Review: Grilled Chicken Soft Taco from Taco Bell

“Ahhh…we meet again”

Ironic, I thought, as I looked down at the words on the packet of “Fire Sauce” I was in the process of dumping on the Grilled Chicken Soft Taco I had just purchased for $0.89 at Taco Bell.  A member of the company’s “Why Pay More Value Menu,” the Grilled Chicken Taco is not only the company’s latest innovation in cheap fast food, but it served as the driving force behind my first actual eating experience at Taco Bell.  Yes, as in like ever. Hence the irony of the Border Sauce comment.

My first trip to Taco Bell. Wow I feel like a man taking this picture...

My first trip to Taco Bell. Wow I feel like a man taking this picture…

Never a huge fan of Mexican food to begin with, I was skeptical about this taco, but decided to give it a try based on both its relative cheapness and apparent health benefits.  After having tried it however I have to say that for a first-time experience at a completely unfamiliar fast food restaurant, the Grilled Chicken Soft Taco sure made a believer out of me.  While I opted out of the cheese and decided to go “Fresco Style,” I found the taco to have just the right balance of spice in the chicken seasoning and sweetness in the salsa to compliment the warm tortilla.  I thought the chicken – while a little sparse compared to the tortilla – had a good seasoned flavor that pushed it past the realm of just “cooked chicken meat,” while the salsa tasted almost unbelievably fresh for having come from a fast food restaurant.  I actually would suggest going “Fresco” (aka fresh for yous gringos out there) on this one, as I think the cool undertones of the cilantro really balance out the chicken (especially if you load up on fire sauce) and help to make this a very flavorful menu choice.  The crazy thing is that I usually hate cilantro, but I actually found myself liking it in this salsa application.

Grilled Chicken Taco from Taco Bell

Notice how the chicken is “clumped” in the front of the Taco. That’s poor distribution right there folks.

My taco wasn’t packed to the gills like the one the guys from Would I Buy it Again? sampled (read their awesome review right hyah) but I mean for a mere $0.89 I was not expecting it to be.  That (and the fact that at under 200 calories each these things aren’t terribly filling) led me to purchase four of these, which still came out to be cheaper (and healthier) than any grilled chicken product I could get at a McDonalds or a Burger King.  While my usual travels don’t often take me in the direction of a Taco Bell restaurant; the quality, price, and nutritional benefits of the Grilled Chicken Soft Taco just may be enough incentive for me to make some “special” excursions to the Mexican fast food chain in the near future.

But who am I kidding? I loved this thing, especially the salsa. And usually I can't stand cilantro!

But who am I kidding? I loved this thing, especially the salsa. And usually I can’t stand cilantro!

Pros: Incredibly good value. Chicken has solid "fajita" like flavor and spice, along with a subtle southwestern sweetness. Salsa tasted fresh, with a cool cilantro flavor really balancing the spice from the meat and the "Fire Sauce" packets I dumped on the taco. Probably the healthiest and cheapest grilled chicken item that you can find at any fast food restaurant.

Cons: A little skimpy in terms of meat, but for $0.89 that's to be expected. Salsa and meat could have been more evenly distributed throughout taco, as the salsa seemed to overwhelm the back portions of my tacos while the meat dominated the front portions.

Taste: 8.00/10
Value: 9.50/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 9.00/10
Price: $0.89

Overall GrubGrade: 9.00/10

More Info: TacoBell.com
Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 200
Total Fat: 8 grams
Saturated Fat: 5 grams
Carbs: 19 grams
Cholesterol: 35mg
Sodium: 650mg
Fiber: 1g
Sugars: 1g
Protein: 12g
Note: Nutritional information not available for "Fresco Style"

22 comments on “Review: Grilled Chicken Soft Taco from Taco Bell

  1. Ryan says:

    Great review Adam…I still can’t believe you’ve never had Taco Bell until this experience. Good thing you had a positive experience with it. I’ve been ordering everything “Fresco” style lately and I haven’t missed the cheese or anything else all that much. I’ve started to appreciate sauce packets a lot more. Also at 89cents this is a great deal. At 12g of protein doubling up might be in order to satisfy but the low price makes that a no-brainer.

  2. Nice Adam! That taco that we posted was a freak taco. I went to TB do do another review and picked one up and there was a lot less in the tortilla. Smart move to Fresco this! There are a few misses on the Taco Bell value menu (Grilled Chicken Burrito $.89), but this is not one of them. Since this was your first time(really?!?!?), what else was in your order?!

  3. Adam!! First time ever!!!?! What kind of high school life did you have? WTF?!? Who are you friends and how can they call them such? Taco Bell is by far my favorite fast food joint. How do your “regular travels” not include a Taco Bell near by? Do you only travel to your bathroom, kitchen & bedroom? Even then you may just run into a Taco Bell, they’re everywhere.

    I’m glad your first experience was good…they can disappoint at times, as I’m sure you’ve seen. Did you order anything else? I must say, you’ve got to go back and get what you’d normally get somewhere else and tell us what you think. My recommendations….I like just the bean & cheese burrito, the cheesy double decker supreme or a steak chalupa supreme!

  4. DHL says:

    As I read your line about this being your first time ever to Taco Bell, I felt compelled to bash you. However I will be more compassionate and state the obvious. With you not eating Taco Bell your entire life until now just meant more for me! I also use this reasoning when it comes to vegetarians and picky/finicky eaters.

