Facebook/ Cabo Bob's Burritos
When you think about it, the burrito might be the world’s most perfect food. Seriously, what’s not to love? A jumbo flour tortilla, steamed and pliable, filled with beans, cheese, meat, and vegetables, customizable to the extreme. Want guacamole and Mexican crema? Sure. Want grilled vegetables instead of meat? Sure, there are plenty of vegetarian options available. All the food groups are covered, and best of all, the burrito is handheld. In honor of this bundle of culinary joy, we’re pleased to present our fourth annual ranking of the best burritos in America.
Facebook/ Black Bear Burritos
There are 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 and sourced locally whenever possible. Offerings include teriyaki, Thai-, Indian-, and Jamaican-style burritos, but their finest offering is a vegetarian one, comprising a pepper cheese tortilla filled with rice, red beans, roasted red peppers, green chiles, and (if you want it spicy) jalapeños, topped with a cool homemade kiwi salsa. A second location in Evansdale now makes it easier than ever to get your fix.
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With four locations in the greater San Jose area and a name that implies blind repetition, you can be forgiven for thinking that Burrito Factory is anything but remarkable. One bite, though, and you’ll be swayed: Your choice of chile verde, carne asada, chicken, al pastor, and carnitas are loaded into a burrito along with cheese, guacamole, sour cream, beans, and rice. And you don’t need to worry about them skimping on the meat: They pile it on. We suggest you go with the carne asada, filled with fresh grilled beef, and help yourself to some salsas from the salsa bar.
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With seven locations in and around Boston and another coming soon to the Prudential Center, 22-year-old Anna’s is the standard-bearer for burritos in Beantown. For vegetarians and carnivores alike, the grilled vegetable burrito is one of the best ways to eat your vegetables: 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.
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This little tienda in Portland’s St. Johns neighborhood 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, a no-frills dining room in the back, and amazing burritos made to order coming out of the kitchen. Just about everything here is spectacular, but the al pastor is truly a thing of beauty.
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The Tacos El Bronco trucks have been raved about by just about every New York City publication, and the brick-and-mortar restaurant has retained the magic of its mobile siblings. They have an extensive red-and-green menu filled with Mexican staples (although they do also offer burgers), but it’s the ginormous burritos that are the stars, particularly the juicy asada. The guacamole is flavorful and the ingredients are distributed with care — a fine example of a great burrito.
Facebook/ Tacos La Juanita Inc.
Having gotten her start as a lunch truck operator 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, with slow-cooked beef cheek, is tender, juicy, and definitely the way to go.
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The team behind this Cal-Mex New York City cult favorite started small with a cart in SoHo that quickly became a mob scene during lunchtime. They’ve since expanded to four brick-and-mortar storefronts, a stall inside Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, and a massive location in Detroit. Though their tacos and rolled quesadillas are things of beauty, the burritos are true works of culinary 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 cheese, and pico de gallo in your burrito: The meat is 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.
Facebook/ Irazu Costa Rican Restaurant
This cash-only Costa Rican spot, located in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood, has been around since 1990, serving home-style 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 must-order. 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 all set.
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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). Though it’s renowned for its 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 when 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.
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The smell of excellent Mexican food will draw you off the beach and into this uniquely Southern California taquería. Though there are 16 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.
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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 can transform the experience from ordinary to excellent.
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Less than 50 miles from the Mexican border, it’s not hard to find authentic Mexican food in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Still, Burritos Victoria’s chicharrón and green chile burrito stands out from the crowd. Let’s unpack this one: Green chiles, harvested locally in an area of the country in which premium peppers are grown, are paired with crispy fried pork and wrapped in a soft blanket of tortilla. It’s delicious and inexpensive New Mexican street food at its very best.
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Peek behind the counter at this tiny, cash-only Albuquerque hole in the wall and you’ll see the burrito lady herself, assembling burritos loaded with meats cooked according to her own recipes with breakneck speed. Her burritos have a habit of not staying exactly closed, and can be beasts to eat, but there’s a reason this place is packed from open to close: Even if you only fill your burrito with chicken or calabacitas (zucchini and other mixed vegetables) in green sauce, it’s going to be insanely good.
