The 35 Best Burritos in America (Slideshow)
June 24, 2014
There may be no food more perfect than a well-made burrito
35) Taco Surf Taco Shop, San Diego: Carne Asada
The smell will draw you off the beach and into this uniquely Southern California taqueria. Though there are more than 15 burrito filling options, opt for the carne asada. The top sirloin is cooked to order and never sits around, creating an extremely fresh burrito dripping with warm beef juices.
34) La Pasadita, Chicago: Super Lomo
A no-nonsense taqueria with a limited menu, La Pasadita makes its presence known with a screaming-yellow exterior. Meat options are plentiful, ranging from chicken to beef tongue, (vegetarians are sadly out of luck), but you’ll want to opt for the lomo, fresh rib-eye. The super burrito comes loaded with cheese, sour cream, lettuce, tomato, guacamole, onions, cilantro, and rice — it is a behemoth.
33) Black Bear Burritos, Morgantown, W.Va.: Sergeant Pepper's
Great burritos, in West Virginia? You better believe it: at Black Bear Burritos some of the country’s most creative burritos are on offer, made with the highest-quality ingredients, sourced locally whenever possible. Offerings include Teriyaki, Thai, Indian, and Jamaican-style burritos, but their finest offering is a vegetarian one, filled with rice, red beans, roasted red peppers, green chiles, and jalapenos if you want it spicy, topped with a cool homemade kiwi salsa.
32) Puebla, New York City: Chicken Mole
We’re a little reluctant to spread the word about this no-frills taqueria and coffee shop in New York City’s East Village, but this burrito is seriously worth shouting from the hilltops about. The rich, dark mole is made in-house (you can buy it by the container if you’re so inclined), and when it’s combined with falling-apart chicken, beans, and rice in a burrito, it’s a gut-bomb for the ages.
31) Anna’s Taqueria, Boston: Grilled Vegetables
Anna’s has six locations in and around Boston, and is the standard-bearer for burritos in Beantown. The rollers have it down to an art form, averaging about 20 seconds to assemble one. For vegetarians and carnivores alike, the grilled vegetable burrito is one of the best ways to eat your vegetables you’ll ever encounter: the fresh, hot tortilla is filled with your choice of vegetables including seasoned onions, broccoli, corn, zucchini, squash, eggplant, red onions, sweet potatoes, and seasonal offerings like Brussels sprouts, rolled up with rice, beans, cheese, salsa, and hot sauce.
30) Changos Taqueria, Austin, Texas: Maximo
At this spot located near the University of Texas at Austin, the aroma of homemade tortillas hits you like a suplex from a luchador when you walk in the door, reinforced by the fact that you can actually see employees hard at work hand-making the masa rounds. Take that fresh tortilla and turn it into a Maximo (add meat or guacamole) burrito and you have a world-class meal for a cheap college student budget.
29) Juan's Flying Burrito, New Orleans: The Flying Burrito
Yelp/ Renata V, Ashley C
If you’re looking for a great burrito in the Crescent City, look no further than Juan’s. This “Creole taqueria” has two locations, and everything is made to order and finished a la minute on the grill. If you want to try a little bit of everything, the Flying Burrito is the way to go: grilled steak, shrimp and chicken, Cheddar and Jack cheese, black beans, yellow rice, salsa, sour cream, and guacamole are rolled up in a tortilla, then given a final go on the grill.
28) The Chile Pepper, Yuma, Ariz.: Bean and Cheese
At The Chile Pepper, open since 1954, it’s not about the girth of the burrito or all the add-ons, but the exquisite execution of simplicity. Locals rave over the simplest of burritos here — bean and cheese — and the fresh tortillas and a dash of hot sauce make it go from simple to excellent.
27) Taqueria y Panaderia de La Santa Cruz, Portland, Ore.: Al Pastor
Yelp/ Duane P
This little tienda located in downtown St. Johns would be right at home in Mexico, down to the free pickled peppers, carrots, and guacamole on the tables. There’s a market up front and a no-frills dining room in the back, and amazing burritos made to order. Just about everything here is spectacular, but the al pastor is truly a thing of beauty.
26) Bell Street Burritos, Atlanta: Pork & Green Chiles
At this Atlanta burrito mecca started by a former theology professor, you're given the choice to build your burrito however you please. Stay classic and choose one meat with your pinto beans, jack cheese, rice, and salsa fresca. You can also be bold and try combinations such as steak and shrimp and top it off with broccoli and potatoes, but you’ll be rewarded by keeping it simple: the ingredients used are just that good.
