Fans of tacos would probably have heard of Taco Bell before. Taco Bell opened its first branch in the Philippines at the ground floor of Gateway Mall in Araneta Center, Cubao in 2004. I have passed by this location almost every day for a year when commuting to and from work way back in 2009. However, because I was always in the hurry to go to the office and catch the last train to home, I have never tried eating at Taco Bell—until last Thursday, thanks to Zomato’s invite. 😛

With its value-for-money offerings of food and drinks, Taco Bell now feeds people’s lives with its slogan, “Live Más.” Más means more. It is in the process of redesigning the ambiance of its restaurants all over the world. In Asia, first store to be redesigned was Korea, and the Philippines, specifically this one in Gateway, came as second. We were one of the first batches of people who learned the new things found in the outlet.

with Ms. Aira and Mr. Lorent Adrias of Taco Bell

Review of Taco Bell Philippines (Gateway Mall, Cubao, Quezon City)

Ambiance: ★★★★★

Taco Bell in Gateway Mall looked like an ideal place to simply sit and chill. Compared to the old ambiance, the new vibe is brighter, more hip, and more colorful. I was most pleased with the electrical outlets installed on the bar tables where customers who are gadgets-savvy can charge their mobile devices while enjoying their meals.

I also love the casual dining theme, with accents of violet everywhere, and the open kitchen (enclosed with glass) which follows the growing trend of food establishments showing transparency in the way they prepare food. This helps to drive away fears associate with food horror stories about nauseating things that take place behind closed kitchen doors. As an observer, having visual access on how the staff prepare our orders was fascinating.

Service: ★★★★★

Operational efficiency and food freshness are two of the main reasons why patrons should check out the revamped Taco Bell. In relation to Taco Bell’s new open kitchen concept, the management has also improved the designation of tasks of the staff working behind the counter. Instead of one person doing everything to complete orders, everyone is assigned to do a unique task just like in a manufacturing factory.

The order-takers key in the items ordered by the customers, hands over the receipt, and advises to waits until their number is called.

The kitchen team is notified on the order through an LCD screen projected against the kitchen wall. Each has a role in making and assembling the food. Once done, a staff serves the order by calling out the number which is reflected on the screen visible to the waiting customers.

Food: ★★★★☆

The first appetizer to titillate our appetite was the Nachos Supreme (PhP 89). The platter consisted of “crispy-style” nachos with consistent crisp and cheesy toppings. It’s best eaten as soon as it’s served, otherwise the nachos become soggy with rubbery cheddar on top after sitting for a bit.

Next we had the Crunchy Wrap Supreme (PhP 69) “Meal 4” which was made with a warm, soft, flour tortilla filled with seasoned beef, warm nacho cheese sauce, a crunchy toasted shell, cool sour cream, lettuce and tomatoes wrapped up and grilled. It has robust flavors with a balanced touch of sweetness and savoriness.

XL Cheese and Beef Quesadilla (PhP 189) “Meal 5” is perfect for anyone who has a big craving. It was filled with the cheddar, mozzarella, and pepper jack three-cheese blend, topped with nacho cheese sauce. This simple dish had an alluring aroma from the melted cheese that I so love.

The Crunchy Taco and Beef Burrito (PhP 189) “Meal 6” was another good option that was done the way it should be—crisp on the outside, warm and soft on the inside. You can’t go wrong.

Note that all meals include sides and drinks.

For desserts, it would be a shame to walk away not having a bite of Taco Bell’s Chocodilla with Nutella (and marshmallows) (PhP 49) as it’s only available in the Philippines as of now. It was not too sweet but just right.

We also tried Churros with Dip (PhP 49). About the size of a breadstick, the light and airy churros can be eaten plain or dipped into the chocolate sauce. It’s a treat that’s great for a quick snack on-the-go.

Price for Value: ★★★★☆

Prices are totally inexpensive and wallet-friendly. Taco Bell in Gateway Mall must be a local treasure beloved for its tasty food and modern ambiance. This restaurant is recommended to those who want to try traditional Mexican food with a twist. 😉

G/F Gateway Mall, Cubao, Quezon City
For inquiries, call (02) 911-3130
Date Published: 04/01/2015
18 / 20 stars

Other branches:
3/F Gateway Food Express, Araneta Center, Quezon City
2/F Trinoma Mall, Quezon City

About 

Digital marketing strategist. Health and technology freak. Food and lifestyle blogger with a large appetite for food and travel.

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86 Responses

  1. Nancy

    You know what’s funny? As much as I eat out (a lot of fast food – because I love McDonalds), I have never eaten at a Taco Bell. It’s probably because I didn’t realize what was on their menu and I didn’t grow up with it around me.

