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Beacon Hill burrito war

I've recently had burritos from both Viva Burrito (Staniford Street) and Villa Mexico (Cambridge Street, aka the "gas station mexican").

I had chicken burritos at both to keep things even. Villa Mexico came out on top with a more distinctive, flavorful sauce. However, I still think Viva Burrito serves an excellent "traditional Americanized" burrito, with good stuff that really hits the spot. Viva B also has an excellent guacamole (did not try Villa M's guac).

Villa Mexico's salsa was WAY superior to Viva Burrito's. Viva B's salsa was good and fresh, but Villa M's salsa literally transported me back to Mexico.

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  1. IMO, villa mexico is hands down better in every direct comparison - *except* if you're in a rush or have a few people with you. Their flavors are definitely better, and as you note the salsa is outo f this world.

    Annas looks like they're getting ready to open soon, that'll be yet another option.

    6 Replies
    1. re: jgg13

      Where is Anna's opening in that area? It will be good to have more choices.

      1. re: AnnieP

        Right next to the video store on cambridge street, roughly across from the holiday inn.

          1. re: Fenway_Frank

            Not I, although I noticed they have signage and such inside, and a menu posted outside. OTOH, the interior didn't look "all systems go" either. As a rough guess, I'd say a month or two?

            1. re: jgg13

              Heh. It has looked like it is in the "month or two" stage for almost a year!

              1. re: Alcachofa

                Fair 'nuff - I didn't even realize it was being built there until recently (I work on the other side of the street and tend to walk on my side until I exactly need to cross (Hill, Venice, Villa Mexico, Podima, etc)). It looked like they were getting close, but to be fair, I have no sense of how long its looked like that.

    2. I agree with this assessment: Viva ain't bad, but Villa is really nice, especially the salsas.

      Does anyone else find it odd that Villa Mexico puts lettuce in its burritos by default? I now know to specify "Hold the lettuce", but I'm not used to that.

      1. Finally made it to Villa Mexico, most recently last Friday. Love the burritos-very fresh ingredients and whatever they use for marinating the meat is good. Chose the guacamole over the salsa and was very disappointed. The guac had a glue-like consistency. Next time it'll be the salsa!

        1. Not sure what they call it, salsa, or a mole, but they put a thick brown sauce in the burritos at Villa Mexico that is unbeleivably flavorful. Just have to make sure to say hold the lettuce and you get a near perfect burrito experience

          1. Went to Villa Mexico yesterday and ordered the Mole Poblano Burrito and it was excellent. The Shell was perfectly fresh and crisp, and the Mole Sauce was very tasty. Great little find that I would have never tried if it where not for CH. It will definitely be in the regular rotation for my Pre Whole Foods shopping nights!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Matt H

              Just wanted to note (since I got back from Villa Mexico about an hour ago) that the new guy doesn't seem to make them as well as the woman does. This was even more true today (when the woman wasn't even there).

            2. ooh. villa mexico. i'm gonna have to try that place.
              i'm still in search of an AWESOME mexican food place since moving out here from california.
              i especially love carne asada burritos.
              i like anna's, but sometimes the steak is too fatty.
              i really liked el triunfo (i think that's in the south end? don't remember...)
              and felipe's, which is also like anna's i guess...
              burrito express in downtown crossing makes good chimichangas, but sometimes their steak is a bit overcooked...
              i love the chicken mole tortas at andale' by south station...
              mmm. mexican food....

              12 Replies
              1. re: daylight

                daylight, you should try Angela's Cafe for authentic Mexican in East Boston. Do a search on this board for opinions about Angela's.

                1. re: daylight

                  I also find Ana's steak to be way too fatty for consumption.

                  1. re: daylight

                    Has El Triunfo improved? It was gross my one visit.

                    1. re: Dax

                      well, the last time i went was maybe 7 months ago, they got new owners i believe...
                      i still liked it.
                      when did you go?
                      and what did you get?
                      i guess it depends on what you get too, i liked their carne asada burrito.

