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)
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.
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.
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. 😉
3/F Gateway Food Express, Araneta Center, Quezon City
2/F Trinoma Mall, Quezon City