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San Francisco Style Burritos in Montreal

Tall, thin white woman with Cali flavor in new city seeks tradiitonal, San Francisco style burrito place in Montreal...

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  1. Sadly we have very very limited options in terms of burritos here in Montreal. I don't think you will have any luck finidng exactly what you're looking for.

    One of the better burritos in town is the Burrito Grande, available at La Chilenita, a restaurant specializing in Chilean and Tex-Mex style foods. However, we ordered it once from the location on St-Laurent Blvd and it was terrible (microwaved and charred into its styrofoam container)- though it's always been great at the rue Napoleon location.

    Another burrito alternative is Burrito Village, on Sherbrooke St. West in NDG (and a new location on Bishop that just opened). They serve vegetarian burritos and have very few menu options. I don't think this will satisfy your SF style burrito craving though.

    3 Replies
    1. re: mainsqueeze

      Hey Mairead, welcome to Montreal! Funny, I just tried my first mission burrito 2 days ago in SF! (Tacqueria El Farolito, 2779 Mission @ 24th). I can understand why you're so addicted any why my husband's been raving about 'em for the last decade - these things are crazy good. Thus far I have not come across anything similar anywhere in Montreal...we are pretty weak in the Mexican food department, though.

      Mainsqueeze, can you describe what Chilenita's burrito is like? What kind of meat, what kind of beans, etc.

      1. re: anachemia

        You can get it with beef or chicken. It has black beans in it, if I remember correctly, as well as rice, cheese, and guacamole, and is served with their spicy red empanada sauce. It's wrapped in a large flour toritilla (not sure where they get them!).

        The empanadas are worth having too. My favourite is the chilena, which has beef, hard boiled egg and black olive in it.

      2. re: mainsqueeze

        Sorry, it's called Burritoville, not Burrito Vilage.

      3. MIssion style burritos are even hard to find outside of the Bay Area so you can imagine they're off the radar here in Montreal. As sorry as it sounds, Taco Bell might be the closest you'll come to it with the 7 layer burrito. I know, it's sad...

        8 Replies
        1. re: Campofiorin

          I can't believe someone started this thread, which I've been toying with doing for some time now.

          I lived in the bay area for six years and have constant Mission-burrito cravings. While there are lots of pretty good taquerias in town, and the number seems to be increasing weekly, you can't get a decent burrito. I would agree with the comment above about La Chilenita, at least the St. Laurent location - another in a string of disappointments. I've tried places out in NDG (bad vegetarian burrito) to the Village, to the various places in my neighbourhood around the market - no luck.

          I think the main problem here is that you can't get fresh tortillas in the size you need for Mission-style burritos.

          1. re: Campofiorin

            And since we're on the topic of Bay area foods, I would also love if it someone could recreate Zante's Indian pizza.

            1. re: FoodNovice

              Here, here! I too miss all the Cali goodies and one trip out west per year is a must; unfortunately there are no good substitutes.

                1. re: mainsqueeze

                  I looked it up yesterday because I was intrigued too - not sure if you've seen it yet, but their site explains a bit about what they do - basically, Indian toppings/flavours on a pizza base. A bit weird, but maybe it works!

                  http://www.zantepizza.com/about.htm

                2. re: FoodNovice

                  At Sandhu they make a pizza called the Cachemire. It's got curry chicken, cheese, fresh tomatoes and coriander.

                  It's at 4548 Papineau (just north of Montreal.

                  1. re: mainsqueeze

                    Anyone taste it, to see if it's good? I know there's a pizzeria in Toronto, that uses Indian toppings(run by a Indian family).

                    1. re: BLM

                      Oh I forgot to reply, sorry. I had it one time. I thought it was really great for the first few bites but I soon got a bit overwhelmed by the rich, creamy curriness of it all. Maybe I wasn't hungry enough that day. It's worth a try, I'd say.

                      By the way it's 4548 Papineau, north of Mont-Royal. I made a mistake in my previous post about this.

                      Enjoy!

              1. I just like stylish question.....

                1. I'm no burrito expert but my usual favourite is Taqueria Mex, on St. Laurent between Marie-Anne and Rachel. I like the burrito grande with either steak or chicken (the chicken tastes like they use Portuguese-style grilled chicken, not that nasty boiled shredded stuff) and rice, beans, guacamole, lettuce, salsa, cheese, sour cream. I love the salsa bar, too. And as I recall, the one I had at Pancho Villa in San Fran was pretty similar.

