The 15 Worst Mexican Restaurant Chains in America That Will Have You Running to the Bathroom

Mexican restaurant chains are all across America. Some are good. Some are bad. We’ve rounded up the 15 worst Mexican restaurant chains in America. See if one’s in your neighborhood, ahead.

Taco Bell

Taco Bell restaurant

The food isn’t the best quality. | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The chain giant plans to operate 8,000 locations by 2022, according to Reuters. Even though the chain is expanding, their food isn’t the best. In fact, Taco Bell’s “Mexican” food is some of the worst. “I ordered a soft taco (meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato), I took a bite and a maggot fell out onto my hand,” a Yelp reviewer said. To make matters worse, the manager only refunds the customer’s money. Think twice before biting into a taco from Taco Bell.

Hint: This chain makes people sick.

Del Taco

Del Taco

You might get sick on the food here. | Andrew Mager/Wikimedia Commons

One dining experience at Del Taco is all it takes for me to say, “adios,” to this Mexican chain. Others agree. “Fast food at restaurant prices, no thanks,” a Yelp reviewer said. “Every time I eat here, I get sick! Not just “I ate my weight in tacos” kind of sick; more like, “sorry job, I have to leave you now” sort of sick,” another reviewer said.

Hint: Bad customer service and even worse food.

El Pollo Loco

El Pollo Loco

Customers experienced bad service. | Xnatedawgx/Wikimedia Commons

With locations in Arizona, California, Louisiana, Nevada, Texas, and Utah, El Pollo Loco is a widespread Mexican restaurant chain. But their service is bad and the food is not much better. El Pollo Loco has the “worst customer service I’ve ever experienced,” a Yelp reviewer said. Another person comments on the customer service. “The lack of care and support for the customers was just ridiculous.” As for the food, stay away from the churros. “They were bad and tasted like rancid oil,” a Yelp reviewer said.

Hint: This chain serves “flavorless food.”

Qdoba

Qdoba

You get what you pay for. | mil199/Wikimedia Commons

“Just awful,” and “blah,” is how Yelp reviewers describe Qdoba’s food. While prices are lower than competitors, the food falls short. “Quantity and price don’t make up for flavorless food,” a reviewer said. For those reasons, Qdoba makes our list of the worst Mexican chain restaurants.

Hint: Raw food is on the menu at this restaurant.

Chuy’s

Chuys

It probably won’t satisfy your taste buds. | Michael Rivera/Wikimedia Commons

Chuy’s has locations in 19 states across the country. The chain is a heavy hitter among Mexican restaurants but their food gets poor reviews. “Possibly the worst “Mexican” food I’ve had in the country,” a Yelp reviewer said. “The chicken was partly raw,” another said. The food’s described as, “pretty bland,” by another. These aren’t even the worst reviews. “I honestly would not eat at Chuy’s if it was the only restaurant left in America,” a reviewer said. The restaurant’s “not somewhere I would ever “Chuy’s” to go of my own accord,” another said.

Hint: “Terrible” is how people describe the food at this restaurant.

Don Pablo’s

The meat isn’t that great. | iStock/Getty Images

Locations span six states primarily on the East Coast and in the Midwest. Customers suggest steering clear of Don Pablo’s restaurants. “If you value having a good meal and good service, guess what — this place lacks both!” a reviewer said. The “food is absolutely terrible, from the very low-quality meat, to the old, dinky lettuce pieces used,” they added.

Hint: Again, terrible service and bad food marks this Mexican restaurant.

Rubio’s Coastal Grill

Rubios

Customers didn’t appreciate the service. | Matt Howry/Wikimedia Commons

Rubio’s Coastal Grill is a restaurant with more than 30 years of experience. The lifetime of experience is not indicative of good food or impeccable service. “Their service is absolutely horrendous!” a Yelp reviewer said. “The food was just a mushy bland mess,” another person said. “I really wanted to like this place […] they did everything possible to assure that I’ll never return.”

