Sancho’s

There seems to be a terrible paucity of good Mexican food joints in Delhi.

One of the options that has been around for a while is Rodeo’s. Frankly, I haven’t even tried their stuff yet, but that’s only because I keep hearing very mixed reviews about the place.

A week ago, I was in the mood for Mexican and called up Harneet for ideas. That’s when I got to know about Sancho’s in South Ex [update: the location has now shifted to Connaught Place]. My experience was good enough to suggest an EOiD outing, and so yesterday seven of ¬†us landed up there for some dinner.

I find the ambience of the place just about middling. A paper flier on each table gives the obligatory list of Mexican chilies and their descriptions — an idea much better implemented by Nirula’s decades ago, with brightly colored posters of chili peppers on the walls of their main location at Connaught Place.

Sancho’s is located on the 3rd and 4th floors, so their interior designer should really have made better use of the one side on which they have windows. As of now, only three tables are by the windows. Sitting anywhere else puts you in the middle of loud music (and why don’t they play Mexican or Latin American folk?) and tables full of (disproportionately expat) diners who are forced to be loud to make themselves heard over the din.

Another irritant were the numerous flies which plagued our table (I have no clue if this was a problem in other parts of the restaurant). It’s certainly not pleasant to keep checking whether that fly is on the inside or the outside of your daiquiri glass, and to keep covering your water with coasters.

Nachos at Sanchos
Nachos at Sancho's

That said, our experience with the drinks and food was rather good. As Pamela had promised, the frozen daiquiris were strong and well mixed. Several plates of tortilla chips accompanied by a smorgasbord of sauces served for an appetizer. None, not even the habanero, were exceptionally hot. I imagine that’s a concession to the more conservative North Indian palate. Perhaps the most interesting of the lot was the tangy mango-based sauce. The one sauce for which we had to pay separately, the “homemade” guacamole, on the other hand certainly didn’t justify its price tag of Rs. 99, and proved to be rather flat and bland.

Mexican Chicken Fajita at Sanchos
Mexican Chicken Fajita at Sancho's

Learning from Dave’s prior experiences at Sancho’s (confirmed by my own first visit), we stayed away from the enchiladas on the menu, as well as any other dishes involving enchilada sauce. Our order included chicken burritos, nachos and fajitas. I certainly enjoyed my plate of Mexican chicken fajita. The sizzler full of crispy veggies (including half a cob of corn) is as good to bite into as it is to look at, and is ably accompanied by flour tortillas, tomato-flavoured rice, sour cream and bean sauce.

Santa Fe Chicken Burrito
Santa Fe Chicken Burrito at Sancho's

I can’t say I’m as big a fan of the burritos. Perhaps I’m too conditioned by my scores of trips to the local Chipotle outlet in Evanston, which serves excellent — if a little too hearty — burrito wraps “to go”. Unlike those wraps, the burritos at Sancho’s are invariably covered with one or more sauces, which to me only makes a mish-mash of the flavours of the filling. I’d much rather have them serve the sauce as a side, left to the diner’s discretion to include in any bite.

All in all though, the meal was filling and delicious, and the staff are certainly cheerful, both in accommodating requests to change your table and even more so in refilling your glass of drink. The Mexican chef seems a sweet chap as well — he came over at the end to talk about his plans to introduce several authentic Mexican dishes into the currently Tex-Mex menu, and sent over some complimentary soup in tequila shooter glasses. Very sweet indeed, but we’d have preferred him to have put those glasses to better use ;)

Price: In a small group, eating within Rs. 600 per head should be easily possible. Drinks would be extra. Opting for prawns or other sea food would raise the bill, while veggie dishes would lower it. A 10% service charge is included.

Location: M-48, Outer Circle, Connaught Place. Map Location.

Timings: 12pm to 12am daily. There is at least one report of a bad luncheon experience at Sancho’s. For that reason as well as for ease of parking, you might prefer to do dinner.

All photographs by Nishant Jha.

[update Feb 2011: this review was written for the earlier location of Sancho's at South Extension. We hope, but do not guarantee, that their standards have been maintained in Connaught Place.]