                  1. OMG...you should not have done this to me. I lived in the bay area about ten years, in the mission no less, on alabama for a while, and then on 24th street. El Farolito was my second home and the salsa at casa sanchez, killed. just killed. (and the Indian za was a good late night choice as well. i love to mention it to friends here for their reaction)

                    Ive been here for like 3 years now, and have an urge nearly everyday. Sorry folks, while Chilenita is OK, it aint nothin like the mission. The place on St. Laurent near Portugese Park is decent, might be close to a third tier place in SF that you might find somewhere near Union st. :)

                    There are two places though that might, just might be our saving grace however. A place is on Park Ave, between Fairmount and Laurier, west side of the street. Looks like a good hole in the wall, but every time i walk by there it is NEVER open. Stuff moves around inside, and things change, so there is life at some point, I just cant figure out when.

                    2. There is a place further up St. Laurent, below Jean Talon, west side of the street. Again, I have been nearby there on off times. Last sunday was there at 11:50am and there was a huge group of folks in there (well like 3 tables) watching mexican tv - soccer. I thought to myself 'oh my' I asked if they were serving lunch yet - and no one spoke english very well, and i started to salivate. But when we finally successfully communicated, they said they weren't ready to make lunch yet!! foiled. this place also sell mariachi cds too, I am hopeful, if anyone gets there b4 i do, please send in a report.

                    oh and while we're at it , if anyone knows where i can get a decent margarita, a la - oh no Ive been away too long - umm like the mission joint at 20th and valencia, the one that was in perpetual xmas, please pass it on....i would die for a little mariachi, margaritas and then to stumble up to 24th and mission....mmmm

                    all that said, Ive resorted to making my own salsa verde, ive manged to replicate the stuff at farolito fairly well, and anyone who knows, knows it varied pretty wildly from day to day....oh and the best, well, only place to get for real tortillas is now at the jean talon market, again, I forget what the place is called, but its the only mexican place there....

                    good luck on the hunt
                    -m

                    14 Replies
                    1. re: delray

                      If the place on Parc you're talking about is Taco Loco. I would forget about it. The guy has no idea what he's doing. It's the kind of Mexican food you would expect to get at a German road stop.

                      1. re: delray

                        Tortillera Maya is the place. I'm happy to see tyhem there, it's a nice addition, but I've also found that the prices have increased from their original place on St-Laurent. Maybe it's because the price of corn has raised significantly lately, but I suspect that the rent at JTM is pretty steep.

                        1. re: Campofiorin

                          Tortilleria Maya moved to Jean Talon Market. I'm not sure this is the place delray is referring to. Besides, does Tortilleria Maya serve burritos?

                          1. re: mainsqueeze

                            Tortilleria Maya (JTM) do serve burritos. However, I cannot get over the idea that they reheat them in foam plates in the microwave...

                            1. re: mainsqueeze

                              They do have burritos. At least I've seen it on their menu, but I don't think they're anything like Mission burritos. They're more like actual Mexican burritos i.e. not the size of your arm and with less garnish.

                              1. re: SnackHappy

                                Delray: I lived at the other end of the Mission (16th and Albion, 18th and Shotwell), so although El Farolito was great, I tended to go to Cancun or La Cumbre. I remember the xmas place and a google search comes up with La Rondalla. How about Juan's in West Berkeley?

                                In my perpetual search, I tried the place on St. Laurent not long after it opened and it is Mexican-style, as SnackHappy points out.

                                Tacqueria Mex is the closest in spirit to a Mission tacqueria in MTL, sadly, and I think calling it 3rd-tier is a stretch as it lacks some of the basics, like decent refried beans and the assembly-line selection of ingredients. I like the idea of their salsa bar, just not any of the salsas they offer.

                                I'm also resorting to trying to recreate the tastes of the Mission at home. Tonight's carne asada wasn't too bad...

                                1. re: BernalKC

                                  I've had lots of Salvadoran & Mexican. Never seen Puerto Rican, have heard of one or two Cuban places but I don't think they're common.

                              2. re: mainsqueeze

                                This line is pretty explicit I think :

                                oh and the best, well, only place to get for real tortillas is now at the jean talon market, again, I forget what the place is called, but its the only mexican place there....

                                1. re: Campofiorin

                                  Sorry, I misread. I though you were referring to this: "There is a place further up St. Laurent, below Jean Talon, west side of the street."

                                  Cheers

                              3. re: Campofiorin

                                Does Tortilleria Maya make corn tortillas? Is there anywhere else I can find corn tortillas (say a supermarket) because I won't be able to make it to JTM anytime soon.

