La Taqueria

San Francisco, CA

Overall Score
based on 13 reviews
7.8   recommended

Editorial Reviews (1)

  • Chris's Score: 6 / 10   full review...

    My next trip to the Bay Area, visiting my burrito pals Dan, Aaron and Cate. We settled on meeting on this impossible-to-miss hot spot smack in the middle of the Mission. They've been here a few times before, but it was my first. Many a person has posted a glowing review of this place. Can it live up to the hype? In my opinion, no.

User Reviews (12)

Showing 1-12 of 12   (most recent reviews shown first)    

Score: 1 / 10    Reviewed by: sfbluegirl

has anyone had a sandwich made by them, it is hoogie bread hollowed out with whatever meat, peppers, queso, sour cream and guacamole? while pregnant-i worked at a hospital in the mission. i lived on those sandwiches-to good; but can't remember the name-wanna introduce them to my new community-here in tennessee

posted by sfbluegirl on 12/19/2010 8:15 AM #

Score: 6 / 10    Reviewed by: garion34

Maybe I tried this place on a bad day, but I don't get the hype. I've ever had such an unmemorable burrito. After hearing a lot about this place, I was excited to try it. I was looking for a burrito that could rival La Tapatia or Los Charros.

After plunking down about $21 for two burritos (I added cheese to one, something that shouldn't be an add on), a soda and an horchata, I settled down for what I hoped would be an incredible burrito. I've never been so disappointed. Not only did the burrito lack rice, but the ingredients were mediocre. The carnitas were soft, almost mushy, a stark contrast from the crispy carnitas I look for. The salsa was watery and had absolutely no kick to it. All in all, it embodied mediocrity.

Adding to the experience was the fact that I had to buy chips and salsa, and I had a pretty miserable experience. The only saving grace was horchata, which was made just right.

Again, maybe I came on an off day. But I don't think I'll be returning to La Taqueria. I'm going to be sticking with Los Charros and La Tapatia.

posted by garion34 on 1/26/2009 10:28 AM #

Score: 6.5 / 10    Reviewed by: fatcat

I visit this restaurant at least twice a month, but after discovering this site I will try some of the other restaurants. The quality is inconsistent, but range from 7-10 most of the time, only had a 3 two times (IT WAS BAD). I guess all restaurants have their bad days. The restaurant is crowded and during busy time seating is limited. The restaurant is expensive compared to other taquerias, so bring cash or credit card. The only free perks you will find is the green sauce and napkins on the table.

posted by fatcat on 9/29/2008 4:28 PM #

Score: 10 / 10    Reviewed by: darrenstory

I'm a full blooded Spaniard. I was born in Salinas, and raised in Watsonville. The house I grew up in could have easily been in Mexico. I didn't even know I wasn't Mexican until I was 12 years old. I know a lot about food and a lot about Mexicans. I also know that La Taqueria is BY FAR, the best taqueria in the world.

Unfortunately, everyone knows about their perfectly tasting food and this place is packed and expensive. Any successful enterprise will suffer from these ails and it is just part of the business. You get what you pay for here. It is just simply stellar.

I highly reccomend anything on the menu, and the salsa is just ridiculous!

posted by darrenstory on 7/24/2008 9:05 AM #

Score: 10 / 10    Reviewed by: tulrich

My expectations were high given the location and the good reviews here. The busy atmosphere, quick hands behind the counter, whole-beans-fits-all menu, and looks of the carnitas did nothing to slacken my anticipation.

I ordered carnitas with cheese & avocado, and a small tangerine agua fresca, for about ten bucks. My order came up within minutes, a medium-sized foil-wrapped package, not giant but not small. What I consider, at this stage in my life, "just right".

The contents: pure perfection. I have encountered very few taquerias that do carnitas perfectly; I've had little bits of rubbery meat with gristle, shredded limp fibers soaked in orange juice, dry strips coated in rust colored powder, almost-rancid chunks plus mystery membrane (skin? intestine?), and those are just the awful ones. The mediocre ones tend to be flavorless or distractingly spiced, and the good-but-not-perfect ones may not be salty enough or lack crispy bits or aren't juicy enough or taste good but are too greasy.

I digress. The carnitas here was juicy, crispy, salty and wonderful. The beans were just right, the cheese creamy and fully integrated, the pico fresh and yummy, the avocado ripe, the tortilla warm and resilient. The whole was expertly assembled and wrapped, no binding or leaks at the ends, a bit fluffy towards the top, and full of juice at the bottom.

They didn't put the hot sauce in the burrito itself, but each table has a squirt bottle of flavorful green hot sauce, so it was no trouble to drip a few drops before each bite.

The tangerine agua fresca was well worthwhile, sweet and not too acidic, a perfect complement to my burrito.

