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Burritos in DC area

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A little help! Being from Southern California, I have a near obsession with mexican food, and especially carne asada burritos. But, I can't find anything even close in the DC Area. Sure, Baja Fresh and Chipotle are decent, but are there any "mom and pop" taco shops in the area that really know authentic mexican food?


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  1. Here is authentic:

    Assuming that you drive, Taqueria El Charrito Caminante in Arlington is great. No tables, just a few stools. $2 tacos, $3 burritos. The food is great. I particularly liked the goat taco (my friend said the goat burrito was better) but the chorizo (ground sausage) was good as well. It you get pupusas...you can watch the woman in the back make them to order. They ahve other kinds of tacos/burritos, and they have a steak entree.

    Taqueria El Charrito Caminante
    2710 Washington Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201
    Phone: (703) 351-1177)

    4 Replies
    1. re: Foodgeek

      They probably weren't the most authentic burritos in the world, but back in the 80s, the Tippy Taco California burritos off Wilson Boulevard in Arlington were great! To my recollection, it was a local mini-chain ... I hadn't even thought about them until I saw one while driving on Lee Highway in Merrifield the other day (that might be the very last one!) I may need to stop in for some nostalgia!

      1. re: anotherfoodperson

        They were great we hung out there every friday night .

      2. re: Foodgeek

        I would like to very strongly second the vote for El Charrito Caminante. They make the best burritos I've had in this area by a long shot. Most of the places around here, including many of those that have been recommended so far, see burritos as something to throw on a plate and drown in extra sauce and cheese.

        1. re: Foodgeek
          Michele Ginnerty

          Absolutely the best burritos we've had in the DC area! Excellent flavor. Plus, they are a terrific bargain.

        2. If you're from southern CA, you won't find anything close here with the possible exception of Charrito (mentioned in Foodgeek's response.) We do however have a pretty big Salvadoran/Latino population, especially in northern VA, so many of the grocery stores (especially Shoppers Food Warehouse) have great selection of different latino food items. Good tortillas, salsas, ingredients, etc. It helps to be able to at least MAKE decent Mexican food.

          1. Check out Picante! The Real Taco, in Chantilly (Route 50 just west of Route 28). It's run by Mexican folks.

            They have some really good authentic regional specialities, like fish veracruz-style, chicken in mole sauce, etc.

            1. My advice would be to forget about the burritos and go for tacos instead. Good tacos and carne asada served with fresh-made tortillas can be found all over the area. And technically tacos are the "authentic" mexican food anyway...

              1. There are no good burritos here. It is a dream that you might as well forget. There are decent Mexican places however. Try Mix-Tec in Adams Morgan. They have great dishes, it is a mom and pop shop, and it's cheap.

                1. Like the others have said: Oh yeah, you're in burrito hell. There really isn't much in the way of great Mexican food here. You might add to you "give it a try" list Taco Jalisco, a dive-y Mexican place near Mt. Vernon, 8645 Richmond Highway, 703) 360-1253. I must admit I think the overstuffed burritos at Burrito JoyNT (6113 Franconia Road, Alexandria/Springfield, http://www.burritojoynt.com) are really good. But, everyone I've ever taken there has begged to differ.

                  Don't believe we're in burrito n0-man's land? Take a look at the map at http://www.littleburro.com/taquerias/...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Zigibot
                    Loose On the Lead

                    "Don't believe we're in burrito n0-man's land? Take a look at the map at http://www.littleburro.com/taquerias/..."

                    The link doesn't entirely support your contention. It recommends three burrito places in the D.C. area, although one of those is unfortunately no longer with us.


                  2. There is a little Burrito shack off of Rockville Pike in Bethesda. It's right before you get to NIH and on the street that runs perpendicular to the Rockville/Bethesda Guapos - it's in the vicinity of the old O'Donnel's location (down the street from where Bish Thompson's was and where the new Benihana is going). Sorry I don't know the name or street address... I'll try and post it later this week.


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: bwt

                      I think you mean Chela's. If so, I had an extremely bad meal there, as described in my post in the attached thread.

