Food & Drink

The 12 best Mission burritos, as chosen by people on fixies

Joe Starkey Published On 08/20/2014 Published On 08/20/2014
Joe Starkey

According to people who aren't the worst, the Mission burrito is the greatest burrito that has ever burrito-ed. This we know. What we don't? Which Mission burrito is the best.

But rather than give you our best list, we decided to do the next-best thing: we stopped 10 people riding fixies in The Mission (so, the first 10 people that passed by), and asked them to give us in-depth rankings of their favorites. 

Brass tacks: all of those people who love bikes with one gear and zero brakes picked their top-five burrito places, and we assigned each of those points accordingly (first got 5pts, second got 4pts, etc.). Let's get to it!

Joe Starkey

T11. El Toro Taqueria (3 pts)

598 Valencia St
A Mission standby for many years, this spot builds your burrito Chipotle-style, where you point and choose what fresh ingredients you want in your burrito (you should get the carne asada), and then order chips and guac... even though you probably don't need chips and guac. Also: props to them for an extra-clean prep space.

flickr/Evan Blaser

T11. Taqueria Vallarta (3 pts)

3033 24th St
It's mainly on this list for its eight different vegetarian burrito options that all contain grilled veggies as, opposed to your typical beans, rice, and cheese.

flickr/Garin Fons

10. Pancho Villa Taqueria (5 pts)

3071 16th St
One of the larger, more chain-y establishments on this list, it's got plenty of seating and it's right in the heart of all the Mission bars... making it perfect for a late-night al pastor burrito to soak up some of that delicious cinnamon whiskey you've been chasing with Fernet.

Joe Starkey

9. El Faro (6 pts)

2399 Folsom St
Another old-school Mission spot, El Faro was docked for its meat-to-rice-and-beans ratio making a change for the worse of late. But it still made the list thanks to some healthier (grilled chicken, whole wheat tortilla) options.

flickr/Sharon

T7. Papalote (10 pts)

3409 24th St
Possibly a little more high-end than the other taquerias on this list (but still totally deserving), Papalote does some pretty decent burritos that're made infinitely better than "pretty decent" if you literally cover them in the signature salsa that's so popular it has its own website.

flickr/rick

T7. La Taqueria (10 pts)

2889 Mission St
Okay, okay, we know this is gonna be a little out of your comfort zone, but get the lengua (beef tongue) burrito anyway, because your comfort zone is super dumb. It's incredibly juicy and beefy (the burrito, not your comfort zone), and honestly, you could be eating worse parts.

Joe Starkey

6. El Metate (12 pts)

2406 Bryant St
Described by one fixie-riding dude as "the unsung hero of burritos", the longer, thinner, more tightly rolled burritos are slightly different from their Mission brethren, and the veggie burrito's medley of actual grilled vegetables make it delicious even without meat. Sure, you have to walk through the kitchen to get to seating, but it's a small price to pay.

Joe Starkey

5. Little Chihuahua (15 pts)

581 Valencia St
This recent-ish Mission transplant grabs the fifth spot (barely), based on two things and two things only: the extensive, delicious salsa bar options, and, um, the burritos.

flickr/elisasizzle

4. Taqueria La Cumbre (18 pts)

515 Valencia St
Open 'til 2:30am for all of your post-bar cravings, Taqueria La Cumbre breaks the top-four with a grilled-just-right chicken burrito that's just as good at 2:30am as it is as 2:20am.

Joe Starkey

3. La Palma (20 pts)

2884 24th St
Insiders know that oddly hour-ed La Palma is where you go for fresh tortillas: they make all of their own (plus tortillas for a bunch of other restaurants in the city, T-Lish included), which usually means a line out the door for delicious burritos with perfectly grilled carne asada ("Every bite is like a greasy, flavorful explosion").

flickr/Marshall Astor

2. El Farolito (22 pts)

2779 Mission St
This taqueria doesn't skip on any of the key burrito ingredients, and does all of them perfectly, making their 'rritos beefy (both literally and figuratively) rolled meals that are sure to satisfy even the most picky of Mission-ites.

flickr/Phil Whitehouse
 

1. Taqueria Cancún (26 pts)

2288 Mission St
Their tortillas are cooked on the same grill as the meat, which means amazingly crispy burritos that taste like their incredible carne asada... whether or not you ordered carne asada. Best part? Their Super Burrito lives up to its name, so get that.

A special thanks to our panelists: Tom DePinto, Austin Saddlemire, Hank Sherwood, Defne Altan, Cameron Crowe, Peter Denny, Rachael Cumbo, and Alice, Frank, and Marissa (who didn't want to give their last names for fear of burrito-choice persecution).