                                1. re: hungryann

                                  Tortilleria Maya makes corn tortillas and you can find them in all the latino shops in town plus some specialty/gouremt shops. The flour tortillas I've bought at Maya were from Aladdin bakers in Brooklyn NY. You can find those same flour tortillas at Aubut.

                                  1. re: SnackHappy

                                    Good news, fellow Mission-burrito cravin' chowhounds! I just found some ginormous flour tortillas (frozen, imported from Chicago) at the Mexican market* on St. Laurent just north of Marianne. They are at least 12", easily the biggest I've ever seen in Montreal.

                                    The same store also sells tins of whole pinto beans in sauce, which are part of my evolving SF burrito arsenal. I am whippin up the rest of the fixins right now, and will report back on how well these tortillas perform. (The trick to Missionizing 'em is to micro-steam the empty tortilla in a wet paper towel for at least 1 min on high power, works like a charm!)

                                    One last thing - if you trek out to this place, be sure to try some of their Columbian empanadas, distinguishable by their yellow corn wrapper. They are really something special!

                                    * Note: The sign outside says Sabor Latino, the register receipt says Marche Andes, but evidently their real name is Marche Andes Gloria. Don't be fooled by Google - this place is on the east side of the Main, not Jean-Talon or Belanger.

                                    -----
                                    Supermarché Andes Gloria
                                    4387 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC H2W, CA

                                    1. re: anachemia

                                      Marche Andes is a classic CH place. This is my go-to place for take-out tamales, very satisfying and cheap and a great mid-week meal. The fillings are tasty, and the outer corn layer is remarkably soothing. My biggest knock on this tamale is that the meat is occasionally tough and stringy, but this tamale is not about the meat, it is about the corn. And $3-5 for a meal that can be nuked in 1-2 minutes? Priceless...

                                      They have a daily selection of hot plates of food. They make the pupusa on site by hand, you can see them patting them out from time to time. The cheese pupusa is my personal favorite. Their lunch plates are a great deal, and are very tasty. They pay appropriate attention to the sides such as the rice and beans, which are excellent when fresh.

                                      They also have a small but nice selection of latin american groceries, although I wish they would expand their selection slightly (eg. more dried chiles so I can try to make my own Oaxacan mole: almost out of the tub I brought back!!!). We also ordered a pinata once - lots of fun, although they are surprisingly hard to break open.

                                      Cheap, fast, yummy food. Can't mess with that formula. I wouldn't go out of my way to get there to eat, but it is a great stop when in the neighbourhood. Well... perhaps I would go out of my way, it is one of those places that gets under your skin and reels you in.

                                      1. re: anachemia

                                        Meh - the imported gigantic tortillas were okay size-wise, but only so-so on texture & flavour: they tasted defrosted and were crumbly at the edges. Actually, I take it back - compared with authentic Mission burritos, they were still on the small side. Did I mention they were $4.79 for a pack of 10?

                                        Sorry guys, hope I didn't lead anyone else off this particular cliff with me. I guess we'll have to make do for now with the regular 10-inchers we can get around here. (but don't hold it against Marche Andes - moh was right on, that place absolutely rocks and is still worth the trip!)

                              4. Just went to Mesa 14 on Bishop for the first time in a while and they now have a "Mission burrito" on the menu with a choice of steak, chicken, shrimp or veggies. It comes with rice and beans inside (what a novel concept), but also corn. Not bad. A step in the right direction, but overall uninspiring flavours. Poor quality chips and salsa.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: FoodNovice

                                  Just had a Mesa 14 burrito myself. Sadly, it wasn't Missionesque. It was baked with cheese and salsa on the outside. I didn't see more than one type of burrito on the menu. It was fine, but nothing special.

                                  1. re: Daiya

                                    The lunch menu had their old-style burrito and a "Mission-style" burrito listed separately.

                                2. The best I've had lately is at Mexico Dans La Ville (4764 Papineau below Gilford). Their burritos are big fat ones with four filling options plus rice, beans, cheese(?), and a few vegetables inside as well. The varying salsas on the side are tasty, too. They are family-run and only open 5-8:30pm. Worth a detour.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Daiya

                                    Chilenita is still a viable option for mission style burritos - although theyre not quite right.

                                  2. Sadly, I think you're better off saving your $$$ for a ticket to SF. Montreal offers many outstanding food experiences, but burritos are not among them.

                                    1. So M4 burritos was another in the long string of disappointments. Anyone know the story behind Burrito Shop opening on St Laurent?
                                      https://www.facebook.com/burritoshopm...

