HOME > Chowhound > Western Canada Archives >


Burritos in Vancouver

Hi all, I'm working with a television program that's considering shooting a few episodes in Vancouver later this year. I hope you don't mind me using this forum to get a few ideas. Yes, there are existing threads on burritos in Van, but we're looking for a few specific things. Our show is about healthy make-overs of "traditionally rich" foods, so right there we're ruling out places that pride themselves on a healthful approach. It's also important that the spokesperson for the resto be the polar opposite of camera shy. In other words we're looking for a gut-busting burrito served up by a person with considerable character.

This doesn't have to be a burrito take-away joint either. In fact it may even be better if we find a restaurant with great atmosphere.

Anything spring to mind?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Steamrollers?

    Is your show Eat Shrink and Be Merry? I thought from the title it had something to do with psychiatry.

    4 Replies
    1. re: John Manzo

      There is no such place here as Mexican cuisine is very poorly represented.

      1. re: John Manzo

        You nailed it, John, though I don't think I'm allowed to promote too much in the forum. There's no doubt Steamrollers make a massive burrito, but I have a hunch they'd be cool on the idea of someone doing a healthy makeover of their product. They put a lot of energy into promoting themselves as "nutritious" and "fresh."

        Love your "Eat Shrink" interpretation, by the way. It's a keeper. Reminds me of a Zihuatanejo board where regulars had good fun with an Oregonian who logged on as "Bob in Eugene."

        1. re: jambon

          What about Las Margaritas? I am not a big fan of that type of Cal-Mex but they are quite popular, and their food is full of cheese and beans that probably have lard- I would think it would be fairly straightfoward to show it up! If it is takout you prefer, thean "Red Burrito" has a huge following- although I like to beleive that they are somewhat healthy!

          1. re: Meghan

            I think that's the problem with Vancouver - gut-busting food is usually the exception, not the rule, so those offering that kind of food probably feel no real need to go the health route, since practically everything else in the the city's already there.

            Las Margaritas is really bland and hopelessly uninspiring. There really aren't many Mexican restaurants in Vancouver to give you better ideas other than the two burrito chains in the city (Red Burrito, Steamrollers). But Steamrollers, as you've noted, is already on a health kick, so it's somewhat redundant.

            The only cuisine I know in Vancouver that's continually "gut-busting" are places that still serve up old-fashioned Chinese food. But I have a feeling you're not going to get them on camera any time soon! ;)

      2. You know, it occurs to me that the one city in Canada that really has a plethora of burrito places (including the gut-busting variety) is Toronto. Though what Toronto has is trivial compared to, say, San Francisco.

        1. How about Red Burrito, 1700 Commercial Drive? great location, cute little place, not marketed as healthy. I don't know the owners though.

          1 Reply
          1. re: One Smart Cookie

            There is no decent Mexican food in Vancouver, if there is I would be very interested to know. Las Margaritas, Pepitas ect are Mexican/American as far as I am concerned and a far cry from the real thing.

            I went to a place called La Casita once and was very disappointed. It looked liked they bought their food from Que Pasa and microwaved it. In fact, I even told them so. I could tell because the cheese was hard and stuck to the plate...a tell tale sign of the microwave.

          2. I thought La Casita was excellent, and I'm half-Mexican. I also like the Mouse and the Bean.

            4 Replies
            1. re: lotuskitty

              I hear that Budgies' Burritos on Main St has some promise. I have never been, though. Anyone have an opinion?

              1. re: anewton

                When I was visiting Vancouver I had Mexican at Poncho's on Denman Street and I thought it was very good, excellent salsa they bring you with chips before dinner and family owned and operated

              2. re: lotuskitty

                I have an acquaintence from Guadalajara that was recruited to Vancouver about 5 years ago.... he has searched high & low but has not found anything remotely compelling. Its so bad there... he actually looks forward to Seattle trips. ROFL, he recently went on vacation to Guadalajara & ate pigged out to hold him over till next year!

                1. re: Eat_Nopal

                  I hoping that the multitudes of Mexican ESL students here would do to Mexican food what the Japanese ESL students did for izakaya here. Come on already! ;)

              3. I'd try El Taco on Davie - they have a one-pound burrito that's delicious.

                7 Replies
                1. re: SaffronGreen

                  Hey there, there is a Mexican joint in my 'hood...El Pulgarcito, at 2522 E. Hastings Street. I've recently moved to Van so I've not yet tried it but it looks very rustic and authentic and they have pics of their mainstays, including burritos, posted outside.

                  1. re: eastcoastgirl_westcoastlife

                    Since my last post, i am happy to report there are two pretty good mexican restaurants that have not been mentioned!

                    1. Dona Cata
                    5076 Victoria Drive, Vancouver
                    Tel: 604-236-2232


                    2. El Caracol

                    5190 Victoria Drive
                    Vancouver, BC
                    (604) 325-3461
                    Cash only

                    1. re: jewels_vancouver

                      All things Mexican are looking up in Vancouver. Thank goodness.

                      1. re: fmed

                        Hear hear! I've also been reading good things about Tequila Kitchen in Yaletown, for a more "up-scale" dining experience, and I was quite impressed with the Mexican offerings at Cobre in Gastown.