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Joe Starkey is Thrillist's San Francisco Editor and can't believe, given the amount of burritos he's eaten in the course of this story, that he could still go for one. Follow him on Twitter.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Taqueria Vallarta 3033 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (The Mission)

One of a handful of locations, this Mexican spot doles out some seriously tasty tacos and more, and if you want to sample their specialty, order the cochinita pibil, a traditional Mexican slow-roasted pork dish of Mayan origin.

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2. El Faro 82 1st St, San Francisco, CA 94105 (Financial District)

El Faro claims to be one of the originators of the Mission burrito – designated as such for its large size and use of rice – in the 1960s. These days they're not quite at the top of the Mission burrito hierarchy, but still reliable when you need a cheap, heavy payload of rice, beans and protein.

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3. Papalote Mexican Grill 3409 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (The Mission)

Nicer than the average hole-in-the-wall Mission taqueria but still super casual, Papalote serves up traditional tacos, quesadillas, and burritos in a sit-down counter-order space. Packed tight with rice, beans, pico de gallo and your choice of meat, the ginormous burritos are the definition of bang-for-your-buck and can easily be split between two people. Make sure you complement your order with plenty of chips served with the restaurant's signature roasted tomato salsa, which counts Bobby Flay as one of its many fans.

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4. La Taqueria 2889 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (The Mission)

This no-frills taqueria is home to the best burrito in America. The Mission-style burrito has a healthy dose of meat, cheese, beans, homemade hot sauce, salsa, and no rice. The place has been around for 40 years and if the daily long lines are any indication, they're doing something right. Ask for your burrito "El Dorado-style" to get your rice-less bundle of joy thrown on the grill until the outside is golden brown and the inside has melted to perfection.

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5. El Metate 2406 Bryant St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (The Mission)

This taqueria has one of the best vegetable burritos in the city because they use actual veggies and not just beans and cheese.

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6. Little Chihuahua 292 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117 (Lower Haight)

With locally sourced, sustainable ingredients and sizes for every taste (from regular to "super baby"), this burrito joint can't be kept under wraps. Especially when filling options range from 100% grass fed carne asada, salmon, refried pinto beans, and chorizo, to vegetarian black beans.

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7. La Palma 2884 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (The Mission)

An old-school Mexican spot open since the 1950s with their own homemade tortillas.

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8. El Farolito 2779 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94105 (The Mission)

Figuring out which taqueria to go to in the MIssion can be tough, but you can’t go wrong with El Farolito, one of the neighborhood's OG burrito havens, which happens to also be within perfect stumbling distance of numerous bars and the 24th Street BART. The super burrito is where it’s at, with a hefty dose of rice, beans, salsa, guac, sour cream, and whatever delicious meat you choose (carne asada is a good call).

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9. Taqueria Cancun 2288 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (The Mission)

One of the best purveyors of burritos in the Mission (which is saying something), Taqueria Cancun doles out superb burritos, tacos, and tortas. It's hard to choose between tacos and burritos, and while you definitely don't want to miss the carne asada or carnitas burrito, you don't want to pass on the al pastor super tacos either. They're packed with so much pork, pineapple, avocado, and other tasty goodness that they're basically mini burritos. The casual spot is jam-packed for both lunch and late-night eats (it's open until 1am on weekdays, 2am on weekends).

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10. Taqueria La Cumbre 515 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (Mission Bay)

Taqueria La Cumbre in the Mission is one of the few places where you can get the same high-quality burrito at 2:30pm and 2:30am. The traditional counter-serve taqueria delivers on both the cheap and late-night eats front. The burritos come in multiple sizes -- super, deluxe, regular, and petite -- and styles -- fajita, all meat, prawn & steak, vegetarian falafel, and so much more. The options are endless and the portions are huge, so it's best to go when you're either starving or drunk.

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11. El Toro Taqueria 598 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (The Mission)

A Mission standby, El Toro Taqueria builds your burrito Chipotle-style, meaning you point and choose which ingredients you want and watch as the server combines them all in a foil-wrapped tortilla. The ingredients are extra fresh (we're not just saying that, they really do taste fresh) and the fast-casual space is super clean. The prices are cheap and the portions hefty, so this place is essentially the perfect taqueria.

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12. Pancho Villa Taqueria 3071 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103 (The Mission)

Open until midnight daily, Pancho Villa Taqueria is a great spot to grab a burrito, some tacos, or just stand and stare at the beautiful colors of their homemade aguas frescas.

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