REVIEW: Taco Bell Cantina Menu (Steak Cantina Burrito & Chicken Cantina Bowl)

Taco Bell Cantina Burrito

First off, I have no idea who Lorena Garcia is because her face isn’t shown ad nauseam on the Food Network.

Secondly, I also have no idea who Lorena Garcia is because she doesn’t have a Wikipedia page. But she shouldn’t feel bad because I also don’t have one and you probably don’t have one, so she’s in good company.

Thirdly, I wonder if she would slap Guy Fieri in the face for me if I gave her metal gloves to protect her hands from his spiky hair?

Finally, she’s making Taco Bell all fancy and shit, and I don’t like it. For years, it’s been the late night place for those under the influence who order menu items with funny names that sound even funnier to them when they say it over and over again. CHALUPA! GORDITA! CHALUPA! GORDITA! CHALUPA! GORDITA!

They also sound like the noise drunk people make when they throw up. The new Cantina Bowl and Cantina Burrito Ms. Garcia helped develop for Taco Bell don’t have funny names or sound like someone puking. Although, every time I hear or say the word “cantina,” the music from the Mos Eisley Cantina scene in Star Wars, when Han Solo is introduced, plays in my head.

These ingredients she’s using sound too classy for the usual Taco Bell clientele. Citrus-herb marinated chicken, cilantro rice, and cilantro dressing? Taco Bell regulars aren’t used to eating their herbs, they’re used to smoking their herbs. Although, they’re going to laugh at the fact she’s using Hass avocados.

But those under the influence will be impressed with the size of Taco Bell’s Cantina Burrito. They’ll be like, “It’s the size of my arm, man. It’s like I’m eating my forearm.” Although, it’s not even close to being Chipotle-thick.

Taco Bell Cantina Burrito Closeup

The Steak Cantina Burrito I bought was stuffed with grilled and marinated steak, cilantro rice, black beans, guacamole made from the aforementioned and funny Hass avocados, pico de gallo, roasted corn & pepper salsa, Romaine lettuce, and a creamy cilantro dressing. Despite all those ingredients, I have to say the Steak Cantina Burrito’s flavor was extremely disappointing. It was as boring as a lecture about world economics of the 1800s. As I was eating through it, and there’s a lot to eat, I thought to myself, “I’m getting no pleasure out of this. I think I could get more flavor from stamp licking.”

I know there was a lot cilantro dressing in it because it dripped out of the bottom of my burrito. The guacamole also oozed out, but it didn’t provide much flavor. The steak was tender and didn’t taste any different than the stuff inside Taco Bell’s Triple Steak Stack. As for the rice and beans, they made for an awesome burrito filler and fiber giver.

The only explanation I could come up with for its blandness is that the flour tortilla dampens the ingredients in the burrito, because the Chicken Cantina Bowl, which contains the same parts as the burrito minus the steak and tortilla, was delicious.

Taco Bell Cantina Bowl

Taco Bell’s Chicken Cantina Bowl was hearty, brought back memories of my beloved Taco Bell Zesty Chicken Border Bowl, and made me rethink my objections to Lorena Garcia turning Taco Bell “all fancy and shit.” The vegetable-filled picture above makes the Cantina Bowl look more like a Cantina Salad, but I assure you, there’s rice, chicken, and beans under dem greens.

Without a flour tortilla restricting flavors like a culinary straitjacket, I thought the flavors would do a culinary run around naked with their arms flailing and screaming obscenities, but it wasn’t like that. The marinated chicken was better tasting than the usual chicken Taco Bell uses, but the guacamole lacked a strong avocado flavor and the cilantro dressing was light, along with the pico de gallo and roasted corn & pepper salsa. However, everything as a whole was damn satisfying. I enjoyed it several times more than the Steak Cantina Burrito.

Taco Bell Cantina Bowl Closeup

The Chicken Cantina Bowl doesn’t have a bold flavor. Instead, it has a wonderful mild flavor that should appeal more to mature taste buds, and not drunk/high college kids who, thanks to the weed and/or alcohol they purchased, only have a few bucks to spend on Gorditas and Chalupas, which they may throw up later.

(Nutrition Facts – Steak Cantina Burrito – 750 calories, 28 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 2040 milligrams of sodium, 96 grams of carbohydrates, 12 grams of fiber, 7 grams of sugar, and 28 grams of protein. Chicken Cantina Bowl – 560 calories, 22 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 60 milligrams of cholesterol, 1520 milligrams of sodium, 64 grams of carbohydrates, 12 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 26 grams of protein.)

