Zona Rosa: best burritos on the planet!

If you haven’t eaten yet, I suggest you grab yourself a power bar or something, because these here pictures are gonna make you drool like a hungry baby. Or, well, maybe that’s just me…

Either way, allow me to introduce you to my favorite burrito place on the planet…San Francisco, California’s legendary Zona Rosa.

Located at the grungy tail-end of the city’s storied Haight-Ashbury district, Zona Rosa has been serving up bad-ass Mexican food for as long as I can remember. And, seeing as Christine and I have been eating there since 1990, well, wow…that’s a long-ass time, yo.

I don’t remember which one of our roommates first stumbled upon this wondrous place, but I discovered Zona Rosa in college, while living in a rundown flat full of crazies — seriously, we had six roommates and a cat at one point! — just a few blocks away on Fell Street.

Rolling out of bed, all hung over and groggy, and walking up to Zona on a Sunday morning in our sweats was more than just a mere weekend ritual for us…hell, Zona Rosa was our church, baby! And we rarely missed a chance to worship their tasty grub…even on school nights.

And, best of all, because it was the Haight, you could walk into that place in your flip flops and boxers if you wanted to. In fact, many people still do. And, yes, for the record, I did go to Zona Rosa in my boxers several times — before Christine came along and made me wear, you know, pants and stuff — but hey, they looked like shorts, so, no big.

But the extremely lax dress code is just the tip of the iceberg at Zona Rosa, because almost everything on their menu is fantastic. And though it’s not traditional Mexican food by any means, there is something kinda Cali-Mexi-authentic going on here with the flavors that is just amazing.

Let’s start with the beans, Christine favors the black beans, but for me, a Zona Rosa burrito is all about the pintos. I don’t know what they do those things, but they rock…HARD! Couple the beans with that fluffy orange Mexican rice and you’re already halfway to heaven, amigos.

The meat selection is vast: steak, pork, chicken, carnitas, saucy, dry, you name it, they have it. But my favorite will always be the grilled carne asada-style steak. Toss in some cheese, fresh salsa, guacamole and a little bit of sour cream, roll that shit up in a big, fat flour tortilla and you are good to go!

And don’t ignore those free chips either. Sure, they can be overcooked and a tad hard sometimes, but they practically melt in your mouth when smothered with the spicy green and red salsa they have at the tables. I kid you not, amigos, the food here is crazy-magical…you’ll die!

And though my friend Ginger probably gets sick of driving Christine and I all the way out to the Haight from our hotel downtown when we visit the City — as she did in July on our way to visit Master Yoda — I know that somewhere, deep down, Ginger’s a fan too. I think…

Either way, if you’re ever in the city, you gotta make time and room in your stomach for some Zona Rosa. As one of my most-loathed former roommates used to say: “Once a Zona Rosa addict, always a Zona Rosa addict.” And though that wanker has, thankfully, long since faded from our circle of friends, he could not have been more right about Zona…I will love this place till I die!

And I kinda mean that literally as I have already instructed Christine to toss a Zona Rosa Super Burrito in my coffin at my funeral. Yep, it’s that good!



Filed under Eat

10 responses to “Zona Rosa: best burritos on the planet!

  1. Melissa

    OMG, thanks for the torture! You would think I would have found an acceptable Zona substitute, living as I do these days in freakin’ Watsonville, but no. I can taste those nachos now. Hey, at least that most-loathed roomie never worked there, though, or we would have had to hear the daily song: “but with my employee discount, it cost…” : D

  2. yeti9000

    Ha! Hilarious!! But I thought it was our other most-loathed former roommate, Mike, who quipped that classic line. Wasn’t it?

    In any case, Taqueria Vallarta in Santa Cruz is the closest Zona Rosa substitute I’ve found. Christine and I eat there EVERY time we hit SC. Delicious! I don’t know if Vallarta does nachos…but if so, I’m sure they rock. You’ll have to hit them up for lonche! 🙂

  3. betheboy

    Oh we are there on our next trip to SF.

  4. Ah, I remember the Zona Rosa well. In fact, I think I can still attribute a couple of pounds to my love of Rosie’s Nachos con carne (beef was my meat of choice there). They were amazing.

    I don’t think I’ve been there since we moved outta the Fell St. house in 1992. Prices have sure gone up with the times. I thought I remember Rosie’s Nacho’s con carne being somewhere around $5-6 (which at the time was a bit indulgent for us as it was, if memory serves correct).

    And yes, it was Mike who first uttered that famous phrase.

  5. Melissa

    Mike…Mike…nope, doesn’t ring a bell.

    Haha. I guess since Mike moved out of Fell before I moved in, I never think of him as one of the roommates. And really, I rarely think of him (or Gregg) at all. Maybe I’m just embarrassed at having dated that lame-o.

  6. Melissa, you mean you forgot how you and he would hold hands and gaze into each others’ eyes?

    You’re lucky! For some reason that haunting vision is seared on my mind.

  7. Melissa

    Oh, James, just imagine the comments I could make but won’t.

  8. yeti9000

    OMG, you guys are hilarious…it’s like living on Fell Street all over again! 🙂

  9. Ginger

    Yes, it is true – I admit it. Despite my eye rolling and the grief I give you EVERY time you suggest going to Zona Rosa (which, according to my calculations, is every time you’ve visited SF in the last, what, 16 or so years?), I really am a fan of those yummy steak burritos. Mmmm… 🙂

  10. Cathy Moon

    Hey, Ginger’s kid sis’ checking in here on the Zona Rosa blog. I really don’t have anything to say, except I had to be a part of the Zona Rosa love. Tom, can you make this a lick-o-vision blog site? Puleez?

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