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Tucked away on a sleepy corner of Parkchester between a fish market and a hair salon, this narrow and unassuming Taquería is holding its own in an area with no shortage of great Mexican food. Burritos here are the size of a small child, and they’re filled to the brim with high-quality, well-made ingredients and topped with artful lashings of thin guacamole, crema, and chipotle sauce. Many regulars say that Taquería Tlaxcalli serves the best burrito they’ve ever had, and that the spicy pork is the best one on offer.
The Bronx tends to be a little neglected by the culinary press, but The New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells made it up here back in 2013, and awarded it a star — quite the coup for a tiny Mexican eatery in the vast and oft-forgotten outer borough.
Facebook/ Dos Toros Taqueria
A taste of the Bay Area in New York City and Chicago, this rapidly expanding New York mini-chain (currently at 13 locations in New York and one in Chicago, with several more in the works) do their 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: tender, juicy, and full of porky flavor. And guess what? Unlike other options around town, it’s always available.
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This burrito joint may be located in a strip mall in the Chicago suburbs, but the steady stream of locals who patronize this place (especially after a night out) are all in on a secret. The huge burritos are loaded with fillings, but special care is given where it matters: Beans are slow-cooked according to an old family recipe, and the steak (get the steak!) is always tender, flavorful, and generously portioned. And best of all? They’ll be more than happy to melt some cheese on top for you.
Facebook/ Cabo Bob's Burritos
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 (certainly not a ubiquitous practice at all burrito shops), and all sauces are made from scratch in house daily. Though 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 No. 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; it’s a wonder to behold.
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Don’t let the term “garbage” fool you into thinking this burrito will contain extraneous stuff; it just means that it’s loaded with meat, beans, rice, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion. Meat options are only red or green pork or chicken, but they’re prepared using the same recipes that have made Rosa Maria’s so popular over the past 40 years. Slow-cooked perfection.
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Although one might think it a simple dish, a well-executed Baja-style fried fish burrito can be surprisingly hard to lock down in the Big Apple. Luckily, Essex Taco knows what they’re doing, as evident in their pescados burrito. Walk into the three-table-and-four-seat-counter hole-in-the-wall, give the cashier your order, and watch the chef grill the fish right in front of you before rolling it up, piping hot, into a tortilla along with rice, black beans, lettuce, pico de gallo, cilantro, sour cream, and cheese with salsas verde and roja on the side. One bite will tell you that you’ve found the real deal.
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If you’re looking for a great burrito in the Crescent City, look no further than Juan’s. This “Creole taquería” has three locations, where everything is made to order and finished à la minute on the grill. If you want to try a little bit of everything, the Flying Burrito is what to order: 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.
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This San Diego gem dubs itself a “burrito factory” because it turns out delicious burritos with expert precision and doesn’t disappoint. You can opt for the King Kong, which stuffs both a chile relleno and an order of carne asada into a burrito, but 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 freshly made guacamole.
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With five locations in Denver, two in Boulder, one in Fort Collins, and one in Tuscon, Illegal Pete’s is singlehandedly turning everywhere it lands 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 the 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.
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A no-nonsense 40-year-old taquería 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.
La Camaronera might have exploded in popularity since it was featured on Food Network in 2009, 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 highly recommended, but don’t leave without ordering a Camaronera burrito: lightly fried shrimp and corvina wrapped in a tortilla, topped with some melted cheese and a drizzle of sauce. Think seafood doesn’t pair with cheese? Try this burrito.
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Taquería San Francisco opened in 1990 in San Francisco’s historic Mission District, and SF Weekly named its carnitas burrito the Best Classic Burrito back in 2011. While they state that “the best way to test a taquería's mettle is to get a regular carnitas burrito,” we actually think the al pastor is where the party’s at here. You can opt for the rather tame “regular” style (with rice, beans, onions, and cilantro), but we suggest going for it and ordering the “super” (with rice, beans, onions, cilantro, sour cream, cheese, and avocado).