25) Irazu, Chicago: Chorizo
This Bucktown Costa Rican spot has been around since 1990, serving homestyle fare to the hungry masses and absolutely nailing it. Traditional Costa Rican dishes like gallo pinto, chifrijo, and casado are joined by more common tacos, empanadas, and sandwiches, but the chorizo burrito is the way to go: the spicy fresh sausage is sautéed and rolled up with beans, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and hot peppers. Get some traditional Costa Rican Lizano sauce on the side and you’re set.
24) Habanero’s Grill, San Antonio, Texas: Steak Fajita-Rito
Skip the other burrito joints in San Antonio and make your way to one of Habanero’s two locations for a real treat. You can make the tough decision yourself and build your own burrito from the ground up or leave yourself in the hands of the chef and choose from one of six burrito favorites with names like "Cheezy Beef" (white queso, Cheddar, and jack cheeses) and "Gringo-Rito" (featuring a ranch-like proprietary dressing). We suggest you opt for the steak Fajita-Rito, their top seller, filled with grilled steak, Spanish rice, refried beans, grilled onions, Cheddar, guacamole, and salsa.
23) Calexico, New York City: Chipotle Pork
The team behind this Cal-Mex New York cult favorite started small, with a cart in SoHo that quickly became a mob scene during lunchtime. They’ve since expanded to an additional cart near Madison Square and four brick-and-mortar storefronts, and while their tacos and rolled quesadillas are things of beauty, the burritos are true works of art. To get a sense of the amount of hard work that went into perfecting their recipes, opt for the chipotle pork to join rice, beans, Monterey Jack, and pico de gallo in your burrito: it’s slow-roasted for six hours, shredded, and mixed with a smoky, tangy, just-spicy-enough sauce, and the whole package will knock your socks off.
22) Los Dos Molinos, Phoenix, Ariz.: Carne Adovada
Peek into the kitchen at Los Dos Molinos, a Phoenix institution for more than 20 years, and you’ll find the owner or one of her daughters and just one helper, preparing Tex-Mex classics from scratch, to order. Burritos here come filled with beef, chicken, and chili, but opt for the carne adovada, a red pork stew that’s a Southwest specialty. Few places do it better than Los Dos Molinos, and when wrapped up in a flour tortilla with some melted cheese, there are few foods more comforting. Heed the warning given by the little red chili pepper next to it on the menu, however: it’s spicy.
21) La Juanita, Sioux City, IA: Cabeza
Foursquare/ Mike H
With roots in a lunch truck operation in Los Angeles in the 1970s, La Juanita owner Christina Bautista knows what it takes to make a good burrito, and she’s spread the gospel to Iowa, where the daily crowds let you know that you’ve come to the right place. Open from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily, La Juanita has made a name for itself thanks not only to its authenticity, but also the variety and high quality of the ingredients. Carne asada is the top seller, but the cabeza, slow-cooked beef cheek, is tender, juicy, melt-in-your-mouth, and definitely the way to go.
20) Delicious Mexican Eatery, El Paso, Texas: Chile Relleno Burrito
It takes cojones to name your restaurant Delicious, but these guys aren’t lying. None other than Julia Child herself extolled the virtues of this place (and took advantage of her visit there to spend some time in the kitchen brushing up on her Tex-Mex cooking skills), and while it’s renowned for is gorditas (meat and cheese stuffed into a fried corn tortilla pocket, a long way from Taco Bell’s version), the burritos are stunningly delicious, even one filled with just beans. If you want to visit burrito utopia, though, order the chile relleno burrito, which takes one of their best menu items (also one of the best versions of a chile relleno anywhere) and wraps it up in a warm flour tortilla. Brilliant.
19) El Modelo, Albuquerque, N.M.: Chicharrones
Yelp/ Michael W
This 75 year-old restaurant, long the standard-bearer for Tex-Mex food in Albuquerque, got its start as a tortilla factory, and while the operation has expended quite a bit since then, these tortillas are still some of the finest you’ll find anywhere, especially when rolled up into a burrito. Standouts here include the chile relleno burrito and ones filled with carne desebrada (brisket stew) and carne adovada (pork stew), but opt for the chicharrones, deep-fried chunks of pork. It’ll only set you back $4.70, and you’ll still have some room left over for a sopapilla.
18) Taqueria Cancún, San Francisco: Wet Vegetarian Burrito
Yes, it might be a little touristy, but this Mission Street staple is turning out some undeniably delicious burritos. All the ingredients are fresh and high-quality, so much so that meat isn’t even necessary. For their vegetarian burrito, they toss a giant tortilla on the grill and melt cheese on it, then add Mexican crema, fresh and tangy salsa that’s not too spicy, your choice of pinto, refried pinto, or black beans, fluffy rice, fresh slices of avocado, onions, and cilantro. Add a couple spoonfuls of their spicy green salsa (and order it ‘wet,’ topped with melted cheese, salsa, guacamole, and crema) and you’ve got a perfectly constructed, perfectly proportioned meat-free masterpiece.
