Food & Drink | OSAKA RESTAURANTS

El Zocalo Burrito: A Mexican Valhalla in downtown Osaka

by J.J. O'Donoghue

Special To The Japan Times

El Zocalo Burrito is, as its name implies, all about burritos. Located on a quiet street west of Shinsaibashi Station, it offers a reprieve from the never-ending throng of tourists wandering the nearby Dotonbori shopping district.

Though the restaurant takes its name from the main square in Mexico City, El Zocalo isn’t forceful about displaying its Mexican identity: There’s only one sombrero hanging on the wall. In fact, it feels more like an anonymous cantina.

Burritos come in two styles, regular or deluxe. The difference — besides price — is that the deluxe option is Tex-Mex-style with sour cream, cheese and guacamole added, while the regular variety is closer to the classic Mexican incarnation, with meat and refried beans. You can choose from the usual fillings of beans, chicken, beef, carnitas (pork simmered in oil or lard), as well as shrimp.

The burritos — flavor-packed with fresh ingredients — are wrapped in aluminum foil and served in red plastic baskets. There’s a lot going on inside that foil: rice, refried beans, tomato salsa, onions, lettuce, coriander and whichever filling you’ve ordered. Be warned, if you’re on a date, these hearty burritos can get messy.

El Zocalo also serves nachos, quesadillas and tostadas, and it has a small line-up of craft beers and Mexican brews. But there’s really only one reason for coming here: hefty burritos.

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