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London’s best: burrito

Meat, rice, flour tortilla, cheese and spicy salsa – all things that I enjoy and some of the key ingredients to a good burrito. My first burrito experience came in 2005 from a fairly dodgy looking ‘burrito shack’ outside of an even dodgier nightclub on the mean streets of Swindon and I’ve been a huge fan ever since. But with all things great there are also disappointments; when I made a special trip back to Swindon for a burrito the shack had closed down and I was left empty handed. Ever since moving to London I’ve been looking for a burrito, as good as those Swindon ones and I’ll be letting you in on my quest here.

My test is simple:

  • steak burrito
  • no guacamole
  • hot sauce
  • to go (I’m not eating a burrito with a knife and fork fool)

I’m not going to be using a points system here as all I’m worried about is finding the best one out there. I’ll be looking for one not short on filling, with a tasty well-seasoned steak, fresh salad and a nice hot sauce (that supplements the taste, not ruins it). I’ve no idea how long this will take me but I’m sure it’ll be a tasty journey!

I think I’m coming close to finishing my quest – the top 2 to 6 are pretty interchangeable so might need a bit of further research to get the exact run down. Anyone know any else?!

Is there anywhere else that you think warrants a visit? If so then please leave in the comments (once I have fixed them).

Results

  1. #1

    Benito’s hat

    56 Goodge St, London W1T 4NB

    020 7637 3732 and www.benitos-hat.com

    Cost: £6 (with a handful of tortilla chips)

    A generously sized burrito with good ingredients and nicely marinated steak. Always well wrapped (no leakages) and a nice spicy salsa that doesn’t blow your head off but one that you know is there.

  2. #2

    Chipotle

    114-116 Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 0JR

    020 7836 8491 and www.chipotle.com

    Cost: £6.95

    Another close winner but not quite on the Benitos Hat offering. Best hot sauce of the lot and nice pinto beans (with added bacon). Rather small chunks of steak but nice and tasty steak regardless of that.

  3. #3

    Chilango

    27 Upper Street, London N1 0PN

    020 7704 2123 and www.chilango.co.uk

    Cost: £6.30

    Very close to a new number 1 but misses out by a fraction. You can taste all the ingredients and all are fresh. Hot sauce not mind-blowing but stays with you for the duration of the meal and little bit more. Nice grilled steak a pleasure to eat down. Looks a bit small but is nicely filling.

  4. #4

    Luardos

    Whitecross Street Market, London EC1Y 8QJ

    020 7527 1761 and twitter.com/Luardos

    Cost: £5

    A tough call this one but a new entry into the top 5! Slightly charred tortilla gave an extra smokey taste teamed up with a selection of hot sauces that gave it a really nice tang. Nearly lost marks on being poorly wrapped though. Tip – get plenty of napkins!

  5. #5

    Wahaca Mexican Street Kitchen (Southbank)

    Southbank Centre, London SE1 8XX

    020 7928 1876 and http://www.wahaca.co.uk/html/1_restaurantvan.html

    Cost: £6.50

    I’ve never been the biggest fan of the burritos sold in their restaurants but the ones sold out of their food vans are a very different thing! All the ingredients brought their own taste and texture to the dish (especially the rice) with not a hint of blandness to be seen. Slight down-mark for a hot-sauce that I think could be knocked up a few notches but other than that a great addition to the London burrito scene; I hope it sticks around.

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  6. #6

    Tortilla

    106 Southwark Street, London SE1 0TA

    0207 620 0285 and www.tortilla.co.uk

    Cost: £6.25 (large burrito)

    A big surprise. I didn’t expect to like this one too much but it was big, meaty and the sauce lingered nicely after the last bite. Very nice rich pinto beans and a good few spoonfuls of steak. A bit messy to eat though…

  7. #7

    Daddy Donkey

    Pitches 100-101 Leather Lane Market, London EC1N 7TE

    020 7267 6042 and www.daddydonkey.co.uk

    Cost: £5.75

    Nice hot sauce that left a nice tingle for minutes after the final mouthful, tasty steak and a nice dollop of sour cream to cool the chili heat. Very tasty but felt a bit meager on the proportion front. Their new picadillo and breakfast burritos (served 7.30am to 11am) are rather fine though.

  8. #8

    abodo

    87 High Holborn, London WC1V 6NU

    0207 404 6976 and www.adobomexican.com

    Cost: £5.80

    Hottest chilli sauce by a mile and a tasty non-American style cheese. Lack of proper steak (only had shredded beef) and a poorly wrapped roll which lead to spillage provided minus marks though.

