Bandito’s Burrito Lounge:
Found in the Museum District, Bandito’s Burrito Lounge is a TV-lined sports bar with a rustic and grungy vibe, serving "Mexi-Cali cuisine."
The hole-in-the-wall restaurant sits alone on Patterson Avenue and appears to be frequented by Virginia Commonwealth University students, indicated by the countless jerseys that line the walls.
My friends and I were hesitant about the food we were about to have when we walked into Bandito’s, because the beer and sports bar atmosphere was unexpected.
After ordering margaritas to start our meal, we were dissatisfied. The cocktails were watery and lacked any real flavor.
We were again disappointed when the waitress told us the dollar happy-hour taco options – offered from 3-7 p.m. daily – included only beef, black bean or refried bean tacos. Even more unfortunate, the dollar tacos come with only lettuce and cheese, compared with tacos from the regular menu that come with lettuce, tomato, cheese, green onions, cilantro, salsa and sour cream.
Discouraged by the happy-hour selection, I ordered my favorite: fajitas. I expected a flavorful assortment of steak, grilled vegetables and guacamole to be delivered sizzling to the table.
Again, I was let down. The steak was overdone and did not entice my palate. I found myself piling on salsa, sour cream and hot sauce to find some enjoyment in the meal.
To give Bandito’s the benefit of the doubt, not every University of Richmond student shares my sentiments -- and a $1 taco is hard to beat.
Senior Kristin Joostema said she had yet to find a better deal.
“It kind of reminds me of Cook Out," Joostema said. "It’s really cheap, fast and easy, with a restaurant experience.
“The food is good, and I like the variety. Even if you’re not there for happy hour, they still have a pretty decent menu. But, you’re also satisfied with a $2.42 meal.”
Although Bandito’s did not leave me wanting more, it is an adequate option that is convenient for college students “balling on a budget.”
It is a good place to enjoy a sports game and beer, but I would not make this my go-to spot in Richmond.
En Su Boca:
If you are looking for high-quality Tex-Mex food in a lively environment, this is the place for you. En Su Boca not only offers a spacious indoor seating area, but also has fun patio seating perfect for enjoying the warm weather Richmond has to offer.
Having eaten at the upbeat restaurant throughout my four years at UR, I can attest to why it is always full of people.
Any tequila fanatic will fit right in. The restaurant’s extensive margarita and tequila menu is hard to ignore when you are dining at En Su Boca.
Patrons can enjoy the irresistible bottomless chips and housemade salsa appetizer for just $3. But be careful not to fill up on chips and guacamole ($9) before you’re able to enjoy your meal.
The menu offers an array of tacos, burritos and quesadillas, ranging from classic marinated grilled chicken to a sloppy josé option.
Senior Jack Shapiro recommended the burrito with chorizo, which he enjoyed “smothered and slathered”-- a unique option En Su Boca provides, according to its menu.
“It’s a very fun, laid-back environment," Shapiro said. "It’s a great place to get drinks if you want, and also has great food for any time you’re craving Mexican."
Alexis Russell, also a senior, enjoys the spot as her go-to date night restaurant.
“It seems as if they have fresh ingredients," Russell said. "They pack their food with a lot of flavor, which is hard to find sometimes in chain Mexican food restaurants."
Overall, the two recommended En Su Boca for delicious food at a decent price.
En Su Boca offers a variety of happy-hour specials, ranging from $0.75 wings to $2 tacos and $6 margaritas Monday through Friday between 3 and 6 p.m. They also have a “happiest of all hours” from 5-6 p.m., with $1 fish, chorizo and sloppy josé tacos. The assortment falls a notch above others offered by restaurants serving similar food in Richmond.
The one drawback, which Shapiro highlighted, is that customers typically have to wait because the restaurant is constantly bustling, and it does not take reservations.
Contact lifestyle writer Avery Wasson at firstname.lastname@example.org.