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: FoodNovice

                                        Seems like they're opening in 2 weeks, so you'll probably find nothing else than what's on Facebook right now.

                                        Did you try the ones from Itacate?

                                        1. re: FoodNovice

                                          Burrito Shop's opening is tonight. They'll be open til 4am & burritos are on special for $5. I'll surely check it out later...

                                          1. re: Shattered

                                            Argh. Missed the opening (even though it's one block away.) Did you make it? Will the special continure through today?

                                            1. re: picklebird

                                              Went for lunch. Big thumbs up. Totally superior to all other options. I've posted in restaurant openings thread with lots of details.

                                              1. re: picklebird

                                                No, and unfortunately it wasn't even still on Saturday, which was lame. I'm glad to hear it's good cause they're over $8 each tax in.

                                                1. re: Shattered

                                                  Yes, that is true. It's not cheap! Still cheaper than Icehouse tacos though. And SF burritos are now about $6-$7.50 + tax (but that usually includes all extras too.)

                                          2. Montréal doesn't do burritos or tacos very well. One of the best burritos I ever had was at a place in Oakley, California called "La Costa" which had a wonderful selection; my favourite being the roasted pork burritos. All over the East Bay are excellent taco and burrito restaurants serving unassuming food at excellent prices. I was very impressed by a grocery store chain called Mi Pueblo with excellent aqua fresca and bone marrow or tripe tacos.

                                            The problem is that immigrants from Latin America bypass Québec-- they do not speak French (mostly), and they do speak English, so they naturally gravitate towards Vancouver or Toronto. Evidenced by the strong airline connections between Mexico and those two cities, as well as remittance rolls. What we have in Montreal is simulacra. I've found that it tends to be a 'riff' and that annoys me more than anything.

                                            Honestly, if you're really hard-up for a good burrito, I'd recommend making your own. There are countless burrito joints in the city, but like the sushi situation, it's pretty grim. Wait until you visit S.F. and indulge. That's what I do. About an hour after I touch-down at SFO to visit relatives who moved there, I'm eating the food I can't get here... which also includes Chinese food...

                                            13 Replies
                                            1. re: PhilTG84

                                              The problem with what you're saying is that most immigrants from Latin America don't really traditionally eat burritos (and they mostly don't speak english when they get here... and Montreal is the 2nd city after Toronto for latin american immigration, but that's an other thing)...

                                              1. re: Glaff

                                                it's hard to find a mission style burrito outside of california because, like poutine, it is a regional food that was invented and perfected over decades.

                                                1. re: Glaff

                                                  Glaff,

                                                  Burritos ARE Latin American-- a derivative in Mexican cuisine in particular, so that is where we typically see it. Second of all, Montréal is 2nd in immigration in your dreams (I have an M.A. in Anthropology and Migration Studies.......). See: Hou & Bourne/Hou & Picot (2002/2004) for a demographic trend analysis of immigration to Canada. Montreal is in a net-negative immigration cycle (since 1998). "The other thing" is that Latin Americans possess more of a knowledge of English than French upon arrival to Canada (See: the works of Susan Bibler Coutin and Victor Piché for studies of Allophones in Qc (Piché) and Coutin for language knowledge among Latin American migrants). Québec is used for easy access, but more immigrants leave than Qc retains and have so for over fourteen years. But that's another thing, eh?

                                                  Burritos are a take on a traditional food from Guanajuato (which, by the way IS in Mexico... thank you Bayless), that was popularized in Texas in California. Why do I (note the I there, not suggesting that others can't enjoy what they want) prefer the food in California to the slop here in Montreal? Because it's better. You ever eaten at La Costa in Oakley, California? Naww. You typify a food product then reject the basis upon which my argument is predicated because it's not typically their dish. Even if it wasn't, it has been popularized by immigrant communities in California since the 1920s and they've been honing their craft. They are better at it than Montrealers and I much prefer theirs to ours. And the riff comment still stands. If I wanted a honey-chicken with mole burrito, I'd eat one. But, I don't. So I don't.

                                                  1. re: PhilTG84

                                                    How about some links for the references? Do you really expect us to all know how to deal with JSTOR?

                                                    1. re: PhilTG84

                                                      If you read my message again, you'll see that I never said burritos were not from latin american origin. Yes it's mexican, but not from all over latin america. That's all.

