Poncho's is an authentic Mexican restaurant on Denman near Robson Street. Ponchos features live music every week from Wednesday to Sunday
Service isn't top priority here... it's got the "mañana" kind of feel to it.
That being said, I found the margaritas and the food delicious. And every time I've been here, there's been a live musician playing a guitar, belting out some spanish tune.
Definitely quenched my craving for Mexican, and I will be back.
I've eaten at Poncho's before and it was quite good. Unfortunately things have changed.
Our entrees came out before our appetizers, so we asked for our appetizers first, which took an additonal 20 minutes. When our entrees eventually came out, 20 minutes after our appetizers had been cleared, they were THE SAME plates we had originally been served! They were cold and scuzzy looking after sitting under a heat lamp for over half an hour, so we sent them back. 10 or 15 minutes later, they came out again, still only lukewarm, but at that point we decided that sending them back again would ensure that we would spend at least another hour there.
The service was terrible, we weren't quality checked even once, and nobody apologized for the numerous errors. It seemed that we were not the only people experiencing this as well. I love mexican food, but I will not ever set foot in there again. I would have given the service a zero if I could have. The ambience was ok, what I would expect from a mexican place, but didn't even come close to making up for the inattentive, inept service.
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.
I can't agree with the reviews below.
I went to Poncho's on Friday night and we got the last available table (which is always a good sign).
Service was average, nothing especially good, but not bat either.
The food was quite good, I am not sure if it was very authentic (I generally dont have a good knowledge of Mexican food), but to me it tasted quite good and my partner was happy too.
The margaritas were excellent, I can't remember to ever have had a better one! no kidding!
The bill came to $55 for two people which included 1 liter of margarita, an appetizer and two entrees. Not bad at all!
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.
We weren't looking for anything fancy. We were standing on Denman and looked at Poncho's, then across the street to Rooster's Quarters, then looked back at Poncho's, and opted for Poncho's knowing that we weren't looking for gourmet - just an affordable, casual meal.
Immediately we were given the window seat. Menus came soon after and we ordered a liter of sangria and the dinner platter for 2.
Throughout our dinner we would be served by 3-4 different waitresses.
Chips with salsa arrived within a few minutes, as did 2 glasses of ice water. Our sangria arrived almost at the same time as our first course - the quesadillas. The quesadillas were cut into small wedges, filled with tiny bits of sausage and a lot of creamy cheese. On top was a dollop of guacamole.
The sangria was refreshing - not too much ice, not too much fruit. The fruit (apples and orange peel) were cut into 1cm cubes.
Dishes were cleared away when our platter arrived. It had marinated beef (with some sort of tomato/celery stew on top), 10 garlic prawns, a tiny bowl of rice, a tiny bowl of beans & cheese, and 2 chili rellenos. The chili rellenos were mild, covered in tomato sauce and covered entirely in melted cheese. It was too much cheese to what's already a cheesy dish. The prawns were good - the tails were removed so it made for easy eating. The rice/beans were bland, as they should be, but the beef was flavourful. Not the best quality of beef, but thinly sliced pot roast style beef..
The singer/guitarist was a nice break from the horrible Mexican pop songs.
It took a long time for anybody to clear away out plates, but our dessert was soon served - a cinnamon pancake with a dollop of Neapolitan ice cream drizzled in honey.
Prices were good, staff was pleasant, and the food was just decent comfort food. This is not outstanding. This is not necessarily something I'd go out of my way for, nor recommend for an "amazing" Mexican restaurant.
I wanted to give the food a five start rating, but I'm just not sure what incredible tastes like. I've been going to Mexico and eating in their restaurants almost every year for the past 16 years (not the all-inclusives) and I really like what I have found at Poncho's. I've been eating at Poncho's for a good twelve years now and have enjoyed it everytime.
I have tried most of the dishes and all tasted really good. I almost always savour my first few bites before I lose control and chow down, unless it is too hot of course. Some of my favorites are, Pollo con caso e creama, Steak & Garlic prawns, Carne Mexicana and sometimes the Pollo or Carne Verdes for a nice tangy change. I also like that they bring you a basket of chips with Kaeta's fresh salsa to start, like they do at most places in Mexico. Although I like the salads that come with some dishes, I often order something else to get their refried beans. Yum.
I don't drink alcohol, but I have found the Horchata a very delicious drink and reccomend it highly. The deserts are good too, although I rarely have room left for some.
I have introduced Poncho's many times to family and friends and they have also found it an enjoyable experience.
My wife and I have found it better to go before 7pm to beat the rush as it gets busy most nights. We've been lucky enough to get in during special Mexican celebrations like Mexican Independence day where Poncho's puts on a show of traditional dancers and music or a great Mariachi band.
The owners and staff have always been friendly and promt as they are able to in their Mexican way. Something new I learned, is Mexicans think it rude to bring you the check before you ask for it. So if you are in a rush, ask earlier.