                    2. re: daylight

                      Daylight, you definitely should try Angela's. But for carne asada burritos, I recommend Romano's Pizza in Roslindale.

                      I know it sounds weird, but it's a pizza joint that also has Mexican chefs doing a separate menu.

                      Good, cheap, tasty eats.

                      1. re: Bostonbob3

                        Has anyone had the carnitas burrito at Romano's Pizza in Roslindale? I have heard good things about the burritos at Romano's Pizza. My favorite burrito is the al pastor (roast pork) burrito at Tacos Lupita in Somerville. I also like the chorizo (mexican sausage) burrito at Taqueria Mexico in Waltham. Both burritos are very filling and cheap.

                        1. re: buffet king

                          I really like the tacos at Romano's (another place like Villa Mexico that does not look like a promising source of good Mexican food from the outside), not so much the burritos, but that's a general preference of mine anyway.

                        2. re: Bostonbob3

                          maybe i can get a steak pizza!
                          is their pizza good too?
                          i'll have to check it out.
                          thanks for the recommendation...

                          1. re: daylight

                            The carnitas burritos at Romano's are probably their best offerings.

                            And yes, the pizza is good, too.

                            1. re: daylight

                              Whoah. Do people make carnitas pizzas? That would be awesome.

                        3. Because of this thread, it "reminded" me to give this place another try, as I walk by it daily.

                          I had a Carnitas burrito. I had asked for no lettuce (lettuce in a burrito??), but when I saw the guy behind the counter making it up, it had a huge pile of lettuce in it. I stopped him and told him that I ordered it with no lettuce. Instead of making up a new one, he scraped aside most of the rest of the filling and dumped out the lettuce, taking a good deal of the sauce and some of the filling with it.

                          Then he folded the rest up and grilled it and gave it to me. I tried to explain that I wasn't happy with this arrangement, but it proved too difficult and I just took it from him.

                          Overall, it wasn't bad, but the guacamole was not good at all, and it didn't have as much going on inside as my favorite from Viva Burrito. Overall, I think I'll stick with Viva's, at least until Anna's location opens up.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: mwk

                            See my post above. I've not been all that happy w/ the burritos made by that guy.

                            1. re: mwk

                              Deseo uno burrito "SEEN" lechuga. Gracias!

                              Where is Spanish-for-Chowhounders thread? Can I spoil a secret? I find that if I speak 5-10 words of Spanish, I get a big "O-la amigo!" whenever I show up, and my food EXACTLY the way I want it! They don't skimp on amigos, although I really don't need the extra calories por favor.

                              I can't speak conversational Spanish (I can, French) - but the burrito guys arent like your high school teachers, either :) A few words go a loooong way... the 'white people' look at me funny, but who cares what they think? The accountants in my office used to get really quiet when they first heard me phone-ordering Burrito Express... like I was talking dirty to someone, ordering a chimichanga!

                              (This advice applies to almost every Mexican fastfood joint I've visited more than once. If you love Mexican food, try learning just a couple of phrases - you'll see its worth it!)

                              1. re: beacon_hill_boy


                                I do appreciate the Spanish lesson, and believe it or not, I do speak it somewhat. But the man behind the counter spoke perfect English. When I asked him about the lettuce, he looked at the order ticket, said "Oops", and then began the "repair" process. He wasn't paying attention.

                                I failed to mention that when I first walked over to the pick up area, he asked me what I wanted to eat. I thought I had already placed my order. I went back over to the woman and she yelled at him (in Spanish), I told you already...a Carnitas Burrito with Salsa, no lettuce. The ticket is RIGHT THERE...(sheesh). I added the "sheesh" for effect, I admit...

                                1. re: mwk

                                  Not all mix-ups are always the servers' fault, and some can never get it right: better luck next time!

                                  I like my Chow-tales without big repairs, too ; )