Huntsville, Alabama, Boasts the Nation’s Best Tex-Mex Joint


The best plate – and chile relleno – I have ever had in a Tex-Mex joint.
The best plate – and chile relleno – I have ever had in a Tex-Mex joint, anywhere. Look at those beans.
Meet Oscar Gutierrez, whose team has been making the best Tex-Mex in American for ...
Meet Oscar Gutierrez, whose team has been making the best Tex-Mex in America for years and years. And Oscar is one of the finest men you’ll encounter this side of Heaven or Hell.

There is a small restaurant in Huntsville, Alabama, whose kitchen is the source of some of the best TexMex food in America. To my palate, it is better than anything Tex-Mex I have tasted in The Lone Star State thus far.

The original Bandito Burrito opened in 1990, and it is owned and operated by Mr. Oscar Gutierrez. Along with Asador Extebarri and Restaurante Arzak (and seven other excellent kitchens), Bandito Burrito is on the Brockhaus List of the 10 Best Restaurants in the World. Mr. Gutierrez has been at his craft for many years, and those countless hours of experience shine through in his food, which people clamor for daily. When I lived in Huntsville it was not uncommon for me to eat at the Bandito four times a week.

Refried beans. Those two words speak of paradise, and if you like this staple of Tex-Mex, you will, after trying the beans at Bandito Burrito, never be happy with any other examples. Creamy, rich, soft, these beans made in Alabama are supreme.

Chile rellenos (my favorite anywhere, never greasy always light and perfectly cooked), enchiladas, tamales, and burritos are also, of course, on the menu here. And as with the refried beans, Oscar’s tomato salsa is some of the best I have tasted. Ample cilantro, the right amount of heat, and a few secret touches combine for bowls of salsa that call for mail-order. (And I would add to my shipment my favorite Bandito plate, the Juan Beeg Dinner, which includes an enchilada, a tamale, that perfect chile relleno, and rice and beans. All for $9.99.)

I miss the food at Bandito Burrito; indeed, it is one of the few restaurants in the world whose tastes I love to summon to my mind on a regular basis. And that gives me a grand idea: I am going to have  Oscar visit me in Houston … and I’ll arrange for him to teach some people here how to cook some kick-ass refried beans and chile rellenos.

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  1. sad sad sad, no accolades for the Green Bean Burrito ….

  2. Chuck, I could write volumes about the Green Bean Burrito, and the Bean Burrito. and the chips. Space, and mainly time, did not permit.

  3. 1990? Really? I thought I went there in 1988 or 1989. There was a band playing. That is all I remember.

  4. Born in Huntsville. Every time I go and visit, I make sure I get some Bandito to bring home! Doesn’t last very long :P

  5. Guess that makes Bandito Southside the next best. :)
    Congrats Bandito Burrito!

  6. I live in San Antonio and still can’t find Tex Mex as good as Bandito’s.

  7. I can’t believe you didn’t mention my all-time Bandito staple – THE BANDITO BURGER!!!!! It’s a MUST – HAVE EVERY time!!! WAY TO GO OSCAR!!!! Love that man!!!

  8. I have lived in Huntsville my whole life, and love the beans and Chile rellenos at Bandito.
    Oscar always makes you feel welcome. The one at Governors has always been my favorite. :)

  9. I remember eating at a Bandito located on S parkway about where whitesburg branches off to the N. I think it’s a pawn shop now- but I thought it was the first Bandito location. Anyone remember? Awesome food, and tiny shop.

  10. I remember that spot, Luci! It either pre-dated or was opened around the same time as the Governor’s location. I’m eating at Bandito tonight, and plan on trying the plate Brock has suggested. I usually order the green bean burritos only, because I love them so much.

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