The Great Taco Bowl Competition

by Meg on August 13, 2013

We’ve all heard the phrase, “you are what you eat” before.

Well, if that were true, I’d be an avocado right now with all of the guacamole I’ve been eating lately.

I’m on a huge guacamole kick and I doubt it will ever end. Avocados are too damn good to ever stop eating in excess.

While in Utah, I visited Café Rio, Chipotle, and Qdoba (all Mexican grills if you didn’t already know) and enjoyed a chicken salad with extra guacamole at each location. Ok, that’s a lie… extra extra guacamole ;) Regardless of the amount of extra guacamole I ordered, I ordered a chicken salad at each location and wanted to provide you with a review for each, so you know which restaurant to visit when you are craving a guacamole lathered chicken salad and have all three restaurants available to you.

First up, Café Rio.


Cafe Rio definitely provided me with the largest salad of the three, so if you are a big volume eater like myself then you’d be happy just as I was. I also really loved the chicken from Cafe Rio. It was called “fire grilled chicken” and was absolutely delicious. All of the vegetables were incredibly fresh and delicious, too, and the cilantro that topped my salad added just the right touch!

and then there was Chipotle


The salad from Chipotle was definitely the spiciest of the three, so if you like it spicy like myself, you’d love this salad! The chicken was spicy and then I added their spicy green tomatillo salsa to my salad, as well, so that made it even spicier! But, their amazing guacamole was able to tame it all down. I received more avocado from Chipotle, so they get bonus points for their awesome servings of guacamole! ;)

and finally, Qdoba


To be honest, any Mexican type of salad is going to steal my heart, so I loved this salad from Qdoba, too, however, it was probably my least favourite of the three. The chicken wasn’t as amazing as the chicken from Cafe Rio and the guacamole didn’t surpass the outstanding guacamole from Chipotle, but I am being incredibly picky because there can only be one winner of The Great Taco Bowl Competition ;)

So, if I had to pick a favourite and award one restaurant first place for having the best taco bowl, which I am going to do because I love rank ordering my favourite things, I would choose Cafe Rio as my favourite of the three restaurants for the following reasons:

- Best chicken

- Largest portions

- Best pico de gallo

- Best and freshest lettuce

- Best restaurant environment

But, like I said, I would take any mexican salad handed to me. Especially if it was covered with extra guac ;)

Are you a guacamole lover? Have you been to all three restaurants before? Which would your favourite be? 

See you tomorrow with a post about my future!

Love always,

Meg xo

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Tara@PNWRunner August 14, 2013 at 12:21 AM

I haven’t heard of the first restaurant, but I have been to the other too. I love avocados and guacamole. I would put it on everything!


Kylee @ Lifting in Lipstick August 14, 2013 at 12:29 AM

Chipotle! Their chicken is probably my favorite. A (giant!) chicken burrito with rice, lettuce, cheese, and hot salsa is my I-deserve-it big splurge food, but their chicken is sooooo good I even love their salads, and I’m a very picky salad eater…obviously something I’m trying to work on :) Wish we had a Cafe Rio here in the northeast US though!

I’ve actually never had avocado or guac…I think it kind of scares me and I’m not sure why!


Meaghan August 14, 2013 at 5:11 AM

You’re hilarious, “extra extra guacamole”! I have none of those restaurants near me, I’ve heard so much about Chipotle too. I’ve never been huge into Mexican food, but I think it is because I’ve never really been exposed to it beside things like Taco Bell (which quite frankly just ruins the idea of Mexican). I am a huge guacamole lover though, avocado in general is something I have on a daily basis, I can’t go without it. It is to the point where I usually forget that I have avocado at home when I’m grocery shopping so I end up always buying more then I need. Oh well that just means that I need to eat more or put avocado in everything!


Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope August 14, 2013 at 5:21 AM

I’ve never been to Cafe Rio, but that salad looks AMAZING! I definitely agree that Qdoba has nothing on Chipotle… the Chipotle guac just can’t be beat! ;)


Jan @ Sprouts n Squats August 14, 2013 at 6:12 AM

I love guacamole. We don’t have any of those restaurants here in Australia but I wish we did as all of those salads looked great.


