It's been a couple years since we tackled the always controversial Best Burrito list, so it's time to update SFist's official opinions on the topic. We all should know by now that if you want to start a fight in this town, just try going to the mat over the relative superiority of La Taqueria or Taqueria Cancún, and you're bound to get people on both sides to join that debate. Some people are going to tell you that a burrito is a burrito, and they're all pretty much the same — not to mention they aren't even really Mexican, but more of a Mexican-American creation that has its roots about 50 years ago in SF. But they are not created equal! And making some spot-on al pastor — or any filling for that matter besides grilled chicken — takes some culinary mastery and likely a centuries-old family recipe. Not to mention the tortillas, the salsa, and the presentation — all these things contribute to artworks in a medium that claims quite a few masters in this town. Below, our humble opinions — I'm sure you also have yours. And please note: We are a city blessed with many a good taqueria and taco truck, but that is not what we're talking about here — this is about burritos alone. — Jay Barmann

Taqueria Cancún
The al pastor burrito at Taqueria Cancún is, in my opinion, the paradigm of the Mission burrito, and the standard-bearer against which all others must be judged. There are Taquerias Cancún on mid-Market (at Sixth), and south of Cesar Chavez on Mission Street, but it's the the one near 18th and Mission that most people are most familiar with. All the super burrito combinations at this unassuming, admittedly greasy-seeming spot boast good crema and fresh avocado, all with the backdrop of a nicely blistered tortilla. You may recall during the infamous, drawn-out "Burrito Bracket" on FiveThirtyEight that Cancún came in a close second, and got the endorsement from comedian Marc Maron. It should have won. That is all. — Jay Barmann
2288 Mission Street between 18th and 19th Streets
1003 Market Street at Sixth
3211 Mission Street at Valencia


El Farolito
The OG, old-school, unreasonably gigantic burritos and drunkard-friendly late-night hours give iconic status to the greasy-spatula taqueria institution known as El Farolito (More like El Fart-olito, ammirite?) In addition to the free chips and salsa, huge ladles of sour cream and apparent total disregard for food costs, El Faro also serves burritos with exotically grotesque Mexican meat options like lengua (cow tongue), sesos (cow brains), and cabeza (cow head meat) which you have to try once, but probably won’t ever try a second time. We will also note that this very SFist blog was birthed in 2004 at the 2779 Mission Street location by Rita Hao, Jackson West, and current SFist Editor Eve Batey, but it’s the burrito baby bump in your stomach that will keep you coming back (and making repeated visits to the bathroom). — Joe Kukura
2779 Mission Street (at 24th Street), 4817 Mission Street (at Russia Avenue), 2950 24th Street (at Alabama Street), and 358 Beach Street (at Taylor Street)

Taqueria La Cumbre
Controversially presented by SF Gov TV as the originator of the Mission burrito (a claim La Cumbre repeats on their website, and which is disputed by El Faro), this 25-year-old Mission standby is also notable for its Nacho Burrito, which was briefly served in 2012. We await its return. With an emphasis on serving grass-fed beef, many burrito prices change to reflect the market, but pricing on their chicken, seafood, and veggie offerings remain steady. An appearance on Man v. Food a few years ago definitely made this place more of a tourist destination than some on the list, but the increased attention hasn't caused a change in quality. — Eve Batey
515 Valencia St, between 17th and 18th Streets

La Taqueria

After their carnitas burrito infamously was named "America's Best Burrito" by FiveThirtyEight several years back, La Taq suffered an inevitable backlash. Now we're in the backlash backlash phase, as in January they won an honorary James Beard award and in April were added back to the Chronicle's Top 100 restaurants. But, seriously, ignore the hype, and focus on the flavor: The restaurant's policy of using no rice in their burritos produces a streamlined, taste-concentrated slab... and that taste is good, good, good. Their carne asada super burrito is like a religion, and the chicken in red sauce burrito also gets high marks. Best of all, their tacos are also fantastic (some say they're better than their burritos), so when you're out with folks who "aren't in a burrito mood" you can stump those chumps with a "well, get a taco then, 'cause we're going to La Taqueria!" — Eve Batey
2889 Mission (at 25th Street)

Veggie burrito at El Castillito (Image: Yelp's M.C.)

