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Best Burritos

  • m

Can anyone guide me to the BEST burrito in the city?

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  1. c
    Chris Armstrong

    Whoa... this discussion will be a painful one. First, everyone will tell you to forget burritos because our flour tortillas here in NYC have yet to catch up to the quality of the corn variety.

    It seems that in Puebla, there may not such a term as burrito. There are many excellent Pueblan places which serve yummy enchiladas. But not burritos.

    If anyone dares mention Tacocina or any of their relatives, please ignore the posting. They are wretched. La Paloma, off of 9th ave in the high forties, is slightly better.

    Benny's (and Harry's) burritos are taste-free.

    The place in Worldwide Plaza, and its sister on 3rd avenue and 33rd street, are almost as bad.

    Burritoville is health food. Burritos are NOT health food.

    Sorry I can't offer many positives... but at least you've been warned about the obvious Manhattan candidates.

    Some regions to chow-explore (in Manhattan) include the upper east side near and above 103rd street, the "port authority" neighborhood (Dos Rancheros at 39th street is pretty good, and there was a promising looking place on a side street... oh, those sidestreets are all the same... and they each contain at least one solid ethnic lunch eatery) the lower east side, and morningside heights (but not anywhere that has been visited by a Columbia student).

    Anyone for tacos? BTW, the 14th street taco truck put LETTUCE on my taco. Luckily, they understood "No lettuce! Please! Take it off! Arrrrgh!!"


    3 Replies
    1. re: Chris Armstrong

      Since moving here from San Francisco, I have completely given up on even trying to find a good burrito in New York. It's just hopeless. It's more than the flour tortilla problem, it's everything that goes into it that's not right here. It's really odd, but no one can seem to duplicate the San Francisco Mission district burrito, as hard as they may try.

      1. re: Cathy

        There is a really good burrito at Castros Coffee Shop Myrtle Avenue bet Grand & Ryenson (718) 398-1459
        Well worth the trip and very affordable to boot

        1. re: Scott

          I'm a huge fan of THE KITCHEN - a tiny storefront on 8th Avenue and 21st St. in Chelsea that's one of the city's great treasures for hard to find Mexican staples. I don't know if what they call "San Francisco Burritos" are legit but they're filled with yummy things like cactus stew, roasted eggplant with queso blanco, and barley-corn salad. Chipotle puree and other extras are no charge. Takeout only.

    2. I'm with Chris on this one. I'm spoiled after living out West for a while and always,always seem to wonder when I've eaten at various NYC Mexican Restaurants: Do they know what Cilantro is?

      Have a Cuban sandwich instead.

      4 Replies
      1. re: SLAP

        Thanks for the responses. I do like Dos Rancheros, but they have the worst flour tortillas. They have a really good seafood soup, you just can't look at it when you eat it if you're squeamish.
        I find the tortillas at Burritoville to be very tasty. Yes, the food is has a healthy slant, but it's pretty satisfying. Their green salsa is also good.
        I haven't been to Benny's in years.
        I've seen "mission" style burritos advertised, but I don't get the concept. Can you explain. The ones I've had here are usually on the wet side, and not too tasty.

        1. re: SLAP

          I lived in Colorado for four years and I've experienced the same thing. While I was there I complained about bagels, pizza, and chinese food, but now that I'm back in NYC I know what bad Mexican food is all about.
          The only place I go to is Bravo's in Park Slope (5th avene, a couple of blocks off of Flatbush--maybe Warren Street). Not Calexico in the middle of the block--Bravos on the corner. Their salsa is made with chipotles (!), although their chips are nothing great. They have the usual junk and the mole is too chocolatey but you can get a pretty good burrito ("mojado" if you like smothered--it's smothered in their house salsa and a little too much cheese).
          Otherwise save your change for a Priceline ticket and go to Alexander's in Boulder, CO, corner of Arapahoe and Broadway...

          1. re: Greg

            Burritos aren't part of the culture of the Puebla guys running NYC Mexican places. So even good Mexican places hereabouts make lousy burritos.

            But there ARE good mexican places. Castro's (511 Myrtle @Grand 398-1459) in Fort Green, for example, is not too far from Park Slope.

            Hey, I liked your Boulder tip. We have a serious dearth of Colorado talk on our Southwest board....I'd love it if you'd leave some tips there (I'll chime in with some, too....you know Ras Kasas, for ex?)


            1. re: Jim Leff

              I sure do know Ras Kasas. See you in the SW board.


        2. d
          Dan Sonenberg

          I'm really surprised no-one's mentioned Desperado's on Amsterdam/109th. They make, in my opinion, truly
          kick-ass burritos - by far the best I've had in
          New York. It's a tiny little storefront, and they
          don't have a lot of different choices. They serve
          their burrito with tortilla chips and no salsa (you
          have to pay for the salsa) and there are only two
          tables in the place if you want to eat in.