    Ummm… I love the side order of chips, and you’re making me crave a big glass of pepsi!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      It was also my first time to try out Taco Bell here in the Philippines. 🙂 I don’t normally drink soda, but this event had me try it. The taste of the soft drink was refreshing, paired with tacos and chips.

      Reply
  2. R U S S

    I love Taco Bell! This is such a good move for their brand. I like the new look, it’s very pleasant and the store’s well-lit. It does remind me a bit of Project Pie and Army Navy, lol. The redesigning of the store will allow a better dining experience for their patrons. I wish though that they have a branch in the South.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Oh yes, I think that they did a pretty good job in remodeling the ambiance and this affects their branding as well. I heard that they will be building a branch in Alabang so that’s good news for you! 🙂

      Reply
  3. Robin Rue (@massholemommy)

    I haven’t been to a Taco Bell in years. Here, they don’t have a very good reputation, so I was really surprised when I saw how good the food looks at yours.

    Reply
  4. Shirgie Scf

    Taco Bell for the win!!! I mean, who doesn’t know Taco Bell? I love the ambiance of the resto, and I like that transparency idea. I feel better and secured if I can see how people in the kitchen prepare my food. This is a must visit place in Cubao.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Taco bell is a really yummy “Western” take on Mexican food. I love the light colors and the transparency in the kitchen, too! But guess what I love the most… it’s that their food prices are cheap. 😛

      Reply
  5. Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle

    Living in the states, I’ve had Taco Bell about a zillion times. It sounds like they’re doing a great job, but if I ever get to the Philippines, I’ll probably hit up a traditional Philippino restaurant. Probably one that you’ve featured!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      That’s a great choice. Of course you have to try Filipino cuisines and discover how delicious our local delicacies are. On the other hand, trying out Taco Bell here sounds good too so that you can compare or learn how the food differs from that of your hometown. 🙂

      Reply
  6. Catherine S

    They décor is a lot nicer than what we have here. It looks like most of the food is the same. The Chocodilla with Nutella sounds yummy.

    Reply
  7. Jeanine

    Wow that is one fancy taco bell! I haven’t ever seen one so nice before. I can’t believe it’s a taco bell! I’m not a huge fan of TB so I never eat there. My husband does though and loves it. The food actually looks really good from your photos. Making me wonder what I have been missing!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Taco Bell is a good place to eat. I was also delighted to know that they have set meals so I don’t have to think much about what items to pair to get a guaranteed satisfaction.

      Reply
  8. Tiffany

    What a modern looking Taco Bell! We have many here but none are like this, I love the bar stool type seating. Perhaps ours will catch up and remodel as well 🙂 I always love Taco Bell’s pricing I can literally feed my entire family of 6 for not much over $20 USD

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yup, I was surprised that their prices are low considering that the restaurant’s exterior and interior looked classy. For that, you won’t have to break the bank to treat your entire family or a bunch of friends here. 🙂

      Reply
  9. Amanda

    Taco Bell is one of my favorite indulgences when I don’t care to cook and just want something simple…usually late at night, too! When I was pregnant I practically lived in the drive thru of our local Taco Bell. I have to try those churros!

    Reply
  10. Cassie

    I am so totally jealous of you! I have never seen a Taco Bell that looks that nice anywhere here in the States!

    Reply
  11. Adanna

    Wow! That’s one super nice Taco Bell. They went all out with the remodeling in the Phillipines. I’ve had Taco Bell maybe once and it didn’t leave a lasting impression. The ones here aren’t that nice.
    I love the transparency with the food prep.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Try it out again. I highly recommend the crunch wrap supreme. The sour cream (add on) makes it taste impeccable. Their quesadillas are out of this world! 🙂

      Reply
  12. Mhie Lee

    Wow! Taco Bell in Philippines that’s good to know they expanded it there. The place looks so inviting.

    Reply
  13. mr_jeng

    Oh you went… uhm.. how was the churros’ dip? I mean the chocolate? hmmmm …

    the first time taco bell was brought in manila, their very first branch was in araneta… hmmm I wonder, what made them do a reboot? looking at the pics, its far more relaxing now..
    and having cellphone charging stations.. is a bit plus.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      The chocolate didn’t taste anything fancy. It’s not too sweet so that’s good. You can try it. 🙂 I’m not sure what sparked the idea for them to redesign their spaces, but whatever that is, they’re going to the right direction. Learning that they have cell phone charging stations made me thank God I brought my charger with me that day. 😛

      Reply
  14. Elizabeth O.

    I’m not a big fan of tacos. But Taco Bell is an exception, of course!!!

