505 ½ L St.
Mon. through Sat. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sun closed
Food: 4 stars
Ambiance: 2 and one-half
Service: 4 stars
Whenever I hear, or participate in discussion about where to get Mexican food in Davis, it’s often limited to Taqueria Guadalajara or El Mariachi. Guad’s – as it’s familiarly known – is cheap and easy, located across the street from the apartment complexes on Alvarado where seemingly every third Davis student lives. And El Mariachi is mere blocks from the bars and features amazing agua fresca. It’s a great debate, and Chipotle picks up a few votes too, even though it’s swarming with high schoolers.
Enter the wild card – Taqueria Davis, “Home of the California Burrito.” Located at the corner of Fifth Street and L Street next to Aggie Liquor and Pizza Guys. It gets my vote and is absolutely worth the trip.
The first thing that stands out about Taqueria Davis is their attention to customer service – the husband and wife that own the place welcome you with a friendliness I cannot recall matched at any restaurant I have been to in Davis.
The cashier has an almost motherly disposition, and was patient with all of my specifications. I’m a picky eater, and when someone who works at a Mexican place doesn’t look at me like I’m crazy for not wanting pico de gallo, it makes me feels a little better about the safety of my order.
The chef was equally amiable – after overhearing my dislike of tomatoes while ordering, he stopped by my table to offer to put salsa verde in my burrito instead. I had walked in no more than five minutes ago still fuming about the Cavaliers’ game, but had nearly forgotten about it thanks to their overwhelming courtesy. Their politeness provided a comforting atmosphere, and the unlimited chips made the five-minute wait for my order evaporate.
Taqueria Davis’ selection is fairly standard, and while their prices are not cheap, they are certainly fair for the size of the portions. I was full midway though my modified egg burrito – with chicken, potatoes, eggs, beans, rice and green salsa – and will easily have two meals out of the $7.49 I spent. My roommate went with their renowned California burrito and was satisfied enough to put it away in one sitting and couldn’t stop talking about how good their avocado was.
My other friend had just eaten but decided to come along for the experience anyway, and ended up having a meal of chips the entire time.
Chips and salsa are both complementary and unlimited, and if you are that much of a mooch, you can make a meal out of it. For those of age, there is also a great selection of beer, both Mexican and domestic, at Taqueria Davis. Dos Equis, Negro Modelo and Pacifico are some of the highlights.
What makes Taqueria Davis the best burrito in Davis, in my opinion, is their shredded meat. Rather than chopping their chicken, steak, etc. into pieces, they shred it, which allows the flavor from the burrito’s other components to integrate with the meat. For the less coordinated, this also means less food falling out of the burrito in between bites.
Regardless of what region of Davis you live in, Taqueria Davis is worth the travel. I can’t think of any better way to say it besides being cliché about it, but if you judge the book by its cover as a tiny restaurant in between a liquor store and a pizza place, you will be sorely missing out.
While Taqueria Davis cannot compete with the convenience or price of Davis’ better-known Mexican restaurants, it’s service and flavor are unmatched.
MIKE DORSEY can be reached at email@example.com.