Yelp/ Jessica D.
One of Seattle’s great hidden culinary gems, Tacos Chukis is literally hidden from the street – The original location is located on the second floor of a mall in the Capitol Hill neighborhood (a second, far more visible one, recently opened in South Lake Union). And on top of that, it doesn’t even have a website. But once you’ve found it, you’ll be hooked. Tacos, which clock in at just a couple bucks, are widely regarded to be the city’s best, but the burritos really are something else. We suggest you actually go for the “baby burritos,” which are small enough to sample a few of (or pair one with a couple tacos). As for the filling, you can’t go wrong with al pastor, caramelized chunks of flavorful and tender pork served with a slice of grilled pineapple.
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The aroma of homemade tortillas hits you like a suplex from a luchador when you walk in the door of Changos Taquería, 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 burrito (add meat or guacamole), and you have a world-class meal for a cheap, college-student budget.
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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, or chili, but opt for the carne adovada: a red pork stew that’s a Southwest specialty (when in Rome, right?). 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. However, heed the warning given by the little red chile pepper next to it on the menu: It’s spicy.
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Gordo is a Bay Area institution with a handful of locations, but locals swear that the one in Albany is tops. The wonderfully juicy carnitas burrito is filled right in front of you as you peer into the open kitchen with its 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 be knocking at the gates of burrito heaven.
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A lot of people are really into Al & Bea’s bean and cheese burrito, but we like to go against the grain a bit and let you in on lesser-known tidbits of gastronomic wisdom, one of which is: Order the combination burrito instead (or even better, along with). Yes, you get the beans, but you also get shredded beef and it gets topped with either salsa verde or roja and plenty of shredded cheese. You can thank us later.
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Go sit in Cantina Los Caballitos on East Passyunk Avenue in Philadelphia, eat their goat burrito, and be happy. A flour tortilla is filled with rice, black beans, onions, cilantro, and braised goat, and the result is really fantastic. In a departure from many of the restaurants on this ranking, Caballitos has a modern, gastropub feel, which should ease the anxieties of those who fear “exotic” meats from hole-in-the-wall secret spots.
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Little bundles of joy — that’s how many San Francisco locals would describe El Castillito’s al pastor burritos. It’s another place offering “regular” and “super” burrito options, and we will always tell you to go in the super direction, which here means rice, beans, cheese, sour cream, avocado, onions, cilantro, and salsa along with their raved-about marinated pork. All of this is delivered in a rolled tortilla for less than $8, which is really a dream come true, isn’t it?
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This wacky restaurant prides itself on its numerous outside-the-box creations (recent releases include The Nutty with chicken, rice, French fries, cheese, sour cream, and Mexican peanut sauce), but they’ve still got the essentials down pat. This is best exemplified by their popular surf & turf burrito, filled with grilled steak and shrimp, rice, fresh avocado, pico de gallo, and chipotle sauce. Both the steak and shrimp are perfectly cooked, and the addictive chipotle sauce ties it all together.
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Manuel Rojas took over El Tepeyac Café in 1956, and over the years his gregarious personality and welcoming presence made him a Los Angeles institution. Manny passed away in 2013, but his name lives on thanks to his signature burrito: Manny’s Special. This ginormous burrito can feed up to four people and is filled with your choice of steak, pork, shredded beef, or shredded chicken, rice, beans, cheese, and guacamole and then topped with more meat, more cheese, and a flavorful sauce. Come hungry, and raise a margarita to Manny.
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Joaquin and Dolores (“Lolita”) Farfan first opened the doors to Lolita’s in 1984, and their dedication to fresh, high-quality ingredients and traditional Mexican recipes has earned them a massive following over the years. Their fan-favorite Tsunami Burrito brings together the best of two worlds with grilled-to-order Black Angus carne asada, huge fresh shrimp, cabbage, guacamole, Jack cheese, and salsa Mexicana. One bite and you’ll know what all the fuss is about.