El Castillito
While some of the lively cooks occasionally get shout-outs on Yelp, the true star of this Church Street spot is the massive, bold burrito (not to be confused with a couple other El Castillitos which may only be loosely connected to this one). Remarkably fresh and simple yet decidedly huge, El Castillito's options consistently score high marks, although folks rave about the vegetarian burritos. Like most spectacular burrito joints, the jarringly red and yellow-hued space isn't much to look at. But we're not at El Castillito for the ambiance. We're there for the excellent al pastor, or the Super Carne Asada with no beans (don't start with me.) Portions are so generous here that Yelp's Kelly R. claims, "My arm felt legitimately sore from carrying it by the time I got to Duboce Park." That's a good thing, right? — Beth Spotswood
136 Church Street

A zapato at Garaje. (Image: Yelp's Lindsay R.)

"Don't bother [calling], too busy to answer" boasts Garaje's website, although they're busy (and braggy) for a reason. This rustic/industrial dive bar in SoMa's South Park serves up popular zapatos, which means "shoe" in Spanish and "grilled burrito" at Garaje. Basically, the delicious zapato is a burrito shoved into a panini press, complete with grill marks on the exterior crispy tortilla and melty meat and cheese inside. Paired with an extensive beer collection and in close proximity to AT&T Park, Garaje is ideal for a pre-game or post-work stop-by. The venue, which contains tons of seating and an eclectic menu of Mexican bar food (and well-reviewed burgers,) is cash only — so come prepared. — Beth Spotswood
425 Third Street

Green Chile Kitchen
This being the city's only New Mexican restaurant, they deserve props for representing their particular corner of Mexican-American food — with an emphasis on delicious hatch green chiles. They do a great smothered burrito here (which you can get "Christmas" style with both red and green sauces), and a green chile roasted pork burrito, but in true New Mexican style they also do a ground beef burrito. The quality of ingredients shows, and this is a solid delivery options for the NoPa environs as well. — Jay Barmann
1801 McAllister Street at Baker

La Espiga De Oro
Be forewarned that this tiny hole-in-the-wall taqueria on 24th Street closes at 7:30 most nights (6:00 on Sundays), but don't let that stop you from a visit and a side of big, crispy chicharones. The super carne asada is the go-to, with perfectly melted jack cheese, but everything in this place screams freshness and care, including the homemade chips, Guatemalan tamales, and excellent pupusas. Once upon a time, the now defunct Burritoeater declared this burrito one of the absolute best in the land, and it should not be ignored. — Jay Barmann
2916 24th Street between Florida and Alabama Streets

The Little Chihuahua
Yes, The Little Chihuahua has three locations and (for a taqueria) is kind of fancy... some might say bougie/gringo. But it is also delicious, with carefully-sourced ingredients, grass-fed beef, and all that other jazz you likely, let's admit it, try not to think about when you're ordering a meal at some of the other places on this list. Their garlic shrimp burrito is consistently fantastic, although you can get mushroom and other vegetarian burrito options if your heart desires — and this is one of the only spots in town with actually vegan, non-larded beans. Brace for your tab, as it's a little pricier to support all those sustainable ingredients. — Eve Batey
292 Divisadero Street between Page and Haight Streets, 4123 24th Street between Castro and Diamond Streets, and 581 Valencia Street between 16th and 17th Streets

