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Review: Taco Bell Chicken Cantina Power Bowl

Taco Bell recently debuted a Cantina Power Menu, and at the focus of that menu are the new Cantina Power Bowls. The new bowls come in chicken, steak, or veggie, and I decided to go with the chicken version. The Chicken Cantina Power Bowl contains white meat chicken, romaine lettuce, cheddar cheese, reduced-fat sour cream, pico de gallo, guacamole made from Hass avocados, and avocado ranch dressing all on a bed of Latin rice and black beans.

Price: $5.19

Chicken Cantina Power Bowl

Taco Bell’s Cantina Bowl has a special place in my heart. Not only is it my favorite menu item from Taco Bell (the old incarnation), but it was also the first item we ever reviewed here on Man Reviews Food (here’s the review).

While the average Taco Bell fan might scoff at the thought of the Cantina Bowl and dismiss it in favor for cheaper, more typical Taco Bell fare, they would be missing out on one of Taco Bell’s greatest gems. Taco Bell has never been known for being much of a diet friendly place to eat, but the Cantina Bowl is Taco Bell’s definitive bridge between fast food and healthier, fresher, fast casual (think Chipotle or Qdoba).

Chicken Cantina Power Bowl

There are more differences between the old Cantina Bowl and the Power Cantina Bowl than meets the eye. The new additions include sour cream, cheddar cheese, a double helping of chicken, and an avocado ranch sauce. Taco Bell also removed the fire-roasted corn salsa and the cilantro lime glaze. The corn salsa was one of my favorite things about the old Cantina Bowl, and sadly it is no more. What gives, Taco Bell? First you take away my Lava Sauce and now you mess with my favorite menu item from your establishment.

Chicken Cantina Power Bowl

Fortunately, the new Power Cantina Bowl is just as tasty as the old Cantina Bowl, and more satisfying than ever before. The ingredients all seemed pretty fresh, the rice and black beans create a hearty backdrop to the fresh greens and other ingredients, and there is a double portion of chicken this time around. The sour cream was barely noticeable once I mixed all of the ingredients together, which was okay by me (I like their sour cream, but I also liked the old Cantina Bowl flavor, so it’s mostly there to boost the protein count).

The double portion of chicken was much appreciated, and it helped make the Cantina Bowl more hearty than the original. The chicken still has that sketchy “pre-bagged” texture, but it tastes pretty good with a light citrus/lime flavor.

The Avocado ranch dressing is the replacement for the old citrus-lime glaze. I found the result was a less citrusy flavor overall, but since I mixed the avocado ranch dressing in with the rest of the bowl, I couldn’t taste whatever difference it might have made.

Chicken Cantina Power Bowl

This will be a common sight for me…

Overall I enjoyed the new Chicken Cantina Power Bowl, and it is a great successor to the Cantina Bowl. The new Power Bowl left me more full and satisfied than the old one for about the same price. The Cantina Power Bowl is a fairly economical way to get a filling, healthy, and low-cal meal at Taco Bell, and it tastes pretty darn good too. I’ve found my new go-to item at Taco Bell.

Taste: 9.5/10
Presentation: 9/10
Spiciness: 0/10
Value: 7.5/10

Pros: Flavorful, fresh, healthy menu item, packed with protein, very filling at only 490 calories.
Cons: They took away my beloved fire-roasted corn salsa, fairly expensive for Taco Bell

Nutrition Facts
Calories: 490 / Calories from Fat: 180 / Total Fat: 20g / Sat. Fat: 6g / Trans Fat: 0g /
Cholesterol: 75mg / Sodium: 1270mg / Carbs: 49g / Dietary Fiber: 8g / Sugars: 3g / Protein: 29g

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Taylor Tamblin

Taylor is a food lover, rock guitar player, programmer, and runs the fast food review website Man Reviews Food.

11 Comments

    • Hi there. That’s understandable, because the chicken sits on top of the rice and beans and just below the layer of lettuce and other toppings. From the “mixed” picture in this review, you can see around 15+ small chunks of chicken. There really was a lot of meat in this dish!

  1. i tried the Power Steak Burrito which was great

    this is next on my list because it is important to try healthier options & eat lots of protein every day

  2. I think you must be mistaken. At 29g of protein for $4.99, this has one of the worst protein:price ratios of any fast food menu item EVER. That translates to less than a quarter-pound of actual chicken meat ($0.50 from the grocery store). I am actually shocked that you gave it a 7.5/10 for value. This is a 2/10 at best.

    • Considering that most non-value menu fast food burgers are beginning to creep into the $4-5 price range, I wouldn’t say this is the worst protein/price value. There is more to the Cantina Bowl than protein, although admittedly, Taco Bell is heavily pushing the “protein” content in the marketing. With that said, 7.5 may have been slightly generous for the value, but I never feel gypped when ordering one of these. I feel this is a FAR better value than say a footlong sub from Subway for over $8.

  3. Cantina bowl is delicious, but in my town they have cut the serving down by about 1/3 this summer, so that this dish no longer fills me up. I have tried all four Bells in my neighborhood, and one by one, they all did this, so it must be a new policy. I would much rather they had raised the price by $.50 or so, but no, they decided to skimp on the size of the meal. Not a happy camper anymore.

    • I’ve had the new “power” version of the Cantina Bowl twice now and it IS a smaller portion than the original Cantina Bowl but both times I’d have to say that rice is the only thing there’s less of. Still lots of meat. Now that the rice is just plain and not lime glazed, I guess that’s a good thing since it has zero taste. It used to be good.

  4. I think this is completely off as I loved the OLD Cantina bowl. Way more fresh veggies, rice, flavors. Stopped tonight to receive some lettuce and the usual indistinguishable protein “glob” from Taco Bell. I was excited when they introduced tho old cantina bell because it gave me an option to the old “fast food” choices. This new “bowl” feels way more like fast food than an alternative!

  5. I work at at corporate taco bell as a manger. Just to clear a couple things up and stop any discrimination to taco bell. If your getting a skimpy version of the salad its because probably a greedy franchise owner or manger is telling people to do so. Its weird. And I don’t understand it. Its supposed to have a little more rice than the last one, a little more lettuce, and they added more chicken and cheese, sour cream. So it is larger than the last one. At my store we get a lot of comments about correct portions. Just to throw it out there. A lot of places will tell their lazy employees to skimp stuff, or use old stuff, such as other things. Not just taco bell either.

  6. I think $4.99 is a good price for what you get. Similar Fajita bowls at Nom-Noms, Freebirds or Rosa’s Cantina are pricier at 7-8 bucks and actually prefer the Cantina Power Bowl to Nom-Noms or Rosa’s. Places such as Subway that sell avocado on their subs do a major upcharge for it but not Taco Bell. We live in FAR North Dallas. Personally, I think it’s a good deal and decently healthy for an on-the-go constantly lifestyle.

  7. Too many calories from fat too many calories period. Way too much sodium. Skip this all together it’s absolutely horrible for you you can make it healthier version of this on your own.

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