17) Pedro & Vinny's, Arlington, Va.: Steak
Yelp/ Jonas F
Serving some of the D.C. area’s finest Tex-Mex fare since 1994, this unassuming little shack is a gem worth seeking out. Opt for the garlic and herb steak burrito; the marinated steak is cooked perfectly and rolled up alongside filling options like cheese, rice, beans, lettuce, tomato, guacamole, sour cream, and four hot sauces (opt for the Ring of Fire, tomatillos, garlic, and habanero ), wrapped up in your choice of 5 tortillas (go for the onion garlic). After a visit to Pedro & Vinny’s, you may never want to visit a Chipotle again.
16) Taqueria Los Charros, Mountain View, Calif.: Carnitas
This beloved, consistently delicious taqueria turns out burritos that will have you floored. Start with the carnitas, which are crisped on the flattop and are about the best you’ll find anywhere: browned and crunchy on the outside, tender, juicy, smoky, and flavorful on the inside. It’s evenly distributed through the additional fillings: rice, lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, and if you’re feeling especially adventurous, you can order it "wet," topped with melted cheese and a smooth red salsa.
15) Taqueria Tepango, Brooklyn, N.Y.: Tinga
Foursquare/ Gray B
Hiding in plain sight in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood is what very well might be the city’s best burrito, as its legions of followers will testify. The monstrous burritos at Tepango are pushed over the top by a layer of melted cheese on top of the burrito, and all the ingredients are fresh and expertly prepared, and well-proportioned. Opt for the tinga, chicken stewed in a moderately spicy, smoky chipotle sauce, and no other burrito you have will ever quite measure up. Take the day off, grab one, and eat it across the street at The Emerson bar… now that’s the good life.
14) La Perla Cocina Mexicana, San Diego: Carne Asada
Yelp/ Carl S
This San Diego gem dubs itself a “burrito factory” and it doesn’t lie: it turns out delicious burritos with expert precision, and doesn’t disappoint. While you can opt for the King Kong, which stuffs both a chile relleno and an order of carne asada into a burrito, we suggest you leave the relleno out of this one and go right for the carne, thin strips of marinated and grilled tender steak. Make sure you opt for a dollop of fresh-made guacamole.
13) Illegal Pete's, Denver, Boulder, Colo.: Pork Carnitas
With a handful of locations in Denver and Boulder, Illegal Pete’s is singlehandedly turning both of those cities into burrito destinations. A rocking good time, this restaurant sources all of its antibiotic- and hormone-free meats from Niman Ranch, and nothing arrives at any of their locations pre-made. They offer a wide variety of gluten-free and vegetarian options, but you have to try their standout pork carnitas burrito. The pork is braised with Mexican Coke, orange juice, and spices, and is sweet, spicy, and deliciously porky, and it gets rolled up in an all-natural with cilantro-lime rice, beans, salsa, cheese, and sour cream.
12) Cabo Bob’s Burritos, Austin, Texas: Pork Burrito
Cabo Bob’s brings a taste of Baja California to Austin without being tacky or gimmicky, and with a real commitment to high-quality food. All tortillas are cooked to order (try to find that at other burrito shops), and all sauces are scratch-made in-house daily. While their Baja fish taco is certainly the real deal, and there’s always the option of customizing your burrito and loading it up with fillings, go for the #5, the pork burrito. An ancho chile tortilla is filled with shredded pork, brown rice, pinto beans, grilled onions and peppers, cheese, lettuce, cilantro, and their 66 Red Sauce, and it’s a wonder to behold.
11) El Farolito, San Francisco: Carne Asada
One of the most popular and written-about taquerias in the country, El Farolito lives up to the hype. And at nearly two pounds, their burritos will fill you up good. The rice, beans, sauce, guacamole, and other fixin’s are all artfully arranged and evenly distributed, and the carne asada is tender, juicy, and full of grilled, beefy flavor. After a night out, there are few San Francisco sights more welcome than El Farolito.
10) Dos Toros Taqueria, New York City: Carnitas
A taste of the Bay Area in New York, Dos Toros (and its four locations) do its West Coast roots proud. Tortillas (brilliantly) first get a thin slice of cheese melted onto them to serve as a base for perfectly proportioned fillings in order to prevent soakage, and the meat selection is simple: grilled chicken, grilled steak, or slow-cooked carnitas. Opt for the carnitas: it’s tender, juicy, and full of porky flavor.
