Lemme be straight with you: I don’t have the best opinions when it comes to food. With the taste-buds of an eight-year-old, I tend to like plain and bland. But I love burritos, specifically steak burritos. Also, I have a lot of vegetarian friends. Oftentimes, the only places we can agree to go together are Mexican restaurants, many of which do a great job of catering to both bland meat eaters and brave vegetarians alike. So why should you listen to me when I talk about burritos? Because I’ve got the unique combination of carnivore and herbivore to pull on, that’s why.
El Cid is perfect. The one on Kedzie, which is a half-block away from the Logan Square monument, isn’t the cheapest place on this list, but it’s not too expensive either. Their steak burritos make me swoon, and their vegetarian fare is more than delicious. One of the nicest aspects is that it caters to all kinds of occasions. Want a nice and pleasant dinner? Then eat on their second floor, which is well decorated and feels classier than your typical taco dive. Just want a quick bite? Their simple tables and the bar downstairs make it easy to get in and out when you’re hungry. Maybe you want to enjoy the great outdoors! In this case, feel free to eat on their front patio, or better yet, sip on margaritas in their gigantic back patio. It’s great for any occasion!
Las Asadas’ Western location, located in Bucktown off the Western Blue Line, does not lack in taste. A small place, they’re good for something quick, or for getting something to go. They don’t skimp on the meat they use, whether it’s steak or beef tongue, and their veggies tend to be quite fresh. They’re also not afraid to put things other than the typical “lettuce-cheese-tomato” combo on their burritos, like avocado. This isn’t too special at bigger restaurants, but something you don’t always see at the smaller places like this.
Listen, every place on this list is judged by a different standard. For example, El Charro is judged not by the taste of its food at any given moment. It’s judged by the taste of their food at a very specific moment: the moment you step out of Cole’s Bar (or any bar on Milwaukee Avenue) at 2 a.m. after a night of responsible and safe drinking and realize that you’re hungry. No, their food won’t hold up to the likes of, say, El Cid, but this tiny restaurant will be your savior in the middle of the night. In fact, drunk meat eaters and vegetarians both agree, this is one of the best ways to end a night.
Arturo’s on Western Avenue is another small place open twenty-four hours. Their breakfast is nice and simple, and also decent, perfect for those with simplistic tastes (like me). If you want their best, I’d suggest getting their al pastor tacos (“Mexican gyro,” as described on their menu), though I’m told their vegetarian tacos are also quite tasty.
Fuego Mexican Grill
Fuego is a more upscale restaurant, great for a special night out or birthday. All their meals are top notch and made with care. When I went there I had all sorts of fancy things I couldn’t name in and next to my burrito, which worried me, but foodies (boy do I hate that term) would love this. Besides, once I actually bit into the thing all my worries slipped away. They also have an impressive tequila bar, and are willing to make guacamole with the freshest ingredients right in front of you. Little things like that are what solidify this good looking restaurant as a superb place to eat.
Located in Wicker Park off the Division stop, La Pasadita is my favorite place on this list. They’ve got multiple locations, all next to each other on Ashland, all serving a different puprose. One is simply a little stand, while another is an actual restaurant. The third, which is the one I usually go to, is a faster, smaller restaurant that works as a nice middle ground compared to its sister-Pasaditas. Their steak burritos are Godly. Served with just onions and cilantro, the steak in their burrito is superb quality and tastier than any other steak in any other steak burrito in the city. I challenge you to prove me wrong! It is, admittedly, not the best place for vegetarians though. So, you know, if you don’t sustain yourself on meat and only meat, this might not be the best place for you.