07/08/2014 12:43 pm ET Updated Sep 07, 2014

America's Best Burritos

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From a Portland, Ore. behemoth stuffed with a chile relleno and steak to a simple fried shrimp and fish burrito in Miami, from legendary San Francisco Mission District gems to examples from a little spot that folks in Sioux City, Iowa, would probably prefer to keep all to themselves, America is chock full of amazing burritos. We considered hundreds of them and are proud to announce our selection of the 35 best.

Click Here to see the Complete List of the 35 Best Burritos in America

When you think about it, the burrito might be the world's most perfect food. Seriously, what's not to like? A hefty flour tortilla, steamed and pliable, filled with beans, cheese, meat, and vegetables, customizable to the extreme. Want guacamole and Mexican crema? Sure. Want grilled vegetables instead of meat? Sure, plenty of vegetarian options available. All the food groups are covered, and best of all, the burrito is handheld.

  • #5) L’Patron, Chicago: Carne Asada
    This neon green Logan Square spot has not only conquered Chicago’s burrito scene, they’ve conquered carne asada as well. Grilled to order, still a little pink, beefy, expertly seasoned, not overly greasy, it’s carne asada perfection. When partnered with lettuce, tomato, sour cream, homemade refried beans, and avocado (and roasted poblanos if you’re feeling adventurous), it’s a masterpiece. Photo Credit: Yelp/ Triphena WClick Here to see More of America’s 35 Best Burritos
  • #4) Papalote Mexican Grill, San Francisco: Carne Asada
    Papalote really has it all: a bright, clean, and welcoming dining room, an expansive menu, food made from scratch, and, most importantly, the most delicious burrito you’re bound to ever eat. In order to stand out in the Mission District, you need to be really good, and this one doesn’t disappoint. Start with your choice of four tortillas (white, whole wheat, Roma tomato, and spinach), then add on grilled-to-order steak, rice, beans (black, pinto, or refried), and pico de gallo (add sour cream, cheese, and guacamole to make it a "Super"). Top it off with salsa that’s so good it’s jarred and sold separately, and you’re got a burrito that’s just about perfect. Photo Credit: © Flickr / Jeremy Keith
  • #3) The Shed, Santa Fe, N.M.: Green Chile Burrito
    This Santa Fe institution has been spreading the green and red chile gospel since it opened in 1953, and is so renowned that there are often lines to get in. Just about everything on the menu of traditional Hispanic and Pueblo recipes is delicious, especially the legendary red chile cheese enchilada, but the green chile burrito is one of the best you’ll ever encounter. Its simplicity is what makes it so great: it’s just pinto beans, white Cheddar, and onion rolled up in a flour tortilla and topped with their famous green chile sauce, served with Spanish rice on the side. It’s all about the chile at The Shed, and this is arguably the best way to experience it. Photo Credit: © Flickr / Vicki DevineClick Here to see More of America’s 35 Best Burritos
  • #2) La Taqueria, San Francisco: Carnitas
    This Mission neighborhood institution is a regular stop for food lovers in a city already famous for its Mexican offerings. Either keep it simple and just stick with meat and beans — no rice filler in the burrito here — or upgrade it with all the classic burrito extras and watch your pants tighten with each bite. We suggest you go all the way and load yours up with their unique style of carnitas, which are somehow both crispy and moist, and nothing short of delicious. Photo Credit: © Flickr / Wally Gobetz
  • #1) La Azteca Tortilleria, Los Angeles: Chile Relleno Burrito
    Raved about by famished travelers and locals alike, the chile relleno burrito at La Azteca Tortilleria is a thing of beauty and a destination unto itself. They offer other options like carnitas and carne asada, but the cheese-stuffed, perfectly fried chile relleno that makes up the bulk of this burrito is what sets it apart, elevating the humble poblano to heights of Tex-Mex greatness (while you’re at it, you might as well have them add some carne asada to it as well). It’s everything you look for in Tex-Mex cuisine all in one perfect bite, and it’s nothing short of the best burrito in America. Click Here to see More of America’s 35 Best BurritosPhoto Credit: Yelp/ Ryan N

