Bandidas Taqueria offers vegetarian and vegan Mexican dishes. Large plates of nachos, handmade soft tacos, fresh ingredients and cheap beer.
Having recently made the shift to pescetarianism, I'm always interested to try out vegetarian restaurants. Bandidas had been on my list for awhile and my first experience exceeded my expectations.
Let me get the criticisms out of the way first. There isn't a convenient place to stand while you wait for a table, so you're always semi-hovering over someone's table. The stools are right in front of "The List" where the host puts your name down, so you're constantly in the way. And the decor needs some work. It seems like something's missing that would pull the room together. Maybe if the walls were painted something other than white? They're obviously going for an eclectic, homey feeling, but it felt cluttered to me. However, these are minor quibbles, and they do takeout so the ambiance isn't a dealbreaker for me.
Onto the food. I was thrilled to learn you can mix and match tacos because I wanted to try several. I settled on the Ronny Russell (roasted yams) and the Leona May (chipotle tofu). Both were stellar, if a little messy to eat because they are generous with the fillings. Be sure to get the "beautiful side salad" (the house salad). My boyfriend and I agree the pepitas and guac make it something special. I sampled his Dave's chipotle tofu burritos with mole sauce, which finds the right balance of sweet and spicy.
Our server was friendly and helpful. She even commiserated with my distaste for cilantro and made sure they left it off my salad. It's nice to find a Mexican restaurant (even if it's not authentic Mexican) that gets that some of us have the cilantro=soap gene.
I like what you're doing here, Bandidas. Keep it up.
We went to Bandidas based on the reviews that we have read. We were not disappointed in the least! The only one draw back is that it is vegetarian with no meat options. However, there are plenty of items to choose from - and all looked tasty!
We started with the small nachos (which was a loaded with toppings), and for mains my other half ordered Dani's enchiladas with rice and beans, and I the house salad with added roasted yam and tofu.
He found the enchiladas a little sweet for his liking but was still impressed with quantity and quality. I really enjoyed my salad - and I couldn't even eat it all!
Ambiance is not high end, but more of a comfy feeling. I loved that none of the chairs or dishes matched.
Service was very pleasant and attentive. Even though they were busy, our server still managed to come and check on us a few times.
Dinner total for 1 litre white sangria (really good!), small nacho, enchilada, and house salad $50 after tax. Saturdays the sangria is on special for $15 for 1 litre.
We will be back!
I have been here about a handful of times and have always thoroughly enjoyed myself. Service can be hit or miss, last time we were there service was kinda sub-par but the time before our server was friendly and efficient and even laughed at our terrible inside jokes. Last time we were here was with a group of 9 for mine and my friend's birthdays and everyone had a different item off the menu and even though there were only 3 of us who are vegetarian no one complained about not having any meat. We all shared nachos, vegan and nonvegan, with a side of guacamole which is definitely a must! Their burritos are good sized and delicious and those that had the enchiladas said the same thing. My nephew had a brownie for dessert and his only complaint was that it wasn't big enough. I find the price for their food very reasonable, if you're drinking margaritas your bill might stack up a bit but as a poor student I can easily be sated and not feel it in my wallet. I personally love the decor and ambiance as it feels very relaxed and homey, but I know not everyone would share my affinitiy for loud music and bikes on the wall. The place is on the smaller side so chances are you will probably have to wait for a table, but even if you get a disinterested waitress who forgets your beer, the food will be worth the wait!
I had a delicious late brunch here. One of my favorite places to go for a good healthy meal. The value is outstanding, it's nice to see fresh, healthy and colourful ingredients for a good price. I am not vegetarian but I do think next time I go I will try some tofu, it looks as if they will do it right.
The missed matched furniture and relaxed down to earth staff gives it a nice comfortable friendly feel.
I love Bandidas! I come here pretty regularly and am always happy. The food is delicious and consistent. I've had the house salad, tortilla soup, enchiladas, Ronny Russel, Estelle and Wolf & Goat burritos/tacos. You can get the burrito bakes with sauce and cheese. I've also had breakfast here and find it equally delicious! The benny's are made on cornbread muffin tops with salsa instead of hollondaise. The food doesn't make me feel weighed down, as it's fresh and nutritious. Love the small feel of it, and the service is pretty on point. The owners are always there working in the kitchen and it really feels good to be there.
