Being just across the border from Mexico, it’s no surprise that San Diego has a ton of Mexican restaurants. I’m guessing you could try a new one every day of the year if you really wanted to. When I go to Mexican restaurants, I’m always partial to burritos. They’re just the perfect compact, all-in-one, handheld meal.
I’m always on the hunt for a great burrito, so I decided to try some places I’d never been to before, in hopes of finding my new go-to location for tortilla-encased goodness. Here are the four places in San Diego I visited and my opinion on each of them:
I first visited Craft Burrito in Del Mar. The restaurant offers some great burritos in a fast-casual environment. I thoroughly enjoyed The Craft burrito, which included sliced top prime beef and their signature craft sauce, as well as the So-Cal burrito with grilled chicken (although if you put guacamole on anything, I’ll probably like it). It also didn’t hurt that the restaurant serves wine and has more than a dozen beers on tap, including multiple San Diego brews. I’ll be back to try their breakfast burritos, which are rumored to be delicious as well.
Whenever I go to a new (to me) establishment, I try to order their “specialty.” I figure if they are claiming this is the best thing they have to offer, I should give it a try. At La Puerta in the Gaslamp Quarter, it’s the Surf ‘n’ Turf burrito, which includes arranchera steak, shrimp, grilled onions, poblano peppers, guacamole, cheese, and chipotle crema—yes, please! It did not disappoint! First off, it was huge! I was too full to finish the whole thing, so I took a good portion home for lunch the next day. I especially enjoyed the chipotle cream sauce—it added a nice little kick to what otherwise could have been a boring burrito. I give it a solid four out of five stars.
My next stop was La Perla Cocina in Pacific Beach. Here I tried the highly touted California burrito. It had all of the necessary elements that make up a great California burrito—carne asada, French fries, cheese, and guacamole. For the price, it’s probably the best California burrito I’ve ever had. This may sound like a small detail, but I loved that the cheese was melted inside the burrito. It was a nice upgrade from the typical cold, shredded cheese you find in most burritos. I also tried the Addiction burrito, because the ingredients (carne asada and bacon) intrigued me. It was also delicious. This might be my new favorite small, family-owned joint. I’d come back just for the homemade tortillas!
Finally, I ventured into Little Italy to see what kind of burritos they could cook up. I landed at King and Queen Cantina and ordered the Surf & Turf burrito, which included carne asada and bacon-wrapped(!) shrimp. The price was not bad, considering it’s Little Italy, and the portion was more than adequate. The bacon-wrapped shrimp was definitely the star of the show (as was my accompanying Margarita—delicious!) Out of all of the places I visited, this one had the best atmosphere, which adds a lot to the burrito-eating experience, in my opinion. I’ll be back to try the California burrito.
The verdict: out of the four places I visited, which included two sit-down and two fast-casual establishments, it’s hard to pick a clear favorite. They were all good in their own way. For the best value, I’d have to go with the California burrito at La Perla and for the best flavor, I’m going to give the nod to the Surf & Turf burrito at King and Queen.