During my short visit to San Francisco, I gave myself one priority: eat a San Francisco-style burrito. I’ve heard of these things for years but never had the opportunity to try one. There’s a burrito restaurant in Berlin that’s famous for them, but I wanted the real thing.

So, after being in San Francisco for less than a few hours, I set out on a quest to find the best burrito in SF. Thanks to some suggestions on the Travels of Adam Facebook page, I went straight for the Mission.

Taqueria La Cumbre

This is the taqueria that made burritos famous in San Francisco. They’re credited with inventing the style which is basically a massive (and often messy) burrito.

I went inside Taqueria La Cumbre and immediately recognized the look. This is the typical American burrito restaurant I remember from my days back in Boston where I spent about half my weekly food expenditures at Anna’s Taqueria.

The burrito came with a healthy chunk of tortilla chips which was nice. Little did I know that this is par-for-the-course in San Francisco. I went with my staple burrito: black beans & rice, with pork, guacamole, sour cream and jalapeños. It was big. And I mean very BIG. But still manageable.

Burrito score: ★
515 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA

Papalote burrito


Thanks to a tip from Fluent in Frolicking (@MasterFrolicker), I went straight to Papalote for lunch on my second day in San Francisco. Papalote was much more crowded than Taqueria La Cumbre. I went with the same burrito as before and it was equally delicious but much more messy. It fell apart about halfway through but I still managed.

The best part of my Papalote burrito, however, was that it came with a side of salsa. And this salsa was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. No joke. I’m not sure what they put in their salsa but considering that they sell jars of it in the store, I’m guessing others have found it equally addicting.

Burrito score: ★
Salsa score: 
3409 24th Street (at Valencia), San Francisco, CA

And just because the salsa was so delicious, here’s a photo:

papalote salsa yummy

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