Item: Taco Bell Cantina Menu (Cantina Burrito & Cantina Bowl)
Purchased Price: $6.19* (Cantina Burrito)
Purchased Price: $6.49* (Cantina Bowl)
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Taco Bell
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Steak Cantina Burrito)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Chicken Cantina Bowl)
Pros: Cantina Bowl was hearty and had a wonderful mild flavor. Cantina Burrito was the size of my forearm. Citrus-herb marinated chicken was better than Taco Bell’s usual chicken. Awesome source of fiber.
Cons: Pricey for those who just spent a whole bunch of money on booze or weed. Steak Cantina Burrito lacks flavor. Flour tortilla holds back flavor like a culinary straitjacket. Lorena Garcia lacking a Wikipedia page. Awesome source of sodium.

*here on this rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, we pay a bit more for our Taco Bell.

14 thoughts to “REVIEW: Taco Bell Cantina Menu (Steak Cantina Burrito & Chicken Cantina Bowl)”

  1. Lorena Garcia is competing right now on Top Chef: Masters. Which I find pretty funny since she sold out to Taco Bell.

  2. I got the Cantina Chicken burrito right when it came out and also thought it was lacking flavor (especially for it’s price). In addition it had a small chicken bone in it which hurt and turned me off from it.

  3. Doing a little Internet research on Lorena Garcia yields some rather amusing results (as some stated in the comments above).

    Also, dang, you really do pay more on your little rock in the middle of the Pacific. You paid about $2 more than most of us on the mainland.

  4. Almost entirely beans and rice, there is very little of the other ingredients in the burritos.
    Not worth the $4.49 they are asking for it unless you like a bean and rice burrito.
    Like all the rest of taco bells menu they build it up only to disappoint when you get it.

    I can not believe that Chef Lorena Garcia would endorse that crap but i guess f you get offered enough money even someones self respect can be bought.

  5. Gotta disagree with you on this. I love the burrito and the bowl. Muy delicioso. But the above comment is kinda true. The price is a little high.

  6. I work at taco bell and I hope you realize the lemon marinated chicken you claim to better than the usual taco bell chicken IS the usual taco bell chicken. There is only one kind of chicken at taco bell, as there is steak and beef. The box that the chicken comes in used to be labeled “marinated chicken” and then one day out of the blue the boxes started being labeled “citrus and herb marinated chicken”. It looked the same as the old chicken to me, just not the same label! Just like the beef went from being labeled “taco filler” to “seasoned beef”. Still the same product. This was also about 3 months prior to the release of the cantina items. So people were eating their usual chicken chalupas and chicken burritos with the citrus chicken long before cantina even came out. No one ever noticed a difference either.

  7. Chicken Cantina bowl is a lot of good food for a little price. The 560 calories is well spend on mostly wholesome and nutritious ingredients and it will certainly fill you up. I thought it was delicious.

  8. I just had the steak cantina bowl for the first time. I’ve also had both Chipotle and Qdoba. I think this was pretty decent if you’re looking for something like a naked taco bowl or naked burrito bowl but for a cheaper price.The ingredients blended well with each other and the steak wasn’t too bad. If you’re hungry and want a quick, healthy, flavorful bite, I recommend the cantina bowl.

  9. I tried both the steak bowl and the steak burrito.

    I first tried the steak bowl while I was absolutely wasted drunk. And it was absolutely delicious, just the way you described the chicken bowl. So, I take offense to how you think drunks can’t appreciate ‘mature tastes’!

    I tried the burrito today and, like you said, it was pretty bad. The tortilia wrap drowned out all the flavor! It tasted like I was eating bread!

    But, for that steak bowl again.. MMmmm.. Totally worth $5

  10. Totally agree with your assessment of the new steak cantina burrito. Finally got around to trying it today at Taco Bell. What a huge disappointment. And I paid $4.99 for the darn thing. Yeah, it’s big. But if it’s just a whole lot of mush, what’s the advantage, unless you love mush. Tasteless, for the most part. I detected a wee bit of the “marinated” beef. Mostly it was rice in some awful gooey matrix. A few black beans, a couple of kernels of corn, some wilty lettuce. I had no guacamole in mine. I ate about half then deep-sixed the rest. Too lazy to go back and ask for a refund. But I’ll never get another one and will tell everyone who’ll listen to me how bad that bugger was. Now, on to Facebook, yippy aye kai ay!

  11. I don’t like how you made fun of the names of the food items. That’s making fun of a culture and their food. But yes, Lorena Garcia comes out of no where with random food items it seems. Never tried the bowl, but the burrito is okay. Taco Bell could have done better, but it’s fast food, so what do you expect. I still prefer it over McDonald’s any day.

  12. I use to go to Taco Bell regularly. Do to an allergy I can not eat beef. The new chicken sucks. I do not like citrus chicken and now have stopped going to taco bell.

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