Los Bandidos a fresh, tasty option at Vicenza’s Caserma Ederle

Los Bandidos' crispy pork tacos after the addition of a chile sauce, sour cream, chopped onions, tomatoes, cilantro and lime. The eatery is located at Caserme Ederele in Vicenza, Italy.



Celebrity chef and CNN travel host Anthony Bourdain says he sneaks off to Popeyes for their mac and cheese. I myself fell victim in the early 2000s to the franchise’s million-calorie deep-fried catfish sandwich.

But for years I’ve avoided the usual Army base fast-food offerings. Not only because of calories and trans fats. I had the worst-tasting hot dog of my life on base — and I’ve eaten gas station hot dogs.

Then last week I tried Los Bandidos, one of several kiosk eateries lining Caserma Ederle’s outdoor dining area in Vicenza.

I ordered the al pastor tacos, described as three tortillas with marinated pork shoulder, special achiote sauce and pineapple. It was busy, and I waited about eight minutes while it was made to order. I took my paper plate with my 7.50-euro meal (about $8.70) to one of the red metal tables. It was love at first bite.

The pork lay smoky and soft inside the charred flour tortilla. The fresh pineapple added a touch of sweetness. The achiote, made of numerous herbs, spices and zests, added complexity. I needed a multitude of napkins.

I still fondly recall my first sight of the taco toppings. “Oh, look — chopped cilantro!” I almost shouted. “Fresh limes!”

There were also three different vibrantly colored sauces, sour cream, chopped tomatoes and onions. Everything was fresh — and tasted like it.

Los Bandidos, Portuguese for “the bandits,” opened in October as part of a recent Army effort to provide more healthful food. It’s owned and operated by a woman from Guatemala and her Italian chef husband, along with two employees. They all cram into the small space to meet what’s been a significant demand. It’s a family-owned enterprise, not part of a chain or franchise.

On another visit I tried the carnitas chicharron crispy pork tacos, also sigh-inducing. I’m looking forward to the chicken quesadillas and the fajita bowl with rice, beans, veggies and beef. And I can’t wait for the next “Crazy Corn” Wednesday, when roasted, spicy corn is available. But I think my heart will always belong to the al pastor tacos.


Los Bandidos

Address: Caserma Ederle, Vicenza, Italy

Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. Closed Sundays.

Prices: 4.50 euros ($5.30) for the beans and rice appetizer, 10 euros ($12) for a combination platter of quesadillas or tacos with rice and beans and a beverage. Tacos or quesadillas with meat are 7-7.50 euros. Vegetarian quesadillas are 7 euros; cheese quesadillas are 5 euros. Sodas and bottled water are 1 euro.

Information: (+39)0444-71-6285; website: facebook.com/bandidos.it

Los Bandidos' crispy pork tacos before the addition of various toppings. The dining option is relatively new to Caserme Ederle in Vicenza, Italy.

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