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Mad Mex Pittsburgh

I hate to complain about a restaurant on this board; however I am making an exception. I had lunch at Mad Mex in Robison yesterday. One of the worst meals I have experienced at a restaurant. The mai mai salad was awful - the fish was so overcooked that you could not cut it with a knife. When I complained the waitress responsed that the fish perfect and that it is normally "crusty" ??? I asked for the manager and he was very embarrassed and removed it off the bill.
My daughter ordered the beef soft taco. The meat was massively over salted and cold. Even the chips and salsa were terrible. I will never return.

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  1. 'Bout time someone kicked Mad Mex in the middle of their Corporate. We went once years ago and never went again. I stopped at Chipotle at Robinson. Absolutely the ugliest restaurant I have ever been in, but the burrito was just great. The main decor theme is corrugated. El Campesino over toward Home Depot is probably what you were looking for when you went into Mad Mex. Typical "Mexican" food as per Pittsburgh standards, but done well. If you want to get away from corporate entirely, try Mendosa Express in Greentree.. Nothing showy there. Just good and cheap. Just my 2 cents. Sometimes I do run on.

    2 Replies
    1. re: yayadave

      I can't comment on the P-burgh location, but the W. Philly location is a place to drink 1/2 price beers and $6 margaritas during happy hour, and frankly, nothing more. Well, ok, you get chips and salsa gratis if you ask for them, and the wings are...well they're wings, but I wouldn't eat a meal there.

      And hey, feel free to air your complaints, which I feel are fairly tempered by the manager's willingness to take the dish off the menu. I think that speaks well for them.

      1. re: Boognish

        Yea the food at the West Philly one sucks. Everything tastes like it comes out of a bag. The dips and guacamole and particularly appalling. They claim the guac is made fresh but it tastes like a lot of filler to me.

        Happy hour is a good deal, though.

    2. I'd also give kudos to servers and management for not questioning complaints and taking things off the bill. I had an issue with a side last triip (was a blue corn souffle that really tasted off) and they took my whole lunch entree off the bill even though rest of the dish was ok.

      1. Perhaps it was just the location; four years in Pittsburgh for college and a hand ful of visits since, I have never had a bad meal at The Original Location in PITT's Oakland Campus!

        2 Replies
        1. re: littlecmad

          littlecmad, I agree! Then I moved to Philly, went to the one near Penn and was appauled. People here blame it on the proximity to the university, but the original one manages to be so. much. better. In food and, even more so in service. I was never treated like a "college student" at the original location when I *was* a college student.

          1. re: urbanfabric

            I am from Philly and live in the Philly area so I have been to the one near Penn and didn't have any problems. I admit its not exactly like the original but I thought everything was still good, just not great. Try the Penn location again.

        2. I have yet to go to Mad Mex, but I am glad that I read this post. I went to El Campesino in Monroeville the other day. The food was actually quite good, but the service was awful. Not only were they very inattentive, but when I asked one of the servers a question, he looked at me like I was a complete jerk. I won't go back there again.

          1 Reply
          1. re: pontormo

            Geez, we're getting some bad press on our crippled local Mexican food scene. I have to caution that some of these issues may be location based or situational. I have been to El Camp in Peters/McMurray many times and have nothing but good things to say about the food and service. This is as close to good Mexican food that we get in the Burgh, IMO. I have been to both the Robinson and South Hills Mad Mex's several times with no issues or problems. I had a not quite so good fish taco once, but I just didn't like the preparation. Hmm, maybe fish at a pseudo-Mexican restaurant is not a good idea? Anyhow, Mad Mex is not the cat's meow of Mexican cuisine, but it has pretty darn good, an innovative tex-mext type food, and a great beer selection. I think if you go in with the right expectations, barring isolated incidences of poor service or food, you'll be OK. If these incidences become more common, then I think we need to worry.

          2. Somehow I have been to Mad Mex in North Hills, Robinson and Cranberry. Robinson does appear to have worse service from my one or two experiences there. We don't go with any regularity, but over the years, every once in a while, it's decent for a margarita and a Mexi-fusion food concoction, depending upon my location at the time. They have tofu; this registers well with the person who goes with me. ;-) I don't see turning this into a discussion of Pittsburgh Mexican food, such as it is. Mad Mex doesn't belong in that group, doesn't really pretend to be Mexican food, which to my way of thinking is actually better than a lame restaurant purporting to be Mexican cuisine.

            1 Reply
            1. re: CrazyOne

              We frequent the Robinson location and find it to be our favorite due it its larger size which means we usually don't have to wait on a Friday evening to be seated. I've been to the Oakland, Monroeville, North Hills, and South Hills locations and they've all been very consistent, imo.

