Poncho's is an authentic Mexican restaurant on Denman near Robson Street. Ponchos features live music every week from Wednesday to Sunday
This used to be a great restaurant but somehow they seemed to drop a couple notches resting on past laurels. The last time I was here, the service was so bad that I decided I wouldn't come back. We asked for chips and salsa about 5 times and waited close to an hour for it to arrive. The food was barely a 3, I am probably being generous on this. The best thing about this place are the lime margaritas; they may be the best in the city.
This is an awesome place to go for authentic mexican fare and listen to mamma poncho sing and play the guitar. I My fave is the jumbo prawn fajita, it goes perfectly with their lime margheritas!
I went with a group of 10 on a Friday night, arriving on time for our reservation. Our tables hadn't been set up for us in advance, so we had to wait in the doorway while they did that. The servers were friendly enough at first, but became distant as the night wore on.
Our drinks arrived at different times and the appetizers that were ordered were forgotten by the servers. One of our party sent back a pitcher of sangria because it was full of ice and little drink. After an hour, meals finally started arriving, but they came a couple at a time. While my meal sat in front of me getting cold, I waited for my tablemates to receive their meals for a very long time. The servers lazily delivered meals to other tables and didn't seem to notice that half of our table didn't have meals. I finally had to approach the owner to tell her that we were waiting for a long time. She jumped to attention and finally the other meals arrived. I had to have mine reheated.
The food was so-so, no one was really blown away by it and the consensus was that this had been a bad choice for our group meal. When we were paying the bill, I think the owner finally noticed that we weren't thrilled and told us that the next time we returned with a group, we would get a free appetizer or something. Too little, too late. Sorry Poncho's, but I don't think I'll ever come back.
I know that rent is high in downtown Vancouver and as a result restaurants tend to be a little costlier, especially the sit-down ones. But eating at Ponchos I really can't help but feel just a touch ripped-off at the comparison between the price we paid for our meals and the quality of the food and service. The food is standard Mexican fare, nothing special and certainly nothing to write home about. The service is, also, average at best. If you've got a hankering for Mexican food and you're in the area, it'll serve that purpose, but there are many better (and better-valued) restaurants in the area if you're just looking for a bite to eat.
I've said before that i'm a massive Mexican fan, and Ponchos is my staple. Not least the fact that we live half a block from the place, but the music, the great authentic food and the friendly staff make it a great casual night out.
Unfornately their Margheritas are rubbish, but the flaming coffee that Mamma wheels out 3-4 times a night is well worth it for first timers.
The food is solid and i keep going back. Tick.
So here we come to a little Mexican nook on Denman street. I've been here plenty of times with friends because we love the place so much.
Highlights: the food (of course) and their special "Poncho's Coffee!"
We almost always start out with their "Sopa Azteca," which is essentially chicken soup with tortillas, spices, avocado, and cheese. Simply put: glory!
I bounce around their main course items, all of which (so far that I've tasted) are really good. The meat is always cooked to perfection, the flavours are bold and well-balanced, and the portions are hearty.
But, the highlight of the meal comes last, with Poncho's Coffee. For $7 a glass, you get a live performance by one of the owners, flambé-ing shots of Gran Marnier, Kahlua, and brandy into a glass with coffee and rimmed with a mixture of lemon, sugar, and cinnamon. Nothing draws attention more than flaming glasses! And it's done with panache.
There's also a live guitarist who plays and sings in the evening, which adds a nice "homely" touch to the place, which is decked with lots of typical Mexican decorations.
The servers are decent, need to be prompted sometimes and aren't the greatest at taking orders, but hey - they get the job done eventually. The food and drinks are more than worth the service. Recommended.
I read the reviews of Poncho's before visiting there over the weekend. I should have known that my experience wouldn't be any better. First, my fiance and I had to wait 15 minutes for a table after being promised it would only be 5 minutes, and with two tables having already been cleared and ready for customers. After finally being seated, we had to wait another 5 minutes for our menus and no one took our drink order until well after that. After almost walking out at that point, we grudgingly decided to have fajitas and the tostada. They were okay at best. The margaritas were really good though. And they give you chips and salsa to start your meal which was pretty good. That's about all I can say that was positive about our experience. We probably won't be going back as we didn't feel valued as customers at all.
Promenading up Denman Street with my boyfriend last night, we passed by Ponchos, which appeared to be the happening place. Live music streamed out the window and what appeared to be a full house of patrons patiently awaiting their dinner . The menu looked good enough so we went for it.
I ordered the Azteca Soup and the Quesadilla, my boyfriend got the Pollo con al chipotle parmesana
"a must have" (according to the menu and waitress).
After a half hour we received our food. What awaited my appetite was a shallow bowl of soggy tortilla chips in a thin sodium rich broth. When the 2nd course arrived, I initially thought the wrong order was given to me as the quesadillas were not present on my plate, it wasn't until I took a closer look that I realized they were miniature. Not miniature in the cute sense of the word, rather miniature in the scale sense. Each quesadilla was as no larger than 1 human thumb. There were 6 on the plate which I suppose resembled a 6 thumbed hand. They were unsatisfying. The side order of rice tasted like Uncle Ben rice with frozen vegtables.