                        Jewels, about El Caracol: I have a memory of it being El Salvadorean but this is from several years ago and very likely faulty. What is their menu like?

                        1. re: grayelf

                          I haven't been to Tequila Kitchen (yet!) but I have been to Cobre and really enjoyed it. It is a bit more upscale though and would go here on a weekend evening with friends. The Victoria Drive restaurants are the real deal and where you would go for a quickie fix with no frills and to catch up on the weekly telenovelas.

                          I believe you are right about El Caracol being El Salvedorean, but they do have the traditional offerings and the best green sauce!

                          1. re: jewels_vancouver

                            For a "taco truck" like experience...I go to Taco Mexico Rico on Pender right downtown.

                            1. re: fmed

                              Jewels, I agree re the Cobre atmo and suspect TK is similar. FMed's recco of Tacos MR would fit well into the Victoria Drive restos. I haven't been to TMR for a while because I got frustrated with the parking in that area but it is another good one to add to the list.

                2. hi i don't know why the people think in mexico because of the burritos, first do you know the meaning of burrito is little donkey and sadly is how some american people see the mexicans (ilegal inmigrants, services etc.) i have more than 35 years im mexican and i meet the burritos here in vancouver!!!!! never in my live hear about it, is not just me, ask a mexican we have different cuisine like mole in puebla, tlayudas in oaxaca, green pozole in guerrero, tortas ahogadas in guadalajara, cabrito in nuevo leon , atole, tamales, tacos, gorditas, and so many wonderful dishes to offer, my question is why the people think in burrito as a mexican food please stop doing this!!!! we don't have chimichangas,hard taco, popcorn potatoes, NOO BURRITO IS TEX-MEX FOOD usually california, arizona, nuevo mexico the border between mexico and the states is simple go to wikipedia and look for mexican food and on the link of burrito you are gonna find a whole explanation of the american cuisine call BURRITO.......think about it???? and of course the city has really good places to enjoy mexican and latin american cuisine but they are not upscale, they are simple with not fancy plates and decoration but with alot of flavour to enjoy it.......greetings

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: latinas moms

                    Welcome to the board latinas moms.

                    I agree with everything you are saying. I would just LOVE to have real Mexican food in Vancouver. I'm seeing hopeful signs that it just might happen in the next few years.

                    1. re: latinas moms

                      Bienvenidos! I also agree with you. I'm not Mexican but I've traveled all over your beautiful country and would kill for some regional cooking from any of the locales you list. There are a couple of restaurants upthread that do some of the dishes I miss, but I would love to hear more about the places that you refer to that are really good places for flavourful, not fancy Mexican dishes. Please do share them with us.

                      1. re: grayelf

                        hi every one!! here are some places to find real latin flavours....... INKA DELI is a small place on sussex st. near burnaby hospital who offer authentic peruvian and venezuela cuisine try arroz con pollo, peruvian ceviche. lomo saltado, cau cau with a good inka cola (pop).... EL PULGARCITO on hastings has new owners and they have a really tasty pupusas for only 99 cents takes a little bit of time but they are so good....
                        THE LATIN AMERICAN BAKERY two blocks up from joyce skytrain their especiality empanadas chilenas cheese (queso ) and beef or chicken they have only two tables but you can enjoy a good taste from this southamerican country ohh!! the churrasco sandwich is delicious ask for cheese and tomato and you can take home fruit cake, bread and latinproducts....... DONA CATA..on victoria drive (east vancouver).of course the only truly mexican place in the whole city family restaurant and recipes they are from morelos the center of mexico and with 7 meats,including al pastor and carnitas my favorites almost 30 alambres and 9 fresh salsas is like be there enjoy your tacos with a flavourly jarrito or horchata water they have cactus tacos with cheese maybe a excelent option for the vegetarians....the taco 1.50 a bargain..... EL CARACOL on victoria drive too, they have mexican, salvadorean and hondurian but i think the best of them is salvadorean and hondurian because the chefs are from that countries what to eat there??? sopa de mondogo (beef feet and vegetables on tomato sauce) carne asada the number one for me the rice and the meat have a unique dresing and pupusas you have to wait for a while maybe 30 to 40 minutes but if you have time is a good compensation........EL RINCONCITO SALVADORENO..... on comercial drive , tipical dinner salvadorian eggs,beans, and feta cheese, elote tamales (corn) and mojarra frita (deep fried fish tilapia with white rice, and lettuce salad a little expensive for me but still on the budget maybe 50 0r 60 dollars for two....... somebody told me about a place in new westminster but i dont know yet.......ok. see you around

                        1. re: latinas moms

                          Awesome! Thanks for the big list. I'm going to favorite this thread... all this talk of real latin flavors is making my stomach grumble.

                          1. re: latinas moms

                            Thanks latinas moms,

                            I have eaten at El Pulgarcito, El Riconcito Salvadoreno (I walk by this restaurant everyday. I have had their pupusa many times) and Dona Cata.

                            I will now vow to go to Inka Deli and The Latin American Bakery.

                            1. re: fmed

                              Muchisimas gracias, latinas_moms, muy amable :-).