The best burritos in the world
October 18, 2005 8:51 AM   Subscribe

Many San Franciscans, when returning to the city after a trip, will tell you the first thing they want after they get back is a burrito. With features like reviews, playoffs, and a monthly newsletter, is your resource for finding your slab in The City. What? Oh, I guess they have burritos in other cities, too, huh.
posted by greasepig (34 comments total)
Oh, yeah. I used to love El Castillito when I lived in SF.

Finally, this year, a kickass Mission-style burrito place opened up in Seattle so I can get my fix.
posted by gurple at 9:03 AM on October 18, 2005

Mexican food in San Francisco? My heart sinks whenever I leave San Diego, knowing I'll never find Mexican food quite as good (except for maybe Mexico itself).
posted by afx114 at 9:21 AM on October 18, 2005

Every burrito joint I've been to in SF has been resolutely average (and I live in the Mission so that's a lot of places). People who get excited about the burritos here must be from Maine or something.
posted by cali at 9:22 AM on October 18, 2005

a kickass Mission-style burrito place

Does that mean it has those vertical slats of wood that are a pain to dust?
posted by Pollomacho at 9:23 AM on October 18, 2005

Best burrito place is in Oakland. But I'm not saying where, 'cuz I don't want it discovered!
posted by telstar at 9:23 AM on October 18, 2005

There's no such thing as a burrito that's above average in SF. Pancho's on Geary in the Richmond comes pretty close though. Just don't try the tacos.
posted by starscream at 9:41 AM on October 18, 2005

yeah, that's funny. I hear they have good burritos in Vancouver, too.
posted by plexiwatt at 9:50 AM on October 18, 2005

Wrong, there are absolutely no good burritos in Vancouver. They have great cheap pizza, but no good Mexican food.
posted by redteam at 9:56 AM on October 18, 2005 [1 favorite]

Sad but true, afx114. If I ever leave SD, I will have to have food fedexed to me or something. I am so dependent on mexican food, I don't know what else I would eat.

This website is neat, though!
posted by fillsthepews at 9:58 AM on October 18, 2005

One of the only religious statements I ever heard out of a local disc jockey in Utah, was to thank God for Betos Mexican Food. I know that Betos exists in California, I don't know if they are up north, but 24 hours a day, there is always a Betos Carne Asada Burrito, available in Salt Lake City and parts of Southern California. If that is not some sort of gastronomical insurance policy, I don't know what is.

If your need is such that you must have a freezer full of burritos, to feel secure, then there are Rico's burritos ahhhhhh, these are in Utah only, so far.

Say it with me people, Horchata and Carne Asada!
posted by Oyéah at 9:58 AM on October 18, 2005

Thanks for the link, gurple. Nice to have a recommendation for something close to home.

I've been getting my burrito fix from Tres Hermanos next to the Joy theatre in Tigard, OR. Chorizo, scrambled eggs, beans, *drool*. I will eschew visits to my parents in favor of picking up one of those bad boys.
posted by FYKshun at 10:12 AM on October 18, 2005

I'll second the good burritos in Oakland comment. Santa Rosa has some, too. Berkeley & San Francisco- not so much.

They're scary, but I usually like the stuff that I buy at those taco wagons, too.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:13 AM on October 18, 2005

Oh Lord, the taco wagons are the best.

However, I have to admit that I love the burritos in the Mission. I live two blocks from about seven different taquerias. It's pure bliss to me.

Yet, I do have to admit that I've yet to be exposed to the burritos in SoCal. Everyone I know from LA and SD swear that they're the best. I recently ate at Tito's Tacos in Culver City. I wasn't impressed much. Everyone's pallette is different, though.

Whatever... it's a cheap meal that will fill you up for the rest of the day. Eat one at 2pm and the only thing you have to worry about is the gas.
posted by [hifidigitalboy] at 10:24 AM on October 18, 2005

Taco trucks are definitely the way to go for Mexican in San Francisco. Get thee to El Tonayense at Harrison and 22nd for some el pastor.

El Castillito does a pretty good job with burritos, though -- grilled, as they should be -- and La Taqueria is also consistently good.

For sit-down Mexican there's Los Jarritos, with excellent chilaquiles for breakfast -- and on weekends they do a killer authentic birria.
posted by trip and a half at 10:52 AM on October 18, 2005

the thing about a san francisco burrito is that there isn't anything else like it (at least that i've found). so if you love it, you crave it when you're away, if you think of a burrito as something other than an sf one, you'll probably find them not as great. also, it might be the only thing better than pizza when you're drunk.

and i know the first place i head when get home is cancun or el castillito, damn that stuff is good.

the only places outside of the mission i've found with decent burritos are the second el castillito on church, just north of market, and cuco's, in lower haight.
posted by christy at 11:33 AM on October 18, 2005

I left my heart at La Corneta in Glen Park.

Ahh ... what I wouldn't give, on a cold English evening like tonight for a Super Baby Burrito with Carne Asada.
posted by essexjan at 11:40 AM on October 18, 2005

People who get excited about the burritos here must be from Maine or something.

The town where I grew up (in Maine) has a very good Mexican place.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:54 AM on October 18, 2005

huh. I would never have pegged SF to be burritoville. Thanks for the enlightenment.
posted by crunchland at 11:59 AM on October 18, 2005

Tito's Tacos is a starter taco for people who think that Taco Bell is Mexican food. If you think Tito's is The Best Mexican Food In Los Angeles, you're not trying hard enough.

