5 California burritos to try this summer

Photo courtesy of @pb_in_j/Instagram –
The Lolita’s California burrito has become iconic in San Diego.

In San Diego, debating what takes the top spot for best Mexican food in town is no joke. Feuds have started, friendships have ended, and tears have been shed over this age-old dispute. That may have been a slight exaggeration, but San Diegans definitely take their Mexican food seriously.

The California burrito is perhaps the most iconic staple of San Diego Mexican food, consisting of carne asada, french fries, cheese, sour cream, and occasionally guacamole or other additions, all wrapped in a flour tortilla. Though it may be impossible to decide the definitive best burrito, this list comprises five standouts to try. All of the restaurants featured are in close proximity to the University of San Diego, and they are some of the absolute best in all of San Diego.

1. Santana’s

Don Arturo Santana is often credited with creating the California burrito. While that title still remains up for debate, Santana’s has been serving the burritos since its creation in the 1980s, as long as any restaurant in San Diego. Many of the Santana’s locations have been rebranded as Fresh MXN, but the location closest to USD on Morena Boulevard has retained the old Santana’s name. Perhaps the “original” California burrito, Santana’s remains one of the best burritos in San Diego. The ingredients are always fresh, and the burrito is best paired with their handmade Ranchera salsa.

2. Lolita’s

Lolita’s is perhaps one of the most recognizable names in San Diego Mexican food, with locations all over the county, including across the street from Petco Park. It has come a long way since its beginnings as a small taco shop in 1984, and the food quality is a testament to its success. Lolita’s is a great spot for a variety of Mexican food, but the California burrito is the favorite of many San Diegans. The carne asada fries are definitely worth a shot as well. The closest location to USD is in Kearny Mesa, just down Linda Vista Road.

3. JV’s

The closest restaurant to campus on the list, JV’s is the creation of Jesse Verduzco. JV’s is popular among USD students and the rest of San Diego as well, and the loaded California burrito is probably a significant reason behind its popularity. The restaurant offers a wide selection of tasty burritos, but the California is one of the most popular. JV’s California comes with the usual ingredients, but adds guacamole and salsa to the burrito for that extra punch. JV’s is both convenient and delicious, so there’s really no excuse not to give it a try.

4. California Burritos

Well, it’s in the name right? All jokes aside, California Burritos does offer an excellent version of its namesake. Just east of the 163 at Genesee Avenue, this hole in the wall isn’t a terribly far drive, and the burrito is well worth it. The carne asada from California Burritos is among the most flavorful on this list, and the guacamole is exceptional. The burrito is a hefty one, so definitely come with an appetite. Getting at least two cups of salsa on the side is a must.

5. The Taco Stand

Well-known for its handmade corn tortillas and street tacos, The Taco Stand also delivers on its California burrito. The burrito is made with 100 percent certified angus steak, and the use of high quality ingredients comes through clearly when you take that first bite. The Taco Stand also has a large salsa bar, and it is worth trying all of them—maybe even all of them at once. Its California burrito is the most gourmet option on the list, and it definitely warrants a trip into Downtown for a taste.

There may never be a true winner in the California burrito category, so instead of arguing about which one is the best, why don’t we all go out and try them all?

Written by Walker Chuppe, Arts & Culture Editor