Top 5 – East Bay burritos


Graphic from Weston Hopkins.

The burrito is the perfect lunch for someone on the go. Although it is native to Mexico, it gained fame in California among fieldworkers because of the simple and compact form. 

Throughout the last decade of my life, I have worked in my family’s Mexican restaurant making and selling food. In my free time, I developed a passion for food, in particular, burritos. 

I have gone on culinary adventures in the state as well as south of the border looking for new experiences. There are a variety of Mexican food options here at home, and while a few have proven unsavory, there are some restaurants that deserve recognition.

Here are my top five burritos around the Los Medanos College community. For the list I have excluded any restaurants I may have a personal tie with.


Carnitas Tijuana 

2193 Railroad Ave., Pittsburg

Carnitas Tijuana is misleading as their carnitas are inspired by the Mexican state of Michoacán. For those who have never had the privilege of experiencing real carnitas, this would be a suitable place to start. 

At its essence, carnitas is seasoned pork fried within its own fat. Most burritos with carnitas can get too greasy, but at Carnitas Tijuana, the cooks add pico de gallo, which evens the pork with a necessary fresh feeling to fully indulge. The sacred combination of beans and cheese also elevates how delicious the burrito tastes. It’s the perfect combination of taste and texture that is required for pork meat.


Tortas Ahogadas El Tio

3400 Main St., Oakley

The bland building sits on Main St., overshadowed by La Costa a block away. In pre-COVID times the small shack could only sit two tables.

This restaurant’s specialty, as made obvious by the title, is the tortas ahogadas. What is not made so obvious is just how good their burritos are. To call this place a restaurant at all might seem as an exaggeration as it resembles more of a shack.

When I picked it up, I checked the bag to see if they gave me the right order. It was too heavy to be a single burrito, I thought. After my first bite I understood just how densely packed it was. At $7, it was a deal. 


Taqueria Salsa

3612 Delta Blvd., Antioch

This taqueria is great for a quick bite on a time constraint as the food is usually ready within five minutes after placing an order. Their mission-style burrito really stands out and it makes me feel like I am walking through San Francisco’s Mission District. Their side salsas are the highlight to the burrito as it adds to the combination of flavors. 

The Mission style burrito was made famous in San Francisco, but Taqueria Salsa does it justice. A proper Mission style burrito has grilled carne asada, tomato, onion, cilantro and whole beans — and it should be juicy not greasy.  Taqueria Salsa presented a perfect Mission style with the smoky taste of the grill still resonating on the meat.


Las Panchitas

1270 E Leland Road, Pittsburg

When I walked into Las Panchitas it had a large menu and it was decorated with traditional ceramics. A stacked pyramid of burritos displayed all kinds of sizes. For the quick snack, and for those without an appetite, it starts with the regular. The mini is a bit larger, and the super burrito is what I would define as standard.

What comes next amazed me. First was the burritozilla, and with the new Godzilla film, what better way to watch it than with a burrito worthy of the titan’s name. Finally, Las Panchitas serves the anaconda. It wraps around the table and could feed a family of five.

Las Panchitas is situated within close proximity to the LMC Pittsburg campus. Most of the burritos are subpar, but their chorizo and egg burrito stands apart and above the rest. Chorizo is Mexican sausage but with more spice it is that much better than what we consider sausage. It makes for a great breakfast on an early morning before class. It would be exceptional alone but the other ingredients such as the rice and beans can fill a student for an entire day on campus.


Taqueria El Tarasco 

41 Sand Creek Road, Brentwood

Any students who have been to the old Brentwood campus have most likely seen Taqueria El Tarasco. It used to be occupied by a Vietnamese Pho eatery and now hosts some of the best Mexican food in Brentwood.

They always have the freshest ingredients and the pico de gallo mixed with guacamole leaves you with a satisfied feeling instead of the discomfort that often comes with feeling exceedingly full. The burrito was not as packed as some of the others, but every ingredient was high quality. The cilantro, tomato, onion and avocado were all fresh. Many restaurants prepare their ingredients either in the morning or up to a few days before but by the sounds of knives hitting the cutting board I sensed the meat and vegetables are regularly cut up.