  9. #9

    Flying burrito

    62 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EZ

    0207 650 8858 and www.theflyingburrito.co.uk

    Cost: £5.70

    Disappointingly unspicey but nice tasting salsa with nicely braised beef (not steak). Addition of cactus salsa a nice addition but couldn’t make me think it was anything else than just “OK”. Wild boar burrito on offer sounded interesting though…

  10. #10

    Burro Burrito

    3-4 Ludgate Broadway, London EC4V 6DU

    www.burroburrito.co.uk

    Cost: £5.95

    Another burrito in the OK range. The beef was tender enough to bite through and not have to resort dragging huge chunks of it out at a time and the rice had enough coriander in it to provide a nice fresh taste when combined with the tomato salsa. Hot sauce disappointed and was a bit runny so it wasn’t the easiest eat.

  11. #11

    El Burrito

    5 Charlotte Place, London W1T 1SF

    (020) 7387 4064 and www.mestizomx.com/ElBurrito.html

    Cost: £6.00

    Rather different to the other burritos I have had in London in a number of ways. Not wrapped in foil, though happily wrapped tighter than the effort from El Camion so still eatable by hands and a hot sauce consisting mainly of onions and provided a welcome change to the more saucy offerings from everywhere else while still providing a good chilli kick.

  12. #12

    Freebird

    Exmouth Market, London EC1R 3EA

    www.freebirdburritos.com

    Cost: £5.00

    Just a bit average really. Rather tame hot sauce but nice tender steak and well wrapped so absolutely no chance of spilling and wastage. Also a good price at only £5, though maybe it could be said you get what you pay for…

  13. #13

    Poncho number 8

    5 Steward Street, London E1 6AJ

    0207 247 2008 and www.poncho8.com/

    Cost: £6.30

    Rather chewy steak that were rather tough to chew through without pulling the entire piece out. Bit of work needed on the hot sauce to make it taste less vinegary. A nice size and well wrapped.

  14. #14

    Nineteen Ten

    Westfield London Shopping Centre, London W12 7GE

    020 8749 8222 and www.nineteenten.co.uk

    Cost: £6.45

    When I saw it being wrapped I was a but worried that it would fall to pieces and unfortunately that’s just what happened. The steak was actually pretty nice and juicy but the cheese tasted a bit rubbery, and seemed to be held all in one piece near the bottom. Sour cream to chilli sauce ration was rather out of kilter with far too much cream taking away any taste from the hot sauce.

  15. #15

    barburrito

    Paddington Station, London W2 1RH

    0207 262 7770 and http://www.barburrito.co.uk

    Cost: £6

    A very dry but very reasonably sized burrito – pretty dry grilled steak and far too much brown rice soaking up whatever moisture that was being provided by the sauce and sour cream. The impressively named ‘mule drivers’ hot sauce didn’t hit the right spots. Nothing about it was nasty but equally nothing was that great either.

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  16. #16

    Picante Mexican Grill

    18 Greencoat Row, London SW1P 1PQ

    020 7834 0027 and www.picantemexicangrill.co.uk/

    Cost: £6.25

    A very full burrito but unfortunately stuffed full of lettuce and beans opposed to meat, cheese or rice and marked down because of that. The chili sauce doesn’t start off to special but it’s a slow burner; at the last bite I could feel the heat and it had a nice smokey taste to go with the spice.

  17. #17

    Mi Casa

    Victoria Station, London SW1W 9SJ

    micasaburritos.com

    Cost: £6.95

    Some nice touches – raw red onion and a squeeze of fresh lime providing a bit of additional intensity but unfortunately the main ingredients of meat and beans were pour and rather unfresh and it felt like rather a thin burrito for the hefty price tag. Guac included in the price though, which at least is something…

  18. #18

    Amigos

    171 Holloway Road, London N7 8LX

    0207 7007 111 and www.amigos.co.uk/

    Cost: £5.45

    A burrito that came with a very generous serving of meat but in doing so the whole burrito experience was rather lost; the minute amount of additional ingredients made it taste a bit more like a Mexican style kebab than a proper burrito. Hot sauce packed a good punch mind.

  19. #19

    Mexican Express

    123 City Road, London EC1V 1JB

    0845 544 0315 and mexican-express.co.uk/

    Cost: £6.75

    A very cheesy burrito – probably because of the fact that I was charged extra for it (only allowed 1 of cheese or sour cream in the advertised price) and could have done with a bit more meat to go with that. Very soggy pinto beans which tasted like they watered down the chilli sauce which was weak enough already. Rather expensive to.

  20. #20

    Lupita

    13-15 Villiers Street, London WC2N 6ND

    020 7930 5355 and www.lupita.co.uk/

    Cost: £7.95

    Another restaurant who also are happy to promote their takeaways offerings at unfortunately eat-in prices. The burrito was OK and they avoided excess leakage by grilling it as it wasn’t delivered in foil like a normal take-away. Of course with it being grilled people could argue if it was now actually a burrito, but that is not for here! Was also charged extra for hot sauce (though did get guac for free).

