No offense to Los Angeles, San Diego, or other well-known U.S. outposts of Mexican food, but the burrito belongs to San Francisco.
Writer Calvin Trillin once observed in The New Yorker that in San Francisco, and especially in its Mission District, "the burrito has been refined and embellished in much the same way pizza has been refined and embellished in Chicago." He also noted the fierce debates engendered by casually asking any group of San Franciscans to name the best burrito in town. Stand back and watch the salsa fly.
Wanting to avoid irate notes from outraged readers, I decline to name the five best burritos in San Francisco. Instead, here are five spots that have earned kudos from a variety of reputable sources, including one from your venerable author.
In 2014, perennial favorite La Taquería was named the home of America's best burrito on analyst Nate Silver's polling aggregation website FiveThirtyEight. Many people agree, though burritos here skip the rice that usually accompanies the beans and meat. 2889 Mission St.
There are several locations of Taquería Cancún, but the one on Mission near 18th made the March 2015 list of San Francisco's 12 best burritos on sfist.com. A "legendary burrito joint" is what they called it, and that it is. 2288 Mission St.
When the amusing, burrito-obsessed Web site burritoeater.com filed its 1,000th and final review at the end of 2013, La Espiga de Oro reigned as the top scorer. They still make a terrific burrito. 2916 24th St.
Can 3,376 Yelpers (at last count) be wrong? Their go-to joint is the Taquería El Farolito on Mission near 24th, which is one of nine greater Bay Area locations of this mini-chain. After years in business, this spot still makes it onto many "best burrito" lists. 2279 Mission St.
No less an expert than yours truly has declared Taquería San Jose his personal favorite. The balance of rice, beans and meat is spot-on, the u-serve salsa bar well-stocked, and a regular burrito weighs in at a respectably hefty one pound. 2830 Mission St.
For more on Western regional foods, check out Via's 10 Best Regional Western Dishes.
This blog post was first published in February 2016. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.