The burrito, a beloved Mexican food item featuring a flour tortilla and a range of fillings, has origins in northern Mexico, with most people pointing toward the border town of Ciudad Juárez. Now, some of the most famous burritos are rooted in California. In Los Angeles, we’re not bound by any particular traditions, so you’ll find a far larger variety, including numerous veg-friendly options. L.A.’s most famous burrito may belong to El Tepeyac Café in Boyle Heights, but there are many more options besides the ginormous Manuel's Special Burrito. From classics to new school variations, read on for the best burritos in LA.
NOTE: Hours and opening dates change frequently. Check individual websites for updated information.
Al & Bea’s Mexican Food
Described by Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold as "one of the greatest of the Eastside’s classic burrito palaces," this Boyle Heights institution dates to Nov. 15, 1966, when Albert Carreon and wife Beatrice opened their casual open-air stand. The brown building features brick, painted concrete and green umbrellas to shield diners from the sun. Order at the window from a wall-mounted menu. Simple, effective burrito options include a steaming tortilla filled with oozing refried pinto beans, molten yellow cheddar and green chile for kick.
Angry Egret Dinette
In October 2020, former Guerrilla Tacos chef Wes Avila opened Angry Egret Dinette, a torta-inspired sandwich shop located in Chinatown's Mandarin Plaza. Avila serves up two hearty breakfast burritos: The Atwater (butternut squash, mushrooms, red peppers, home fries, scrambled eggs, Swiss cheese, salsa china) and the Hey Porky’s, made with roasted pork shoulder, scrambled eggs, black beans, queso Oaxaca, and salsa verde.
Best known for their plant-based burgers, Burgerlords offers the Weekend Breakfast Burrito on Saturdays and Sundays at their locations in Chinatown and Highland Park. Priced at $9.99, the 100% vegan burrito is made with the house-made vegan patty and scrambled with turmeric tofu, crispy tater tots, Follow Your Heart American Cheese, and chipotle aioli in a flour tortilla.
Burritos La Palma
In his LA Times review of Burritos La Palma, the late Jonathan Gold described the birria burrito as "captivating" and months later named it one of the five best burritos in LA. A spotlight in the burrito episode of Netflix's Taco Chronicles (Season 2) re-ignited the fervor for Burritos La Palma.
The Zacatecan-style birria burrito is elegant in its simplicity - spicy shredded beef is wrapped in a handmade, buttery flour tortilla and crisped to a golden brown. That's it. The compact burritos are smaller than the behemoths typically served around town, so two or three is a typical order. You can ask for the burrito "con todo," which adds refried beans and cheese. The Platillo Especial features two birria burritos covered in green chile pork sauce and cheese, served with refried beans, lettuce and tomato on the side.
Along with its locations in Boyle Heights, El Monte and Santa Ana, Burritos La Palma pops up at the bustling Smorgasburg LA on Sundays.
Cofax Coffee Shop
Opened in 2014, the Dodgers-themed Cofax Coffee shows off its LA pride with a Dodger blue awning and bobbleheads galore. Start your day with the breakfast of champions - a Chorizo Burrito with smoked chorizo hash, potatoes, bell peppers, onions, scrambled egg, jack cheese, pico de gallo and crushed tortilla chips. House-made salsas are served on the side: tangy salsa verde with smoked tomatillos, garlic and charred Serrano chiles; and punchier salsa rojo with pan-fried chile de arbol, garlic and charred tomatoes. Cofax now offers Bacon, Veggie, Ugly Drum Pastrami, and Bludso's Hot Link versions, but the OG Chorizo Burrito is still the one to beat.
Coffee Commissary - Burbank
The Burbank and Glendale locations of this LA-based coffee chain feature a standout Brisket Burrito. Fatty brisket is braised for 12 hours before its griddled a la plancha, forming a contrasting outer crust. Two sunny eggs, avocado, cheddar and pico de gallo join the meat in a flour tortilla. The Juanita's Burrito special is made with ancho-roasted pork belly, two sunny eggs, cheddar, Mexican relish (onions and cilantro), shredded cabbage, lime and crispy hominy. A veg-friendly burrito includes sunny eggs, potato and avocado.
An offshoot of Guerrilla Tacos, Guerrilla Cafecito is open daily from 8am to 3pm in a tiny location around the corner from the Arts District favorite. Guerrilla Cafecito features two stellar breakfast burritos till noon: the Breakie (bacon, avocado, hash browns, cheese, beans, eggs, salsa) and the GTLA Burrito, made with steak, hash browns, cheese, avocado and salsa. Each burrito has their fans - order both and decide if you're Team Breakie or Team GTLA.
La Azteca Tortilleria
This East L.A. institution near the intersection of Cesar Chavez Avenue and the 710 freeway dates to 1945. Candy Villa and husband Juan, who hail from Michoacán, took over in 2010 and daughter Cynthia is now involved. The dining room is notable for its mural of an Aztec woman holding a basket of maize, with a pyramid in the background. House-made tortillas are key components in the prepared items they serve, including delectable quesadillas and burritos.
Their signature burrito, La Azteca centers on a cheese-filled chile relleno with grilled tomato, refried beans, onions and cilantro in a sturdy, griddled flour tortilla. For an extra $1.75, you can level up with a protein like carne asada, al pastor or grilled chicken.
Lucky Boy debuted in 1961 and now has two locations in Pasadena. The Arroyo Parkway outpost features a brown structure, elevated patio with tan tables and benches, dining room with aqua and purple striped booths, and back patio with green umbrellas. There's a sprawling wall-mounted menu, but most people are there for the Famous Breakfast Burrito, which is served all day and comes with a choice of meat, egg, potatoes and cheddar in a smoky grilled flour tortilla. Ingredients from the entire menu are available to customize the massive burrito.
The late Adeline "Tuchie" Portillo opened this burrito stand in East L.A. in 1972, and Lupe’s #2 has remained family-owned and operated ever since. The open-air destination is conveniently located near a Metro L Line (Gold) stop at the 710 freeway and Serbian Cemetery. The space features a speckled Formica counter with red cushioned stools, and grey covered picnic tables in back. They have a deluxe bean and cheese burrito with larded refried beans and molten yellow cheese, but even better is the Red & Beef, featuring tender beef chunks slathered with a fierce red salsa. There's also a relatively mild Green & Beef burrito, along with numerous other options.
Sky's Gourmet Tacos
Barbara J. "Sky" Burrell’s Mid-City restaurant dates to 1992 and features “Mexican food with a splash of soul.” Her space touts colorful neon signage, a dining room with salmon-hued walls and a portrait of Sky’s father, jazz bassist Charlie Burrell. Sky’s Gourmet Tacos is locally famous for well-spiced Mexican food. In Burrell’s world, a taco, quesadilla and burrito are variations on the same thing: tortillas with choice of topping, shredded iceberg lettuce and cheddar, sour cream, tomato and cilantro and “sassy sauce.” This is the rare instance when a burrito is open-faced. A “super shrimp” burrito has double the shrimp, which all luxuriate in that sassy sauce of chiles, cumin, garlic and oregano. The flavorful, aromatic sauce coats the burrito’s core ingredient, the flour tortillas, and even comes on the side if you like.