Linz @ Itz Linz August 14, 2013 at 6:43 AM

LOVE guacamole!! cafe rio would be my favorite for sure because of the size hehe we have chipotle and qdoba in st louis but of course no cafe rio!


Arman @ thebigmansworld August 14, 2013 at 6:51 AM

YUMMMMM!!! What a great review and comparison, Meg! I’ve been to chipotle but here we don’t really have that many options besides Nandos, and those are stingy! Your requirements are exactly like mine ;) Now I’m all set when I go back to America one day!


Ksenija @ Health Ninja August 14, 2013 at 8:17 AM

Guacamole is the best – add some salsa and I could eat anything with it. Recently they are so expensive here in Germany that I sadly didn’t had an avocado in weeks :( hope that changes soon. But regarding the “You are what you eat…” topic: I would totally be peanut butter topped banana at the moment since that is something I have every single day at the moment!


christina August 14, 2013 at 8:37 AM

Oh my gosh I’m glad you posted this. I’ve been craving Qdoba for like 3 weeks but haven’t even ever eaten there. How is that possible?? I love spicy so maybe I’ll just go to Chipotle!! :)


Nikki @ Grab Your Kicks August 14, 2013 at 8:43 AM

We have Q’doba and Chipotle, but no Cafe Rio. I’ve had both, usually get the naked burrito bowl. I will have to try their chicken salads though. I love guac!


peaceloveandoats August 14, 2013 at 11:57 AM

I’ve only had Chipotle out of these three but I’ve always wanted to try Cafe Rio! I only know of it existing in Utah though, I should check out their site to see where their locations are!


Cait @ PieceOfCait August 14, 2013 at 1:19 PM

YUM! Those salads look awesome. But from the looks.. #1 looks the best! I LOVE me some guac : )


Alexis @ Hummusapien August 14, 2013 at 1:20 PM

I am BEYOND obsessed with guac, especially from Chipotle. I’m not a huge fan of Q’doba, so I would pick Chipotle any day. I’d love to try that salad beast from Cafe Rio!


Jenny @ simply be me August 14, 2013 at 1:34 PM

mmmmmm, avocadoes. Love them. I’ve never been to those restaurants but had a Santa Fe eggs bennie (minus the hollandaise because mayo is gross) while in Vancouver that had a layer of guac on it, it was yummy!


Cassie @RedLetterDaye August 14, 2013 at 1:35 PM

I love Chipotle, but we don’t have the other restaurants near me. You’re making me hungry! :)


L August 14, 2013 at 3:08 PM

Although I don’t have Cafe Rio near me, I have eaten there when I was in Salt Lake… it was super good!!! Do you also get rice and beans in your Chipotle bowls or ever eat tortillas? Just curious as you seem to focus mostly on meat and veggies.


Mitchell August 14, 2013 at 4:58 PM

Holy smokes! That Fire Grilled Chicken salad is out of control! EPIC Food-Snap :)
I’m sure you did us all proud by finishing it off of course :P hahaha

For years I avoided avocado. I never liked the look of it. Ugh the texture and the color reminded me of … how shall I say this … the stuff that comes out of one’s nose. But I can safely say I am now a complete convert and addict. I had to order it on the side of my baked eggs yesterday. Fit it in wherever possible :)


candice@hungrymotherrunner August 14, 2013 at 7:06 PM

cafe rio forever and for always :)


Brittany @ Delights and Delectables August 14, 2013 at 8:19 PM

I can’t do Cafe Rio b/c 1. we don’t have one here and 2. they aren’t GF! :( However, I am in total love with Chipotle. Their guac is to die for!


Alyssa @ Road to RD August 14, 2013 at 11:05 PM

Chipotle always wins in my book! Love them!


Hannah August 20, 2013 at 1:00 PM

What a fun (and mouth-watering) post!! I’m the same way, give me a taco/mexican salad with guac and I’ll be happy! I’m going to have to try this out. There are 4 places here in Boise I want to compare (2 of which I’ve eaten at). For me right now the winner is Chipotle , on reason being the delicious and generous serving of guacamole! <3


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