At 97th St Upper East Side, Manhattan 212-369-7399
I have a constant struggle to find good food on the Upper East Side (specifically in the 90’s) because that is where I work everyday. And while there are some good options for meat eaters, as a vegetarian it isn’t so easy. I recently took a chance and tried the Burrito Deli, and while the atmosphere is non-existent the food is quite good and authentic too.
It is quite a large place: with a counter on the right, coolers on the left, and tables in the middle. The coolers are about half full with beverages and the other half is supplies for the restaurant. There are tables, but I can honestly say that I wouldn’t want to eat inside. The place is pretty warm, and while I don’t really mind it’s not quite what you would call clean. This means two things: 1) the food is probably good, and 2) I can never bring my family here. Luckily it is just a short walk to Central Park so it is all good.
Burrito Deli actually can provide any other sandwich your standard deli can make (cold cuts, fried fish, burgers), but they have a pretty extensive Mexican selection. While I’m sure that they can make any item vegetarian (the man that works the register is very nice) I have stuck with the Vegetarian Burrito. Check out the full menu here (prices are off by about 50 cents).
For $6 (and this is cheap for a full meal on the UES) You get an enormous burrito filled with beans, rice, a little cojito cheese, and a bunch of veggies (peppers, onions, carrots, and more). The burrito is wrapped and topped with fresh sour cream (the more liquidy kind that you often find in authentic Mexican restaurants), and more cojito. Meat burritos are more or less the same price. The burrito is served with shredded lettuce and a pico de galo. All together this fills a very large take out container, and I am totally stuffed and satisfied when I am finished.
While it may not be the best Mexican food I have ever had (we have that in Greenpoint: Acapulco and Papacitos), it sure beats El Paso (located on 97th street between Madison and Park). El Paso’s veggie burrito is very American, but at the same time not Californian. Not quite what I was expecting from a place that looks authentic…for real… you eat it with your hands? That isn’t a Mexican burrito. But Burrito Deli on the other hand is a fork and knife experience. It is probably my 4th favorite Mexican spot in the city behind the two previously mentioned Greenpoint eateries, and Puebla.
If you happen to work on the UES I recommend trying the Burrito Deli…I really like it, and I have eaten there three times in the past two weeks…it’s consistent, cheap, and good. More than I can say for most of the places I have tried in this neighborhood.
**It came to my attention in conversation last night that I kinda glossed over the cleanliness of this place…while the food is very good, if you google you will find health code violations…I still like it.