Whatever bad reviews Bandidas has gotten regarding their bad service, I think they’ve remedied that now. These reviews were posted around March 2009, when Bandidas was still very new. Indeed, when I went around this time, service was slow, but it was absolutely PACKED – and the atmosphere was buzzing with a great community feel and super-friendly staff.
I’ve been back twice now and the speed of service has improved a great deal. They are still very friendly, but now the food seems to be cranked out much faster. I think they’ve hired more people and the new-restaurant craze has died down. But even when they were super busy, our servers for each of our visits were very attentive and helpful.
Food: Mexican (especially American-Mexican) is usually associated with loads of cheese and meat dripping with grease, but the food at Bandidas is super healthy and knock-out tasty.
My husband is from the Southwest with Mexican relatives. Let’s say we are VERY picky about our Mexican. Although this is a vegetarian/vegan place does not serve "traditional" Mexican fare, we both agree Bandidas makes amazing food. So far, we have had the Ronny Russell, Estelle, Leona Gail and Camillo tacos/burritos – and the Los GLD nachos (huge and bountiful). They are all very, very tasty – and fresh. I’m generally a meateater, so I love that breaded walnuts, chipotle tofu, pumpkin seeds and roasted pineapple can make me totally forget that there’s no meat in these dishes. Somehow, they manage to balance all these flavours to make meatless dishes taste incredible. On top of that, their prices are perfectly decent for the tastiness and portion sizes they serve.
Ambience: I love the simple, low-key décor. It has a retro-hippy kind of feel that makes it inviting, unpretentious and comfortable. Really fits in with The Drive community. It’s also nice to see they are kid-friendly, with a shelf of kids’ books and toys ready if needed.
In summary: This is a great little restaurant and I would most definitely recommend it.
I don't know what the other reviewers are talking about regarding the service, as myself and my party of 4 were seated, served and finished all in good time. The food was delicious and prompt. My only concern was that the waiter didn't return to refill our water throughout the meal. Minor issue in what was overall a pleasant experience.
We finally managed to grab a quick bite at Bandidas Taqueria last night, after wanting to eat here for quite a while now.
We started with some fresh guacamole and corn chips, the guacamole was very tasty and left us wanting more! Following this, we shared the house salad with yams and the 'Estelle' tacos. The house salad was extremely good, the ingredients were so fresh and healthy tasting, the addition of the yam added almost a caramelized taste to the dish. The tacos tasted wonderful, with just the right combination of toppings - the pineapple being a great addition to the dish!
The staff were very friendly and courteous, and the bill set us back $32 including tip and two non-alcoholic drinks. I would definitely recommend this place for a cheap, healthy meal.
Bandidas has become busy quickly and it's easy to see the reason when you eat there. The food is freshly done, good quality, filling and innovative. There are many dishes I have yet to try and I will return. The breakfast burrito is amazing and I got the vegan sour cream and cheese options. Vegans will find they can eat most items on the menu as Bandidas has creative substitutions for eggs (even Bennys) and dairy. The vegan brownie is definitely worth going for and there is vegan french toast. There are also naturally many wheat/gluten-free items on the menu because the main starch here is corn.
Service was slow yet attentive. The kitchen is small so orders can stack up on a busy day. All staff were incredibly friendly and the atmosphere was great (went for brunch) for friends and families alike.
The emphasis at Bandidas is clearly on providing excellent Mexican food, which is not just tasty but nourishing too. Our favourite dish so far is the Los GLD nachos, which is ridiculously good and also happens to be awesome value for money. The food is clearly planned and prepared with extreme care, and each dish has a good balance of beans/veg/starch/seeds, etc. We recently tried the sangria, which is going to be a huge hit for summer, though the beer is also superb (and local). Brunch is served on weekends, much to our delight (the cornbread is wicked). The staff at Bandidas are enthusiastic (though service was a teensy bit slow on extra busy nights), and the atmosphere is casual, funky and family friendly, a combination that is hard to pull off well, but they do it. We hardly even noticed we were being easier on the planet :-D
Make sure you got your tattoo on before you eat here. I think I was the only one that didn't have one in the restaurant. That's all good. I felt like the people just left MEC on their bikes and went straight to the restaurant for a convention. Lots of treehuggers, that's all good. Oh yeah, that;s right vegetarian. The food is quite good. Probably the best vegetarian I have had. Solid stuff. Do recommend it for sure!
