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El Banditos

Mexican, Southwestern
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327 E Market St, Iowa City, IA 52245-2172
(319) 358 2836
9:00 am - 10:00 pm
Open now
All hours
Mon - Fri 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Sat - Sun 9:00 am - 10:00 pm
More Info
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50 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Showing 50: English reviews
Saint Charles
Level Contributor
12 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

We go here about once a month. Food above average by gringo standards, ordinary versus Dallas and Chicago area (Pilsen and West Chicago) joints. Limited al fresco dining; spartan atmosphere inside. Margaritas ony ordinary.

Thank Lee L
Iowa City, Iowa
Level Contributor
10 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 11, 2016

I think this is Iowa City's best Mexican resturant because the food they serve is quite different from the fast food Mexican places.. They have a diverse menu of Mexican specialties, which are always fresh and served hot. Parking is not always easy in the evenings, but it is worth a littel effort to savor this fine Mexican cooking.

1 Thank William H
Aurora, IL
Level Contributor
151 reviews
115 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2016

Love the atmosphere for this place, charming, warm, and a super cute bar. The margaritas while having excellent flavor and fairly priced, lacked the pow of enough tequila to get your dining groove on. Loved the flavor of the Picoso Marg, but craved more of a kick. All the food from the appetizers, guac, salsas, main dishes, needed that last... More 

Thank musthavebeachsun
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2015 via mobile

Stopped here for a Sunday lunch. Good vibe, smaller place. Had chorizo and eggs. Smallish tortillas but nice to have options for sides...not just rice and beans. Good taste. No complimentary chips and salsa which I am used to with Mexican restaurants in the quad cities. $4 pacific beers a little pricey too.

Thank Mike A
Level Contributor
350 reviews
183 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 14, 2015

Looking for a different dining experience, try El Bandito's. While I see that many of the reviews here indicate shoddy service - ours was excellent, even though the place was full to the gills. Only complaint was that they didn't have any beer on tap that night as their cooler was shot - but I would think they got that... More 

Thank BlueHenFlyer
Iowa City, Iowa
Level Contributor
45 reviews
32 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2015

I would love to tell you wonderful things about this particular establishment, but unfortunately I can't. Our first visit to this location, we were behind a couple of college kids who were offered a seat at the bar for their meal as there were two open seats. We were told by the hostess just give us a couple of minutes,... More 

Thank Douglas F
Level Contributor
11 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 23, 2015 via mobile

Food is amazing! Very fresh and local. Everything is made to order, service was much longer than normal. But definitely worth the wait! Drinks are delicious too.

Thank Brittany B
iowa city, ia
Level Contributor
295 reviews
153 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 176 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 11, 2015

This was my 1st visit for breakfast. I have only had a couple of other dinner visits over the years that were all great. My daughter and I arrived around 9am. It was not too busy at that time, but it got packed shortly thereafter. And for as busy as it was, our server did a pretty good job. A... More 

Thank iowacityia
Level Contributor
32 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 4, 2015 via mobile

My hope was maybe today was a bad day? Typically when I read a bunch of great reviews and then a few that say the food was bland ... It is a winner for Mexican food because authentic, traditional dishes have subtle and earthy flavors. That was not the case tonight. It seemed like everything I tried was a let... More 

Thank Rick Z
Madison, WI
Level Contributor
23 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2015

El Banditos is the best Mexican restaurant in Iowa City, including serving tasty food for vegetarians and vegans. They also have a wonderful weekend breakfast menu - don't miss the eggs benedict, with eggs and sauce over spinach and polenta, with home fries. MM-MMM GOOD. The chips and salsa are good, but they don't give you an abundance of them... More 

Thank beegal

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Restaurant Details

Rating summary
  • Food
    4.5 of 5 stars
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
    4 of 5 stars
Mexican, Southwestern
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Restaurant features
Serves Alcohol, Seating, Waitstaff
Good for
Families with children
Open Hours
9:00 am - 10:00 pm
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
9:00 am - 10:00 pm
Location and Contact Information
  • Address: 327 E Market St, Iowa City, IA 52245-2172
  • Location: United States  >  Iowa (IA)  >  Iowa City
  • Phone Number: (319) 358 2836

Questions & Answers

Questions? Get answers from El Banditos staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do you have gluten-free options?
  • Is there a dress code?
  • Do you allow dogs on the outdoor patio?