Burrito lovers are like fingerprints – no two are alike. It’s never a big detail that divides us on where to go for Mexican food, just enough small preferences that leave lasting impressions. So lock up the bike and journey outside the perimeter of the Mission District. We’re driving across the Bay Bridge to eat some of the best burritos the East Bay has to offer.

Hours: Mon to Sun 9 a.m. to 2 a.m.

elagavero Best Burritos In The East Bay

(credit: elagavero.com)

Taco trucks dominate East Oakland, and among them El Novilla rules. Owned and operated by the Pelayo family, the truck is located in the parking lot of Guadalajara Restaurant, also owned by the Pelayo’s. The menu consists of pretty basic fare with Lengua (beef tongue) and Cabeza (beef head) being the most adventurous selections. The Pollo Burrito has a nice flavor right into the first bite. The chicken is perfectly charred and if we’re going to do the math, the ratio of beans to rice to salsa works perfectly. Conveniently located near Fruitvale BART, El Novilla is your new go-to place for authentic burritos.

Related: Best Ethnic Restaurants

Hours: Mon to Thurs, Sun – 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fri to Sat – 8 a.m. to 12 a.m.

Strike up the Mariachi band and find a seat. Burritos at this Berkeley haunt begin life with a clean conscience. All meat served is raised without antibiotics, choosing hormone-free beef, lamb and pork. Vegetables are local, organic and sustainable whenever possible. Vegetarian burritos are as savory as the Pork Mole and Pollo Asado burritos. La Mission is a little pricier, but the benefits outweigh the financial drawbacks.

Hours: Mon to Fri -10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sat to Sun -10 a.m. to 12 a.m.

burritofoil Best Burritos In The East Bay

(credit: Thinkstock)

With its bright yellow tables and booth seating, walking into El Farolito might make you feel like you are about to eat at Subway, but that’s where the similarity ends. The burritos are wrapped tight like you’d swaddle a newborn and weigh just as much. The menu offers a wide variety of pairings; popular items include the Lengua (beef tongue), Sesos (beef brain) and Al Pastor (spicy pork) and a selection of tasty salsas. Items are cooked fresh and when you tear away the foil there’s no wet bomb waiting to explode in your lap. Wash it down with a Mexican coke or beer, and when your appetite returns in a week or so, do it all again.

Related: Top 8 Mexican Spots in SF

burritoguacamole Best Burritos In The East Bay

(credit: Thinkstock)

Hours: Mon to Thu 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Fri to Sat 8 a.m. – 11 p.m; Sun 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.

For some reason, words like pequeño and poco have lost all meaning inside this family-owned restaurant. Brace yourself – it’s going to take a few seconds to wrap your brain around all the food set in front of you, so imagine how long it will take your stomach. The super burrito, appropriately titled since gargantuan doesn’t roll right off the tongue, can easily take out a small child. Corn tortillas are handmade onsite and dishes boast the most appetizing colors and fragrances. If you’re looking for authentic Mexican cuisine, El Taco Zamorano can’t be beat.

Hours: Mon to Sun 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Favored and frequented by locals – a quick tell about the food and how good it is – there’s plenty of seating available at this taco truck stand located on International Boulevard. Priced for value, regular burritos cost $4 and super burritos $8, which is a very fair price for this vertical meal you just doubled in size and girth. The menu remains on par with what’s offered by countless other taco trucks so flavor, freshness and fillings become deal breakers. Burritos never seem overstuffed or unbalanced with any particular ingredient and meat is cooked to perfection. Grab a glass of horchata and dig in.

Robyn Chelsea-Seifert is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. Her work has appeared in The Miami Herald, Creem, Hit Parader, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel and International Musician. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

Comments (18)
  1. JCA says:

    Yeah but you have to go to the Ghetto to get them & risk being shot!

    1. CT says:

      Ignorant wussy. Don’t you know the ghetto doesn’t dicey until night time. You can stay in Marin, Danville or wherever you come from and keep the lines shorter for me. but you are missing out on some seriously great food.

  2. A.N. says:

    Um you’re suggesting we go to Oakland and to a taco truck no less? I don’t care if they taste like caviar, I’m not going to risk my life to get one.

    1. Kevin says:

      That’s great, I totally agree. I couldn’t help laughing though. 🙂

  3. Topher says:

    Don’t worry y’all… the best place in the east bay is really La Costa in Oakley. They didn’t really do their research.

    1. Hesh says:

      OAKLEY!!!! Oakley??? Who goes there? La Costa is good I’ll give you that but definitively not best in the bay. Why don’t you venture out of suburbia and try El Novillo…Just a thought.

    2. CT says:

      Oakley= Siberia with Meth. Oakland and The Mission have by far the best burritos in the country.

  4. josh says:

    Didn’t do the research….GORDO’s deserves a high ranking. Locations in East Bay and SF. This is the real deal…with much less risk of getting killed while going there!

  5. Robyn Chelsea-Seifert says:

    I’ve eaten at Gordos a couple of times. I have never been impressed with my meals (burritos) to the point that I could give it a glowing review. But if you enjoy it, bon appetit! 🙂

  6. Hank says:

    Oakley? Gordo? Where do you all live and eat? It’s the East Bay, people, 2/3 of all restaurants are going to be in Oaktown – it’s the biggest city in the East Bay. El Novillo and Sinaloa are the bomb. I don’t eat in Chinese restaurants where no Chinese people are eating, and when I want good Mexican food I go to the barrio where the cars have Piolin bumper stickers.

  7. AJ Buttacavoli says:

    You mean I can’t get a decent burrito in Walnut Creek where I live? Gee, I guess the many burritos I have here at a number of great spots are a figment of my imagination. The idea that only the Hispanic community in Oakland can produce great burritos is silly beyond words.

    1. CT says:

      A good Walnut Creek burrito?
      I grew up there. Spent a lot of adult years there. I’m obsessed with burritos. Good one doesn’t exist in WC.
      Go to Concord, Oakland, The Mission.

  8. rcs says:

    We’d love to hear about those burrito places in Walnut Creek AJ.. Share it with the world!! ;D

  9. Anon says:

    Hey KCBS – I think the people are try to tell you that when you make a statement like “East Bay” or “South Bay”, the readers view that statement to mean, they writers went through the majority of the cities and did a real sample.

    Livermore, Pleasanton, Dublin, Sunol, San Ramon, Castro Valley, Walnut Creek, Concord, Brentwood, Martinez, to name just a few…………

    1. Hank says:

      The title wasn’t “A Sampling of Burritos Around the East Bay” it was “The BEST Burritos in the East Bay.” Perhaps the best burritos aren’t in Walnut Creek or Oakley or Rodeo or El Cerrito. Anyone who hasn’t eaten a burrito in Oakland because they’re afraid of their own shadow isn’t in a position to malign Oakland burritos.

  10. Michael says:

    Somebody really needs a geography lesson. The East Bay is NOT just Oakland and Berkeley.

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