I'm a fan of Gallego's on Venice, a block west of Centinela. The House Burrito is excellent, and the pickled carrots are free and mighty tasty. Righteous tamales, too.

Wahoo's Fish Taco is my favorite local fast-foody chain. It's more surfer shack than taqueria, but it's fresh and healthy and beats the crap out of Baja Fresh, Rubio's, Qdoba or Chipotle. Try the number two, fish & fish charbroiled, with black beans and rice. Yum.

When I was in high school, Super Antojitos was the place to go, but, somewhere along the line, their quality started to go down. Got food poisoning there twice, and it didn't taste good enough anymore to risk a further case of the Fast Track Sallies.

My writing group meets in North Hollywood, and there's a place nearby called Tacos Manazanito on Burbank a few blocks east of Lankershim. Good and cheap, though their carrots are more hot than tasty.

And one day, I will go on a burrito tour of East LA.
posted by RakDaddy at 12:02 PM on October 18, 2005

When you do, be sure to go to El Tepeyac...
posted by InfidelZombie at 12:24 PM on October 18, 2005

Sweet Mother of Burritos, InfidelZombie, I forgot about the Hollenbeck! Thanks!
posted by RakDaddy at 12:45 PM on October 18, 2005

What is the emoticon for a crying stomach? Not a week goes by that I don't lament the lack of good mission-style burritos in my current locale. (my withdrawal in LDN reached epic proportions and forced horrible Tesco/Sainsbury sponsored experiments with non-traditional ingredients, with no success, I might add.)
posted by shoepal at 12:59 PM on October 18, 2005

So what exactly differentiates a SF burrito from burritos of other locales?
posted by Atreides at 1:34 PM on October 18, 2005

Altreides: SF mission-style burritos have rice in them (which I personally don't care for). Most burritos do not. Unfortunately, the mission-style burrito fad has moved up the coast. You have to specifically request no rice at most burrito places here in Seattle.
posted by chupacabra at 1:58 PM on October 18, 2005

"So what exactly differentiates a SF burrito from burritos of other locales?"

Ack. I'm paralyzed with too-many-punchlinitis.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:13 PM on October 18, 2005

Atreides: here's one explanation.
posted by greasepig at 3:00 PM on October 18, 2005

My local burrito place in Kitsilano, Vancouver, has the rice-style burritos, which I'd never seen before moving here, and they're not at all bad. Definitely a hefty, filling meal. Dunno how they'd compare to Mission burritos though...
posted by Jon Mitchell at 3:09 PM on October 18, 2005

redteam, sarcasm-meter, fix.
posted by plexiwatt at 3:13 PM on October 18, 2005

I grew up outside of LA, in the inland valley (not the valley-girl valley), and when San Franciscans talk about good Mexican food I ask them which part of the east coast or midwest they're from originally, try not to roll my eyes, then cross my fingers and get the name of the place anyway. But you're right about craving it when you can't get it; good Mexican food is heavenly. Taqueria Cancun at 2288 Mission St. makes a good pork pastor burrito, and some of the trucks on E. 14th in Oakland are good. I haven't had a good, properly made fish taco in years, though. Sigh.
posted by tula at 4:08 PM on October 18, 2005

After reading that Wikipedia article, I call bullshit. I've had plenty of burritos in SoCal (and I'm talking all over LA, out in the Inland Empire, down in OC and San Diego) where rice is standard and the tortillas are steamed before assembly (El Pavo out in Montclair, for starters. Sweet Zombie Jesus, but those were sublime). There are good burritos in SF, but the best in the world? Not by a longshot.

Tula, if you're ever in Pomona, check out El Taco Nazo on Foothill. Righteous fish tacos.
posted by RakDaddy at 5:08 PM on October 18, 2005

The World's Best Burritos (with rice). Blech.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 6:06 PM on October 18, 2005

Sorry, plexiwatt, Vancouver's a sore spot for me because I looked and looked and looked. NOTHING.

As for you guys giving Los Angeles Mexican food advice ... please work a little harder. Mention more taco stand religious experiences. I'll take your word for it, San Diegans, but I think LA, or at least Southern California, kills everywhere else in California for Mexican food. Name your favorites, my friends, this is a war.

Primarily taco related ... but still a good resource:
The Great Taco Hunt

My all-time favorite is Cactus on Vine just South of Santa Monica Blvd. Look Cactus up on the Taco Hunt page. That story in there is mine.

As for you folks in the rest of the world, I feel sorry for you. It's horrible that "kebabs" and all that stuff became the standard food and not tacos.

Enterprising Mexicans: please get out into the world and put all those Turks out of business.
posted by redteam at 10:06 PM on October 18, 2005

Redteam: I don't know how high your standards are but the Burrito Bros. on West 1st and Yew is my local, and is tasty and filling if not especially authentic.

If you're just visiting Van, though, go for the Sushi, it seems to be the thing they do best here.

I'm still looking for a good local curry house which holds up to curries in the UK - definitely the local food I'm craving most being away. Anyone recommend any? Hmmm, maybe an AskMe's in order.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 12:12 AM on October 19, 2005

Man, I'm sitting here in Zurich right now and it's lunchtime and I'm all sad and growling because I have no freakin hope of having a burrito until I get back to SF next month.
posted by Nelson at 2:55 AM on October 19, 2005

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