A Hamburger Today

Which Chain Makes the Best Burrito Bowls?

[Photographs: Farley Elliott]

As a person with an unfailing dedication to tacos, I'm not entirely sure who orders bowls at Mexican chains. People trying to be healthy by forgoing the tortilla? If so, bowls may not be your answer. They're still loaded up with all sorts of gut busters, like cheese and piles of rice and loads and loads of meat and vegetables.

They're also generally not any smaller than the burrito you would have gotten anyway. Is it some sort of gluten thing? I don't know much about gluten except that judging by the public fear of it, I thought it was going to have a bad guy cameo in The Dark Knight Rises.

Yet, plenty of chains offer bowls as viable alternatives to the tacos and burritos I've come to love. So be it. With similar (or, on occasion, exact) ingredients as what's found in my burrito, I can swing a bowl. Heck, I usually opt for the ice cream cup over the cone, so there! Now, down to business. Which Mexican chain makes the best bowls?

Since this is all scientific and whatnot, we've listed the criteria for judgement below, just like every other chain competition we've done so far. But first, let me be absolutely clear about one thing: While the bowls are popular options at pick-it-yourself chains like Chipotle and Qdoba, there's nothing new there that we haven't already covered in our previous steak, chicken, carnitas, ground beef, fish and vegetarian burrito iterations.

Let's get to work on the bowls!

The Criteria

The Chains We Tried


El Pollo Loco Pollo Bowl
El Pollo Loco Ultimate Bowl
Wahoo's Wafu Bowl
Wahoo's Kalua Pig Bowl

Wouldn't Kick This Taco Out of Bed

Baja Fresh Loaded Chicken Bowl
Baja Fresh Steak & Shrimp Bowl

Not Recommended

Taco Bell Steak Cantina Bowl
Taco Bell Chicken Cantina Bowl
Taco Bell Veggie Cantina Bowl
Rubio's Grilled Shrimp Grande Bowl
Rubio's Grilled Chicken Grande Bowl

About the author: Farley Elliott is a writer and comedian living in Los Angeles. He blogs about burgers at Beef and Bun and covers the LA comedy scene for LAist.com.

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