The Pollo con al chipotle parmesana was generic and left my boyfriend still hungry after his meal.
After we left, it was off to find our next food destination...never have I ever left a Mexican restaurant hungry.
I ate there a few years ago and wasn't overly impressed, but decided to give them another chance last night.
Big mistake. I remember now why I didn't go back the last time. I most certainly will never go back again and I will tell all of my many friends the same.
SERVICE (1): I arrived at 4:30 and found out they didn't open until 5. I should have taken this opportunity, but oh no. I was hungry, wanted Mexican food and I had already trekked all the way from Marpole to the West End via transit. So I came back at around 6.
SERVICE (2): Red flags started popping up the second I walked in the door. I had to argue with the waitress about being allowed to sit somewhere other than right by the door even though the restaurant was completely empty. (The fact that the restaurant was completely empty at 6PM on a beautiful summer Friday evening in the West End should have been a major red flag, but I still soldiered on.) Then, I had to ask for water, which tasted funny. Then I realised I was not offered chips and salsa, something that's de rigeur at every other Mexican establishment I have ever visited. Then I found out they didn't have any beer on tap.
I should have gotten up and left right then, but oh no, I *still* soldiered on.
FOOD (1): This place's only redeeming quality is the red salsa, which was very good. Everything else was awful. The nachos consisted of a small dinner plate with maybe two or three layers of chips covered with a thin layer of refried beans, about an inch of red salsa (very tasty - the only redeeming quality of this place) and a light dusting of some white cheese-like substance. I thus had a choice of chip consistencies - completely soaked through or completely dry and untouched by any toppings. Bottom line: I can get better nachos at any non-Mexican sports bar in Vancouver.
SERVICE (3): Clearly the left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing. I was asked by no fewer than three staff for my order after I'd already given it. I was never offered refills of the funny-tasting water, but had to flag down the staff and interrupt their obviously personal texting and mobile phone conversations. When I asked why I wasn't getting chips and salsa, I was told I had to order an entreé and that the nachos didn't count because they were just an appy.
FOOD (2): As stated earlier, I was hungry and was jonesing for Mexican food, so I decided to STILL soldier on and order an entreé. Big mistake. My chicken molé came, again, on a small dinner plate (more like a large salad plate) and consisted of dry chicken with too-sweet sauce and tiny portions of rice and beans. The rice had a suspicious red powdery spice mixture sprinkled on it and contained what was obviously once frozen corn and carrots.
VALUE: As stated above, the portions were very skimpy. The nachos at any non-Mexican place are big enough to fill up a single diner and then some, but not here. The portions of rice and beans were scarcely bigger than your fist when they should each be about the size of your face. The whole abomination came to nearly $40 even though I hadn't ordered any alcohol, and that included being charged $2.95 for an extra small cup of salsa to cover up the taste of the awful molé sauce. And then they wondered why I didn't tip. It's too bad I didn't have two pennies on me or I would have given the "two-cent treatment."
AMBIANCE: The small restaurant was quite hot and very noisy. They had a musician who missed every third note of what sounded vaguely like the Mexican Hat Dance on ludes. I wondered if he was just practising for his ambition of being a worse singer than William Shatner.
All in all, a horrible dining experience and I really wish I could get my money back.
I have always wanted to eat at this restaurant after walking by it for years. Tonight my buddy and I went to eat here and it was in a word OK. The portions were small for the price but the taquitos I had and the chimichanga my buddy had were tasty enough. I was still hungry after the meal. Our waitress was very nice and friendly and the food arrived quickly. The ambiance was cute with sombrero lights and Mexican chachkas. All in all pleasant but not spectacular.
Went here about a week ago and although the food was pretty decent(average at best) the service was weak.On a sunday night they had 3 waitresses plus the manager working the floor and they were still running around like crazy.This is for a room of maybe 20 people total.
Serving isn't an easy job but they had no organization whatsoever. We were seated by one waitress who we had to flag down after 15 mins. for water and then gave our orders to another only to have the third waitress ask us after another 15 if we'd ordered yet and that she'd have to check to see if our order had made it to the chefs...
We noticed at least two other tables looking irritated ,as well as one couple leaving in anger.
The whole time the 3 servers were scrambling around the restaurant we could see the manager just chilling out,not too concerned.Even when an older couple seated next to us raised issue with being overcharged he just pawned it off to the server to let her deal with it.
Not impressed at all...
Ok, we cannot take Pancho's for more than what it is. It is an inexpensive eating option downtown.
When we arrived it was moderately busy, and my friend and I quickly stole a desired, but unreserved table. Glad we did, because five minutes later, the line up was out the door and we had hungry masses watching us eating our food for the remainder of the time. Close the door people - are you in or out?!
