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El Vaquero Mexican Restaurant

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Mexican Restaurants, Family Style Restaurants, Restaurants

2195 Riverside Dr, Columbus, OH 43221


Today: 11:00 am - 10:30 pm

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34 Reviews
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Provided by Citysearch
I will never go back

Recently I went to this El Vaquero and we were ""robbed"" by our server.

A group of friends and I shared a few pitchers of margaritas. When the bill came we agree to split the cost equally among us. The waitress added one more pitcher to our bill than what we consumed. I spoke up to correct the mistake, but no one wanted to dispute our server.

Our waitress tacked on an extra $16 pitcher...and we do not think this was not an ""honest mistake.""

The El Vaquero chain makes a good profit I am sure. I just hope this is not how they do it.

I will never patronize this El Vaquero again.

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Provided by Citysearch
Lost what they once had

This was once my favorite Mexican restaurant in Columbus. I have been away for a couple of years and won't go back. The place is clean, the servers were friendly and prompt. The chips were warm and seemed fresh, but the salsa seemed like it came out of a can. My entree was pathetic to be kind.

I ordered a beef burritto and beef enchilada. What I got was a burritto that consisted of a flour torilla wrapped around unseasoned (or perhaps very lightly seasoned) ground beef with a week almost spaghetti tasting sauce. The only difference between the burritto and the echilada was the enchilada used a corn tortilla. No beans, no rice. At $9.20 (including drink) this was a waste.

No one, my server or a manager, bothered to ask how my meal was, or I would have given them an ear full.

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Provided by Citysearch
Used to love it, now won't go back

We went to the location in Dublin 161/Sawmill Rd area. I used to LOVE this place. However, 7/23/2010 we went in late, around 9:30. I asked the gentleman at the door if they were still serving and he said ""yes.' I ordered a vaquero favorite of mine. It was AWFUL. Usually the portions are fantastic. There was about 2 tablespoons of rice, 4 zucchini’s, 1 mushroom and 5 or 6 pieces of chicken, the sauce was MISSING and it just tasted terrible. The salsa tasted like tomato sauce. They screwed up my husband’s order too. The guy at the door should have said ""We are about to close so we are going to serve you whatever leftovers from the day we can scrape up."" Highly unfortunate. Terrible way to treat a customer. We won't be going back anytime soon.

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Provided by Citysearch
Move on Columbus, there's better

Way back when, the place was decent. But now there are many more options about town that are far more authentic and much better.

If you like pre-fab margaritas and run of the mill food, you'll be fine here in your safety zone. But get out and explore, options in Mexican cuisine abound and it just takes alittle effort to find them.

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Provided by Citysearch
Best Mexican in Columbus

I've been a regular at El Vaquero (namely Riverside Drive location) for over 10 years. You will not find a more casual, fun, well priced place with better food or service in Columbus. That's why is packed 7 dats a week, every week. Sit at the bar and David will get your pitcher of Margarita out quick

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Provided by Citysearch
Formula has ruined this place. On the bottom of my list.

A few years ago this was a good place to go. Now it is a place I will not go to. Last time in they had a dirty carpet and the tables were not clean. This location is the worst of the lot. Other locations are cleaner, but the food is formula and all the same, if you like that. Tried for the last time.

Used to have friendly wait people, not anymore. Used to know how to make a good margarita, nope. Used to have great chicken salad, no longer available. Guacamole is no better than a 4th grader could make.

They have become a chain and it really shows. Probably making money hand over fist but not from me. Try some real Mexican food. The chips are not even as good as they used to be. There are many places offering good service from friendly people with excellently prepared food and not formula food. Don't order the chili rellano. They have not a clue! Mashed potatoes?

As you can tell, I am no longer a fan.

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Provided by Citysearch

the princes were great as well as the food... mmmmm the speedy gonzalez which was an enchilada, fried bean or rice, and a taco... were outstanding and it was the first and only thing i have been getting there. im from a very authentic italian family and my mom has NEVER tried mexican but she LOVED it. she actually at guacamole which she always used to think was terrible *idk y* but she ate it! MMMMM!!!!!! GO EL VAQUERO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Provided by Citysearch
Head to Vaquero's if you enjoy being insulted

My friends recently visited the newly opened Dublin/Columbus location on 161 near Sawmill Rd. Their waiter repeatedly swore at them in Spanish throughout the meal.(replacing amigo with another word) They realized what he was saying, then listened closer to make sure they were hearing him correctly. I've been going to this El Vaquero's a few times a month since they've opened, the service is mediocre it takes forever to pay and the food is average. I wonder how many times I've been tipping 20% to have the waiters call me and my friends derogatory names.

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Provided by Citysearch
""The Vacq""

""The Vacq"" is one of my favorite mexican restaurant. When home, I frequent the recently renovated location in Shawnee Hills. Great service, friendly faces and yummy queso!

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Provided by Citysearch
Worst Service Ever

I recently visited the Hilliard-Rome location. We arrived around 6pm on a Friday evening and ordered a margarita pitcher. However, this is not enough to constitute decent service. Around 730, our waiter Nacho, told us that there were other people waiting to be seated and we needed to leave. The gall! Apparently, my money is not wanted at this restaurant. This is UNACCEPTABLE behavior for someone in the service industry. Apparently El Vaquero?s want to fall prey to the economic downturn. I will also be writing to the ""Consumer Choice"" award folks. As this restaurant has somehow fooled them in to thinking they have great service.


