I was addicted to burritos before I became vegan, and I’m still addicted to them now. Whilst my order has changed from what it was before, it’s a testament to the excellent flavours of Mexican food that a burrito can be just as tasty without meat and dairy. I say can, because some options are better than others. I therefore decided to go on the entirely selfless mission of comparing a number of different high street burrito options, to find out which restaurant does the best vegan burrito. It wasn’t at all because I’m still addicted to burritos and wanted an excuse to eat loads of them… 🙂
My general order was a veggie burrito including rice, black beans, roasted veg, guacamole, a combination of hot and mild salsa, lettuce and a squeeze of lime when available. Hold the cheese and sour cream, and you’ve got yourself a vegan option. In my opinion the most important ingredients to get right in a vegan burrito, and which differentiate one chain’s from another, are the guacamole and the sauces.
#6 Benito’s Hat – £5.50
It was a tough call whether to place this one or Barburrito as most disappointing. The burrito was very poor – really dull and bland. Unlike many other burrito places which usually have peppers and onions as their roasted veg, Benito’s Hat’s veg mostly consisted of chunks of courgette, which didn’t make for a great texture. A nice touch was the option to add coriander and onion, but it didn’t seem to make a difference.
Instead of the usual black beans I chose refried beans, as I love these and they’re not available in many other burrito places. Unfortunately this didn’t save the Benito’s Hat burrito. I also wasn’t a fan of their hot sauces coming from a squeezy bottle rather than fresh from a tray, although I’m not sure if this makes much difference. Last but not least, there was no option to add a squeeze of lime to the burrito, which really helps the flavour in my opinion.
One redeeming feature of Benito’s Hat is their cookbook, which has a recipe for some really tasty paprika toasted sunflower seeds.
#5 Barburrito – £6.30 (reg)
I’d been to Barburrito before, and remembered thinking that it was really poor, but decided to go again in order to test their vegan option and make a fair comparison to the other vegan burritos I was testing.
Barburrito wasn’t as bad as I remembered, but it really is nothing special. I noted a reaction of ‘meh’ to their burrito. Similarly to Benito’s Hat, it was quite bland, and in this instance tasted quite cheap, despite a higher-than-average price tag.
A nice additional touch compared to other places was the choice of adding mushrooms to the burrito, which I did, but I think what really let Barburrito down was the poor quality of its sauces and guac.
When I was there I won a free beer on a scratch card they were giving away with meals, but I don’t think even that will be enough to lure me back.
#4 Daddy Donkey – £5.95
Okay so this one’s not widely available, with there only being one of these restaurants (on Leather Lane in Farringdon) but I thought I’d test it out anyway.
Daddy Donkey’s vegan burrito wasn’t a bad one. It started off very positive, with good solid flavours, but I found it quickly getting quite sickly sweet. I was also worried about the guacamole potentially containing dairy as it tasted quite creamy, but they cleared up for me on Twitter that it only contains avocado, onion, lime juice, tomato, coriander & jalapeño.
Overall this was a decent burrito, but nothing I’d recommend going out of the way for. I may have been overly put off by my fears about the guac, so it could be worth trying again, although I did almost have to shout at them to stop them putting cheese in the burrito!
#3 Chipotle – £6.50
So Chipotle, the big name of the burrito world, only makes it to number 3 on my list!
Don’t get me wrong, the vegan burrito from Chipotle isn’t a bad one. I’d put it in the category of ‘solid and inoffensive’. It’s neither bad, nor exciting. It’s a hefty burrito, and you certainly get your money’s worth, but it’s lacking a little flavour. In this one I went for the option of brown rice (most other chains offer white coriander rice) and half black/half pinto beans. This is one of the places where there’s no choice to get a squeeze of lime, and I do wonder whether it suffers from it.
Overall a decent choice, but the most expensive of the bunch and not as good as the following two, in my opinion. The burrito was also fairly juicy, and leaked quite a bit!
#2 Chilango – £5.99
The vegan burrito from Chilango is a solid option, similar way to Chipotle. Again it’s not a spectacular one, but it is tasty and a good burrito overall. It’s my go-to option, being the closest one to my office that I rate highly.
All the ingredients here are the standard ones I listed above, so rice, black beans, roasted peppers/onions, hot and mild salsa, guac, lettuce and a squeeze of lime.
I’d place the Chilango option a little higher than Chipotle, and it’s a little cheaper. It’s enjoyable but does lack a little something, especially when compared to Tortilla below. However, if you’re around a Chilango and there’s no Tortilla available, I’d definitely recommend one of these.
#1 Tortilla – £5 (med)
Now this is the one. The vegan burrito from Tortilla was the first one I had where I really didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything, by not having my old usual chicken burrito. The first burrito I had as a vegan was from Chilango, and I remember being a little disheartened that it didn’t taste quite as good as before. Now perhaps my tastes have adjusted or changed, but I know that the Tortilla one left no disappointment.
What I think sets Tortilla apart from the other restaurants is the quality of both its sauces, and its guacamole. These were the components I highlighted as being the difference makers between these burritos, and this is where Tortilla has got it right. The guac is tasty, presumably through use of enough chillies and lime, and the sauces sweet and hot enough to load the burrito with flavour, helped along by a squeeze of lime at the end.
I’d definitely recommend the Tortilla burrito above the others. The medium-size is big enough in my opinion, and just £5.