I’m going to get this out of the way right off the bat. We are an Anna’s Taqueria Family and have been for more than 20 years. But we also really like Mexican food in just about all forms. Put it in a tortilla and I’ll likely eat it. As I’ve said before, lack of really good pizza and burritos in the suburbs where we live is the biggest food fail. I can make a very good pizza but haven’t really conquered recreating great Mexican street food at home. We are always on the lookout for a new burrito or taco place that is closer to home. Jamaica Plain isn’t all that much closer than some of the Anna’s locations but Chilacates was worth a try.
And I’m glad we did. Chilacates (it’s a type of chili pepper) is excellent. It serves a Mission-style burrito, among other things, that is similar to Anna’s but I’d put the menu’s options and presentation closer to another great Boston shop, El Pelon. And like El Pelon, they offer fish and shrimp as options. This is something I always wanted Anna’s to do and reason alone to keep going to Chilacates on the regular.
Each of the Chilacates restaurants (they opened the first on in 2015 and have quickly expanded to 3 more locations: JP, Mission Hill, and Chestnut Hill) focuses on counter-service Mexican dishes, including burritos, tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, tortas, and tostadas. Unlike the Anna’s style buffet line, you order up front and they make it in the back at Chilacates. You can customize each item, choosing from a variety of fillings, including chicken, carnitas, roasted pork, and vegetables and finishing touches like cheese, pico, sour cream. Hot sauce is available on the side. Chilacates offers selections of side dishes as well, like tamales, elote (roasted corn), and rice and beans. To drink, there’s horchata, Mexican sodas, a few domestic sodas,and agua fresca.
The food is fresh and you’re going to pay a little premium, you’ll notice it most on the seafood, which is far. The rest of the prices are inline with other fast casual places, maybe a tick of two higher. The large burrito was $8.99, the other main dishes like the taco plate, enchiladas, or quesadillas were 11.49-12.99.
The Centre Street location is small. There are a four tables on the left and a counter with chairs along the right. You can sit but it feels like a place mostly optimized for takeout.
The fish burrito was hot and full of flaky white fish mixed in with the salty rice and firm black beans. The tortilla was soft, pliable and fresh. The cold pico ran out of the tortilla and made a mess but that was my only complaint. It was a good burrito.
One plus, they do offer a few specific kids items, and kid portions, at lower prices: rice and beans, quesadilla or burrito for $4.99. And if you needed any bribery to get your kids to finish (it’s so good, we didn’t) their meal, the original JP Licks ice cream is just across the street.
If you’re a fan of quick, fast, and delicious Mexican street food, you should consider try Chilacates. I don’t think you’ll regret it. Now, if only their rapid expansion would bring it out into the suburbs.