Taco Bell’s New Cantina Bell Menu

Taco Bell's new Cantina Bell menuTaco Bell recently launched a line of “gourmet inspired” bowls and burritos. They call it their Cantina Bell menu, and although they don’t come out and say it directly, it’s pretty obvious that their new offerings are an attempt to take some business from chains like Qdoba and Chipotle who pride themselves on using only the freshest ingredients.

I’m always down to try anything new that Taco Bell is dishing up, so last week I stopped in to give the new food a taste. At $4.79 for a chicken or veggie burrito or bowl, or $4.99 if you prefer steak, their Cantina Bell items are a little bit cheaper than both Qdoba and Chipotle. After taking my first couple bites however I quickly discovered that you get what you pay for.

I wanted to get a good sampling of the new menu so I ordered a steak burrito, a chicken bowl and a side of chips and guacamole. I started off with the Cantina Bowl and right away something just didn’t taste quite right. The citrus-herb marinated chicken had a really weird consistency to it. It wasn’t even the least bit chewy. Granted, you don’t ever want your chicken to be too chewy, but this didn’t even really taste like chicken at all.

My Cantina Burrito wasn’t much better. I like the burritos from Qdoba and Chipotle because the individual flavors of all the ingredients actually stand out. With my burrito from Taco Bell everything just sort of seemed to taste the same after a little while.

The thing that Taco Bell doesn’t seem to understand is that people don’t want to go there to eat fresh, healthy food. People go to Taco Bell because they want taco shells made out of Doritos. They want to show up at 1am after drinking all night, spend $5 and go home with four Beefy 5-Layer Burritos. No one wants to go to Taco Bell and pay $15 for three Cantina Burritos regardless of how good they are or how much they taste like Qdoba or Chipotle.

14 Comments on Taco Bell’s New Cantina Bell Menu

  1. AJ
    July 9, 2012 at 10:21 am (12 years ago)

    gross… they need to stick to regular tacos!

    • Kay
      February 20, 2014 at 7:04 pm (10 years ago)

      I love the taste of the Cantina Bell with chicken however the picture on the menu shows it even with the sides of the bowl and higher in the middle. What you usually get is half that much. The managers all blame the corporate office for the deception. I have contacted them twice about the misleading picture on the menu. With tax it’s over $5 and is very little food especially when it’s mostly rice and lettuce. It’s a ripoff.

  2. Jon
    July 9, 2012 at 12:06 pm (12 years ago)

    I tried the Cantina Bowl last week when they offerd the Buy One Get One Free coupon on Facebook. I thought it was actually pretty good. The ingrediants tasted really fresh – the corn, tomato, and guac were very good. It is a little cheaper than Chipotle, so I can see myself going back for it again.

  3. Jimmy
    July 9, 2012 at 1:48 pm (12 years ago)

    I like Chipotle food… but I go to Chipotle for it. I also like Taco Bell’s (conventional) food and that’s why I go to Taco Bell about 10x as often as I go to Chipotle.

    Innovation is good though.. gotta try stuff. I would love to see Taco Bell make the first fully automated “complete” restaurant.. I think it would be easier for them than anyone else because their food is well standardized – an entire Taco Bell restaurant could be operated by one employee, whose sole job would be babysitting the machinery. Yay robots!

    • Nick
      July 20, 2012 at 9:52 am (12 years ago)

      That’s actually a really cool idea. I could totally see them pulling something like that off!

      • katalyst
        November 23, 2013 at 5:57 pm (11 years ago)

        Nooooo!! That’s not nice for all the poor buggers who will lose their jobs1 ; (

  4. elle
    July 20, 2012 at 9:49 am (12 years ago)

    Actually, I was very impressed with the Doritos Taco. I think it is one of the best food inventions to come along in a while. Though I must say, your Tacone recipe was ingenious, dear author/food enthusiast.

    • Nick
      July 20, 2012 at 9:52 am (12 years ago)

      Oh for sure, the Doritos Locos Taco is awesome. Imagine if they made a Tacone version of it!

  5. B
    September 11, 2012 at 12:21 am (12 years ago)

    Just tried the chicken Cantina Bowl. It was the most disgusting over priced garbage Taco Bell has put out. I agree with the reviewer–there was something very off about the flavor of the dressing, and my chicken had the consistency of bologna–with no flavor. The beans were slimey. Spend the extra buck or two and go to Chipotle!

    • Denise
      September 14, 2012 at 6:44 pm (12 years ago)

      chipotle doesn’t have drive thru though so I’ll stick with taco bell. I noticed the bowls are not all that but the burritos are pretty good.

      I don’t get eat beef so it’s a good alternative from their regular chicken burritos and tacos.

    • Jeff
      February 3, 2013 at 11:59 pm (11 years ago)

      I tried the Chicken Cantina Burrito yesterday. I had high hopes, but it was disgusting. The rice was a grayish brown and the entire contents of the burrito were just a pile of mush. I wanted it to taste like Chipotle, but it just tasted like Chipotle’s old, worn out whore of a cousin.

  6. Mallory
    March 1, 2013 at 8:20 am (11 years ago)

    I think Taco Bell needs to go back to what they know! I tried the Cantina Burrito the other day, it was so nasty! The steak reminded me of beef jerky, was lacking so much flavor,and the burrito was so soggy! This just confirms why I am going to stay away from Taco Bell…because they suck!

    • Marc
      July 26, 2013 at 8:46 pm (11 years ago)

      Ya stick to the crunchy taco’s and bean burritos. Anything that they try to even remotely appeal to the health conscious (which I am a nutritionist btw) is absolutely disgusting. Enter 7 layer burritos and the whole cantina bowl mishap.

  7. Yc
    November 26, 2013 at 2:03 pm (11 years ago)

    Had the steak cantina bowl today. Disgusting. Every bite after the first few made me want to throw up. It was loaded with some wet sauce which made it way too liquid like. The steak did not taste like steak LOL. It was hard and tasted more like cardboard. I was hoping to love it because i am pregnant and it looked good (i am a fan of other bowls at their competitors). The rice was not good and the beans were not either! It was all a bunch of mush that tasted the same. I went back in and returned it. Everyone in the back looked towards me like oh no what was wrong with it. The bowl itself was wrong. Yuck!!!!


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