Is Taco Bell's New Gourmet Menu Better than Chipotle's?

July 11, 2012 9:11 PM EDT | By Anthony Smith
Taco Bell
Even the Taco Bell dog has his day. (Photo: Creative Commons)

We've already given you a first look into Cantina Bell, Taco Bell's new gourmet menu that, in the words in one of the company's executives, helped them fall in love with their food all over again. The Cupid in their story is none other than Miami-based Lorena Garcia, who will be competing on the new season of Top Chef this summer, and whose approach to fast food centers around using the freshest, most flavorful ingredients possible.

It's a bold move from a company that just airlifted ten-thousand Doritos Locos tacos into an Alaskan town that did not have a Taco Bell and, quite frankly, may have been better without them. It's also a welcome one. No more will stoners, lazy parents, and the broke-and-hungry have to settle for cheap food that does their body for harm than it does their taste buds good. And trust us when we say this, Taco Bell's usual lineup of molten-cheese-smothered-beany-cheesy foodstuffs does our taste buds a whole lot of good.

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So sure, the Taco Bell's Cantina Bell menu is healthier than the stuff they usually offer, but is it better than Chipotle, which has long enjoyed the title of reigning king of the America-Mexican healthy-delicious neighborhood?

The answer, surprisingly, is that it all depends on what you mean by "better." The stuff doesn't taste as fresh or as good as Chipotle's stuff does, so that's a lot working against it right there. As ubiquitous as Chipotle has become in many major cities, you're probably more hard-pressed to find a Taco Bell than you are a Chipotle. So why, then, do we care at all about this menu?

Other than what it says about fast food companies looking to reinvent themselves through offering healthier choices on their menu, Taco Bell's Cantina Bell menu gets high marks for being quite cheap. All the options on the menu are under five bucks, and the portions are huge. That's as good a reason to come in and give it a try as any.

And oh yeah, ask for extra beans. They're probably the best of the new items.



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