  21. #21

    Mas Burrito

    12 Grays Inn Road, London WC1X 8HG

    020 7242 7622 and www.masburritos.com

    Cost: £6.00

    Whack. Chewy steak, flavourless cheese (and they used two varieties), a hot sauce that was unnoticeable and even worse a gnarled up chill stalk waiting for me at the bottom. Must try harder!

  22. #22

    Burrito Brothers

    17 Clerkenwell Road, London EC1M 5RD

    020 7336 0679 and www.burritobros.co.uk

    Cost: £6.00

    Mushy beans (possibly processed) and bland beef – not even steak! All the ingredients kinda melded into one giving it a rather mushy pate like texture. They were playing some good tunes and had National Lampoon’s Christmas playing on a screen downstairs though…

  23. #23

    Burrito Cafe

    10 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DU

    020 7278 2011 and www.burritocafe.co.uk/

    Cost: £5.95

    Certainly a very generous burrito, when they say large they mean it. Unfortunately the amount of ingredients packed in there meant that there was no room for the ingredients to mix together meaning a number of bites containing just chilli and lettuce. A very dry burrito with even the chilli sauce lacking juice, indeed less but better ingredients would be a big improvement.

  24. #24

    Tacuba

    10 Bedford Hill, London SW12 9RG

    020 8673 5394 and www.tacubabar.com

    Cost: £6.00

    Rather tasteless. Don’t think much if any hot sauce was added and there seemed to only be rice at the bottom, as well as meat. Probably 60% beans and not that nice a flavour of bean either, they tasted like they might have been from a can.

  25. #25

    El Camion

    25 – 27 Brewer Street, London W1F 0RR

    020 7734 7711 and www.elcamion.co.uk/El_Camion_Mexicano.html

    Cost: £7.25

    DISQUALIFIED. I think in reality this place is first and foremost a restaurant but they advertise their take-away menu and they should do better. A ‘burrito’ served in a tray with rice and lettuce on the side. Couldn’t pick it up as it wasn’t tightly wrapped. Meat was actually very nice but this was not a proper take-away burrito!

  26. #26

    Wrap it Up

    166-170 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 4LX

    020 7650 8998 and www.wrapitup.co.uk/

    Cost: £5.95

    DISQUALIFIED I don’t class this as a steak, or even the promised beef burrito. Tender pieces of meat were here substituted for a flavourless slop of ‘chilli con carne’ which due to it’s consistency leaked out of the wrap before I had even taken a first bite. The homemade Jamaican fiery chilli sauce didn’t provide any heat what so ever and the same could be said for a guac (which was included in the price).

  • Ella

    What about chiquitos?!? :-p

    • Ross Bruniges

      I’m afraid that probably won’t make the cut, it being a restaurant and all…

      • http://intranation.com Bradley Wright

        You should also try Chipotle.

  • Simon

    You should check out the Burrito place at Exmouth Market – they’re rather good too. It’s pretty even between them and Daddy Donkey, imo.

  • Simon

    With a bit of research – it’s called Freebird:

    http://www.freebirdburritos.com

  • PJ

    Try Freebird on Exmouth Market – quality can be variable (from very good to average) but you should go there for completeness.

  • Andy Driver

    The burrito at Whole Foods on High St Kensington is possibly worth a try, although they do slices of jalapeño instead of hot sauce – not quite right. It’s £6.99 and they don’t wrap it properly, but it’s not bad otherwise.

    • Ross Bruniges

      Woah, that would be priciest burrito I’ve had!

      • SSS

        Benito hat Number 1? Have you seen the way they serve food? They use hands instead of spoons which is a bit disappointing! My burrito was messy and dirty all over the foil it was wrapped in.
        Now I can see that everyone has a different taste, I wouldn’t trust your taste!
        Thanks for the research anyway. Wonder if that comment will go live?!

        • Simon

          I’ve always seen the staff at Benito’s use spoons and tongs for the contents apart from the lettuce and cheese. They all have gloves on when handling them though. I go there a lot, ok ok too much and the burritos are 9/10 times very neatly packed. Never had anything from them thats all over the shop. Just saying.

          • christian

            What about best burritos in swindon. There still there next to the nightclub

  • Lukas

    Amazing awesome list I wanted to make for long time!
    Interesting to see Daddy D so far down the list – I would certainly rate it over Chilango…

    • Ross Bruniges

      The top 2-6 are variable and to be fair on their day each can be as good as each other. You’ll get a good burrito from them all that’s for sure!