I wish they could be open for breakfasts on the weekends. I know it would be great. Enjoy.
Authentic, tasty food with fresh ingredients, Excellent seafood dishes, Poncho's food/ambiance is similar to the numerous family owned Bodegas found in Northern Mexico/SouthWest US and throughout California, an area in which I lived and ate for 45 years, and I do know that this is not Mexican Resort tourist food. The staff is responsive but not intrusive. Ponchos is not staffed and run like Umbertos, or Rain City Grill nor does it have the same impact on your wallet. It is a family owned establishment and you are treated as such. It is a refreshing and enjoyable place for an outing with friends
I was shocked to see such negative reviews about one of our favourite little places on Denman.
Perhaps these people were expecting a 5 star restaurant? I know the concierge at the Sutton place tells guests to go there and get the flaming coffee.
My Wife and I go dine out at least once a week and we prefer Poncho's to restaurants that cost twice as much because
1.The Food is good.
2.The Margaritas are great and can be ordered by the litre
3.The restaurant has a very authentic kitschy Mexican feel.
4.It's inexpensive and the Owner comes out and takes care of every guest.
If you want 5 star treatment, and can pay for it, then go to a 5 star restaurant but if you're with another couple and want to go somewhere fun downtown go to Poncho's!
We had a booking for my husband's birthday but when we got there nobody seemed to know anything about it. The man who "greeted" us was extremely rude and even became agressive when we refused the table (way too small for our party) he wanted to give us. Not wanting to make a fuss we agreed to come back 15 minutes later. The food was boring, the magaritas tasteless and I still can't get over how rude the waiter was. We had been to Ponchos many times in the past. Obsviously it has changed hands but not for the better.
Having just returned from living in Mex (4 yrs) my husband and I are quite the experts on real Mexican food. We have been to Ponchos a number of times, and while the food is good, its not very authentic. It has some of the basics (guacamole, flautas, ) but serves it up with a cheese coated, tex mex rice type style. We are still looking all over Van for a real Mexican taco place. The margaritas are great here, I must admit that!
I was looking forward to eating at this place since some friendo told me it was a good restaurant. I got really dissapointed, it is one of the worst mexican food restaurant i've ever been to. The worst place in Vancouver is Tacos Mexico Rico, Poncho's is second worst, food is bad and overpriced.
I am Mexican and i feel ashamed by the food in this restaurant. Although most of the dishes are typical from Mexico, they mix things that are not typical on the same dish. They don't cook with fresh ingredients, salsas and food are made with tomato paste or puree straight from the can. Tomato is a staple in mexican food. Cooking with canned tomato is a disgrace to mexican food.
First, we had the complimentary chips and salsa. As other reviewers said, chips are bad chips straight out of the bag. Salsa was from a can, or made with canned tomato and not fresh.
I had Ceviche and Camarones a la Diabla. They shouldn't even call ceviche to that dish, cooked frozen shrimps with some ketchup and lime. The Camarones a la Diabla were made with a mix of canned tomato paste, and bottled hot sauce. In Mexico you usually have rice as side dish for Camarones a la Diable, they put some potato with onions, and to make things worse, a salad with italian dressing!.
My wife had beef Fajitas. Although Fajitas is not a true mexican dish (just as Nachos, they are not authentic mexican!), we do appreciate good fajitas. They rubbed the beef with some spicy mix (may be they bought it at Super Value or some cheap superstore), and the beef was very dry. The put rice as side dish, they sprinkled the same spicy mix on the rice. My wife thought the rice was the best thing in our dishes, so, you can imagine the quality of the food. The Guacamole was a lot of onion, some tomato and a few chunks of oxidated avocado.
The last nail in the coffin was the Churros we had for dessert. They were fried in very very old oil that was already rancid, and the center of the Churro was not cooked. They were not edible.
I think the success of this restaurant relies in the bohemian atmosphere of the place. They have a person singing and playing the guitar, and the owner (i was told she was the owner) also sings. The owner is an ok singer, and the guitar player is a bad singer (not terrible, but bad), yet they build a kind of nice atmosphere, but that's not an excuse to sell terrible food!
I would never recommend this restaurant to anybody!
I went to Ponchos on my B-day and also taken my Mexican friends who were visiting Van to this restaurant. The portion is very generious and the Shrimp Tortila is really good, even my mexican friends thought it was one of the best mexican food they've tasted while in Vancouver. (yes, nothing beats their authentic tacos from street venders..MMMM). The service is a bit on the slow side but wasn't too bad, we asked for refills of our torilas and were able to get them within 5 minutes (Maybe because we were sitting near the front counter/kitchen?). If you visit Ponchos around 7-10pm, they turn down the light and the owner's wife will give a live performance singing with guitar, which is quite nice!