March 31st 2011
Burrito del Rio serves convenient, quick Mexican cuisine in the Village
Burrito del Rio
433 River Ave.
Just off Osborne, hidden behind the Gas Station Theatre, Burrito del Rio greets you with neon words on a sign, reading: “Tacos – Burritos – Cerveja” – which is great because the restaurant lets you know it has a liquor licence as you walk by, but keeps the secret from those without elementary Spanish.
The food menu consists of various burritos ($7 to $11), tacos ($3), quesadillas ($8) and the naked burrito, which scraps the tortilla and places the burrito fillings in a bowl ($7 to $8).
Inside, Burrito del Rio is decorated with myriad cliché Mexican images on one wall that leads up to a fake roof inside the place – with scrapwood shingles to give the visitor the low-income Mexican neighbourhood feel.
It’s loud inside, and sound has a way of bouncing off the red walls and Mexican posters. It’s not a good place for secrets/gossip for this reason.
At a nearby table, I could quite clearly comprendo a conversation being had by two girls about cheating on their boyfriends.
I had a mediano (as opposed to grandé) Pollo Achiote burrito, described as “roast chicken marinated in a citrus achiote sauce,” along with a bottled orange Jarrito, a Mexican soda and a chicken quesadilla.
The taste of both the burrito and the soda were both very subtle. There are options of hot salsas and sauces, so it is suitable for spicy eaters as well as amigos with sensitive palates.
The very friendly employees put your burrito together in the Subway-famous format where, after you choose your food, they walk you from one end of the sneeze guard to the other, asking what kind of beans you want, and whether you’d like rice, corn, cilantro, peppers, sauces, etc.
My burrito fell apart as I was eating it, as is the nature of burritos, so be sure to snag a fork if you’re grabbing food to go.
Burrito del Rio is appropriate for all demographics and during my 30 minutes there, I saw many different people getting take-out and eating in.
Beside me sat a Mexican family who spoke Spanish. That made it feel authentic, but I’m not sure that happens often.
I liked them better than the cheating girlfriends, anyway.
One would be best advised to avoid Burrito del Rio at peak hours as it is very small, in a much-walked area, near the corner of Osborne and River.
As long as you’re not bothered by the sound of many people talking in a small room, it’s a fine stop for quick Mexican cuisine and cervejas at a reasonable price.
If you don’t like noise and people, order to go.
This article appeared in Volume 65, Number 25 of The Uniter, published March 31st 2011.