                                                      As for the "other thing", that's what you can find on Statistics Canada (no I will not go read your studies and analysis for a burritos discussion)

                                                      1. re: Glaff

                                                        a history of mission burritos is on wikipedia. it's all very regional

                                                      2. re: PhilTG84

                                                        I think it would be more useful for the Latin American immigrants that do have restaurants and shops here to point them out to people seeking good food instead of making sweeping generalizations and insisting everyone look elsewhere. Supermarché Andes is called Sabor Latina nowadays, btw, and La Chilenita makes nice burritos which I am guessing are Chilean. Lots of good pupusas from El Salvador around too.

                                                        1. re: Plateaumaman

                                                          Chilenita is hit or miss but I think their shrimp burrito is one of the best in the city - not nearly as good as a mission burrito. I also agree that in the last decade there has been a surge in authentic latin american food. the mission burrito is not authentic - it is part of the regional cuisine in SW USA

                                                          1. re: catroast

                                                            La Chilenita on St Laurent has closed, are there other outlets?

                                                            1. re: unlaced

                                                              Chilenita St Laurent was not as good as the other locations - I also thought the ambiance was lacking.

                                                            2. re: Plateaumaman

                                                              Do you have a favorite place for pupusas? After trying El Chalateco, El Amigo, Los Planes, Cabanas, Sabor Latino and La Caretta I've come to the conclusion that the best (by far) are at Los Planes, but I was wondering if I was missing some other ones outside of this neighbourhood?

                                                      3. ... Cafe Cantina in Pointe-St-Charles has "california-style" burritos. For what it's worth, they're pret-ty, pret-ty good. Rice, beans, guac, sour cream, lettuce, tomato and choice of veg, carnitas, chicken or beef.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: deadchildstar

                                                          Is that place on centre street? I think we ate there last year. Big burrito sandwich cost was about 10$. I was okay, I'm not a fan of this kind of sandwiches with all beans that overwhelm the taste buds.

                                                        2. Finally got around to trying The Burrito Shop and had the Barbacoa, it was really good, beef was nice and tender the sauce it was braised in was bang on. Much better than the US chain Chipotle and I like Chipotle.

                                                          PhilTG needs to chill out, we're not in CA we're in Montreal, we're here to discuss food not waves of immigration. We can only taste what's available within our city limits, if I go on vacation to CA I'll read the recs on the CA board.

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: JerkPork

                                                            Tried a carnitas burrito from there last week. It was too fatty for my taste. The meat was cubed, not pulled and some pieces were almost entirely fat. The chips and different salsas were extremely good! Especially the spicy green one. I'll have to say Cafe Cantina still has Montréal's best burrito (even though they often run out of ingredients).
                                                            If I had a perfect world, I'd get the homemade chips and salsas from Burrito Shop and hop over to Cafe Cantina for the burrito itself.

                                                            1. re: causeimhungry

                                                              Yah, I almost ordered the pork that was cut in cubes and changed my mind as it looked really fatty but the beef didn't disappoint and there was no obvious fat. My wife had the other pork in the tomatillo sauce and it wasn't fatty like the cubed one, I think hers was more of a pulled pork IIRC. Will definitely try Cantina in the near future.

                                                            2. re: JerkPork

                                                              Tried the Burrito Shop today, I guess I was relatively satisfied with the whole experience. They seemed a bit stingy on the sauces though but I didn't actually asked them for more. I had the carnitas, it looked fatty but I didn't mind, but it was definitely better than the dry carnitas they serve at M4.

                                                              1. re: JerkPork

                                                                I had the Carne Asada with the mild green salsa and guacamole. The beef is on the salty side but balances out the tasteless rice and beans. It's the best SF style burrito in town, much better than the M4 crap.

                                                                I wish for some rice flavor (that orange rice they have in California) and more bean variety (pinto and refried).

                                                              2. I tried Cantina on Centre street a few days ago and have to say Burrito Shop is way better. My beef burrito wasn't too bad but something was missing, decent amount of beef which had some taste but it was definitely lacking something. We also had the pork which was wayyyyy to sweet. I haven't tried M4 yet to compare but Burrito Shop is ahead so far for me. Plus I like the Chipolte assembly line style of Burrito Shop where you tell them what you want. Lower prices at Burrito Shop too.

                                                                I notice a debate is going on in the Openings thread so figured we should probably continue duking it out in here.

                                                                1. I was in Laval and saw a place called Quesada burritos and tacos. It was practically full at lunchtime. I went inand most people were having burritos. I opted for the fish tacos because I just can't resist when I see them on a menu even though I was doubtful they'd be the real deal. The verdict: average but fresh ingredients and filling. Not a bad option for a quick bite.
                                                                  The website is quesada.ca. It's a chain and the only location in Quebec is this one.