I'll be going to Chipotle, where at least I won't be asked to leave...when I'm a paying customer!

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Provided by Citysearch
impolie waiters and horrible family restuarant

We go there almost every week and each week, even if we order the same dish, it never taste the same. The waiters were very impolite when we stay there for a long time. One of them even mentioned that they don't care if we come there, b'coz they have other customerts who pay more. Btw me and my friends always spend around $150 every week over there. This was a big shock for us. They need to hire employees who care about the name too.

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Provided by Citysearch
Fantastic Food!

Great prices and fantastic authentic food. This one can't be beat. Food is ordered by the number, and you gotta remember to get a beer to go along with it.

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Provided by Citysearch
Not authentic, but one of the best around

Been to Mexico many times, once for 2 months, and while this food is far from authentic, is is one of the best around here, and I have been to all their locations in central Ohio since they opened. Menu is rather static, but food is always cooked correctly, and served hot and fast. Coupons are always available, making their low prices even a better value. Service is also top notch...the mostly ethic specific staff is always hustling, and working hard to please you, however, if you don't know Spanish, there can be a language barrier, especially trying to order something special or custom. There chicken tacos are the most authentic, adding hot salsa (free, just ask for it when they serve the complementary chips). I actually prefer Casa Fiesta for food, but Vaquero's bars are better equipped for happy hours and the Friday after work social.

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Provided by Citysearch

My family and friends Love it there, always great food, fast service, great prices. We go at least 2 to 3 times a month. Very good place to eat and relax with family and friends.! YUMMY

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Provided by Citysearch
Might be good, if you have no taste buds.

The only thing I'd go back for are the Margaritas. The food is no more authentic than Taco Bell. Service was quick, salsa tastes like it came from a jar. The taco shells appear to be the same kind they use at Taco Bell.

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Provided by Citysearch
Become a regular

Unlike other newly expanded regional chains, El Vaquero lost nothing when it expanded from this original location. The best cheap eats and drinks in Columbus. Grab a pitcher of the Texas Margaritas on the rocks, choose just about anything for a meal, and enjoy. The service is crazy fast and attentive, especially during lunches. Flat screen TVs throughout show sports. Food is not perfectly authentic but so good you won't really care, frankly. Fajitas are generous, anything with chorizo here is a winner, and the newer fish items are pretty good. Get a side of guacamole and some pico de gallo, which is occassionally hot enough to slowly lose your mind. You'll need that margarita. Environment is fun and often loud, good for parties. Great for after work stress relief, not for romantic evenings. Cinco de Mayo is a madhouse here. Weekends are slow: the perfect time to spend a hot (or cold!) Ohio afternoon. Grab a flan for dessert. If they made homemade sangria this place would be very close to heaven.

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Provided by Citysearch
El Vaquero hustle bustle

My husband and I recently dined at El Vaquero for the first time on a Thursday night.
At first glance, the bar is hard to find b/c it's lowered down into the floor. We grabbed a drink before dinner and I would recommend the Texas Margarita. The Sangria is bad, not authentic at all. Once seated, the menu is a bit overwhelming with so many options but we decided on the Camerones Rancheros and the Hot/Spicy Chicken. The chicken dish was not spicy at all and tasted like chicken swimming in a red bbq sauce.
The shrimp dish was much better. Having a drink with dinner? I would skip the regular margaritas b/c they were extremely watery. Next time, I'll stick to a Corona or Negro Modelo.

Overall, we enjoyed it. Would go back to try different dishes and snack on chips & salsa. Drinks are less to be desired.

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Provided by Citysearch
Best Mexican Food Anywhere!!!

-This is the best Mexican food that we have eaten anywhere! The Margaritas are perfect!

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Provided by Citysearch
Love it!

I love this place. It is cheap, fast and taste great. Just make sure that you do not feel up on the chips and salsa.

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Provided by Citysearch
Our Favorite Restaurant!

My girlfriend introduced me to El Vaquero and it quickly became our ""special"" place to go for birthdays, anniversaries, promotions, and whenever friends and family visit Columbus. Outstanding food, unbelievable service and all at a price that defies reason (extremely great value)! I cannot recommend El Vaquero enough!

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General Info
Mexican food from the range to you in Columbus, OH, at El Vaquero! The freshest meats paired with unique spices and a bouquet of colorful vegetables make each dish a truly authentic Mexican dining experience. Our recipes celebrate the proud traditions of making real food for real people, and each meal at El Vaquero is made the way it was centuries ago on the range! Our menu includes all of your tantalizing favorites like fajitas, enchiladas, burritos, rellenos, quesadillas, tacos, steak, and more! Our regulars also say we have the best margaritas in town. But don't take their word for it, why not come by and try them for yourself? We didn't forget about those of you with more discerning palates: we have a wide variety of vegetarian meals available too. Join us at El Vaquero today, the best Mexican restaurant in town!
Regular Hours
Mon - Thu:
Fri - Sat:
Mexican Restaurants, Family Style Restaurants, Restaurants
Payment Options
Price Range
Scioto Trace, Northwest Columbus
Other Information

Parking: Lot, Private

Wi-Fi: No

Bike Parking: No

Attire: Casual

Good For Family: Yes

Good For Groups: Yes

Good for Kids: Yes

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Take Out: Yes

Cuisines: Mexican, Latin American

Alcohol: Yes, Full Bar

Takes Reservations: No

Outdoor Seating: Yes

Price Range : Average

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Data provided by one or more of the following: DexYP, Data Axle, Yext.