The Best Burritos In San Francisco guide image


The Best Burritos In San Francisco

There are a lot of burritos in this city. Here’s where to get the best ones.

Burritos are so integral to San Francisco and the city's Mexican food scene that we wouldn’t be surprised if one was added to the city's official seal. And if you asked ten different people about their favorite burrito in town you'd get ten different answers. We’ve done the hard work of narrowing the list down to the 17 best. Time to start checking them off your list.


Taqueria El Farolito

This place is a Mission institution—and it's also home to the best burrito in the city. You’re just as likely to find us here in the middle of the day as you are late at night in line with 50 new friends. But once you get through that line, El Farolito's crispy al pastor or perfect carne asada await. Our move is to go with the well-seasoned meats in super burrito form. Each one is approximately the size of a newborn baby, and stuffed with that flavorful meat and a wonderful mix of sour cream, guacamole, and cheese. Heads up, cash only.

El Castillito is one of the places we send people who are new to the city or coming here for the first time. That's because this Castro taqueria is home to incredible burritos, with cheese melted onto the tortillas and carnitas that are well-spiced and tender. You won’t bump into this spot on a romp around the Mission, but it’s worth going out of your way for a meal, especially if you're heading to Duboce Park or simply want to chill with your burrito in one hand and an agua fresca in the other.

La Palma is a small tortilla factory, a grocery store, and a taqueria, all rolled into one. They also happen to serve some of the city's best burritos. We have a hard time choosing between having them filled with carnitas or carne asada, so we like to just grab one of each and call it a day, for simplicity's sake. While you're at it, pick up some chicharrones, housemade tortillas, guacamole, and maybe some mole for dinner later.

Taqueria Cancún is our barometer for great burritos in this city. They're all solid, especially the ones with carnitas, but the best thing here is the burrito mojado. It's doused in red chili sauce, topped with red and green salsa and sour cream, and is big enough to split between two people. Odds are your first trip here will be at midnight. Just know it won’t be your last.

The burritos at this Mission taqueria are longer and thinner than some of the other burritos in town. We’re not complaining, they’re exceptional. Order a super burrito with grilled chicken or carnitas—the meat is perfectly cooked every time. Each comes with a generous heap of guacamole and sour cream.

Fast service, a no-nonsense vibe, and balanced burritos with flavorful meats are reasons enough to head to Taqueria Guadalajara. The Excelsior spot (located across the street from an El Farolito outpost) holds its own with excellent burritos that never let us down. They have several styles here (vegetarian, shrimp, wet, and ranchero with onions, cilantro, and special salsa), plus a great array of proteins, including lengua, cabeza, and tripas. We love ordering the super carne asada, but you can't go wrong with whatever you get.

The City Taqueria feels like a Mission transplant in Lower Pacific Heights. So if you're in the area and feel a sudden craving for grilled-to-order pollo asado, head on over. Another perk to coming here: the casual spot serves slightly smaller “baby burritos,” if you’re in the mood for more of a lighter—but equally delicious—snack.

Your level of appreciation for La Corneta’s burritos will depend on how much you love lettuce. Their well-stuffed super burritos come with a garden’s worth of shredded iceberg, and is what sets them apart from the others on this list—and also why we love them. Of course, you could ask for one sans lettuce, but you wouldn’t be doing the La Corneta burrito justice. This family-owned Glen Park spot also makes “baby burritos," like The City Taqueria, and has lots of vegetarian and seafood options, and four locations around the Bay Area (including one in the Mission).

Going to La Taqueria likely means you’ll be waiting in line with people who are in the city for the first time and heard about this place on Facebook. But their riceless burritos are excellent and worth the wait. Our go-to comes with carnitas or carne asada. But no matter what meat you end up with, ordering your burrito dorado—grilled until crispy and golden brown on the plancha—is non-negotiable.

This Mission spot is churning out delicious burritos that could easily fill you up for two meals. We always go with the carne asada, which is perfectly tender and even better when mixed in with all the sour cream, guacamole, and cheese in the super burrito. They also have solid seafood burritos (we like the grilled fish), plus a bunch of vegetarian options for the meatless crowd.

Señor Sisig used to be a food truck, is now a brick-and-mortar in the Mission, and has a new outpost at the Ferry Building. The spot for Filipino street food has everything from tacos and nachos to loaded fries topped with pork, chicken, or tofu, but you’re here for the California Sisig Burrito. It’s stuffed with french fries instead of rice, sour cream, guacamole, and pico de gallo, and makes for a perfect meal when you’re spending the afternoon doing nothing at Dolores Park.

Papalote Mexican Grill

The big P logo outside makes this Mission taqueria look like a corporate franchise, but Papalote actually has really good burritos filled with well-seasoned meats. We like the mole chicken, but everything on the menu is good. Another big plus of this place is the salsa they give you with your chips that you’ll end up pouring on each bite of your burrito. If you want to put it on everything else too, they sell it in jars at the front.

Thanks to it being pretty far down 24th Street, Taqueria San Francisco doesn’t get the foot traffic that most other great burrito places in the Mission get, and the lack of a perpetual line is one of the reasons we love it. The other is that they make consistently great burritos, time after time. We like the al pastor and the carnitas, but the carne asada is solid too.

In Lower Pacific Heights? Your internal burrito GPS will point you toward El Burrito Express 2 (the original location is in Parkside). The casual counter-service spot consistently hits all the marks that make for an excellent super burrito, with tender meat (there are a ton of seafood and vegetarian options, too), and a nice balance of crema, guacamole, and pico de gallo. If you’re in the mood for something less traditional, they have a few special burritos stuffed with things like regular french fries, sweet potato fries, or pineapples. 

Taqueria El Buen Sabor has a pretty standard menu of Mexican classics that they happen to do better than most other places on Valencia St. in the Mission. The carnitas are great, but our favorite thing is the breakfast burrito with chorizo and eggs—we’ll order it any time of day. This place isn’t huge, and you may end up sitting facing a wall, but it’s worth sticking it out—or just take your order to go.

La Espiga De Oro functions more like a restaurant attached to a small convenience store than a burrito joint, with a full menu of large plates and pupusas, dried chilis for sale, and a coffee station. If you’re here early, the breakfast burrito is solid, but it’s worth coming at lunch for the chicharron burrito. It’s full of spiced rice and tomatoes, stuffed with fried pork that shatters when you bite into it, and griddled until the outside is nicely blistered.

Garaje in SoMa has a mixed menu of things like fast food-style burgers and tacos with interesting fillings like beer-battered cauliflower, but we gravitate to the zapatos. They’re griddle-pressed burritos with cheese, refried beans, avocado, salsa, and your choice of meat. Pair them with any of the craft beers from their list and you’re set. If you don’t want to spend approximately $8,000 on food at a Giants game, come here first.

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photo credit: Mary Lagier

The Best Burritos In San Francisco guide image