The answer might seem obvious, but before we can go any further, we need to ask ourselves what exactly a burrito is. It's not just a hodgepodge of stuff wrapped up in a tortilla; that's a wrap (especially if it's cold and cut in half). And while there are plenty of fusion burritos out there, like the world-class ones served from Los Angeles' Kogi Truck or the egg-filled breakfast burritos increasingly popular around the country, those are rankings for another day. For current purposes, we're talking about, well, what you probably picture when you think of a burrito: a tidy cylinder of joy tightly wrapped up in aluminum foil, filled to nearly bursting with the afore-mentioned Tex-Mex favorites: your choice of rice, beans, cheese, meats like carnitas, barbacoa, and chicken mole, vegetables, guacamole, crema, and maybe some hot sauce, all the flavors co-mingling to create a flavor bomb that's customized precisely to your liking. Did I mention that a burrito just might be the perfect food?

In order to compile our ranking, we looked at burritos from all across the country and applied several strict criteria: Are all the ingredients fresh? Is there a good selection of meats and add-ons? Can you customize your order, right down to the amount of crema squeezed on top? Is it renowned by critics and locals alike in its city? We're not ranking places to buy a burrito; we're ranking the burritos themselves, but we know that you don't buy a burrito in a void. So when you drive by this place does your mouth immediately start to water, forcing you to impulsively pull over and, before you know it, you're diving face-first into the burrito of your dreams? Yeah, those are the burritos we're looking for.

We compiled a list of more than 100 burritos from all across the country that meet those criteria, from Mountain View, Calif., to Morgantown, W. Va., and divided them into regions. We included favorites from last year's ranking as well as burritos in existing best-of lists and burrito-ranking websites. We then sent the survey to journalists and food writers across the country, as well as renowned chefs that are a part of our Culinary Council. Chefs who participated in the survey and will allow their names to be used include Jonathan Waxman (a native Californian with extensive burrito experience) and Cesare Casella (who brings an Italian-rustic viewpoint to the subject) -- while several other famous chefs declined to participate on the grounds that they don't eat burritos!

(The writer and statistician Nate Silver's new website,, incidentally is about to offer its own "Burrito Bracket," with results compiled in what seems to us a convoluted way: The initial list is derived from user reviews on Next, a four-person "Burrito Selection Committee" from different parts of the country -- one of whom, chef David Chang, recently told, er, that "Most of the Yelp reviews are wrong. They just are" -- narrows down the selection to 64 choices. Finally, a single eater, writer Anna Maria Barry-Jester, is journeying around the country to sample burritos at all the nominated places. So, an individual critic's assessment based on crowd-sourced averages? Interesting. But we'll stick to our method.)

Obviously, the top end of our list is California-heavy. Before burritos found their way to the Mission District of San Francisco, they were little more than a flour tortilla rolled up around one or two ingredients, like beans or fish. But the burrito ballooned once it made its way to the states, growing to massive proportions in San Francisco in the early 1960s, giving rise to the burritos we most recognize today and therefore some of the most definitive, "perfect" examples. Other regional varieties include a more minimalist meat-cheese-salsa variety in San Diego and one with refried beans, stewed beef, and shredded cheddar in Los Angeles. Further afield, green chile has made its mark on the burrito in Santa Fe, and throughout the rest of the country the gospel has spread, resulting in unique and delicious burritos in just about every major city.

While there are infinite varieties of burritos around the country, at the end of the day we look for that same level of satisfaction that only a handheld combination of compatible flavors can provide. So without further ado, read on to learn about the top 35 burritos in America.

Click Here to see the Original Story on The Daily Meal

-Dan Myers, The Daily Meal

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10 Best Burrito Recipes

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