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Opened about five years ago by Mexico City native Armondo Sandoval, Maize operates out of a very small space, but feeds crowds of students and locals nearly non-stop every day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. There are a few surprising items on the menu, such as the pumpkin flower fried quesadilla, but since this is a list about burritos, go for the asada. It comes with the steak diced, perfectly grilled, and encased in a large, fresh, homemade tortilla along with rice, beans, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and sour cream.
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It’s been more than 60 years since Sadie Koury first opened the doors to what became an Albuquerque institution, and today there are four locations throughout the city. The house specialty is carne adovada, a stew made with cubes of lean pork and plenty of red chile, and the best way to experience it is wrapped up in a fresh flour tortilla.
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In a city known for its Baja-style fried fish Mexican mainstays, El Zarape separates itself from the pack by serving a rave-worthy lobster burrito. It comes with some tomatoes, crema, cilantro, and salsa verde, and we suggest exploring the solid salsa bar — especially if you order the 99-cent fish tacos, too, which is really the pro move when in America’s Finest City.
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As one of the most popular and written-about taquerías in the country, El Farolito lives up to the hype. And at nearly 2 pounds, its burritos will fill you to the brim. The rice, beans, sauce, guacamole, and other fixings 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.
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Portland’s King Burrito is a true local gem, turning out expertly prepared creations that are wildly delicious. Though the carnitas and carne asada are stellar, they named one offering the King Burrito because it’s the best 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, and served in a giant flour tortilla. It’s a delicious beast.
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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, and while we’re fans of their vegetarian burrito, we suggest you fill yours with carnitas: 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, and finally a heaping serving of crispy and flavorful fried pork. 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 masterpiece.
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Tito's Tacos was opened in Los Angeles in 1959 and has since become beloved for its astoundingly delicious creations. There’s a lot of pride in their culinary traditions here, and that is something we very much respect. There’s a chili con carne filler option, but the crowd favorite is the simple bean and cheese, which speaks to the burrito’s beginnings as a humble field food. It’s simply perfect.
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This neon green Logan Square spot has not only conquered Chicago’s burrito scene, but it’s conquered carne asada as well. Grilled to order, still a little pink, expertly seasoned, not overly greasy, it’s carne asada perfection. When combined with lettuce, tomato, sour cream, homemade refried beans, and avocado (and roasted poblano chiles if you’re feeling adventurous), it’s a masterpiece.
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Located just a couple blocks from Fenway Park, this tiny restaurant is a favorite of in-the-know locals who pick up a burrito before heading to the game. Pescado is a standout: Atlantic cod is lightly breaded with corn meal and fried until crispy, and then wrapped up with black beans, Mexican rice, lettuce, spicy mayo, and salsa fresca.
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Spread out across five dining rooms with seating for more than 300 people, Frontier, which opened in 1971, is nothing short of an Albuquerque institution. Open from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m., seven days a week, the restaurant serves some stellar breakfast burritos, but their red pork stew, the regional specialty known as carne adovada, is perhaps the best item on the entire menu. You can get it atop just about anything (or in your breakfast burrito with eggs, hash browns, and Cheddar), but we suggest you try it rolled up with rice and cheese and topped with a huge ladle of Frontier’s famous green chile sauce. It’s an Albuquerque legend.
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The burritos at this critical darling are the perfect size — not too large or unwieldy but still big enough to not to leave you hungry — and there’s carne asada, French fries (yes, fries), cheese, guacamole, lettuce, and tomato rolled all together inside. The widely popular recipe is a local specialty, and Nico’s does theirs just right.
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This nearly 80-year-old restaurant, long the standard-bearer for Tex-Mex food in Albuquerque, got its start as a tortilla factory, and though the operation has expanded 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 $4.95, and you’ll still have some room left over for a sopapilla.
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This must-visit 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 vegetarian 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 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.
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Raved about by famished travelers and locals alike, the chile relleno burrito at the nearly 70-year-old La Azteca Tortilleria is a thing of beauty and a destination unto itself. The place offers 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 chile 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.
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La Taquería is a regular stop for food-lovers in San Francisco, 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. All the praise that this perpetually packed institution receives is well worth it: It really is that good.