America’s 20 Best Burritos (Slideshow)
December 18, 2013
The burrito might very well be the perfect food
20) Bell Street Burritos, Atlanta: Cheese, Beans, Rice, and Salsa Fresca
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.
19) Puebla, New York City: Chicken Mole
Yelp/ John D
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.
18) 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.
17) Habanero’s Grill, San Antonio: 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.
16) La Tapatia, San Francisco: Al Pastor
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.
15) Taqueria y Panaderia de La Santa Cruz, Portland, Ore.: Al Pastor
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.
14) 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.
13) 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.
12) La Pasadita, Chicago: Super Lomo
Yelp/ John S
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.
11) 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 forebears proud (for a true Mission-style experience, ask for no rice). Tortillas (brilliantly) 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 goodness.
10) L’Patron, Chicago: Carne Asada
Yelp/ Daniel W
This neon green Logan Square newcomer 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.
9) Taco Surf Taco Shop, San Diego, Calif.: Carne Asada
Yelp/ Jason B
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.
8) 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.
7) 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.
6) 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.
5) Taqueria Los Charros, Mountain View, Calif.: Super 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, and salsa, wrapped up in a neat little package, and stunningly delicious.
4) 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. Go for the carnitas.
3) 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. 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.
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) Papalote Mexican Grill, San Francisco: Carne Asada
Yelp/ Ziyan C
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 marinated 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’ll know right away why this burrito took top honors. It doesn’t get much better than Papalote.