Mar 27, 2024

Review: Taco Bell - Cantina Chicken Bowl

Taco Bell Cantina Chicken Bowl next to a quarter and sauce packet.

Taco Bell's Cantina Chicken Bowl features a bowl filled with new slow-cooked Cantina Chicken, black beans, seasoned rice, iceberg lettuce, shredded purple cabbage, Avocado Ranch Sauce, reduced-fat sour cream, pico de gallo, guacamole, and shredded cheddar cheese. It comes with a packet of new Avocado Salsa Verde.

I bought the bowl for $7.99.

Side view of Taco Bell Cantina Chicken Bowl.

The new Cantina Chicken looked like it had been loosely pulled by hand as there was a good deal of variance between thin shreds and bigger, meaty pieces, including the biggest non-fried chicken piece I've ever gotten from Taco Bell.

A spoonful of the chicken from a Taco Bell Cantina Chicken Bowl.

There was an enjoyable savory flavor to the chicken with just the barest touch of heat. It was also fairly juicy with a good bite to it.

Other new ingredients in the bowl include cabbage and pico de gallo. The cabbage added a fresh crunch and little flavor, while the pico de gallo seemed the same as Taco Bell used to offer, which is to say it was fairly tangy and a bit mushy. The onion lacked crispness and bite, while the tomato was mild and soft. There wasn't all that much of it to go around. The cabbage contributed a nice vibrant color to the bowl.

Close-up of pico de gallo in a Taco Bell Cantina Chicken Bowl.

The new Avocado Salsa Verde was fairly runny with a somewhat bright green color to it. It wasn't terribly rich or tangy but was good for a mix of seasoned flavors. I don't know that it showed up all too well here as there were a lot of strong tangy flavors from the sour cream and guacamole that masked the more subtle components. The salsa comes in a packet that is at least twice as big as a Taco Bell hot sauce packet:

Avocado Salsa Verde package next to a hot sauce packet and quarter.

I don't know why they included the salsa when they're already putting Avocado Ranch Sauce and guacamole in the bowl.

The cheese was very mild with that slightly powdery finish that you get from pre-shredded bagged cheese.

Close-up of chicken and Avocado Salsa Verde in a Taco Bell Cantina Chicken Bowl.

I got the saddest spoonful of black beans in my bowl, which was unfortunate as Taco Bell's black beans have a tasty, savory flavor that would have counterbalanced a lot of the other ingredients. As it stood, the rice was left to carry that load and it struggled a bit despite being the most abundant ingredient here.

Taken as a whole, Taco Bell Cantina Chicken Bowl was a bit unbalanced for me as there was a lot of tanginess going on but not enough savory or rich elements to even it out. The new Cantina Chicken's taste and texture were much better than Taco Bell's grilled chicken though and the Avocado Salsa Verde was quite nice as well.

Nutritional Info - Taco Bell Cantina Chicken Bowl
Calories - 490
Fat - 24g (Saturated Fat - 7g)
Sodium - 1150mg
Carbs - 44g (Sugar - 3g)
Protein - 25g

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