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Andale Mexican Restaurant & Cantina (Closed)
3800 N. Mesa St.
El Paso, TX

Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily
18 Mexican
El Paso
Smoking: No Smoking
Best Item: Salsa
Red Enchiladas:
Chiles Rellenos:
Ensalada Andale:
Chips: , Salsa:
25-Dec-05 3
This restaurant made a splash as soon as it opened (the east side location at 9201 Gateway East opened first). The official name is "Andale Fine Mexican Cuisine & Cantina," and I think the emphasis is on "cantina." Although live entertainment was offered in the beginning, I believe it has now been discontinued.

The food is pretty good too. With the flavors, colors, food presentation, and menu variety (everything from chicken mole to salpicon to arrachera steak) it seems more like a restaurant from the interior of Mexico than a border style place. The thing I enjoyed the most was the Salsa. It is obviously homemade, delicious, and with just the right heat index.

The Chiles Rellenos are very flavorful with a mild ranchera sauce on top, but not as good in quality as some I have tasted such as at the Little Diner.

The Red Enchiladas have a strong red chile but are milder than those served at the New Mexico style restaurants. However, I think they have a little too much garlic, giving them a "sweet" flavor.

The Rice definitely has too much garlic, and Beans have a smoky flavor with a strong aftertaste.

On the surface one of the strengths of Andale is its varied menu with a wide choice of food. I have run into trouble, though, when I tried to experiment with some of these items. Most good Mexican restaurants have at least one salad that can be ordered as a meal--something lighter on the budget and waistline. Andale has four salads, one being a dinner salad. The taco salad contains ground beef, and the other one with meat is the Ensalada Andale.

The Ensalada Andale that I ordered, however, was actually one of the poorest representations of a Mexican salad I have ever had. It came with "turkey breast" that was actually composed of chunks of processed lunch meat. The "avocado" consisted of two very small strips. The vinaigrette dressing was so bad I just gave up on it, finding out that the salad tasted better plain. A couple of the ingredients were pretty good--Monterey jack cheese and tomato. Crushed bacon strips were included, and they seemed on the soggy rather than the crispy side. I do have to give it credit for some good greens, without any noticeable "brown ends" or other unpleasantries.

The good points of Andale are that there is a large selection of items, the food is not too spicy, there is a bar, and it is open just about all the time. (Not all of these are important to me, but they might be to some people).

The down side includes the price and the fact that they will not make substitutions or change combination plates on the menu, thus it is easy to end up with too much food, items you don't want, and a dinner that is needlessly expensive. Also, I think much of the "large selection" on the menu is just hype. I certainly did not find the salad to be worthwhile. In fact, I have yet to find anything very worthwhile except the large plates, especially the ones with meat items (and you have to take them as is--no substitutions are allowed).

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