Food Guide

Cafe Rio Tostada vs Salad: Which Delightful Dish Will Win Your Taste Buds

If you’re already a loyal fan of the Cafe Rio chain of Mexican restaurants, then you know that their tostadas and salads are both delicious.

If you’ve never been to Cafe Rio before, I hope this article piques your interest in them.

But either way, if you’re stuck trying to decide which option to pick up for lunch today or get as a side for dinner tonight, this comprehensive guide will help you choose between the two.

What is a Cafe Rio tostada?

Tostadas are a signature dish in Cafe Rio, an American restaurant that serves a variety of Mexican dishes such as burritos and tacos.

A tostada is a toasted or fried flat tortilla with a variety of ingredients for the filling.

It is usually served with refried beans, cheese, salsa, lettuce, shredded meat (usually chicken or pork), and sour cream.

There are also vegetarian options available at most locations including the California Veggie Tostada which contains black beans instead of meat.

Cafe Rio tostada has a vibrant and appealing look as well as a flavorful taste thanks to the use of numerous ingredients in one dish.

What is a Cafe Rio salad?

A Cafe Rio salad is a delicious, hearty meal that can be eaten as a side or as a main course.

It’s made with lettuce, black beans, corn, cheese, cilantro lime vinaigrette, and tortilla strips.

This dish often refers to Cafe Rio sweet pork salad, which explains why it is often topped with shredded pork to make it more filling and flavorful.

This recipe was inspired by the popular restaurant chain Cafe Rio, which has locations throughout Utah and Nevada.

At Cafe Rio, you can order a salad in one of two ways: as a side or as an entree.

The latter version usually includes protein from meat.

The Cafe Rio salad is one of their most popular items on the menu because it offers such great flavor at an affordable price point, and it’s so easy to make at home!

What are the differences between Cafe Rio tostada and salad?

There are some differences between the tostada and salad orders at Cafe Rio.

Let’s check it out:

Cafe Rio salad calls for cilantro lime rice, while Cafe Rio tostada might not include rice

You can see in the topping ingredient list of a Cafe Rio tostada and a salad and figure out that most of the time, the salad includes cilantro lime rice.

On the other hand, Cafe Rio tostada calls for beans as the main ingredient, and rice is optional.

The bases of Cafe Rio tostada are toasted tortillas, while Cafe Rio salad uses regular flour tortillas

Another thing that separates these two dishes is the base.

Cafe Rio tostada is crunchier thanks to the toasted or fried tortillas as a base.

This means that when you make your own tortillas or buy them from a grocery store, you will need to fry or toast them before serving in a tostada recipe for extra crunch.

Meanwhile, a Cafe Rio salad can simply use a regular flour tortilla that is softer.

Cafe Rio salad is topped with shredded tortillas too, while Cafe Rio tostada is topped with shredded cheese only

The last difference is that Cafe Rio salad is topped with shredded tortillas.

This might be because the base lacks crunchiness, so it needs something crispy like shredded tortillas.

In the Cafe Rio tostada, on the other hand, you will find mostly shredded cheese without any further shredded tortillas if you don’t order them.

What are the similarities between Cafe Rio tostada and salad?

Here we come to the similarities between Cafe Tostada and salad:

Both are Mexican dishes that are served at Cafe Rio

The first one that anyone can recognize is that they are both Mexican-inspired dishes that feature many Mexican staples like cheese, tortillas, beans, and slow-cooked meat.

They are also two signature and favorite dishes at Cafe Rio, a famous restaurant chain in the United States.

Both have a vibrant look due to the use of a variety of ingredients

The second thing in common is that both tostada and salad served at Cafe Rio have a vibrant and appealing look.

The reason is that these two recipes call for a variety of ingredients with different colors which give them a beautiful visual presentation.

Both are healthy, filling, and delicious

Last but not least, Cafe Rio tostada and salad are healthy, tasty, and can make a great side dish.

Their flavorful but refreshing flavor helps balance the greasy taste of other dishes and makes your meal more balanced.


In general, there are not too many differences between a tostada and a salad at Cafe Rio.

They both look good, taste amazing, and are an excellent source of protein, vitamins, and minerals for your body.

Why not visit this restaurant and try both of these recipes, then you can decide which one to make at home the next time.

Emily W.

Emily Wong is an Asian-American food writer the founder of With nearly 8 years of experience, she has a passion for making cooking accessible to everyone and sharing her personal experiences with food. Emily's vision for is to create a community of food lovers who are passionate about cooking, eating, and sharing their experiences with others. Read my story
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