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Foodie Five: Best Burritos in London

It’s Friday. The morning is dragging after an over-indulgent Thursday night. The solution to all woes? A burrito of course!

Following longstanding popularity in California, London has finally had a surge in good quality burrito offerings. Gone are the days of leathery tortillas and a meagre portion of dry chicken; today you can find flavourful burritos packed with carefully sourced fresh ingredients. After sampling our bodyweight in burritos over the last few months, we critique five of London’s Mexican lunch saviours.

Tortilla

1. Tortilla

Billed as the “real California burrito”, Tortilla’s large burritos are huge and guaranteed to satisfy even the most ravenous customer. The shredded beef barbacoa oozed piquant juices and the guacamole was perfectly seasoned and lime-heavy. Our only complaints were the high proportion of rice and the lack of kick from the hot salsa. Sadly there was no horchata to be seen but there was a good selection of beer.

Where? Tortilla has 13 London branches but quality varies between them. Our favourite in central London is Trafalgar Square. Burritos £5-6.

Poncho 8

2. Poncho No.8

Started by two friends with a Mexican food obsession, Poncho No 8 boasted yet more barbacoa goodness. Our burritos were particularly moist yet not soggy, the chipotle chicken was tender with optimum smokiness and the marinated tofu was satisfyingly flavoursome in comparison to the standard bland tofu often served elsewhere. We love the new low carb option available here and developed with nutritionists from Foundry Gym.

Where? Poncho No. 8 has six London branches. The Paddington branch even serves breakfast and we are dying to try the banana, dulce de leche and peanut butter toasted wrap. Burritos £6-7.

Benito's Hat

3. Benito’s Hat

Nestled in Covent Garden, Benito’s Hat is a reliable option for a post-shopping pit stop or pre-theatre treat. The specials here change daily and we loved the hickory smoked beef brisket with crisp and creamy coleslaw. Super slow braised pork melted in the mouth and all ingredients tasted fresh and flavour-rich. The spicy salsa lacked fire and the marinade steeped pork seeped through the tortilla and down our sleeves, but we see leakage as a necessary hazard of a burrito banquet. Service was good and servers were well versed to give menu advice, but a major drawback was that our server gave less meat to the women in our group. Rumour has it the watermelon margaritas are well worth waiting for so we’re planning our next visit already.

Where? Benito’s Hat has six central London locations, including one at the newly renovated Kings Cross station. Burritos £6-7.

Chilango

4. Chilango

Running the gauntlet of fun yet mildly crazed staff at Chilango makes ordering lunch feel like a grueling assault course. Music is blaring, staff have abbreviations for all ingredients so you need to be on your toes to hear then understand what is being offered. This style makes for speedy service and staff seem tirelessly happy, sometimes even adding a little dance to your service if you’re lucky. Smokey grilled king prawns are served in generous heaps with sweet peppers and a special mayonnaise. Pork belly is tender and caramelized with a hot sauce fit for enthusiastic chilli fanatics. Overall, a reliable and fun burrito experience.

Where? Chilango has locations across the City as well as a branch in Angel. Burritos £6-7.

Freebird

5. Freebird

With an option to double your filling for £2.50, Freebird is a popular choice for gluttonous customers. We loved the shredded BBQ brisket, consisting of beef lovingly smoked over hickory wood for 12 hours then braised, shredded and mixed with special BBQ sauce. The BBQ sauce had just the right balance of sweet, sour and salt and pinto beans were pleasantly firm. Extra points for salsa with tomatillos and an array of overnight marinades! The selection of drinks was poor, with little but run of the mill fizzy pop to choose from, but the quality of burrito ingredients outweighed this minor disappointment.

Where? There are five Freebird branches in central London. Burritos £6-7.

Have we missed any of your favourites? Let us know and we’ll race you there!

Written by:

City lawyer by day, aspiring writer by night, Madelin primarily contributes to My Little Black Book's foodie section but also writes interview features and is a regular events reporter.  A fitness freak, feminist, gourmand, literature fanatic, and idealistic philanthropist, at weekends you’ll find her dashing around London compensating for lost evenings in the office!

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