14 thoughts on “Sancho’s”

  1. It was the first time I was eating mexican food so I was really excited and it was indeed a great experience.I was constantly asking Hemanshu for suggestions and the burritos I ordered was quite filling and delicious.would have loved to order some desserts but for my filled tummy. :) We had some fun filled conversations which I thoroughly enjoyed.all in all a great experience. :)
    Cheers
    Che

  2. Hmmm…
    I would really like someone to compare Rodeo’s with this place for me. On the face of it, Sancho’s seem to offer the same menu: some version of Tex-Mex (which seems to be a lot different from the menu at numerous Mexican food joints I encountered in Spain) – but at more than double the prices at Rodeo’s! I am yet to try out Sancho’s, and have not found a compelling reason to do so yet. Food at Rodeo’s is not great, but they do a decent Buffalo steak, some nice cocktails, and according to my herbivorous spouse, pretty decent veg. platters, and certainly seems to be lighter on the pocket than this place…

  3. Siddhartha: a variety of reasons.. from being out of town over the summer, to being really busy at other times, to laziness, to writer’s block :) But there are several places that we’ve been going to over the last year which I have yet to write about.. so hopefully I’ll keep jotting them down in the weeks to come!

  4. What is that green sauce on top of the burrito? Usually burritos only come with salsa roja (red sauce), which you have on one side of the burrito. But the other green sauce – I’m puzzled. It doesn’t look like salsa verde, because salsa verde is dark green (on closer inspection, it basically looks like pureed avocado).

    I’m surprised the habanero wasn’t exceptionally hot. You should try some of the taco places in LA catering exclusively to Mexican immigrants, where a splash of the salsa roja made with habanero is enough to set your mouth ablaze. It’s a completely addictive kick.

    You should really convince the Mexican chef to introduce Mexican dishes on the menu. I’m convinced that Mexican food (as opposed to Tex-Mex) should have a greater appeal for Indians, given the variety of vegetables and peppers used.

  5. Sancho’s typically serves snacky foods such as nachos, burritos, chimichangas etc. For relatively more authentic mexican food (falvoured rices, curried meats and chilli) you could try a new place that has opened up in GKII called Amigo. Food is superb though slightly expensive. This restaurant is in the same commercial complex that houses Mainland China at Masjid Moth.

  6. I have been to Amigo twice and have been thoroughly disappointed. Say what you will about Sancho’s ambiance, but Amigo seems like the designers intended to continue Delhi’s string of uninspired neo-contemporary restaurant-cum-lounge mentality. Why?

    As far as the food goes, I don’t know what they are serving in place of tortilla chips, but I can only describe them as round, greasy, soggy wafers of questionable composition. I will give them props for their guacamole, which blows Sancho’s away in both taste and value – but bring your own tortilla chips (I did).

    The rest of the food I have tried is over-priced and doesn’t taste Mexican at all to me. The drinks from the bar are also atrocious and over-priced compared to Sancho’s, which is one of my favorite taste-for-value bars in the city at the moment.

  7. I found all this information about Mexican Restaurants in Delhi of much interets. Could it be possible for some one to post a PDF file of the menus and pictures of the restarurants? I am a food scholar doing a project on what I am calling “The Mexican Migrent: Images & Flavours of Mexican Food in Four Continents.” My trips to India have been rather short, and I was not infromed about these places in my last two trips there. Thank for any further information on this.

  8. Usually the green sauce you see is a very New Mexico influence and it’s based on mild green chilis aka salsa verde. I’m not a fan of either the enchilada sauce or green chili sauce on my burrito. Usually when you want your burrito topped off with the red sauce you tell them to “make it enchi style” – at least that’s what you told them in California, Arizona and New Mexico. :)

    Sancho’s was ok, but it didn’t make me happy to eat there. I’ve eaten at Salsa Salsaa in the Sahara Mall in Gurgaon. If I had to choose between the two, I’d take Sancho’s because I am a big fan of guacamole. :) Salsa Salsaa didn’t have any.

    I’m not really a fan of Tex-Mex, though. But Sancho’s sure does hit that Mexican food craving spot.

  9. …one last thing about the salsa verde – in Tex Mex it’s usually a lighter green than what you would expect because of the tomatillos they use when they make them.

    I hope I’m making sense and not confusing you.

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