Hint: This worldwide chain serves poorly prepared Mexican food.

Chili’s

Chili's

Customers didn’t rate the food well. | Ed!/Wikimedia Commons

Chili’s food is available in 32 countries around the world. However, in the U.S., their Mexican food is not rated very highly. “The shrimp tacos were skimpy,” one reviewer said. The food’s, “not even fit for a dog,” another said. “The steak was mangled as if a dog had first eaten off my plate and I was left with just scraps.”

Hint: A specific menu item gets an honorable mention on our list.

Chipotle queso

The much-anticipated queso turned into a flop. | iStock/Getty Images

Chipotle is a favorite in the Mexican fast food world. Although there’s something to be said for the quality of their queso. Chipotle’s new menu addition gets horrible reviews. The cheese sauce is described as “extremely gritty,” by a Yelp reviewer.

Hint: This restaurant’s not worth the hype.

Casa Bonita

Casa Bonita

Customers found both food and service poor. | jankgo/Wikimedia Commons

Casa Bonita’s Denver location gets especially poor reviews. “It is literally the equivalent of a cheap 99 cent frozen dinner heated up, and then coated with the most disturbing liquid cheese you’ll ever see,” a reviewer said. The food and service is both poor. “Quite possibly the worst dining experience I’ve ever had,” another reviewer said. The “food was unreasonably awful and service was by far the worst I’ve ever had,” they added.

Hint: Don’t expect authentic Mexican food at this restaurant.

Plaza Azteca

Diners didn’t feel the food was authentic at all. | iStock/Getty Images

Eating at Plaza Azteca is anything but a “shortcut to Mexico” as their slogan suggests. “I love Mexican food, but this may be the worst I have had sadly,” a reviewer said. The food doesn’t transport customers to Mexico in the slightest. “The food is not spicy or flavorful whatsoever,” another reviewer said.

Hint: “Mediocre” is how customers describe this restaurant.


On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina

On the Border

Customers found a lot wrong with the food. | Dwight Burdette/Wikimedia Commons

Founded in Texas in 1982, On the Border is a Tex-Mex restaurant serving subpar food. “Pretty much everything was mediocre attempts at Mexican food,” a reviewer said. Quesadillas are “cold” and guacamole “black,” another said. The “lackluster” food sometimes involves “a side of hair,” according to one reviewer.

Hint: We’re not sure outlaws would eat here.

Moe’s Southwest Grill

Moe's

Reviewers had bad dining experiences. | Michael Rivera/Wikimedia Commons

Moe’s, which stands for musicians, outlaws, and entertainers, doesn’t serve the best Mexican food. The fare’s described as “gross cheap food,” by a Yelp reviewer. Their chips have “an awful aftertaste,” another reports. Sadly, their food lacks flavor and a burst of spice. “Both the ground beef and pulled pork are bland, and the pico de gallo and corn salsas don’t do much to help,” a reviewer said.

Hint: Customers find plastic in their food.

Willy’s Mexicana Grill

Willy's

It has inconsistent reviews. | Michael Rivera/Wikimedia Commons

Overall, Willy’s receives positive reviews for food and service. However, both are extremely inconsistent, thus landing them a spot on our list. “The rice is tasteless, the beans need salt, and the guacamole has no flavor,” a Yelp reviewer said. Another person finds plastic in their food. “It looks like a piece of cutting board that if I had managed to swallow, could have done some pretty gnarly damage to my insides,” the reviewer said.

Hint: This Mexican restaurant is now international.

Chi-Chi’s

Chi-Chi's restaurant

Customers are glad it moved abroad. | Nostaljack/Wikimedia Commons

Even though Chi-Chi’s only serves other countries now, we still have bad memories of their stateside restaurants.  We “wouldn’t go back,” a Yelp reviewer says. No doubt the same thought crosses other customers’ minds for the chain to move abroad. Their salsa may make an appearance in the grocery store but that’s more than enough from Chi-Chi’s.

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