Villa Mexico Cafe
296 Cambridge Street
Boston, MA 02114
Lunch counters and gas station corners were home to some great food in the past, and are experiencing a come back. Low rent, high traffic locations, they seem like the ideal kinds of places for cheap, tasty eats. The idea of food in a gas station always reminds me of Crete Souvlaki in Calgary – one of the best tzatziki in town served out of a gas station.
Villa Mexico Cafe is located in a gas station in the swanky district of Beacon Hill in Boston. If you’ve ever walked around Beacon Hill, you’ll understand how different this is than the rest of the neighbourhood. The only indication that burrito’s are available inside, is a small sandwich board pronouncing the greatness within.
I don’t mean to carry a West Coast bias, but when it comes to burritos, I find that the East Coast just typically cannot compare. The East Coast has some great upscale Mexican eateries, but most of the time, I like my Mexican food fast and cheap. That means tacos, burritos, tamales, tortas.
Villa Mexico serves a small variety of Mexican dishes – mostly takeout type stuff. The aforementioned Burritos, Quesadillas, Flautas, Tostadas, Tamales, and Tacos. They also carry a wide selection of agua fresca’s, but for me, it’s all about the burrito.
While they arent fast, they definitely put a lot of care and attention into their burrito. Everything is fresh, and made in house. Choices are reasonable, but not extensive. Chicken, beef, veggie, carnitas, chorizo, mushrooms, ham, and plain. For those who are fans of the grilled burrito – they grill them. I’m definitely in the group that are fans of the grilled tortilla.
The composition is a simple West Coast Mission style burrito. Rice, beans, cheese, meat, lettuce, tomatoes, house salsa, and sour cream + guac. I prefer my burritos much simpler – rice, beans, meat, salsa. I consent to cheese because, well, i love cheese.
The carnitas are very good. Tender, with a nice porky flavour, they are lacking the crisp bits that make a fresh prepared carnitas so good, but it’s a good carnitas. The tinga is also nice – moist, well flavoured, that’s all one can really ask for in chicken.
The big drawback to Villa Mexico is the time it takes to prepare the food. They prepare each order fresh – resulting in some very long wait times during peak hours. I’ve never been out of there in less than 15 minutes – and that’s even with no one in front of me!
However, as so many menus say, good food takes time to prepare. And it’s definitely worth it. For West Coasters, Villa Mexico would just be one very good burrito place in a long line of available choices. On the East Coast, this is the best burrito I’ve had in Boston.