      • http://www,bestburritoz.com Best Burritoz, Swindon

        we are still open brother, three locations…please come say hello again when your back in swindon. check website for locations

        asta luego amigo

  • Will

    Picantes No. 14 – that is mental, personally it’s my joint favourite and I’ll often go out of my way to eat there. The burritos are delicious, I like mine full and fat, with a bit of heat and no cheese, no guacamole. And they make a delicious wrap, tasty, hot and very filling. Id certainly recommend another try. The large queue outside everyday is indicative of this places’ popularity despite it being on a backstreet in Vicotria.

    I’ll be sure to bookmark this page and taste the others when I get the chance!

    • http://www.picantemexicangrill.co.uk Jason

      Thank you for the kind words Will. When Ross stopped by last year we did have a bit of portion control problem that day. Sod’s Law would have it that someone would come by at that moment and get one of the few burrito’s that wasn’t up to our normal standard then write about it. It could happen to anyone. Hopefully the next time he is in Victoria he will give it another try and do an update.

      * Steak is available at peak time and cooked to order from 13:15 Mon/Thur and 13:30 on Fri.

      Jason
      Picante Mexican Grill

  • Helen

    Great and very comprehensive reviews. Having just eaten at MiCasa though would put that right down the bottom of any list. It really was awful. Small, mushy, tasteless and with little small inedible bits of something in. The hot salsa was very hot which was just as well as it gave it some taste. I love burritos and that is the nearest to work by some way but definitely not going back. Very dissappointing.

  • Sian B

    I actually rate Mi Casa at Victoria station highly, and eat there a few times a week, always having the chicken burrito with mild salsa – I prefer my spice not too hot :) They are so tasty, lots of guacamole, great mix of fresh ingredients! My only warning is that if you prefer your burrito mild, be very clear that you want mild salsa; a couple of times when I’ve been when it’s busy and they’ve got a quick production line going, they’ve given me the medium salsa accidentally and it’s ruined it for me! But they’re highly recommended by me if you like your burritos mild.

    Thanks for this great burrito resource! :)

  • Eoin

    Try La Mexicana in Holborn. They have the best variety of meat fillings (bbq chicken, chicken tika, pulled pork, and many more) however the portions have gone down hill.

  • Chris

    You should try Wahaka!

    • Ross Bruniges

      I always thought they don’t do take-aways though?

  • http://Www.nineteenten.co.uk Pat

    Thanks for reviewing 1910 at Westfield, come and try us again soon. We always listen to feedback and are always improving our recipes ans ingredients. Did you know we are ne of the few that really care where are ingredients come from.

    Would you be kind enough to fix the URL in the link to our site
    http://Www.ractivedesign.com
    Right now you’re missing the : after http

  • http://restaurantsincoventgarden.net Restaurants Covent Garden

    Although my own restaurants are not Mexican and so do not serve burritos, I am a sucker for them and love a good hot one. I agree with you about Benitos – who cares if they use their (clean or gloved) hands, try and find a place in Mexico who doesn’t!? I also endorse La Mexicana, which is my personal favourite, whenever I’m visiting my accountant across the Kingsway divide in Holborn.

    Keep up the great work, Ross!

  • Sean

    I like the fact you have travelled London tasting the best burritos. I I take my sombrero off to you. I also have tried most of these restaurants, bit surprised benitos hat was number #1 I sample this most lunch times as I work near one and a tortilla. I find benitos hat to lack fresh flavour and prefer tortilla. It’s funny as most places I have tried really struggle to recreate the same experience each time I eat there I guess it takes the right person to be working. My favourite of all time would be wahaca slightly different style than the others but with out doubt the best Mexican food you can get in London. Nothing really beats making it yourself though if you can source the best ingredients.

  • http://uk.linkedin.com/in/simonlavender Simon

    Cafe Burrito, Bombay Burrito and one on Berwick Street near corner of D’Arby street, opposite Bratwurst company are all great, decent fusion burritos.

    I love the Bombay’s one in Angel (I think sampling 2 is best). Charing Cross or Kings Cross Cafe Burrito’s are great also and I like the relaxed decor in Charing Cross…friendly staff.

    Best London Burrito was the first in London…Benito’s Hat, Kings Cross, tried 20 places in London now.

  • Laura England-Kerr

    The best burrito or chimichanga in London is Mestizo in North London. They do take out too and the meat options are all marinated in sauce like orange pork and my favourite chicken mole (one of the ingredients is chocolate) amongst other things. I’ve not found anywhere that does a chicken mole burrito anywhere since and they only serve the burrito menu until 4pm Mon-Fri so don’t find the time to go there as much as I’d like now I don’t work up the road anymore. Burritos were £5.50 take out or £6.50 eat in and come with tortilla chips and nachos. Homemade guacamole available for an extra 50p. Definitely worth a try you won’t regret it