  5. Ryan says:

    Hahaha…I had a feeling we’d pile on Adam for this being his first time at Taco Bell. It’s cool though…I find it interesting reading someones first impressions of the place. Sorta like asking a baby what he thought of breast milk after his first sip. I kid of course. I liked this review and Adam’s fresh take on it. On the fast food front, I have yet to try WHATABURGER, White Castle, Krystal, Bojangles, Church’s Chicken, Del Taco etc etc etc.

  6. Adam says:

    Haha wow guys take it easy. Man I don’t know; I just always ate McDonalds as a kid and never seemed to be interested in “ethnic food” lol, not that Taco Bell is really ethnic. But also there are no Taco Bells in my immediate area so that worked against me too. But also I was one of those annoying preppy kids in HS who would go out to Panera Bread after school to get an artisan sandwich and an ice coffee…Not like you can do that in this economy any more though.

    As far as other menu choices I think the fact that I bought several of these tells you that it was my only choice. Next time though, next time…

  7. Great to hear you had a great first time experience!

    On another note, Is it safe to say that one cannot truly appreciate Fresco style menus without having eaten way too many Chalupas and double deckers in their life?

  8. Heather says:

    I just had 2 of these “Fresco” Style for lunch yesterday. I’ve always been in a box where I had to have sour cream on my tacos/burritos. I do have to agree with Ryan that I really didn’t really miss the sour cream or cheese. The chicken had a great flavor. I’ll have to try some of the other items “Fresco” Style as well.

    @Adam-I’m with you, I can’t stand cilantro. I have found that the cilantro used at Taco Bell isn’t overpowering, so I can deal with it.
    Don’t let them get to you about it being your first Taco Bell experience. There is a first time for everything…

  9. Mexican food (real Mexican food anyway) is AHHHMAZZZIINNNGG! STOP WASTING YOUR TIME AT TACOHELL.
    BTW- Cilantro is heavenly.

    http://fuckyeahcilantro.tumblr.com/

  10. Adam says:

    @Heather,
    I think you hit it there. Everyone is using the same “cooked” chicken meat product, but I really found the Taco Bell chicken to be seasoned better than most other applications of the product that I’ve found at different establishments. For 89 cents I was not expecting something with any real depth of flavor, but was pleasently surprised at how the salsa, chicken, and hot sauce came together.

  11. @Adam…oh yeah, I missed that. Downing 4 on the first visit, nice effort sir. The Baja Beef Chalupa is still my favorite. It is cool to see the perspective from a first timer.

    @Ryan…You are not missing a lot with those names, but Del Taco can be tasty at times.

    @ Bear and DHL…nice job on verbal beat-down!

  12. john says:

    That’s awesome your first experience was a positive one. I think I might have to purchase some of these this weekend. Great review!

  13. ChrisSh says:

    Well, after that rave review, I think I’m going to pick up four of these for dinner tonight (fresco style). That’s only like 650-700 calories, so not a bad dinner option and all for only $3.56!

  14. Raiders757 says:

    I’ve been eating Grilled Chicken Soft Tacos since they hit the menu in my area. My local store always hooks them up as well. They never seem to get slack on the meat no matter what it is you order. Sadly they chince on the cheese, so the “Fresco” option is the way to go. For sour cream, the hot sauce packets have always been the way to go with anything Taco Bell. One Hot, and one Mild is the perfect combo. Sour Cream just gets in the way of all the flavors.

  15. Adam says:

    If you’re not going to do cheese right (aka high quality product) than it’s a waste in my mind. I think they have good salsa so I think I made the right choice.

    ChrisSh,
    My thoughts exactly dude.

  16. ChrisSh says:

    Well, I just got done with dinner, and I must say, it was delicious. The only problem was that it was so filling that I could only eat 3 of them! I guess I’ll have the other for a late night snack.

    And the tacos I got were absolutely stuffed (especially with chicken), but I think I know why. When I first walked in, I was the only person in line and when I got to the register to order, I noticed that the girl working it was crying and the manager was trying to make her feel better. I didn’t want to be a dick, so I took a couple steps back and just checked out the menu for a couple minutes while they talked. Eventually, she took my order, and the same manager who was talking to her made my food. So I think I got a little bonus for being a nice guy. 🙂

  17. […] reason to go into this in depth.  Indianapolis Eater reviewed it and I was inspired by yesterdays Grub Grade review.  Warning, both of their reviews are going to be far better than this […]

  18. ChrisSh says:

    Well, to make up for my last experience… here is this one: I went to get three chicken soft tacos (fresco style) this evening, and they charged me almost six dollars. I tried to tell the guy that it should only be .89x 3, but the guy didn’t really know english and kept telling me there was an extra charge for fresco. Even though this did not happen the last time that I went to this place, I let him win after a minute or two. So it was almost six bucks for my 3 tacos that should have been less than 3 bucks… Grub grade, should I e-mail corporate? Because this was some BS…

  19. Adam says:

    Yea dude that is cheap. Let Taco Bell know, and once more, let them know GrubGrade has taken note!

  20. ChrisSh says:

    Well, I e-mailed Taco Bell and they handled the situation rather nicely. I got a call from the store manager today and headed out there. They refunded me the $3 that they overcharged me and gave me a free combo meal. So all is forgiven Taco Bell.

  21. I Heart Toxic Hell says:

    I’ve been getting these (and the grilled chicken burrito) constantly from the moment they debuted. I had in fact been waiting for just these items,

    I too have been getting them fresco style.

    In terms of value and nutrition, no fast food offering from anywhere comes anywhere close to this as far as I know.

    I tend to prefer the fresco burrito over the taco as you get rice, and more chicken, for the same price.

    And even when they mess up my order and I get the burrito with whatever that sauce is, it’s still good.

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