    Reply
  15. Lisa @bitesforbabies

    I’m not a fan of Taco Bell or most fast food places for that matter, however it’s amazing to me how these places have literally been popping up ALL over the world, sometimes in the most remote places!

    Reply
  16. Roselynn

    I have always enjoyed going to taco bell for a quick bite, I’m lucky to have one near me. Quesadillas are always my favorite and I love that I can customized it a bit and get extra stuff put in.

    Reply
  17. Christy Hoover

    Wow this Taco Bell looks like a fine dining establishment for sure. It looks as if you are eating high end. I love the fact that they have taken their own spin on how to make it look more inviting and a place where people really want to be.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      That’s good news for all of us. You know that I don’t usually review fast food restaurants, right? 🙂 Taco Bell may be an exception because this is no ordinary fast food experience.

      Reply
  18. Kori

    We have a Taco Bell right around the corner from us but don’t go there very often, if at all. Trying to stay away from fast food as much as possible.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      If you’re thinking about health and nutrition, don’t keep your hopes up on fast food. 😛 Taco Bell is Taco Bell. Nevertheless, trying it once in a while won’t hurt.

      Reply
  19. Audrey (trihardmom)

    I have been to Taco Bell many times, but it doesn’t look nearly that nice! The open kitchen makes it look more appealing and the food looks fresh! The desserts are enticing and we don’t have anything like that in the states that I am aware of.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      I hope they keep up the good work in properly maintaining the neatness of the place. It’s also worth to mention that Taco Bell have a restroom inside. That’s so convenient for customers as they don’t have to rush and go out.

      Reply
  20. Bonnie @ wemake7

    We love Taco Bell and I always get the Nachos Supreme. Your resteraunt looks more cleaner and friendly then the ones here.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      The place is super clean and the food is assembled with care. If you like Taco Bell, this one is the best. Go here because the people that run the place take pride in what they do and they do it well. 🙂

      Reply
  21. Digna D.

    I would have to say this Taco Bell’s decor rocks. I haven’t been to a Taco Bell since my older kids were teens. This is the first I have heard of these changes. I wonder if they will be doing the same here in the US.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      It’s your basic Taco Bell food and that is going to be the same no matter what location you go to. But if you want to have a pleasant fast food experience, this one was a stand out. Don’t worry, other branches will also have their own time for the remodeling. 🙂

      Reply
  22. Nile

    Taco Bell is a very well known place in my country. Our local one was destroyed and then re-built last year within 3 months! I think Taco Ball has been giving their franchise owners specific requirements for their facility to either upgrade or shut down. The new one looks great… just as great as the one you went to. 🙂

    Reply
  23. Carin Kilby Clark

    Wow – I haven’t eaten at a Taco Bell in years but this one looks so fancy! The locations in my area aren’t nearly this nice. And they are always so congested because of the combination with Pizza Hut. Great review. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Wow, they combine food items with Pizza Hut? We don’t have that kind of arrangement here. I just learned from this event that Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and Dairy Queen are in one umbrella.

      Reply
  24. Cherri Megasko

    Here in the US, Taco Bell is my favorite fast food restaurant. It’s very reasonably priced here, too, which makes it even better.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Taco Bell there must be the buzzword when it comes to fast food chains. The food is prepared quickly and actually looks like the pictures on the menu.

      Reply
  25. Lynndee

    Good to know there’s already Taco Bell in the Philippines. And tell you what, their restaurant looks a lot better than here. And huge too.

    Reply
  26. Yona Williams

    It’s really cool to see how others living in a different country view a restaurant chain that is so popular and easily accessible where I live. I can definitely tell you that my experience with Taco Bell hasn’t ever looked that good. I am TOTALLY JEALOUS that you have the Chocodilla with Nutella (and marshmallows). Lucky!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Hehe. I hope that it continues to be part of the regular menu. They are just testing how the Chocodilla with Nutella will be appreciated by customers.

      Reply
  27. Erin

    I havent been to taco bell in ages but this really makes me want to! I used to love eating there!

    Reply
  28. Chrissy Mazzocchi

    I love their taco supremes and nachos bell grande! I love how you a see them making them 🙂

    Reply
  29. mindy

    You have Taco Bell in the Philippines? I’m jealous *LOL*. We’re definitely not super familiar with Mexican food, but at least there are a few Mexican restaurants popping up in my town haha (and every cafes seems to serve nachos anyway), but we’d love to have a Taco Bell here too :p

    Reply
  30. Aldous

    Wow, I didn’t know they had churros. It’s also the most affordable churros I have ever seen. I hope the chocolate sauce is good.

    Reply

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