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Beacon Hill burrito war

Alcachofa Mar 30, 2008 12:51 PM

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.

  1. m
    mwk Apr 10, 2008 01:00 PM

    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
      jgg13 Apr 10, 2008 01:36 PM

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

      1. re: mwk
        beacon_hill_boy Apr 10, 2008 08:58 PM

        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
          mwk Apr 11, 2008 06:37 AM


          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
            beacon_hill_boy Apr 11, 2008 01:48 PM

            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 ; )

      2. daylight Apr 9, 2008 01:00 PM

        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
          bakerboyz Apr 9, 2008 01:57 PM

          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
            Gordough Apr 9, 2008 02:30 PM

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

            1. re: daylight
              Dax Apr 10, 2008 09:00 AM

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

              1. re: Dax
                daylight Apr 10, 2008 10:58 AM

                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.

                1. re: daylight
                  Dax Apr 10, 2008 11:56 AM

                  2 or 3 years.

              2. re: daylight
                Bostonbob3 Apr 10, 2008 11:37 AM

                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
                  buffet king Apr 10, 2008 12:15 PM

                  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
                    MC Slim JB Apr 10, 2008 12:45 PM

                    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
                    daylight Apr 10, 2008 12:16 PM

                    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
                      Bostonbob3 Apr 10, 2008 12:45 PM

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

                      And yes, the pizza is good, too.

                      1. re: daylight
                        Dax Apr 11, 2008 09:23 AM

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

                        1. re: Dax
                          daylight Apr 11, 2008 02:04 PM

                          that's what I'M sayin'!

                  3. Matt H Apr 9, 2008 05:57 AM

                    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
                      jgg13 Apr 9, 2008 10:47 AM

                      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. d
                      devilham Mar 31, 2008 12:12 PM

                      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. mtm7654 Mar 31, 2008 09:36 AM

                        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. MC Slim JB Mar 31, 2008 07:52 AM

                          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. jgg13 Mar 30, 2008 01:13 PM

                            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
                              AnnieP Mar 30, 2008 07:17 PM

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

                              1. re: AnnieP
                                jgg13 Mar 30, 2008 08:02 PM

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

                                1. re: jgg13
                                  Fenway_Frank Mar 31, 2008 06:24 AM

                                  does anyone know when?

                                  1. re: Fenway_Frank
                                    jgg13 Mar 31, 2008 06:55 AM

                                    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
                                      Alcachofa Mar 31, 2008 10:28 AM

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

                                      1. re: Alcachofa
                                        jgg13 Mar 31, 2008 11:21 AM

                                        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.

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