Bandidas Taqueria offers vegetarian and vegan Mexican dishes. Large plates of nachos, handmade soft tacos, fresh ingredients and cheap beer.
Was here for lunch today, and was impressed with the food. I had the enchiladas with squash and the verde sauce...very good; my companion had the enchiladas with chipotle tofu and mole sauce ( tasting it I thought it was even better than my choice). We arrived a lunch time and were lucky to get a table, but by the time we finished it had cleared out a bit. I will be back again.
I am new to eating a more vegan or plant-based diet, which means that my choices for going out for dinner have changed significantly. Once you cut out things like meat or even cheese for that matter you realize the world of eating out is not at all geared towards you. In fact, you might be lucky if there is even one thing on the menu you can eat. So recently I have been trying out a few local vegetarian restaurants and the main thing that we have noticed is that the service is always not that great. For instance, the foundation makes pretty good food but their idea of service is "here's the table, here's your food (usually on a severely chipped plate)...here's where you pay" - end of story. Same goes for the Naam but that's nothing new.
This leads me to my experience today at Bandidas. Today six of us went for lunch there and not only was the food very good but the service was exceptional. Our waitress "kir" (not sure of spelling) was really nice and friendly. She also made it very clear that they could make anything vegan if needed, she made sure we didn't need anything before and after we got our food, which came super fast btw. I would totally recommend this place to anyone. Thanks Bandidas, I'll be back for sure!
Place was packed with granolas and hipsters and after a 20 minute wait, granted it was lunchtime saturday, I had high expectations for the vegetarian menu. Service is not grand; you don't get so much as a nod from the one gal acting both host and waitress, that she sees a bunch of customers waiting there until she has a table. Though having a nice manner, she comes and goes during the meal without you realizing, which is just fine for the type of joint that it is.
Was recommended The Breakfast of free range eggs, side purple cabbage salad, beans, salsa, cornbread, and roasted yams/potatoes. It was as she said, simple. Simple can be satisfying...but not in this case. The cabbage salad was very simply, sliced cabbage, and the firm cornbread was not hugely inviting. All items on the plate taste better at home. Tofu-filled taco looked, smelled and tasted very healthy, not bad for vegan. Drinks looked great and organic coffee refills are aplenty.
A slightly disappointing rating as food is supposed to taste better when you're famished. But it was not so. I may be back, but probably at the request of friends, to try less generic breakfast items or different sauced enchiladas and other tacos.
Decor makes the food look interesting. Nice to include HST into menu prices. OK value overall.
I have eaten here a number of times. It is usually very busy, but I have never had to wait more than 5 mins for table so far. All of the food I have had so far is extremely delicious, especially the veganized cheese. I am not vegan, but I have tried it and it is something special. I prefer it to most real cheeses, as other places use cheap real cheese and this is better than that. My one issue with the restaurant is that when you buy nachos they provide you with extremely small amounts of salsa, sour cream or guac which is quite expensive. I really wish they would up these sizes so that you could enjoy a solid dip on your chips.
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 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.
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
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.