One of my local friends advised Casa de Bandini as one of the best places to have Mexican food around Carlsbad, so we booked a table for our group with quite high expectations.
For a first-timer like me the decor is a bit of a shock when you enter; it's so over the top and kitschy faux-Mexican that it almost feels at the border of being offensive, but it has a tongue-in-cheek quality that makes you chuckle more than anything else... and yes there is a Mariachi band too!
After the complimentary tortilla chips and salsa (not bad) our mains were not really what we expected, The carne asada in my Burrito de la Casa was still moist but whatever marinade was used, it left little or no taste. I had a taste of one of my friends' enchilada ( I think it was the Suiza) and it was pretty much the same; cooked fine but pretty bland, lacking the zingy flavors you find south of the border.The house margaritas are a bit on the weak side but there's a pretty good selection of Tequilas to pick from.
While I wasn't really blown away by the food or the atmosphere, Casa de Bandini does have a likable quality and I can understand why so many give it the thumbs up, still if good Mexican food is what you are after you might be disappointed.
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