Pancho Villa’s - more Mexican mediocrity

It’s a bold claim for any Mexican restaurant to advertise its offerings as “revolutionary”. Though this is exactly what Pancho Villa’s, the Mexican restaurant on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, does. The supposed “revolutionary cuisine” now finds itself being cooked in Edinburgh and Glasgow, with their popular Glasgow restaurant located on the city’s Bell St. Regular readers will know that while I’m a fan of Mexican cuisine, I haven’t yet found a Mexican restaurant in Edinburgh I’d regularly return to.

Enchiladas Suiza at Pancho Villa's, Royal Mile, Edinburgh Interior of Pancho Villa's Mexican restaurant, Edinburgh

The food was delivered fast. Suspiciously fast. Infact so fast our guacamole and nachos starter order had been ignored in favour of the mains. If you ignore the fact there is no combo dish option for your main course, the menu at Pancho Villa’s is packed with all the usual suspects. You might be surprised to find king prawn fajitas, rustic lamb or enchiladas with crab meat though.

The chicken in my enchiladas suiza (¬£10.95) had a rubbery texture, the beans looked weary and the whole dish was plain; it lacked taste. With highlights few and far between at least the rice, mixed with vegetables, provided some positive memory. The chicken fajitas (¬£12.95) were served with a generous amount of chicken, but the meagre selection of accompaniments (guacamole, salsa and sour cream) weren’t enough to distinguish this dish. And paying ¬£2 or more for additional side dishes wasn’t an attractive option. At other restaurants the fajitas sizzle and they’re delivered brimming with energy. At Pancho Villa’s they were delivered without making a murmur.

If there was anything revolutionary on my plate I was blind to it. The food at Pancho Villa’s was hardly lovingly prepared. For the money it should have been.

The interior of Pancho Villa’s is colourful and fun. When the restaurants busy and the tequila is flowing I can imagine this is a lively and atmospheric space. Also the waiting staff were friendly throughout. So that’s two positives. Though the beer choices of Sol (¬£2.70 a bottle), Corona or San Miguel were hardly leading a revolution.

The hunt for a great or even very good Mexican restaurant in Edinburgh continues…

Pancho Villa’s is located at 40 Canongate, Edinburgh, EH8 8AB
Telephone: 0131 557 4416

7 Responses to “Pancho Villa’s - more Mexican mediocrity”

  1. I rather suspect that the “revolutionary” refers to the eponymous general and not the cuisine:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pancho_villa

    Couldn’t agree more about the paucity of quality Mexican food in Embra though…

  2. I recently ate at Tex Mex II in Thistle Street and the food was wonderful. Also do a great 3 course lunch for £10 !

  3. Id also suggest Tex Mex II, its excellent! Or just go to The Basement on Broughton Street - always good and great value (try the ‘donkey’ tequila too)with orange rather than lemon, lovely..

  4. RIP Tijuana Yacht Club

  5. Have been hunting for good Mexican food in Edinburgh for a while too - can highly recommend the burritos at the Basement Bar on Broughton - not a Mexican restaurant, but great stuff

  6. The one in Glasgow is one of my favorite places to eat, I do find it a little fast foody at times.

  7. I would heartily recommend Coconut Grove on Lochrin Terrace. I’ve been there 7 or 8 times and with the exception of one time when there was chilli dust in the air which made breathing slightly uncomfortable, I’ve had nothing but great experiences there. They even give free margaritas and cake on birthdays!

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