Photo: Rich W./Yelp

Mateo's Taqueria
This relative newcomer on the Mission scene prides itself on using fresh and organic ingredients, and it's definitely bougier than your average Mission taqueria, with prices to prove it. But you can't discount quality, and the meats here — especially the carnitas, pineapple-y pastor, and mole — are top notch. One of their specialties is a carnitas burrito stuffed with plantains and dressed with chipotle sauce, and for vegetarians, there's the very un-boring Oaxaqueno burrito with crimini mushrooms, kale, Oaxacan cheese, mole, epazote, and pearl onions. As SFist discussed last year, the place was founded by SF native Matt Ishak, and he may or may not still have plans for a mid-Market locations at Uber HQ. — Jay Barmann
2471 Mission Street between 20th and 21st Streets

Image: J.C. via Yelp

Pancho Villa
Pancho Villa is still riding high over Leah Garchik’s 2010 proclamation calling it the “French Laundry of taquerias,” a justifiable assessment given their burritos’ fresher-than-most ingredients, gourmet tortilla options including spinach, whole wheat, and red chile, and unbeatable selections of free salsa. Many of these burrito joints are best suited to your post-nightlife nosh, but Pancho Villa feels like a nightlife destination itself — a incredibly vibrant and crowded (read: loud) scene whose ample and packed seating section affords opportunities to unexpectedly run into your friends. This Mission location is among the best cheap taqueria bets for vegetarian burrito lovers, because instead of one vegetarian burrito option, Pancho Villa offers nine. — Joe Kukura
3071 16th Street (Between Julian Avenue and Caledonia Street)

Image: Olga M. via Yelp

Papalote Mexican Grill
While serving what still qualifies as a traditional Mission burrito, Papalote jazzes up the menu with foodie-friendlier burrito fillings like grilled zucchini, marinated tofu, and soyrizo. The ambience and presentation at both the Mission and Western Addition locations are significantly lovelier than a standard taqueria, and for this you can expect your burrito to cost $2-3 more. But people, you are not going to find a burrito with shrimp, sautéed mushrooms, and bell peppers prepared with white wine and butter at a run-of-the-mill taqueria, and Papalote’s range of house-made salsas is as impressive as any in town. — Joe Kukura
3409 24th Street (at Valencia Street), 1777 Fulton Street (at Central Avenue)

Photo: via Facebook

Senor Sisig
Being one of the OG trucks in SF's now decade-old food truck craze, Senor Sisig is well known to many a downtown luncher — and they even made it onto Check, Please!. How can you go wrong, really, with a California burrito (that's the one with French fries inside) stuffed with excellently marinated, Filipino-style pork sisig and dripping with cilantro-cream sauce. It is the stuff dreams are made of — and hangovers are made for. — Jay Barmann
Various locations. Check here.

Photo: Nikolai S./Yelp

Suffice it to say you need to ignore the terrible name they chose for this place and focus on the food, which is all extremely well executed, homey, and delicious. They specialize in some regional Mexican platter-style pork dishes that aren't so common around SF, including poc chuc and cochinita pibil, but because their meats are so good this place easily now takes the title of best burrito in the Castro. (They know they're in a burrito town, so they couldn't not do a burrito.) The carnitas and cochinita pibil make for excellent burrito fillings, and you could even ask for extras like pickled onions, to liven things up. — Jay Barmann
2337 Market Street near Noe

El Toro
You cannot miss El Toro on the corner of Valencia and 17th because its logo, that of a giant, manly bull, is as eye-catching as it's burritos are delicious. El Toro has a whole bevy of ways one might customize a burrito, from a small but super baby burrito to "Pura Carne" which is a tortilla filled with just meat and salsa. I prefer the $8 Chicken Fajitas Especial Burrito, which is a step down from Super and thus does not contain warm lettuce. Seafood fans will want to head to El Toro for vast array of underwater options, including red snapper, grilled salmon, and garlic prawns. Another perk to El Toro is that diners in a rush can order online and swing by to pick-up their order, which is great because everyone knows that burritos are the only food that truly travels well. — Beth Spotswood
598 Valencia at 17th

Related: The 16 Best Tacos In San Francisco

Image: Carol L. via Yelp