering from T Bell..

    And by the way, watermark and copyright your pics… It’s awful what those clowns have done to steal your material… It is a crime.

  22. TS says:

    I’m actually surprised anyone can eat Taco Bell. This place serves the worst “food” I have ever eaten. Go to your local mexican food place and you can get chips salsa and two banging tacos for 6 bucks that you can actually tell is food. Even Del Taco at least tastes like food. Taco Bell is liquid meat crap.

  23. CulinaryZerg says:

    The quesadilla is decent. The pepper jack cheese is an improvement from before (it now actually tastes like cheese). Good quantity of steak, but it’s still definitely chewy, gristle-y fast food steak.

    My main issue is that for about $1 more, you can get the real deal at Qdoba. Meaning freshly grilled higher quality steak sandwiched between a crisp quesadilla (Taco Bell’s is pretty soft) with significantly better condiments.

    Applies to the whole entire Cantina menu…for $1+ more I’ll just go to the places Taco Bell is trying to emulate instead of a 70% version.

  24. ahecht says:

    It’s $5.99 at my local taco bell. I can get a much better steak quesadilla at Chipotle for less money than that (it’s on the “secret” menu, and you have to ask for it).

  25. Dielan says:

    7/10. Still tastes like the same quesadilla IMO

  26. Dawn says:

    Was really disappointed in my quest to try this as I am a fan of the other cantina menu items. The quesadilla was soggy and both end peices had no meat at all and a little bit of cheese that stuck em together :( will not be buying that item again

  27. loretta says:

    I was also very disappointed with the quesadilla.It looked so good on the commercial.When I purchased it, there was hardly any steak at all. The bread was soggy also. It sucked.

  28. John says:

    I bought the Cantina Double Steak Quesadilla tonight. It is paltry for $5.00. Yes, it had chips, salsa, and sour cream… But I bought a QUESADILLA, not chips and dip. The quesadilla was totally disappointing. What little steak there was only amounted to half the quesadilla, same with the cheese. Half the quesadilla was empty tortilla. It’s wholly deficient, a pathetic attempt at food, and for $5, it’s robbery!

  29. […]  Let’s hope there’s a quesadilla in the mix somewhere down the line too… the Cantina Double Steak Quesadilla had 43 grams of protein and I loved […]

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