In recent years, Branson’s food game has really started to diversify. Today, there are Thai restaurants, a few sushi restaurants, an Indian restaurant, and now there is a fantastic, very authentic, Mexican restaurant. Arandas Tacos is not your typical tex-mex joint. Rather, there are options such as tongue tacos or chorizo tortas or tripe sopes. If these sound scary, don’t worry, they also have chicken and steak options, too. Here’s the breakdown:
This restaurant is located in a small shopping center, directly across the street from the Tanger Outlets entrance.
On the inside, it is nothing special. Sort of small, but clean. We arrived for lunch around 1:15, and we were almost the only people there at that time.
There are two things that are immediately different about this restaurant than any other Mexican restaurant I have been to.
1. You don’t get chips and salsa once you are seated. Rather, you get a basket of “duros”. I had never had these before, but they were pretty tasty. They are simply fried dough, but they are very light and crispy.
2. There is a toppings bar!!! This is my favorite aspect of this restaurant. There are multiple salsas and toppings, such as mango salsa, cilantro, lettuce, chopped onions, etc, to put on your tacos or any other dish you order.
Since the toppings bar is available, when you order tacos, you simply get two small corn tortillas filled, pretty heavily, with whichever meat you choose.
I ordered 4 tacos for $7.99 and tried the chorizo, cabeza (beef cheek), lengua (tongue), and al pastor pork.
The al pastor was my favorite. It was very tender and not heavy in grease. The chorizo was my second favorite. It was very flavorful, and again, not too greasy. This is usually the problem I find with chorizo. In third place came the lengua. I have had great tongue tacos before, but these were not good, at all. They were a little chewy, probably overcooked. Lastly, the beef cheek was disgusting. It was so fatty I couldn’t even swallow one bite.
Anyway, after trying all of the meat, I headed to the toppings bar to make my tacos pretty and tasty. I put a light green salsa on all of them. This salsa was flavorful, yet mild, and helped break up the savoriness of the meats. I put mango salsa on the al pastor, onions on all tacos, and tons of cilantro. Yum!
This was, by far, the best taco salad I have ever had. It was pretty large and only $7.99. I ordered it with chicken, which was perfectly tender and well-seasoned. The toppings were so generous that I did not even have to visit the toppings bar. Three sauces also came with it: a traditional red salsa, sour cream, and a spicy ranch. The spicy ranch got dumped all over the taco salad because it was very tasty! The crunchy bowl was fried perfectly as well, I love those things! I will definitely come back to order this taco salad every time I am in Branson!
This restaurant is one of my favorites in Branson now. It is unique enough to give you a new type of Mexican food experience, but not so different you aren’t sure what you are ordering.
The staff was very nice as well. Our waitress answered questions about what certain dishes were and offered to refill our duros and waters in a timely fashion.
There is even a coupon in one of those Branson coupon books I picked up from my motel lobby that had 10% off here, so the price was great, too. I will definitely be back…many times.