The Best Burritos in Los Angeles

Burritos go global in L.A.

Breakfast Burrito at SteamPunk Coffee Bar & Kitchen | Photo by Karen Young

Breakfast Burrito at SteamPunk Coffee Bar & Kitchen | Photo by Karen Young

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. For instance, Mission burritos in San Francisco can be massive, and in San Diego the California burrito is known to contain French fries. In Los Angeles, we’re not bound by any particular traditions, so you’ll find a far larger variety, including many Asian fillings. L.A.’s most famous burrito may belong to Manuel’s Original El Tepeyac Café in Boyle Heights, which holds the distinction of serving burritos the size of small schnauzers. However, you’ll probably enjoy these 10 standout burritos even more.

Main image for guide_item titled
Bean and cheese burrito with red sauce at Al & Bea's | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Al & Bea’s Mexican Food

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 a 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.

Main image for guide_item titled
Chorizo burrito at Cofax Coffee | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Cofax Coffee Shop

Chef Noah Galuten has crafted a serious burrito at Cofax Coffee, a Dodgers-themed coffee bar from Jason Bernstein and James Starr, where you’ll find a Dodger blue awning and bobbleheads galore. A griddled flour tortilla holds wood-smoked potato tomatillo hash, which joins chorizo, onions and peppers in a pan. Scrambled egg, pico de gallo and crisp tortilla chips round out the burrito’s savory profile. To boost the flavor further, pour on a pair of house-made salsas: 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.

Main image for guide_item titled
Brisket burrito at Coffee Commissary | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Coffee Commissary - Burbank

The Burbank branch of Tyler King’s burgeoning coffee empire has an even more ambitious food program that features a standout burrito. Chef Todd Merkel helped to build the savory menu and his brisket burrito is a worthy draw. He braises fatty brisket for 12 hours before griddling the results a la plancha, forming a contrasting outer crust. A fried egg and pico de gallo join the meat in a flour tortilla. Spoon on salsa crafted from chile pasilla, chile de arbol, habanero, and cilantro. For vegetarians, Coffee Commissary also sells burritos starring potato and avocado.

Main image for guide_item titled
Bacon sausage burrito at Guerrilla Tacos | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Guerrilla Tacos

Wes Avila, who spent substantial stretches in the kitchens of chefs like Walter Manzke and Gary Menes, helms the seasonal kitchen aboard his roving Guerrilla Tacos truck. He parks at several locations throughout the week, including Cognoscenti Coffee in Culver City (Wednesday), Dinosaur Coffee (Thursday), Blacktop Coffee (Friday) and Blue Bottle locations in the DTLA Arts District, Beverly Boulevard and Venice. Avila shares the menu each morning through social media. If you’re lucky, he’ll post a breakfast burrito, which could include lobster and eggs, Gulf shrimp, or possibly a bacon sausage burrito. You read that right - it’s not bacon AND sausage, it’s bacon sausage, crafted with luscious Cook Pigs belly. The compact flour tortilla-wrapped package also contains aged cheddar, earthy Christmas lima beans, poblano chile and burnt tomato chile. Request a bright orange habanero salsa if you like your food extra spicy.

Main image for guide_item titled
Kogi Wet Burrito | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Kogi BBQ - Alibi Room

Since chef Roy Choi co-founded Kogi BBQ in late 2008, he’s become one of L.A.’s street food kings. Four trucks now roam the city’s streets, each tagged with stickers and sporting a different colorful name: Roja, Naranja, Verde and Rosita. Besides the brick and mortar Kogi Taqueria on Overland, you’ll also find Kogi items every night at the Alibi Room in Culver City. While Kogi’s particular brand of Korean-Mexican food is best known for their tacos, the fusion also works harmoniously in a burrito. For instance, their Kogi Wet Burrito combines spicy Korean pork with a "cool shot" of salsa verde, scrambled egg, hash browns and iceberg lettuce. Kogi smothers their burritos with flame red Kogi mole, molten shredded Jack cheese and tangy cilantro onion lime relish.

Main image for guide_item titled
Chile relleno burrito at La Azteca Tortilleria | Photo by Joshua Lurie

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 best-known burrito showcases chile relleno - an egg-battered, Jack cheese-filled pepper joins carne asada, pinto beans and pico de gallo in a sturdy, griddled flour tortilla. Spoon on spicy chile de arbol salsa to boost matters further.

Main image for guide_item titled
Breakfast burrito at Lucky Boy | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Lucky Boy

Lucky Boy debuted in another Pasadena location in 1961. This “new” decades-old 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. Order at the window. Lucky Boy touts a sprawling wall-mounted menu, but a large percentage of people order a “Famous” breakfast burrito, which comes with a choice of meat (ham, bacon, and/or sausage) with potatoes and cheddar in a smoky grilled flour tortilla. The key to this burrito’s success just might be the winning ratio of ingredients.

Main image for guide_item titled
Red & Beef Burrito at Lupe's #2 | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Lupe’s #2

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 resides near a Gold Line 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 fierce red salsa. They also have a Green & Beef burrito, which is relatively mild.

Main image for guide_item titled
Shrimp burrito at Sky's Gourmet Tacos | Photo by Joshua Lurie

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.

Main image for guide_item titled
Lengua burrito at Taqueria Los Anaya | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Taqueria Los Anaya

This West Adams taqueria is the byproduct of hard work from three Anaya brothers (Juan, Manuel and Gerardo), who hail from Guadalajara. The space features framed photos of Pancho Villa on orange walls, along with two-tiered seating. Their meat-filled burritos tout Mexican rice, refried beans, onion, cilantro and guacamole. Seafood gets a different treatment. Regardless, the best option might be lengua, which is boiled, grilled and practically calls for salsa verde, which centers on tangy tomatillo.