            2. Went to MM in Robinson awhile back - husband found a BONE half the size of my FIST in his food! 'Nuff said.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Emmy79

                I should heed warnings. I went to Mad Mex on Sunday in Greentree (hard to find good restaurants open on Sunday). We wanted to go to il Burano - can't remember how to spell it -- but it didn't work with our schedule opening at 4 p.m. The WORST meal of my entire life. Dips that I think were made on Friday (brownish gray guacamole).. I got a chicken mole enchilada and it was supposed to have red & green sauce. It came out smothered in an orange gravy crap with cheese. Is this a tax write off for the Big Burrito group? Never again!

                1. re: burghgal

                  It's amazing how this restaurant has declined in the past few years. I recall Mad Mex being a pretty good place years ago, but my most recient trip was dissapointing. Big Burrito has done such a great job with their other restaurants, I wonder what's up with Mad Mex?


                2. re: Emmy79

                  The chicken mole enchilada is not supposed to have red and green sauce. It is supposed to have mole sauce which should be red in color.

                3. Funny. We went on Friday night to the Cranberry location. We go there because of the good beer selection and it's a place we can take the kids and at least get half decent food. Recently I've been turned off, with the focus of the food being quantity, not quality.

                  On Friday, though, got the carnitas quesadilla. Came in a whole wheat tortilla and it was just the meat (not overly sweet, as has often been the case) and a tangy sauerkraut, I guess is how I would describe it. It was really good. The best thing I've ever eaten there. I hope they keep serving that particular dish that way.

                  Oh, and the Great Divide double IPA was also really freakin' delicious!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Whigsboy

                    My experience at Cranberry Saturday was good, too. I'm a sucker for everything with the carnitas, actually; that's my favorite. Clearly there is some variance in the quality by location, though. Hm. I don't go in with high expectations; it's just like any other casual chain restaurant in a lot of respects. But I haven't had bad service or food in Cranberry in several visits, a few visits to McKnight Rd over the years with, eh, maybe not quite as good service but still adequate and a couple visits to Robinson which seem to stand out as subpar.

                    Perhaps Big Burrito is not so well cut out to run a chain. You expect consistency across locations for a chain. Their other restaurants only have to be consistent in one place, which while still no picnic certainly has to be easier.

                    1. re: CrazyOne

                      I have only been to the oakland and monroville locations and I thought is was acceptable. I agree you cannot call it Great Mexican food. Happy Hour is the main reason anyone I know, ever tried it in first place. The problem with any chain restaurants is each location will Vary!! Service, cooks, managers... all take part in altering each experience. I will say about 4 years ago the FOOD WAS SOOO MUCH BETTER THAN TODAY ; might of started pre packaging little too much

                  2. I agree that if you go to Mad Mex expecting exceptional Mexican food you will be disappointed. It isn't anything like authentic Mexican and doesn't try to be. It is more of a Tex-Mex chain with kitschy decor, and anytime my friends or I have strayed too far from Tex-Mex staples we have been underwhelmed.

                    That said, I have been to Mad Mex dozens of times at several different locations - Oakland, McKnight, and Cranberry, primarily. Like others, I have also seen inconsistency at specific locations as well as a disparity in the level of service and quality of food between the different locations.

                    Despite all of these negative comments I still go there probably once every few months or so, and I generally come away happy and satisfied. I think it is about expectations. My first experience with Mad Mex was as a happy hour hang-out with lots of good beer, reasonably priced and strong margaritas and gratis chips and salsa. So I have never considered it the height of culinary creation or even worthy of a special trip.

                    But if I find myself on McKnight and unsure of what I want I know I can stop in, get some chips and salsa, a solid burrito, a few brews, maybe a margarita, and leave satisfied. My friends and I sometimes stop at the Cranberry location on Rte. 19 on the way home from golf.

                    Just stick to the staples, which seem to be pretty consistent, and you'll probably have a good time. I think they handle chicken pretty well. So I usually go with a chicken Mad Mex Burrito (or the spicy variation), the Fajita Burrita or the Wing-o-rito. The Chimichanga is generally pretty solid as well.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: MonMauler

                      I was at Mad Mex in Robinson this past weekend. Both I and my husband thought it was very good. Not "classic Mexican" or even Tex-Mex, I had a jerked pork quesadilla(!), but both of our meals were very tasty. I like a place that has good food and nice surroundings. I don't go much for the martyr foodie who finds "virtue" in dealing with very questionable surroundings.