In most cases, gas station food is only eaten by the most desperate of travelers and the most delirious of stoners. It’s an experience that’s typically marked with lingering regret and occasional food poisoning. But after I ate dinner at Cilantro Mexican Grill inside of a Chevron Station in North Hollywood, I felt inspired (if more than a little bit perplexed).
After years in LA, I have grown accustomed to (and been spoiled by) getting chef-driven, inventive food from taco trucks and pop up restaurants. Still, the idea of having a genuinely notable dining experience while sitting next to a Doritos display inside of a gas station was baffling. Because Cilantro isn’t just good for gas station food, it isn’t just good for a Mexican restaurant in North Hollywood, Cilantro is one of the best Mexican restaurants I have eaten at in my entire life.
More importantly, it also has the single most delicious, decadent, and unforgettable burrito I have come across in 33 years of searching, from the trucks of Los Angeles, to the taquerias of Central California and the Bay Area, across the breadth of Mexico, and even China — the surf and turf burrito.