Making A List: Burrito Picks

This week’s Making a List tackles the burrito world. San Francisco–specifically, the Mission–has a style of Mexican food unlike any other place in the world. The burrito is unto San Francisco as the hot dog to New York, pizza to Chicago, crabcakes to Baltimore, etc. So what defines the famous San Francisco burrito? A couple of things come to mind.

First, San Francisco burritos are made with freshly steamed flour tortillas. The steaming is done with a tortilla steamer, which allows the tortilla to stretch without breaking; more elasticity means more ingredients can be (over) stuffed inside.

Second, San Francisco burritos are wrapped in foil. In NYC, burritos are put in a styrofoam clamshell and eaten with a fork and knife. Yuck. In LA, burritos are usually wrapped in wax paper. But not by the Bay. The foil provides support for the burrito, enabling the burritophile to eat it with his hands, tearing off rings of foil inch by inch.

Third, sheer size. Sure, San Francisco burritos might pale in comparison to this, but the normal size often reaches about 10-12 inches. And it’s not just rice and beans filler.

Who’s in our Fave Five? Find out after the jump.

5. Taqueria Cancun: Two things stand out about the burritos here. They do not put rice in the burrito and they grill–rather than steam–the tortilla. Thus, the burrito tastes a bit fresher, closer to the Baja-style.

4. Taqueria San Jose: Their carnitas (above) keep them in business. That, and being open really late. And by being open really late, we mean taking advantage of the unsober, post-bar crowd.

3. La Corneta: This hole in the wall place has two locations–one in the Mission and one in Glen Park. Burritos aren’t the only superstars on the menu; their quesadillas and tamales draw a crowd too.

2. La Taqueria: We know, we know. It’s sacrilege to not put La Taq at the top of the list. After years of worship from The Chronicle and every other SF publication, there’s no way it shouldn’t be at the top, right? Well, we think their tacos are far superior to their burritos. In other words, one goes to La Taq for the tacos, not the burritos. So, if you want San Francisco’s best burrito, go to 

1. Ocean Taqueria: Our darkhorse pick grills all meat to order, right in front of you. They steam the burritos with cheese. Oh, and the size of the jumbo burrito roughly equals the length from your elbow to your fingertips. That’s a lot of Mission burrito in the city’s outskirts.

The San Francisco burrito [wikipedia]

Making A List: Burrito Picks