Took a bit of time get our beer and the did not have draught, but the simple and salty nachos were brought out quickly. The simple salsa had a kick to it, which was a welcome change from the bland stuff that is usually served to please the "it's too spicey" crowd who would be better off traveling with packets of Taco Bell salsa.
Entrees were brought out quickly. TexMex style fajitas and burritos, but lived up to expectations. The meat used was ok, but not wonderful, and more shells had to be asked for.
Service was with a smile, and the friendliness made up for any shortcomings. The staff genuinely appeared to enjoy serving their customers - even the ones patiently waiting for seats.
Good value. I will probably return with my wife who enjoys TexMex food.
Everything tasted like blaaaaaand beans. Seriously. This is not a good option for even mediocre Mexican food; especially when there are so many better options in the neighbourhood! The service was ridiculously slow - with only two tables with customers!
The margaritas were underblended (GIANT chunks of ice do not make for a refreshing drink), both dishes we ordered tasted like pasty, bland beans (even though we ordered completely different meals, they both tasted the same), the service was poor, and the ambiance was fairly typical.
Don't waste your time.
We dropped by during the early evening when it was not too crowded or busy. Service was good - we had no problem there. The paella seafood dish was pretty bland with tough small shrimp. The enchiladas with mole sauce was terrible. Nothing special about the 'homemade' mole. Two enchiladas were drowned in an ocean of mole with a tasteless cheese spread on top. Greasy rice sitting on a lake of mole. It was not easy to get through our meal. Very disappointed and won't be going back.
Green Enchiladas looked microwaved and almost as if came out of a frozen box because it was perfectly layered with food to three quarters of an inch high. 1/2 of the dish was way sour green chicken enchiladas, 1/4 was watery refried beans and the rest was typical Mexican rice. The enchiladas were covered with lines of watery sour cream from a squeeze bottle. Side of guacamole and Tortilla chips were good but the salsa was not home made and not good.
"At least I'll enjoy the dessert" I thought. The 3 2.5 inch churros were cold and not fresh fried.
I mentioned that churros should be fresh fried or at the very least served warm with ice cream. A few minutes later she came back with fresh fried churros.
She was friendly and I did tip 20%. We were the only table from 5pm to 5:45pm but it was still too early for most people.
I might try them again a year from now to see if the food improves.
After some Christmas shopping we were looking for a place to relax and have a nice meal. Walked by Poncho's and thought we'd give it a try. We waited at the door to be seated for 5 minutes. This place is the size of a closet so they noticed us for sure. When someone arrived to seat us, we were not greeted, menu's thrown on the table and kept walking. Although stunned and amazed that this had happened, we looked at the menu. Uninspired is a word that comes to mind. Waited for a server to take drink orders...never happened.
I am no fool and recognized that I was clearly not welcomed here. We got up and left. The only faint bright spot is that the guitarist said good-bye. Unwittingly, he may not realize how permanent that statement is with regard to Poncho's. It will be a cold day in......before you see me or my money.
Server was pleasant enough but not really interested in her job, wifes meal was worse than mine, which was at least edible, we were wished a good night and come again but I had to remind her we hadn't gotten a bill yet therefore hadn't paid, she then proceeded to take another 5 minutes trying to figure out the bill.
We went to Panchos looking for a good local Mexican restaurant. What a disappointment. The Chile Rellanos was soggy, over cooked and unrecognizable as a pepper. The complimentary first round of chips and Salsa was meagre especially considering they charge $20 for a basic entree (you'd think they'd throw in a few more chips). Beans tasted as if they came straight from the can.
Treat yourself, head across the border to Bellingham or even Blaine where you can have great Mexican food for a fair price.
Last Friday night, a group of us booked a table for a friend's birthday. The food was delicious, the service excellent, there was lively Mexican music and they make the best Margaritas in town, what more can you ask?! Kaeta went out of her way to make it a memorable evening for us and we had a wonderful time.
I would recommend Ponchos to anyone wanting authentic Mexican food and a great party atmosphere! The place was full and there were many people waiting to get a table, this is a sure sign of a good Restaurant in my opinion!
We've been going to Poncho's pretty much since it opened, when it was still in it's older, smaller location. The food is still authentic and excellent (Kaeta makes trips back home to Mexico at least once a year) and they've added some new items. Try the pulled pork tortillas - excellent! An old favourite - Carne Mexicana with it's steak in a tomato-y sauce, mole poblano chicken enchilada, refritos and rice, is still a treat. And Poncho's special coffee and margarita's are as yummy as always.
Yes, the service can be slow - but at Poncho's, why are you in a rush? Staff is often young relatives brought up from Mexico, and changes fairly often, so if you need help, wave and ask for it!
With the singer that is now a regular and the cheerful, cosy atmosphere, the ambience should really make you slow down and enjoy the evening, if you let it. For me, it's like coming home!