When you think about it, the burrito might be the world’s most perfect food. All the food groups are covered with nearly endless combinations of ingredients, and best of all, the whole dish is handheld and doesn’t even require, well—a dish.
For our second-annual ranking of the best ones found in America, we looked at burritos from all across the country and applied several strict criteria: Are all the ingredients fresh? Is there a good selection of meats and add-ons? Can you customize your order, right down to the amount of crema squeezed on top? Is it renowned by critics and locals alike in its city? We didn’t set out to rank the places to buy a burrito; we ranked the burritos themselves, but we know that you don’t buy a burrito in a void. So when you drive by this place does your mouth immediately start to water, forcing you to impulsively pull over and, before you know it, you’re diving face-first into the burrito of your dreams?
Those are the burritos we went looking for, and after compiling an extensive list, sent a survey to journalists and food writers across the country, as well as renowned chefs that are a part of our Culinary Council. Chefs who participated in the survey and will allow their names to be used include Jonathan Waxman (a native Californian with extensive burrito experience) and Cesare Casella (who brings an Italian-rustic viewpoint to the subject). Although there could only be one winner, we found plenty of delectable specimens being made across America, including in San Francisco.
Mission neighborhood staple La Taqueria 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. 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.
It’s so good, it snagged the very respectable #2 spot on our list of the best burritos nationwide, beating out local competitors Papalote Mexican Grill’s carne asada burrito (#4), La Tapatia’s Al Pastor (#7), El Farolito’s carne asada (#11), and Taqueria Cancún’s wet vegetarian burrito (#18). That means, according to our panel of experts, La Taqueria is the proud home of the best burrito in San Francisco, and came second only to L.A.’s La Azteca Tortilleria in our ranking of the best burritos in America.