Best Burrito joints in London, Part 1

30 03 2010
When the MyMetropole crew first moved to London back in 2007, one of our major problems was locating a decent Mexican restaurant. Now, three years later, not only have we found a few wonderful semi-authentic and comfort-food quality Mexican places in Boho Mexica in Shoreditch, Crazy Homies in Westbourne Grove, Wahaca (3 locations) and  Cafe Pacifico (Covent Garden), but there have also been quite a few burrito-to-go places to have opened in the last three years.
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Locating burrito joints is key…sometimes you need your Mexican food fix taken care of but are short on time. You need it on the go. Although we are still in the process of testing each and every one of them, here is the most updated list of those worth mentioning. Enjoy and feel free to leave comments and make suggestions.
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MyMetropole hearts Burritos so much, feel free to bring on a challenge or even a well-researched debate. This is one conversation that is always worth having, for those Mexican/Fresh-Mex/Tex-Mex lovers out there.
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Chilango
142 Fleet Street , London, EC4A 2BP
27 Upper Street, London, N1 0PN
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At the opening of this burrito bar between St Paul’s Cathedral and Covent Garden in February 2009, the SoCal genius behind Chilango was giving away free burritos and beer. Needless to say, the place was packed with people queued up down the block. Unless you work in Fleet Street, though, Chilango’s first location was not exactly on the way anywhere. In the meantime, a second London Chilango branch has opened on Upper Street in Islington.
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The restaurants are fairly large for a takeaway, with seating for 30. The store design is very colourful with a lot of green, orange, pink and yellow; the furniture is of a simple modern peachiness.
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The burritos were good, fresh ingredients, the tortilla itself was excellent, and  you can really feel the passion that owners Dan and Eric have for Mexican food. Before opening Chilango, they traveled extensively through Mexico and the major U.S. cities to find the right ingredients for the perfect burrito. They claim that their super-intense flavours come from marinating the chicken and steak in a blend of chillis and secret spices before grilling them, and the pork is oven-braised for hours until its ‘pull-apart tender’.
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Tortilla
www.tortilla.co.uk
Angel: 13 Islington High Street, London, N1 9LQ
Tate Modern: Unit 11A, 106 Southwark Street, London SE1 0TA
Oxford Circus: 6 Market Place, London W1W 8AH
Canary Wharf: 18 North Colonnade, London E14 4E

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The store design of this burrito chain is pretty similar to Chipotle in the States, the colours they use in store are very much the same, and having read some other reviews of Tortilla, it seems to be a common observation by the transatlanticists burrito fanatics. Tortilla is the biggest of all the burrito chains in London with plenty of seating and an array of Mexican staples – like beans, hot sauces, tortillas – to replicate the burritos at home.

The burritos themselves, however, are leaps and bounds better than the burritos at Chipotle! The vegetables were cooked just right and the spices, the pico de gallo, the beans were all scrumptious. Pet-peeve avoidance points –  the burrito was perfectly folded so that each bite provided a sampling of all ingredients rather than  one bite full of beans, one bite full of guac, one of rice the way some other places lazily do it.

After our last disappointing visit to Chipotle in Nueva York, we can easily conclude that the UK’s Tortilla beats the pants off Chipotle for taste, craft and bang for your buck value.

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Benito’s Hat
www.benitos-hat.com
56 Goodge St, London W1T 4NB

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Named after one of Mexico’s early presidents, Benito’s Hat in Fitzrovia north of Tottenham Court Road was set up by Ben and his Mexican wife along with head chef Felipe from Puebla, Mexico and Juan – a team of chefs with Mexican roots guarantees authentic Mexican burrtios on all accounts.

The menu is more varied than what other Burrito restaurants have to offer: Additionally to burritos and soft tacos they offer salads and soups, and even have a Mexican dessert on the menu – Buñuelos, which are crispy cinnamon covered tortillas with vanilla icecream. In terms of drinks you can get home-made horchatas as well as great-value Margaritas at £5.00.

The burritos offer the usual options – refried beans and black beans for vegetarians, the meat choices are the classics: steak, pork and chicken. You can choose from Pico de Gallo, Salsa Verde and Salsa Brava. The vegetables used for the burrito (like zuccini and carrots) were a little bit unusual – but still, the burrito was good, with fresh ingredients and flavourful spices.

