Do south: Burrito del Rio kicks ass

Burrito del Rio Menu Board

The response to my sneak peak of Burrito del Rio tells me one thing…Winnipeggers love Mexican food, or any spin on it they can get their gums on.

So it was a stroke of genius for Duncan Grant, owner of Bonfire Bistro and the Latin influenced Cafe Carlo, to bring the taqueria concept to a tiny strip mall in Winnipeg’s Osborne Village.

(He does give props to Casa Burrito, which barely beat him to the punch, opening across from the University of Winnipeg last October).

Grant had seen similar concepts in other cities, he says, and there was a gap in the Winnipeg market that he thought he could fill. And fill the market he does, with beautifully toasted burritos bursting at the seams with top notch fillings.

bdr_int2Burrito del Rio’s interior is a cheerful interpretation of a hacienda courtyard, the focal point an order counter accented with beautiful hand-painted tiles.

Above, a vibrantly chalked menu board lays it all out, burritos of course taking centre stage.

Diners are offered a choice of fillings: Carnitas (essentially Mexican braised pulled pork), Barbacoa (beef slow cooked over an open flame), Pollo Achiote (seasoned chicken), Camardines (shrimp), and Vegetarian.
All meats but the shrimp are shredded into sauce sopping morsels. They’re all fantastic but the beef was a real standout for me, as was the shrimp cooked fresh to order. You’re forewarned that it takes a few extra minutes, but don’t let that deter. By the time you’re done paying, it’ll be ready. And you get your money’s worth, a sweet, bite-sized morsel in every bite.


Choosing either a mediano, a generous medium that hasn’t failed to fill me up, or a grande (I can only imagine), the next stop is the fillings bar where you build your own burrito Subway style.

And it’s here that the chef hasn’t missed an opportunity to introduce additional flavour with options like chili roasted corn and Mexican rice.

Re-fried pinto beans (so delicious…anything but the canned wallpaper paste we’re used to seeing) or black beans pack an additional protein punch as does the grated cheese. Mmmm…queso!


If you’re so inclined, you can choose a verdant swath of romaine lettuce, fresh cilantro, jalapeno (yaaaay for the heat), and/or green onions. And if struck by a flash of patriotism complete the culinary palette with the red salsas (a mild and hot) which provide the only glimmer of tomatoes I’m afraid to say.

Of course you can keep it green with a medium heat salsa verde and, if you’re willing to shell out a couple of extra pesos, a dollop of fresh-made guacamole. No matter what your combo, there’s enough choice to please diners with palates from the modest to the piquante.


The final stop on the assembly line is the sauce station. Choose from Mexican hot sauce, chipoltle mayo or lime infused sour cream (the latter works awesome with the shrimp). Then it’s off to the toaster to give your burrito’s tortilla shell a perfect hint of crunch when you bite into it.

Fajitas are similarly constructed, substituting beans for sauteed onions and peppers.

For an extra buck fifty you can platter up which gets you a handful of house made tortilla chips and a side of the same three salsas offered earlier.

BdR Receipt

Whatever you order, you’ll find the perfect chaser (besides a nice cold cerveza) in a frosty Jarritos, a Mexican soda available in a kaleidoscope of flavours including mango, lime, mandarin, tamarind, fruit punch, jamaica, grapefruit, guava, pineapple and strawberry.

Burrito del Rio
433 River Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba
(204) 415-5600

Burrito Del Rio Taqueria on Urbanspoon

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13 Responses to “Do south: Burrito del Rio kicks ass”

  1. burrito del rio does kick ass !!
    Casa Burrito kicks more ass when it comes to food.

  2. Oh man…that chorizo sausage is muy bueno! I’ll be writing about the great things going on there after a few more gorges.

  3. I’ve been twice…lovin it!!!
    The village area really needs a place like this 🙂

  4. Indeed a welcome addition. If you’re diggin del Rio, make sure you also try Casa Burrito across from the University of Winnipeg!

  5. I found the write up stating burrito del Rio was like Chi Chi’s false. Chi Chi’s was Mexican and tasty. If your looking for food like Chi Chi’s I would not recommend this place. I would not go back.

  6. Oh, we will need to check that place out. I’ve been looking for a good Mexican place (and I’ve heard really mixed, mostly bad, things about Carlos & Murphy’s). Thanks for the recommendation. 🙂

  7. Just ate here today. It was yummy but not quite authentic. They need some rice to go with the burritos and tacos & definately some tomates. Also a nice touch would be homemade chips to go with the guacamole instead of chips from a bag. also the guacamole was a little brown. The mango Jarrito drink was delicious.

  8. I’ve been 5 times now and i’ve enjoyed it every time! Love it!

  9. I’ve walked by several times and finally stopped to check it out. I’m glad I did!! I’ve been waiting for a place like this forever!!! Being a lover of Mexican food and with our limited selections in the Peg, Burrito del Rio is a welcomed addition to the area. Next stop, Casa Burrito but I will be back to Burrito del Rio soon!

  10. I live across the street, and, I find myself in Burrito every couple of days lol. For the price, I don’t think you can go wrong.

  11. How come there’s no emoticon for waves of jealousy. Can a person live on Burritos? These, I think you can! And on a budget. Thanks for the comment!

  12. At first I was excited about trying this place. Once my husband and I showed up we greeted by a blonde with a personality of dish rag… Very similar to the dirty old rag laying on top of the food they were chopping. No gloves!!! The moody waitress handled our food… after touching money and God knows what else. Dirty holders were used to place our tacos on. I scaped off old food and realized I was also scraping off old dirt. The worst guacamole I’ve ever eaten. Could it have from been the lingering food particles left in it all day? Tried to eat it with the crumbs we were served from an old bag of nachos that should have been throw out. Instead she dumped the contents into our basket… The amount of cheese she was putting on our tacos..or rather not putting on ..was a joke…I could literally count the shreds. I guess the dirty tables and the dirty glass door were a good indication we should have left… I will never go back. I’m curious as to why there are so many good reviews…is it the owner writing them? Another couple a few tables over pushed their food to the side and left. We too couldn’t finish our meal. We were too disgusted and too disappointed to bother and left as well.

  13. Bryananderin43 September 14, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Wow- disappointed to say the least. The guacamole was just awful and stiff and no flavour. (not sure about the raves?) The burrito was just basic- not tasty. This is so not authentic compared to good decent Mexican food. We should just stop trying to do latin/mexican food in Winnipeg. Never good. Carnitas are NOT shredded pork. I think too many people do crappy all-inclusive vacations to Mexico and this is the food they get served and associate it with Mexico. Not. I don’t believe the Mexicans even eat burritos… happy eats.