                      Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                    2. Try the carne asada burrito at La Lomita Dos on Penn. Ave SE (Capitol Hill). THe carne one is excellent, the chicken is mediocre.

                      1. I can't vouch for authenticity, but Teocalli Tamale in Herndon (Elden St., on the outskirts of the Kmart plaza, Herndon's epicenter of all things ethnic) has good fresh fare that make the chain burritos taste pretty gross. Particularly good is the Mike's Mexolina, which is a smoky pulled brisket. You have your choice of traditional refritos or black beans. Tacos are available with a soft corn tortilla shell. They double-wrap them to prevent tearing. The tamales are okay, but I've had better. There is also a corn salsa that is generally quite good, but varies a bit depending upon the season.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: PollyG

                          Teocali was opened by a guy who came from "I believe Crested Butte Colorado."?
                          But I am not 100% sure, I think he recently sold the place but the name is the same and they now offer Central American fare in addition to the normal menu of tacos, burritos,salads, and tamales. The food is surprisingly still consistent, I love the carne asada burritos and the pulled pork. Yes, this is near my neighborhood and usually gets my nod over Chipolte and the like.

                          1. re: keithlb1

                            I think there's some ownership relation with the other tacqueria around the corner - the one up by The Deli. While that food is good, the wait times have been deplorable the few times I've gone.

                            IMO, Teocalli has slipped on the quick foods - like the burritos, but the stuff that you order and they bring to the table is very good. In my mind it's now a place to go for those items, and consequently I don't make it there as often as I used to.

                        2. I happen to like Austin Grill (but I'm from Austin).

                          Link: http://austingrill.com

                          1. Listen to Terri, Foodgeek and Josh, they know what they're talking about. The carne asada will have you licking your fingers and picking the meat out your teeth with a toothpick when you're finished, and you'll even be eating that up! Goat isn't my meat of preference, but the burritos and tacos are off the chain.

                            1. o

                              It's true there aren't many good burrito places in this area but I have to agree with the person who said Burrito Joynt has good food. It is actually my favorite place! The Burritos are huge and the meat isn't tough like some other places. It can definitly compete with some "mom and pop" places I've tried when I lived in San Diego! Try it! www.burritojoynt.com

                              1. I second the comment that the area is much better for tacos than for burritos. I've grown to like Burrito Brothers fare, in a Chipotle sort of way, but it's just not the same as what I could find practically everywhere when I lived in Arizona.

                                1. I'm surprised my old account isn't on this very old thread. Since it has been revived, I did want to jump in and say that while considering burritos in looking for authentic Mexican is just starting off on the wrong foot, there are many good places not mentioned that are out in NOVA. The cafe at Lake Anne, the mercado in the parking lot of LA, a bunch of places I posted on recently in Sterling (that I still need to check out first hand). The Sterling area clock tower place. The list goes on.

                                  Also I have to include my usual rant about requests for authentic Mexican w/o specifying what you're usually looking for (and most requests come from TX or CA looking for Tex-Mex or So-Cal Baja-style food). : )

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Dennis S

                                    OK. In our great DC/NOVA there are obviously some burrito lovers in exile and personally, I think it's a grave in justice. "El Famous Burrito....Football Size Burritos" is a semi-chain in Chicago and as someone who lived there 8 years, I was hooked. We need El Famous to open up shop in DC/NOVA. Nice soft yet chewy flour tortillas. Refried beans. Steak, cheese, extra sour cream, extra onions, cilantro, tomatoes, hot sauce that almost hurts......it is heavenly and there's always a little grease coming out when you bite into it....and it's so reassuring.


                                    That's their website. Email em and demand they open up shop here. DC is a great economy, great incomes, etc. They'd do well.

                                  2. Here is another thread on three authentic Mexican places in Bladensburg. Beware the Sunday Mariachis, I think they go from one to the next and rotate. We went through two this last weekend during our posole fix.


                                    (If you are looking for the typical SoCal burrito bar, these aren't it. These are your typical taquerias where a bit of spanish comes in useful.)