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Poncho No. 8
http://www.ponchono8.com
5 Steward Street, London E1 6AJ
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A fairly new burrito place set in a small side street off Spitalfields Market, Poncho No. 8 was opened in late 2009 by Frank and Nick, two Mexican food lovers. It is quite small – basically just the counter where you order your food and a couple of tables to sit down. Poncho’s focus is on the to-go on-the-run City-worker crowd.

Concentrating specifically on Cali-Mex cuisine, the portions are very generous, you can choose from a normal burrito or a fajita burrito, a skinny burrito (without the tortilla) or soft tacos. Pet-peeve avoidance point – The veggie option includes free guacamole, which is only fair and should be standard practice at all burrito joints all around the world!

In addition to catering to veggies, Poncho 8 have now added a soup now to the menu for the city girls looking for a lighter lunch and introduced a loyality card with which you get the 8th burrito free. A second branch is rumoured to be in the works according to their blog Ponchono8.

Nineteen Ten
www.nineteenten.co.uk
Westfield London, Ariel Way, Shepherd’s Bush, London W12 7GF

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Nineteen Ten has opened its first branch in London in the Westfield Shopping Centre in 2009, offering burritos in the typical create-your-burrito-in-5-steps way and has a large sitting area in the mall’s food court.

The burritos weren’t the most remarkable ones we have had in London, but they were decent – nicely grilled veg, a choice between black beans and pinto beans. A little bit more flavour wouldn’t hurt. The tacos don’t come so highly recommended, however. Too full, too messy and hard to enjoy them in any authentic manner, these tacos ended up being eaten open-faced with a knife and fork.

Not one of our top choices, but the shopping mall experience can bring out some serious Mexican food jonesing, and 1910 or Nineteen Ten, can satisfy your cravings mid-shop or before a movie at the new Westfield Vue cinema.

Luardos
Monday – Friday. 11.30am – 2pm.
Whitecross Street, London
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Oh, Luardos…your popularity makes you our eternal Mount Everest…This turquoise-coloured van can be found on work days at Whitecross Street and is very popular with the locals. Having planned to check out this burrito man with a van for some time, when we finally found a time-slash-excuse mid-day Friday to make it to the Whitecross Market, we were forced to leave empty-handed: the line of Luardo-lovers was so long, locating the end of it was hard to even spot at first. After strolling up and down the stalls spilling over with steaming hot international cuisine, ie non-chalantly waiting for the lunchtime lines to die down, we returned to a van with absolutely no line, and unfortunately absolutely no more food. Though the pleasure of sampling Luardos has yet to be ours, we’re basing its inclusion in our top burrito joints on street cred alone. That is, until we get out there early enough to snap up one of our own!
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7 responses

30 09 2010
Kaska Ludzik

Hey, check Burrito Gourmet in Putney. Was there last week for lunch and they do great Burritos…and is also cute little place..

20 01 2011
MyMetropole

Hi Kaska – Sounds good! Ambiance is a major factor in whether I go back to a place. Can’t wait to check it out!

19 01 2011
KD

Ok for anyone in South London that needs a burrito fix there is a new place I just tried in Tooting Broadway Market!! So far my top London burrito has been Daddy Donkey but I would say this is for me as close to DD as I can get. Great guys who take pride in what they do. Its not a quick production line burrito but marinated in front of you. They are open until 6pm I was told mon-sat. I have been to most burrito places in London and this is way up the top. I tried the veggie one and it tasted fresh and spicy 🙂

http://www.mazamexican.co.uk/

20 01 2011
MyMetropole

Definitely going to check out Maza – haven’t been south in a while so a great excuse! Will report back when I’ve gone. Thanks for your comment!

16 03 2011
RB

I love Poncho 8 – There’s now one in St. Pauls near the cathedral and opposite my office. The burritos there are amazing, particularly the steak!

21 03 2011
MyMetropole

Hey RB thanks for stopping by! And for the tip on the new Poncho 8! I’ll definitely stop by when I’m in the St Paul’s area. The trend seems to have slowed down at the moment, have you noticed the same?

6 09 2012
click here

An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a coworker who has been conducting
a little research on this. And he in fact
ordered me lunch simply because I found it for him.
.. lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thanks for the meal!
! But yeah, thanx for spending the time to
discuss this issue here on your site.

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