The hunt for the best burrito

Food writer Jan Newberry travels all over California in search of the very best burrito. Plus, secret recipes and readers’ favorites from around the West

Oakland burrito place
Photo: Thomas J. Story

California's must-eat burritos

NorCal:

El Grullense Grill (1280 El Camino Real, Redwood City; 650/368-3737). On a strip of Redwood City known as Little Michoacán. Great salsa roja.  

My order: Succulent carne asada.

El Tonayense (3150 24th St., San Francisco; 415/550-9192). Top taco trucks in San Francisco.  

My order: Juicy, rich al pastor.

La Calle Asadero (1000 Broadway, Oakland; 510/251-1290). Prettiest burrito place I’ve ever been to.  

My order: Burrito de La Calle, with refried beans.

Pajaro Food Center (307 Salinas Rd., Watsonville; 831/724-3654). A Central Valley supermarket stocked with Mexican ingredients.  

My order: I went for buche; this is the place for that and rare cuts like cabeza and lengua.

Taqueria y Mercado de Los Amigos (1999 Pescadero Creek Rd., Pescadero; 650/879-0232). A cult-favorite taqueria tucked inside a gas station.  

My order: Carne asada.

SoCal:

Al & Bea’s Mexican Food (2025 E. First St., Los Angeles; 323/267-8810). Supple tortillas dusted with flour that fit in the palm of my hand.  

My order: Bean and cheese, and, for nostalgia’s sake, an Orange Bang.

Angie’s Mexican Restaurant (14346 Pioneer Blvd., Norwalk; 562/863-1277). Family-run with machaca (shredded beef stew).  

My order: Subtly spicy chile verde.

El Patio #2 (1001 N. Magnolia Ave., Anaheim; 714/826-0691). The place looks like all the others, but the burritos have extraordinary flavor.

My order: The crisp-edged carnitas have a heady pork perfume that knocked me flat.

Lupe’s #2 (4642 E. Third St., Los Angeles; 323/266-6881). An L.A. landmark, with 12 kinds of burritos.

My order: Green chile and cheese.

Super Cocina(3627 University Ave., San Diego; 619/584-6244). Only a few miles from the border, with a rotating menu of 16 stews.

My order: Chile colorado with cubes of pork in a red chile sauce.

Next: Reader's share their favorite burrito spots across the West

 

    More...

  • Authentic bean and beef burrito

    Burrito de La Calle

    Our quick and easy adaptation of the author's favorite NorCal burrito from La Calle Asadero. Recipe

  • green chile burritos

    Al & Bea's Green Chile Salsa

    To recreate the author's favorite SoCal burrito, start by wrapping refried beans and cheese in a tortilla. Then adds this salsa to amp it up. Recipe

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