13565 NW Cornell Road
Today I was craving a little Mexican (no, not like comedienne Chelsea Handler), so I ended up at Bandito Taco in Cedar Mill. This little strip mall-type shop has been around since 1990, serving up quality Mexican grub at very reasonable prices.
The restaurant is very, very clean and the menu is plentiful. They offer a wide variety of Mexican options, but I advise you to pick up one of their paper menus and review it first. I made the mistake of ordering off the menu above the cash register, and I was a little disappointed. Had I read through the descriptions of the offerings, I would have probably ordered something else.
I ordered the small serving of the Bandito Nachos, and my lunch companion ordered a Bandito Burrito.
First of all, the nachos were good, but not great. Sure, the dish was huge (it was a small, and I still could not finish it), but I am not a fan of “nacho cheese” (i.e., that orange melted stuff that coagulates within minutes). I did love the fact that they layered the dips on one side of the platter and kept the tortilla chips on the other, which meant crisp chips rather than soggy ones under all those layers. But the flavor was overwhelmed by all that darn nacho cheese. I wanted a mix of beans, meat, cheese, sour cream and guacamole, but most of my bites were just CHEESE! And, I can certainly say that there was not much ground beef in my nacho mix; that was a little bit of a letdown. Bandito, stop skimping on the meat!
As for the Bandito Burrito, my lunch companion said it was good, but reported it needed a little more flavor. Yes, we did get the free salsa as a side, but there was no sauce on the burrito itself (and there was only a little bit of sour cream), so it had to be added. Sure, this is better quality than, say, Taco Bell, but who likes a dry burrito? Once the salsa was added, the burrito tasted much better. Bandito, think about adding salsa as an option inside the burrito!!
Regardless of those minor issues, I can see why people love this place. They have a huge menu and the food is fresh and tasty—and cheap! Next time I go, I’m probably going to try a Super Quesadilla or a serving of Jose Gold’s (black bean chili with chicken and chips) or maybe the Bandito Tostada.
To be honest, I would probably order the Bandito Nachos again, but next time I would ask them to go easy on the nacho cheese!
I also have to give Bandito Taco props for their very delicious homemade salsa; it was fresh, chunky and had a great spicy bite to it. A side of chips and salsa is $1.95, but it makes for a great appetizer during the short wait for your food.
If are looking for a bargain, head to Bandito Taco on a Sunday for their ongoing Sunday Crunch special—when you can get their regular tacos for just $.55!
Overall, this is great place to pick up a quick and tasty Mexican lunch for a great price. It’s better quality (and seems healthier) than Taco Bell, but prices are on par with the fast-food chain.
Pros: Fresh ingredients, huge menu, friendly and helpful waitstaff, spicy salsa, good vegetarian and healthy-eating options, quick service
Cons: Too much nacho cheese and not enough meat on the nachos, beans seemed a little runny, burrito was a little dry without the salsa added