Andale’s Mexican and Spanish Cuisine – Vancouver, BC

The now controversial animated cartoon figure, Speedy Gonzales, is a memory from my childhood of watching Looney Tunes television shows on Saturday mornings in my pajamas and clutching a box of cereal. His famous phrase “andale, andale, ariba, ariba!” remains in my head to this very day. The flashback came to me as I stepped inside Andale’s Mexican and Spanish Cuisine on West Broadway for a quick take out lunch recently. With not much time to spare, I was indeed hoping it would live up to its name and be fast, though I certainly had some trepidations about the authenticity and quality.

Deciding to play it safe just to be sure, and to get something filling and easy to take away, my first choice was a beef burrito with what they called a “colorado sauce”. It was a good sized, soft flour tortilla stuffed with a thick combination of beef and shredded sauteed onions. The entire package was dredged in a slightly thick but mainly watery consistency brown sauce, almost gravy like. It was totally missing any heat or depth of flavor, which threw me as I expected something I’ve had elsewhere with a sauce named similar to this one, which had red chilies in it.

As a result, the flavors were dependent on the bland burrito contents, and to make things worse, the whole thing was getting quite soggy from the sauce as I got about halfway through. The accompanying black beans were also really dull and tasteless.

The chicken quesadilla was not much better, in fact, I think I preferred the beef burrito. The fillings of cheese and chicken breast meat were again not really seasoned well, missing a strong semblance of heat as well. The slices were also draped in what was supposed to be an ancho sauce minus the heat, as all I could really taste was some onions and garlic, along with some herbs like cumin and oregano. Again, your run-of-the-mill quesadilla that could have been made in any of the city’s chain restaurants, or even at home by a half-decent home cook. The same forgettable black beans that came with the buritto were here again.

Both items came with a small mixed salad, but the take-out packs did not have any side portions of rice, or the free chips and salsa that were available through dine-in.

I’m not sure what the city’s best options are for true Mexican food, but this clearly was not it – just generalized, simplified, and taste-reduced Tex-Mex to me.  It made me long for the great meals I had at the home of an old college classmate from Mexico, who first introduced me to the cuisine of his country a decade ago.

As a positive, I’ll say it was fast, coming out of the kitchen ten to fifteen minutes after the order was placed. The sunny day brought out the patio lovers (mostly business lunches it seemed), but the inside was completely dead. I am curious what its like at night, both in terms of the clientele, the atmosphere (maybe the darkness hides some of the dreary and tacky symbolic plastic beer bottles handing from the ceiling, or the wall of sombreros tacked to it), and of course the food. If none of it seems any better, I’ll be outta there faster than my old pal, “the fastest mouse in all of Mexico”!

Andale’s Mexican and Spanish Cuisine
3211 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC
Tel: (604) 738-9782

Andales Mexican Restaurant (Broadway) on Urbanspoon

5 thoughts on “Andale’s Mexican and Spanish Cuisine – Vancouver, BC

  1. My experience here was almost the same, except that the beef in my beef burrito was of really poor quality as well. Gristle and fat and stringy. I was disappointed not just by the restaurant, but by the fact that it was explained to me that this is one of the better mexican restaurants in town. Sigh.

  2. > Travis

    Good to be able to confirm I am not off base with the beef burrito here and someone else has come away thinking it was indeed a taste disappointment. I’ve seen a few lists online for the supposed “best Mexican food in Vancouver” as well, and have been disappointed with what I’ve actually tried.

  3. Andale’s is one of the restaurants on the oh-so-convenient stretch of Broadway where I live, so I went here once a few years ago with a friend. I don’t know how much (if) anything has changed since then, but I can vouch for the seafood fajita that we shared, which was quite good considering the restaurant itself (the atmosphere has always put me off a little) and the price. I even enjoyed the baby octopus, despite my typical squeamishness when it comes to food that still looks like the animal it comes from…

    I’ve been back once since, but the experience wasn’t sufficiently memorable (good -or- bad) to be able to write about.

    • Thanks for leaving your comments Ann. Indeed, this is a easy corridor to get around and plenty of eateries to choose from. Hopefully you can find the time to share your thoughts on the others we’ve posted from this part of town… as for Andale, I probably won’t return. 🙂

  4. They’ve been there for donkey’s ages and I think we went there a couple of times while we lived in Vancouver between ’95 and ’05 but it was pretty meh as I remembered.

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