I decided to try this place since Budgie's Burritos turned out to be such a bust.
Food- Really tasty. Chipotle tofu is craveable.
Service- Just TERRIBLE. Two orders were wrong, and the server didn't come back, so I just ate it one anyways (got fed up about the second and complained). Forgot about one of our items and it had to be reordered. No drink refills or busing of plates. Was told the poor service was due to dining during a staff shift change.. but had the same server the whole time.
Value- Good price, but be warned that the portions of tacos are small. The burritos are easily a meal and at $9 that's cheaper than most .
Ambiance- Definitely commercial drive casual. I wouldn't want to be eating a bowl of soup in a rocking chair, but that's just me. There's also a huge shelf of kids books and toys, so if you want to relax expect screaming toddlers.
I'll go once more to give them another chance, because I know they just opened awhile ago, but if the service doesn't improve I'll just make my own at home.
I have been meaning to go to this place for ages and I finally made it and man do I regret not going sooner! The food was amazing, every one was starving and barely anyone could finish their meals. Probably because we had the nachos first, which were more toppings then chips. The service was good enough for a busy saturday night and when the drinks came there were no complaints to be had. I will back there again soon, maybe tomorrow...
We ate here on 5/27/13. We were HIGHLY impressed and so happy not to ask tons of questions such as, Is the rice cooked with chicken broth, is there lard in the beans, etc. The burritos were incredible and had fantastic flavor to them. My husband had the chipotle tofu and we were told it was made there. FABULOUS FLAVOR! Whoever is creating these masterpieces certainly knows what they are doing! We live in Seattle so can't come all the time. Believe me, if we lived closer, we'd be living there. Can you please open a Bandidas Taqueria #2 in Seattle? We don't have any 100% vegetarian Mexican restaurants here, only some with veg options. If you want the absolute best veg Mexican food, this place is a MUST!
The food was ok. I was expecting it to be a bit better because it's always so busy there. I had the tortilla soup. It was pretty gross. It was the consistency of spagetti sauce. Tasted more like a sauce for pasta than a soup. It had avocado and tortilla chips in it but not enough spice and was gross.
I also ordered the tofu tacos which were pretty good except they were soggy. I liked the sauces they stuck on the tacos. They had some other varities of tacos that seemed a bit weird like walnuts, and pineapple and some other weird items that didn't sound good for tacos.
Also I ordered a side of rice w/ my tacos. They say you can order a side or rice, or a side of beans. I was figuring the rice would have had some flavour. It was plain rice. It was specifically listed as a side order for the tacos. What am i supposed to do with plain rice for tacos? I asked the waitress what am I supposed to do with this rice? Is there anything it comes w/ any sauces? I was def expecting some spanish rice being its a mexican restaurant but it was plain / nothing came w/ it. She brought me a side of enchilada sauce for the rice it was gross. Who eats plain rice???
My vegan friend asked the waitress if their dessert was vegan the waitress said it was and then after they were half way eating it the waitress advised they made a mistake and it wasn't. Not very cool...
My other friend had some sort of a burrito. It was pretty boring tasting. I don't know why people think this place is so great.
If you don't eat meat this is a great place to eat. I have no complaints. I liked my food... I just wish there was some dead animal flesh somewhere in it.. Other than that, Mmmmmmmmmmmm. The servers didn't come by too much, or not enough. That was nice. The price is pretty good too. And I got full. So that's a plus!
Tasty vegetarian tacos! Went and ordered 2 of everything and shared! Surprisingly filling and even the meat lovers weren't missing the meat. Healthy and affordable, what's not to love? Try the sweet potato and pumpkin seed, will not disappoint!
Very casual setting, typical east van hipster decor (think; foundation, little nest, zubees, anything and everything on the drive...) and that explains the scenester kids with their flip up hats and hollow glasses frames that tend to find themselves here. Even fun if you're not into that sort of thing. But as a warning, not somewhere to bring the in-laws ha ha.