Food Review: Arandas Tacos Isn’t Foolin’ Around

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:

The Environment

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.

The Food

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.



Duros, free appetizer

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!

Taco Salad

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.

Food Review: Flavors Indian Cuisine in Bentonville

This review is going to be short and sweet. There’s only so much you can say about near perfection.
First off, in my travels, I have been to over 20 Indian lunch buffets. This one is. the. best. Even better than Star of India in Little Rock. Even better than India Clay Oven in Branson. Even better than my previous favorite in Nederland, CO.  Here’s why:

The Environment

This restaurant has nothing special going for it, asthetic-wise. It is located in a shopping center. The inside is pretty bland. However, there is a whole room devoted just to the lunch buffet….because it is huge!

The Food

Here are pictures of most of the buffet. I did not get a picture of the section with salads and chutneys and other sauces, because I got too hungry taking pics of the other food. Sorry, not sorry.

There were so many options on this buffet, I only got to try about half of them before I could eat no more.
Some of my favorites included the “mix veg saag” which was a creamy paneer, full of not only spinach but plenty of other vegetables, such as peas and carrots. It was delightfully sweet and hearty, all at once. I think
The shahi paneer was also extremely tasty. While I am not a fan of the cheese blocks, the sauce was sweet with just enough kick of heat to keep it interesting. I think I dipped everything else on my plate into these two dishes. They were both my favorite versions of these specific dishes.
The butter chicken was also fabulous. One thing I noticed in all of the dishes was how finely chopped all of the veggies and meats are. This creates tender, easy to eat options, which I really enjoyed. So, the butter chicken was extremely tender (an issue I usually have with chicken dishes at Indian buffets are the toughness of the overcooked meat) and was definitely butter with just enough heat.
One interesting thing about this place is there some dishes with Asian influence. There are cold Asian noodles, which are quite refreshing in the heat of all of the heavier dishes. There were even chicken dishes with a sort of sweet-and-sour chicken flavor you would get at a Chinese buffet. These were nothing crazy good, but unique for an Indian buffet.

The na-an is found on the buffet, and I found it cooked perfectly. It had bites that were a little soft and chewy, and bites that were crispy and charred, my favorite! Though, no outstanding flavor. But when you are dipping it into all of those delicious sauces, who cares?!
On the table, we were given a gluten-free, very crispy cracker-type of bread. I am not sure what this was called, but it was a nice contrast of textures against all of the softer, chewier items.

For dessert, there was a deliciously spiced rice pudding (a lot of cardamon and cinnamon was detected) as well as those typical donut balls (sorry, don’t know the name and didn’t try them) and some mango custard, which was very tasty and helped calm down my acid reflux after this perfectly spicy meal.

My new favorite, must hit up, Indian lunch buffet. Not only was the buffet huge and delicious (I still need to go back to try half of it that I could not fit in my belly) but the service was very kind and generous. While we arrived at opening time (11:00 on a Friday), the buffet was not yet filled. So, the waitress asked us to wait about 10 minutes. In that time, we got our drinks, and almost every worker came by to chat. They asked how we were doing, if we had been there before, if we had any questions. It was not overbearing, but simply friendly and appreciated. On our way out, I was asked how the meal was and I ranted about how it was the best I have had. The smiles of pride given at that moment show how important this restaurant is to this family and its employees. They really care to be the best and make everyone’s experience top notch.
The price for this buffet was around $11 per person, which I believe was a steal. I ate…well, a lot. I can’t wait to see you again, soon, Flavors!