As I reached the bottom, I had to suppress an urge to immediately eat another one. I wisely resisted, but I may return for dinner.

If I were looking for nits to pick, I guess I would point to the lack of rice, and the meat being slightly more salty than absolutely necessary. But I would also be a jerk to pick nits.

This was my third burrito in the city limits of San Francisco, and the first truly great one. Thank you burritophile for pointing me in the right direction!

posted by tulrich on 2/23/2008 2:04 PM #

Score: 9.5 / 10    Reviewed by: cgb (San Francisco, CA)

The best in the city. This is not a lie. The carne asada is prefectly seasoned and grilled, and is the best I've had. The salsa is amazing, the hot sauce is the best i've had as well. My friend constantly steals the bottles of it they have sitting on the tables. There's not much to say except their burritos and tacos (and quesadillas too) all get a 10 in terms of taste. I was raised on these, and there's nothing better in SF, or anyhwhere else I've been for that matter. While I can certainly appreciate rice in a burrito, and sometimes even want it, I usually appreciate it's absence even more, as in so many places it's bland tasting and seems to be used as a filler to cut down on more expensive ingredients such as meat. The amount of flavor in each bite of anything you get at La Taqueria really is something that has to be experienced.

Of course there are downsides:

BUSY. Though that IS a sign of a good restaurant. It's expensive as hell for a burrito. Expect to spend 11+ bucks for a burrito with everything on it, and a small aqua fresca. I remember when it was 4 bucks for a burrito there, and I'm sad that I now have to limit my trips to this place because of the prices...every extra costs about a buck, and you have to pay for chips.

Still though, in terms of the food itself, La Taqueria is king. My parents have been eating there since the 1970's when it opened, and apparently it's been excellent the entire time...that's something.

posted by cgb on 12/19/2007 1:12 PM #

Score: 6.5 / 10    Reviewed by: Mcjafers

I love burritos for 3 reasons: they are cheap, they are big, they are delicious. This place only gets the last part right.

For 6 bucks you get a burrito smaller than anything else in the mission made with only meat and beans. While, I must admit, you barely notice the lack of other ingredients due to supreme craftsmanship, not having any sort of "super" option on the menu is a real downer. In such a crowded market, there is very little to make this place stand out.

I enjoyed my burrito, but I doubt I will ever go back here.

posted by Mcjafers on 7/30/2007 10:12 PM #

Score: 9.5 / 10    Reviewed by: flea607

The best Carne Asada youre gonna taste. Perfect ingredient integration. The hotness of the salsa is delightful. A little package of joy that is delicious from the first to last bite. It's a life experience that no one should be denied. Dont deny yourself. A fantastic bundle of flavor. I shall return.

One of the best burritos youll find in all of San Francisco, therefore in all the world.

-edit: my entire scale changed after eating a Carnitas Super Burrito at Taqueria Los Charros. La Taqueria is a Hall of Fame Burrito. Los Charros is even better.

posted by flea607 on 5/7/2007 12:25 PM, updated on 7/8/2008 12:32 PM #

Score: 9.5 / 10    Reviewed by: twangus (San Francisco, CA)

La Taqueria is definitely one of the best in San Francisco (and, hence, the world). The menu is spare—but what they do, they do right. You've got your burritos, tacos, quesadillas, and not much else. You've got one type of chicken, one type of beans (pinto), and no rice in sight. Nevertheless, their ingredients are perfect. The pico de gallo is hands down the best in the city, their avocado is always amazing, and the carne asada and carnitas are out of this world. You pay for the extra quality, but it's worth it.

I would order:
- Carnitas burrito with cheese, avocado, and hot sauce. Don't forget to specify the extras or they won't get added.
- Corn quesadilla with salsa and avocado. These are the best kept secret in the SF taqueria scene—they are one of my favorite things to order on any menu, period.
- Large strawberry agua fresca with no ice. An amazing drink, filled with real strawberry chunks. But make sure to nix the ice—it just waters it down and clogs up the straw.

That'll probably run you close to $15, but you won't be disappointed.

posted by twangus on 4/5/2007 7:22 PM, updated on 6/28/2007 4:47 PM #

Score: 8.5 / 10    Reviewed by: NickW

La Taqueria is serves the World's Best Burritos! Or so the bright neon sign on the back wall claims, as do their many fans. I don't know if I'm willing to go that far, but I'll agree that there ain't nothing quite like a La Taqueria burrito.

All the action goes down behind the counter in full view of the customers, and it's a joy to behold. Pounds of carne asada cooking away on gas grills, chopped up and thrown into burritos almost as fast as they can cook it. Big bowls of avocado and fresh salsa. Skilled burrito folders wrapping up tight cylinders with the speed and precision of the best dumpling makers in Chinatown. And the heavenly smell of grilling meat.

