The burrito is one of Phoenix’s most dependable meals, always near and always soulful no matter the hour. A local respect for and way with the flour tortilla is the heart of local burrito culture, which tends to hew to a more minimal style. Style, however, doesn’t mirror size. At many eateries, burritos are called “burros,” losing the “ito,” the diminutive, lest a grand package be linked with smallness. Look to these 10 burritos/burros, the best in town, for an easy to-go meal at any time of day.Read More
10 Phoenix Burritos That Will Satisfy Any Size Craving
Where to go for tortilla-wrapped goodness
Cabeza at Taco Boy's
A few times a week, the Taco Boys team drive up flour tortillas from Sonora, Mexico, including a 14-inch behemoth destined for burritos. Though this year-old Roosevelt Row taqueria’s proprietors Juan Cornejo and Juan Cornejo Jr. are best known for carne asada, their dripping cabeza makes for an equal or better burrito filling. For it, beef cheeks get a long, long stew, soaking up the flavor of Anaheim chiles, allium, and more, becoming rich and melting with time.
Picadillo at Tacos Chiwas
When measuring a burrito, tortilla quality sets the ceiling — and Tacos Chiwas makes some of the most celebrated flour tortillas in town. Nadia Holguin and Armando Hernandez griddle discs made from organic white flour. The result: pliant flour tortillas of uncommon fragrance and unshy chew. Burritos here come with nothing but meat and beans (except for the carne asada and pollo, which also come with lettuce). A juicy, flavorful picadillo makes a hearty inside as good as its wrapping.
Carne Asada at Ta’Carbon
On the west side, Ta’Carbon crafts a classic Sonoran-style carne asada burrito. The smoke of a charcoal grill perfumes the restaurant, getting the experience of the burrito going before sight, with the very first inhalation of mesquite-rich fumes. A robust smoke saturates the steak, sizzled on the grill and chopped to bits at a brisk clip, as the flow of customers tends to keep steady and strong. True to Sonoran style, the burrito is minimal, little distracting from its grilled steak.
Chile Verde at Barrio Cafe
In a summer reboot, Silvana Salcido Esparza shuffled her menu, and today a lone offering shows up in its burrito section. It’s a green chile burrito folded using a flour tortilla from La Canasta. The green chile is loaded with pork, specifically pork butt charged with poblanos, jalapenos, and serranos. Given her ken for pushing the envelope, a classic green chile burrito is on the simple side for Esparza. Vibrant and satisfying, hers comes with a side of potatoes.
Al Pastor at Tacos Huicho
This restaurant with three locations is perennially in the conversation for best al pastor in the metro area. When ordered in a burrito, fine shreds of marinated pork print their shapes on their tight-but-soft flour tortilla. The achiote spicing them goes nicely with a deeply smoky red salsa, one of two that comes on the side. Burros pack a whole lot of meat and a slicking of creamy beans. They come with an option to add onions and cilantro.
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Barbacoa at Gallo Blanco
Doug Robson is yet another burrito minimalist, choosing to center the meat filling without any distraction. His barbacoa begins with four beef cuts — chuck, rib tips, cachete, and suadero — all seasoned, wrapped in a banana leaf, and slow-cooked for five hours. The beef blend and method yield an intense barbacoa adorned by nothing but its flour tortilla robe. Still, a red salsa with sesame seeds and a hard chile de arbol heat makes a welcome addition.
Machaca and Eggs at Horseshoe Restaurant
The Avitia family produces one of the great old-school, hard-way machacas in town. For it, they dehydrate beef in-house. Shredded and cooked, their machaca has an intense, concentrated flavor, the beef rippling with umami. Machaca, historically dried to prolong shelf-life, is made for rolling into a burro and savored before a hard day’s work. At Horseshoe, it shines on a thick flour tortilla with eggs — a breakfast true to the Sonoran Desert.
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Bean and Cheese at Carolina's Mexican Food
Burros at South Phoenix stalwart Carolina’s come on newly made flour tortillas — assembled at dough stations and griddles by a small army of diligent staff behind the cashiers. These tortillas are still warm from being made. They are soft yet chewy and carry the fragrance of flour. Going the burro route, many paths can be traveled. To revel in the full satisfaction of a tortilla just a few minutes old, simple refried beans and cheese are a sure way to go.
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Red Chile Enchilada-Style at Rito's Mexican Food
The move at Charlotte Hansen’s beloved neighborhood nook, open since 1977, is to order burros enchilada style. This means so smothered in enchilada sauce that they must be eaten with a fork. Unlike so many great Phoenix burros, this favorite leans maximal. The rich enchilada sauce has a fiery-but-cool heat that dovetails with the heat of the red chile beef encased in the flour tortilla, smoldering away. Melted yellow cheese and lettuce round out the massive package.
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Swordfish at Chula Seafood Uptown
Fish in burritos is underrated, a fact proven by one swordfish creation at the Phoenix location of Chula Seafood, kitchen led by Kyle Kent. This burrito features grilled swordfish harpooned from the water from the Chula Seafood boat, which fishes off the coast of San Diego. It is utterly loaded with guacamole, queso, fries, avocado, and more, the lean swordfish chunks holding their own among all that soft, melting, fatty goodness. Once a special, this burrito is now rolled daily.