Qdoba vs Chipotle: We Finally Tried Qdoba For The First Time

Both Qdoba and Chipotle have been in business near our house for years.  We don’t go all that often, maybe once every few months, but when we’ve wanted a big old burrito wrap (or bowl), we always ended up in the nearby Chipotle.  However, Qdoba recently moved about a quarter mile down the road on the corner of one of the busiest intersections in the area.  The short move definitely seems to have helped business, as it’s always hopping.  It got us in the door, and we can now do a Qdoba vs Chipotle comparison.

Qdoba Vs Chipotle

OK, I’ll admit, part of what got us there was that we got a coupon in the mail.  A good ‘Buy One, Get One Free’ deal will work anytime.  But after we went, it made us realize that we’d been missing out!

It was pretty darn good!  It wasn’t perfect but it definitely made the list as far as places we’d visit now and then.

Here are some of the things we learned:

Qdoba has Queso

Chipotle is very well publicized for offering only fresh ingredients.  So they don’t offer anything the lines of gooey melted cheese.  Well, as much as I like fresh ingredients, I also like gooey melted cheese, so Qdoba gives you that option.  They have a couple of different varieties and they’ll put it on willingly for you.

Qdoba has free guacamole

I don’t like guacamole, not even a little bit, but my wife does, so regardless of my preference, it’s coming home with us.  Chipotle charges you a couple of bucks for a side of guac, where Qdoba feels that it’s part of the experience, so you get it at no extra charge.

Limit the rice

One thing that both my wife and I did was say ‘both’ when they asked what kind of rice we mb-2016-04-shellswanted.  They have two kinds.   I think that they basically doubled the amount of rice as both of ours seemed to have a LOT of rice.  Next time, we’ll either stick to one or ask for both but note that we don’t want as much.

Get some spice

I like a little spice but nothing overly spicy.  As such, I didn’t order anything that was spicy, and I probably should have.  You can get spicy queso, spicy salsa, and I think even one or two of the other things has some spice.  I got them all non-spicy and I realized that while what I had was tasty, it could have used a little bit of zip that would have come from getting something with a little extra spice.  Next time, I’ll order either the salsa or queso with spice.

Don’t forget the basics

There’s a lot to choose from when you get your burrito.  You can choose the type of meat, all the veggies, what kind of queso, salsa, etc.  I totally forgot to get sour cream, and realized it when I came home to eat.  Drat!  I love sour cream with my Mexican food.  Luckily we had some in the fridge, but considering it’s all included, I will make sure to get it next time.

So Which One Wins?

Quite honestly, the differences between Chipotle and Qdoba were so minimal that if you did a blind taste test, I would probably struggle to figure out which is which.  For us the determining factors are where we might have a coupon as well as which one is more accessible.  Believe it or not, the side of the road makes a big difference where both are located.

In the end, both can be considered, though we have been at Qdboa a lot more, as they’ve been more aggressive with coupons.

Readers, have you been to Qdoba?  What do you think?  Any ordering tips or secrets that I should know about for next time?  

10 thoughts on “Qdoba vs Chipotle: We Finally Tried Qdoba For The First Time”

  1. Ironic that you mention Chipotle as your ‘go-to;’ we almost always prefer Qdoba! Then again, both companies’ corporate offices are in the Denver CO area…

    We rarely order the steak. It’s usually overcooked and dry. The chicken is cheaper, and not as dried out. Also, get the fresh salsa (‘salsa fresca’) — it’s more flavorful and not that spicy. It’s especially tasty with the chips — they used to have more of a citrus taste (the chips, that is), but our last visit, they didn’t so much. Too bad.

    If we both order a burrito, there’s almost always enough for lunch next day. Which is nice. Also, you should get and use their rewards card; you’ll get a free burrito when you purchase enough — I think it’s 10.

  2. Ya know, I’ve actually never been to Qdoba! Was a big Chipotle fan pre-food poisoning problems nationwide (I live in Boston — our local Chipotles were hard-hit). I haven’t been there since that was in the news, so maybe I’ll check out Qdoba!

  3. My husband is a Qdoba fiend.

    We used to live in the middle of Alaska where there were no Qdobas, but I would travel Outside (Alaska speak for “continental U.S.”) quite often to conferences. I would usually fly through Seattle on the way home, and there happened to be a Qdoba in the airport.

    My husband would make me pick up Washington Qdoba and bring it to him in Alaska. It was only a couple hours old by the time it got to him. That was the most-well traveled Qdoba ever!

  4. We enjoy and visit both. The queso at Qdoba is really good with their chips. And we too enjoy the no-charge guacamole. I do like Chipotle a bit more though. Their guacamole there is one of the best in my opinion. I’m not a cilantro fan, and the amount of cilantro Chipotle uses is just right. And their chips, light and salty, really good.

    For us, it usually comes down to whether we want chips and queso or chips and guacamole. : )


    • I think we’ll definitely have to get a side of queso next time for dipping with chips. Now that we know they make good food, it’ll be easier to know that we’d be getting something delicious.

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