9) La Camaronera, Miami: Camaronera Burrito
La Camaronera might have exploded in popularity since it was recently featured on the Food Network, but it really is all it’s cracked up to be: the place in Miami for fresh seafood, cooked and served with no frills by people who really know what they’re doing. Their snapper sandwich, fried whole fish, and conch fritters are jaw-droppingly delicious, but don’t leave without ordering a Camaronera-style burrito: lightly fried shrimp and corvina wrapped up in a tortilla, topped with some melted cheese and a drizzle of sauce. Think seafood doesn’t pair with cheese? Try this burrito.
8) King Burrito, Portland, Ore.: King Burrito
Yelp/ Nico J
Portland’s King Burrito is a true local gem, turning out expertly-prepared creations that are wildly delicious. While the carnitas and carne asada are stellar, they named one offering the King Burrito because it’s the best one on their menu, and it’s a monster: chile relleno, refried beans, and steak picado (diced steak mixed with tomatoes, onions, and chiles), topped with homemade avocado sauce, served in a giant flour tortilla. There’s really nothing else like it.
7) La Tapatia, San Francisco: Al Pastor
Yelp/ Jonah I, MC
Opened in 1976, La Tapatia was one of the first Mexican groceries to open in South San Francisco’s downtown, and it’s still going strong today, turning out some of the city’s finest burritos. It’s an unassuming market up front but a full-service taqueria in the back; everything is fresh, tortillas are made in-house, and the meats are grilled to order. Go for the al pastor and thank us later.
6) Gordo Taqueria, Albany, Calif.: Carnitas
Yelp/ Lane W, Loon E
Gordo's is a Bay Area institution with six locations, but locals swear that the one in Albany is tops. The wonderfully juicy burrito is filled right in front of you as you look into their open kitchen with vats of fillings cooking away. If you can keep your burrito from spilling forth its contents, you'll not only have accomplished more than most Gordo diners, you'll knocking at the gates of burrito heaven. Opt for the carnitas.
5) L’Patron, Chicago: Carne Asada
Yelp/ Triphena W
This neon green Logan Square spot has not only conquered Chicago’s burrito scene, they’ve conquered carne asada as well. Grilled to order, still a little pink, beefy, expertly seasoned, not overly greasy, it’s carne asada perfection. When partnered with lettuce, tomato, sour cream, homemade refried beans, and avocado (and roasted poblanos if you’re feeling adventurous), it’s a masterpiece.
4) Papalote Mexican Grill, San Francisco: Carne Asada
Papalote really has it all: a bright, clean, and welcoming dining room, an expansive menu, food made from scratch, and, most importantly, the most delicious burrito you’re bound to ever eat. In order to stand out in the Mission District, you need to be really good, and this one doesn’t disappoint. Start with your choice of four tortillas (white, whole wheat, Roma tomato, and spinach), then add on grilled-to-order steak, rice, beans (black, pinto, or refried), and pico de gallo (add sour cream, cheese, and guacamole to make it a "Super"). Top it off with salsa that’s so good it’s jarred and sold separately, and you’re got a burrito that’s just about perfect.
3) The Shed, Santa Fe, N.M.: Green Chile Burrito
This Santa Fe institution has been spreading the green and red chile gospel since it opened in 1953, and is so renowned that there are often lines to get in. Just about everything on the menu of traditional Hispanic and Pueblo recipes is delicious, especially the legendary red chile cheese enchilada, but the green chile burrito is one of the best you’ll ever encounter. Its simplicity is what makes it so great: it’s just pinto beans, white Cheddar, and onion rolled up in a flour tortilla and topped with their famous green chile sauce, served with Spanish rice on the side. It’s all about the chile at The Shed, and this is arguably the best way to experience it.
2) La Taqueria, San Francisco: Carnitas
This Mission neighborhood institution is a regular stop for food lovers in a city already famous for its Mexican offerings. Either keep it simple and just stick with meat and beans — no rice filler in the burrito here — or upgrade it with all the classic burrito extras and watch your pants tighten with each bite. We suggest you go all the way and load yours up with their unique style of carnitas, which are somehow both crispy and moist, and nothing short of delicious.
1) La Azteca Tortilleria, Los Angeles: Chile Relleno Burrito
Yelp/ Ryan N
Raved about by famished travelers and locals alike, the chile relleno burrito at La Azteca Tortilleria is a thing of beauty and a destination unto itself. They offer other options like carnitas and carne asada, but the cheese-stuffed, perfectly fried chile relleno that makes up the bulk of this burrito is what sets it apart, elevating the humble poblano to heights of Tex-Mex greatness (while you’re at it, you might as well have them add some carne asada to it as well). It’s everything you look for in Tex-Mex cuisine all in one perfect bite, and it’s nothing short of the best burrito in America.