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Old 12-15-2014, 03:18 PM
 
Location: The Springs
1,770 posts, read 2,124,109 times
Reputation: 1845

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The food tastes like frozen dinners hot from the oven. I watched a special on cable about the restaurant a few years back. They showed the assembly line process it takes to produce the HUGE amount of food they serve in just one night. It's been around since I was in high school (35+ years ago!) and it's still a place many locals take their visitors. It's actually nationally known. Go for the show and the atmosphere and consider food the amusement.
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Old 12-15-2014, 03:21 PM
 
Location: Texas
3,942 posts, read 3,236,532 times
Reputation: 6687
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kar54 View Post
The food tastes like frozen dinners hot from the oven. I watched a special on cable about the restaurant a few years back. They showed the assembly line process it takes to produce the HUGE amount of food they serve in just one night. It's been around since I was in high school (35+ years ago!) and it's still a place many locals take their visitors. It's actually nationally known.
Hot? I don't recall it even being that. You must have been there on a good night.
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Old 12-15-2014, 03:22 PM
 
Location: Washington Park, Denver
6,902 posts, read 6,494,653 times
Reputation: 7353
Quote:
Originally Posted by otterprods View Post
That wasn't a knock, it's just my honest opinion. Would you prefer unilateral praise?

The kind that you get in mexico, outside of the resorts. Or in San Diego if you pick the right places, and at one or two places in the Bay Area, and nowhere else. Think... street tacos, lengua, fresh mariscos, and hand made tortillas and torta buns, among other things. I have found a few decent hole in the wall places in Colorado which were ok about certain dishes, but they don't have table service and are not where people go when they want to "go out".

Admittedly, I rarely eat out anymore anyways because it's usually over-priced, heavy, extremely caloric, loud, crowded and a real hassle with kids anyways. Still, as far as food goes, I'm not going to recommend Colorado for anything other than campfire cooking and/or freshly-hunted elk no matter how many urbanophiles get in a twist about it. If someone wants to know about the handful of exceptionally good places around town (none of which serve mexican to my knowledge), there are already threads about that.


Amusing, but exaggerations don't really help people form accurate expectations.
Not looking for universal praise. Just wondering if I could help point you in the direction of some of the better places I have been.

That said, I hope you understand how ridiculous it sounds to bad mouth a dining scene and then say you hardly ever eat out. How could you possibly know what sort of options are out there? I agree that your exaggerations are not helpful.

Worth a visit......

Street tacos:
Las Margs on Colfax & Marion
La Calle taqueria on Alameda & Tejon

Traditional: Adelita's Cocina Y Cantina
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Old 12-15-2014, 03:29 PM
 
9,567 posts, read 5,762,603 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by otterprods View Post
I said exaggerated, not inaccurate. Unless there was literally a pile of cat food on it (in which case please cal health dept asap) then your description was exaggerated and not accurate. All I'm really saying is that if it's really that bad (and i'm sure it is) stating the facts will get the point across better than exaggeration.
I'm pretty sure most readers here are able to figure out that the meat is not actually cat food, it just looks like Fancy Feast and tastes what I would imagine Fancy Feast to taste like. You should go soon and try it yourself. Let us know what you think.

Quote:
Originally Posted by emm74 View Post
It is truly hard to underestimate the awfulness of the food at Casa Bonita. I thought "oh, how bad can it be?" before I went. And the answer was truly appallingly bad. Not just flavorless, that would be a step up.

But yeah, the kids love it, mine has been hounding me to go again ever since we went the first time.
Me to. I thought that it couldn't possibly be as bad as people made it out to be. I was so wrong.
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Old 12-15-2014, 03:39 PM
 
Location: Texas
3,942 posts, read 3,236,532 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkyDog77 View Post

Worth a visit......

Street tacos:
Las Margs on Colfax & Marion
La Calle taqueria on Alameda & Tejon

Traditional: Adelita's Cocina Y Cantina
Thanks for the recs. Will have to check some of these out.
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Old 12-15-2014, 03:54 PM
 
Location: Arvada, CO
13,227 posts, read 24,312,750 times
Reputation: 12942
Quote:
Originally Posted by otterprods View Post
I haven't been but I probably will at some point because my kids will enjoy it and I'll know what to expect. Unfortunately, there is actually very little mexican food that isn't bad in the state of CO, so I have become an expert at how to order something tolerable when people insist on going out to 'mexican' here. You can usually do ok with a chicken quesadilla and/or some kind of salad. Those are two things that are pretty hard to mess up but you'll want to make sure that the salad isn't 90% iceberg lettuce first. The problem is that neither of those things may count as an entree, if that's some sort of requirement. In that case, maybe order a basic taco combo or something... stay away from anything covered in sauce, since that's usually where they make the biggest mistakes. (unless they're deliberately trying to give people heartburn... hard to tell)
There's only like a choice of 4 plates to choose from at Casa Bonita. You're in what feels like a very dark cafeteria line, and their whole goal is to get you through it as quickly as possible. Your biggest choice is "beef" or "chicken", and it comes out at factory speed right after you order (every order is pre-made). If you order a "special", expect to wait 20 minutes after you leave the line.