La Taqueria's menu is small and simple. The basic burrito comes with meat, beans, and salsa. From there you can add cheese, sour cream, and or avocado. The avocado is just that, mashed and otherwise unadorned, but served in generous amounts. The cheese is well worth the $.40 or so. Rather than using shredded cheese, they use thick slabs of jack which are thrown into the steamer with the tortilla so it can be perfectly melty when the meat and beans hit it. It's got real presence.

It's hard not to want to order the carne asada as soon as you smell in grilling, but I've managed to tear myself away and order the carnitas, though I've yet to try the other selections. Certainly tasty, but I thought it tasted better in taco form than in a burrito.

So how does it all come together? Well, with such few ingredients, there's not much of an integration issue, but it's good to know that the twin slabs of cheese are melted along the primary axis of the burrito, delivering lots of cheese in each bite, and the rest of the ingredents are laid down in the same orientation so you always get an even distribution. The star of the show is the meat, juicy and charred, and I did not miss the rice, although it might have come in handy to soak up some of that meat juice. The fold is tight and solid, and a layer of foil keeps it hot all the way to the end, but there is a problem with meat juice buildup. There are worse problems to have.

The biggest weakness of the burrito is the beans. I like whole pintos, and that's what they serve, but they just... sit there. They really need a bit of salt and maybe garlic to bring them out and up to the level of the meat. I've considered the beanless alternative but I sort of feel there should be something of substance in there besides the carne asada. The tortilla itself is servicable but lacks definition. Though steamed, it isn't particularly chewy, nor does it get any grilled flakyness. It holds the burrito together adequately, but nothing more.

For being one of the most expensive burrito shops in Mission, the burritos themselves are on the small side. They are quite densely packed with meat so there's no doubt that they're filling, but it's over too soon. I recommend getting a quesadilla or taco on the side to stretch out the experience.

A few more things that are good to know:
- It's cash only.
- Ordering a burrito without beans will cost you a dollar. Yes, you pay not to have beans. I presume this means you get more meat to fill out the volume, but I haven't tried this so I do not know for sure.
- There's no rice. Not in burritos, or in anything. For that matter, there's no refried beans. So don't ask for them.
- When you're ready to order, look for the woman with the checkpad. You give her the order, and then she gives you the check. Take the check to the cashier. Once you pay, the order goes into the cue and you keep the ticket stub that says what your number is. When the restaurant is very busy, sometimes customers line up for the cashier - in this case, the order taker will find you in line.
- If you order a drink, it will appear in on the counter shortly before your number is called. Keep an eye on it as it would be easy for someone to run off with your drink.
- The agua frescas are absolutely worth the extra money. Please don't just order a diet coke.
- The plain quesadilla is just a small corn tortilla with jack cheese on it, fried briefly on the griddle. It's a simple thing, but a delicious way to stretch out your burrito eating time.

posted by NickW on 3/26/2007 5:22 PM #

Score: 9 / 10    Reviewed by: ckr

Definately one of the best. I kept away from la taqueria for years because it was always such a madhouse inside (especially in the late 90's) and the burrito prices are about double the norm and half the size. But hey, this is the best carne asada--no gristle..fat..and unknowns.. Thank god, no rice filler.


posted by ckr on 2/20/2007 6:51 PM #

Score: 9 / 10    Reviewed by: aword1

I can't believe this website is calls itself Burritophile, and yet NO ONE has written a review of La Taqueria. Anyone who has been here knows that this is the gold standard of Mission Street carne asada. The walls of this place are lined with awards and local "Best ofs" so I'm not claiming anything that isn't verifiably true. This place is the best. Although... (and this is just occuring to me now) I do suppose that their tacos are just slightly better than their burritos, but that really shouldn't count against them, because it's all friggin' amazing.

For those of you who haven't been, here's what you need to know:

* It's one block from 24th Street Bart (on the Northeast corner of Mission and 25th); it's the white arcaded building with lots of happy burrito-eating people inside and big red letters that spell La Taqueria.
* The burritos don't have rice or lettuce, but that's just fine. It's also not like other Mission burritos where there are lots of decisions to be made (white flour tortilla v. whole wheat, whole v. refried, black v. pinto, etc. - they only have whole pinto). You just need to know what you want up front and then wait in joyous anticipation for your number to be called. My personal favorites are the carne asada and spicy chicken, but I have friends who go just for the carnitas and lengua.
* La Taqueria is a little pricier than most other taqueries because they charge extra for guac (basically just plain chunks of delicious, perfect avocado), sour cream, and even cheese. Yes, it's worth it.
* They are closed for a few weeks over Christmas and New Years, and this is the worst possible thing.

Go there now. Enjoy. Then you'll know what a burrito should be.

posted by aword1 on 9/4/2006 10:27 PM #

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