          The food is much more flavorful than say burritoville, and each ingredient is really explosive with taste - the rice, the beans, the grilled vegetables, the chicken (I'm told), etc. Even my girlfriend, an ex-San Francisco dweller, says they're among the best she's tasted.

          1. I really hate to give recommendations on places I have not been to in a while, but there is a place on the Upper West (93d and Amsterdam) called Gabriela's. Nothing too fancy, and actually not great burritos, but they had decent everything else, and it seemed to me a lot better than the regular Tex-Mex fajita fare that you get in the 70-80s region of the Upper West. Has anyone been there recently? Just to boot the owner there seems like a real nice guy.

            Michael Yu

            1. If you're looking for good Mexican food in New York, don't look for burritos. They were invented in the Southwestern United States by a much older wave of Mexican immigrants than the one in New York City. Most of the Mexicans in New York come from the Mixteca region, south of Mexico City, where burritos, if they do exist, are probably considered more American than Mexican. I recommend waiting for a trip back West to get burritos, and, for now, taking a trip out to Jackson Heights for some tacos.

              1. OK, I know nothing about Mexican food, authenticity and what a burrito "should" be. But what I order at Taqueria Y Fonda Mexicana on Amsterdam/104 or so is pretty darn good.

                Also, if you're up for a short trip on the PATH, go to Taqueria Downtown in Jersey City.

                6 Replies
                1. re: piccola

                  try noche mexicana on amsterdam between 103 and 102. it's not a great nabe but the food is amazing. read the posts on menupages.com. it's not a fancy restaurant but it's clean and the food is authentic.

                  1. re: nativeNYer


                    I'm so with you on the whole burrito "authenticity" tired debate. Okay, okay, Poblanos don't do burritos, but isn't it possible a few of them--just a few--have come to New York and learned to make a burrito that just TASTES good, even if no one would dream of ordering it in Puebla and it's made differently than what you get in the Southwestern U.S.?

                    That being said, I think the tacos are the thing to get at Taqueria Y Fonda, not the burritos.


                    La Noche has better burritos than Taqueria y Fonda, but not the best in the neighborhood.

                    My recommendation is the chicken burrito at Taqueria California on B'way between Tieman Pl. (124th) & 125th st. Yes, the rice is on the inside, for all the Californians morally opposed to that, but it's delicious anyway. The place gets throngs of chicken burrito-requesting Columbia students and I suspect they've catered their tastes to them, but it's the best I've had in Manhattan. Their burrito obviously isn't on the authentic side of thier menu (other things are, however, I haven't tried them yet) but it tastes pretty darn good.

                    1. re: nobody special

                      You're right that the tacos are better, but the burritos are decent. Does Taqueria California make vegetarian burritos (another unauthentic aberration)?

                      1. re: nobody special

                        nobody special, i will be sure to head on over to taqueria cali before the end of this month. thanks for telling me about this place. not sure how i missed it. try the steak nachos at la noche. yum! i never tried a burrito there b/c i am not a burrito-eating girl.

                        1. re: nativeNYer

                          that said, i should have kept my mouth shut given the original title of this post.

                  2. I think this topic comes up once in a while, and after throwing a couple of local names around, there is always a consensus by Cali expatriates that the best approximation of Mission style burrito in NY is Chipotle. I personally like Uncle Moe's in Chelsea.

                    1. How sad a commentary on NY burritos when the best i've had has been at (hanging head) Chipolte! Second place would the Burrito Box near Columbus Circle. Usually if I got to sit down place in NY I will order a seafood enchilada. Usually the best dish on the menu.

                      1. I second the recommendation of Taqueria y Fonda, though I haven't been there in a while. It's between 107th and 108th. The burritos have that stringy white cheese and mexican crema, not cheddar and sour cream. Also they are about the size of your leg, and very, very tasty.

                        1. I think the carne asade burrito from the Calexico cart on Wooster and Prince is at the top of my list right now.

                          I also like Downtown Bakery on 1st Avenue.

                          1. My wife, on her way home from classes, sometimes grabs me a delicious little number prepared by a joint called Uncle Mo's, on 19th, between 5th and 6th. Now, admittedly, I can't put my hand anywhere near the authenticity debate, for fear of losing it. Nor can I - somewhat Burrito-deprived in recent years - make a claim that this is the best. But, with respect to taste, texture, and the freshness of the ingredients, these guys make a good one.

                            I'll also throw in, just to be difficult, the much-maligned Berkshire Pork Samm at Momofuku's Bar of the same name. Honorable mention for being different and downright delicious.


                            1. I mentioned this on another thread - but the upscale Mexican place Pompano (run by Placido Domingo) on 3rd and 49th has a daytime express counter from 11-3 in the Crystal Pavillion foodcourt (enter on 50th street) and their tacos/burritos are cheap and excellent. You can order ahead, usually a big business lunch crowd in line.