You are then lead to either a cave, or what kind of looks like a really tacky Vegas showroom, or if you're rich/lucky (I can never figure out why we're never taken there), out to the open area where you can watch the gunfights/cliff divers/mariachis. The tacky Vegas showroom had a comedian/magician the last time we went, and he was actually quite good. My kids were absolutely amazed.

The sopapillas are bomb. The beans aren't as good as Rosarita, so that gives you an idea of the quality of the rest of the food. The service is below average, and the place feels cramped overall.

However, everything else about Casa Bonita is fun, especially for the kids.
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Old 12-15-2014, 04:21 PM
 
Location: Colorado
2,483 posts, read 3,518,333 times
Reputation: 2674
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkyDog77 View Post
I hope you understand how ridiculous it sounds to bad mouth a dining scene and then say you hardly ever eat out. How could you possibly know what sort of options are out there?
How many places do I need to try before my experience becomes valid? I already said there are some exceptional restaurants in Denver. Just not very many, and none that I know of in the sit-down-mexican category.

It seems pretty obvious what Casa Bonita is and I don't see them trying to hide that. Complaining about their food is like going to Chuck E Cheese and then complaining that it's too crowded with kids.
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Old 12-15-2014, 04:35 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
9,390 posts, read 17,309,102 times
Reputation: 14022
It's been a decade or so since I've been there, but my family and I used to go there regularly when visiting Denver (from northern Wyoming). The lines were really long and slow moving, seemingly winding here and there until you FINALLY got to order after an hour or more. From the time you order until you pick up your food is only a few short minutes. The few times were were able to walk right in and order we felt like we'd hit the jackpot! I'd guess our normal wait was over an hour, all standing in line. It just depends on when you go.

Once you pick up your food trays, be ready to rush, because the waiter doesn't waste any time. It's pretty dark in there, and I was always the last in our family group. There were times I thought I was going to be left behind and never find our table!

I grew up eating in school cafeterias, college cafeterias and Air Force mess halls. (Think sh** on a shingle.) I never found the food at CB all that horrible, but it certainly wasn't the food that brought us there. I think someone suggested up topic that it's like frozen Mexican dinners. I'd agree with that. It's not expensive, and I think you can have all the sopaipillas you want. (They're good, but you won't want many.) I think they bring everyone two, then come back and ask if you want more. With the kids, we usually got a second basket of them. They LOVED them!

We always found it a fun place, and I didn't mind going at all. The first time I took my current wife there, we had caricatures drawn of us for a few bucks. We still have it (though it's badly faded). We never framed it nor hung it on the wall, but it's still stuck in the back of a bookcase.

I can recommend the place, but just don't go there expecting fine dining. Personally, I'd prefer the food over McDonalds but not by much. The atmosphere is what you go there for. It's pretty different. Certainly memorable. It's great for kids.
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Old 12-15-2014, 05:20 PM
 
9,567 posts, read 5,762,603 times
Reputation: 9636
Quote:
Originally Posted by otterprods View Post
It seems pretty obvious what Casa Bonita is and I don't see them trying to hide that. Complaining about their food is like going to Chuck E Cheese and then complaining that it's too crowded with kids.
We're not complaining, just facing the facts. The food is terrible. The terrible food is a part the overall experience. It is a bizarre place and the food is no exception. It's bizarrely terrible. If you think most of Denver can't make good Mexican food, you are in for a whole new level of bad Mexican food.
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Old 12-15-2014, 05:24 PM
 
Location: Denver 'burbs
21,842 posts, read 23,065,467 times
Reputation: 37192
Quote:
Originally Posted by otterprods View Post
How many places do I need to try before my experience becomes valid? I already said there are some exceptional restaurants in Denver. Just not very many, and none that I know of in the sit-down-mexican category.

It seems pretty obvious what Casa Bonita is and I don't see them trying to hide that. Complaining about their food is like going to Chuck E Cheese and then complaining that it's too crowded with kids.
I think your problem isn't that your experience isn't valid but that your opinion was overextended relative to your experience:

Quote:
Originally Posted by otterprods View Post
I haven't been but I probably will at some point because my kids will enjoy it and I'll know what to expect. Unfortunately, there is actually very little mexican food that isn't bad in the state of CO, so I have become an expert at how to order something tolerable when people insist on going out to 'mexican' here. You can usually do ok with a chicken quesadilla and/or some kind of salad. Those are two things that are pretty hard to mess up but you'll want to make sure that the salad isn't 90% iceberg lettuce first. The problem is that neither of those things may count as an entree, if that's some sort of requirement. In that case, maybe order a basic taco combo or something... stay away from anything covered in sauce, since that's usually where they make the biggest mistakes. (unless they're deliberately trying to give people heartburn... hard to tell)
The entire state? Really?

And yes, the food at Casa Bonita is particularly bad. So bad you have to actually try it to understand how bad it is. I've been there once or twice when my kids were little. It's really something that, if you plan on living here (particularly if you plan on raising kids here) you almost have to experience at least once because it's part of the local culture.
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