The Best Burrito in Tokyo

by Michael Satterfield 

When you travel for long periods of time like I do, you start to miss the familiar, friends, family, your own bed, and of course your favorite food. Growing up in Southern California means I start to miss good Mexican food, which can be hard to find in some US states, so I had my doubts about finding any on my extended trip to Japan.

"Fajitas" at El Torito Shinjuku  
After weeks in Japan enjoying all kinds of interesting and new food, I was starting to want something closer to home. So I started to ask around and found out that not far from my apartment, in Shinjuku, was an El Torito. The same chain restaurant that we have in the US, and while it looked like kinda like Mexican food, you could tell they tailored it to better fit Japanese tastes.

Chiles looks like it could be in any Southwestern City in the US or Mexico.
 After telling friends in Tokyo about my El Torito experiance, they suggested I look up a small restaurant in Harajuku called Chiles Mexican Grill. When I got there I was excited to see what looked like an actual Mexican restaurant and that people were eating what looked like real Mexican food.

Once seated you can can order Nachos, Burritos, Tacos, and more. Like many burrito bars in the US, you have a choice of beef, pork, chicken, different rice, beans, salsas, and cheese. They also have salads, starters, and a great selection of Mexican beers.

Steak Burrito
But how did it taste? It tasted like home, the reason why it is so good comes down to one man, the founder of the restaurant and head chef, Carlos Batres. Carlos was born and raised in Mexico City and grew up in a family that loved to cook. In 2004 Carlos took an opportunity to work in Japan hosting private parties as "The Habanero Host" cooking for events for Japanese clients who wanted authentic Mexican food using family recipes he learned from his mother and grandmother.

Eventually his following outgrew the apartment parties and Carlos opened Chiles in Harajuku and quickly became a hit with the locals and tourist. Carlos and his partner Takiko Noguchi have a passion for exposing the people of Tokyo to Mexican food and culture and strive to bring in the most authentic ingredients.

"I wanted to share my experience and love for Mexico through a restaurant and good food, giving people the chance to enjoy the tastes and flavours that I have. Knowing Carlos and having someone that I trust to stand by me and make this dream a reality, we opened Chiles in Harajuku. My dream has been made possible and we are ready to rock your taste buds, so come and join us and enjoy the taste of Mexico" Takiko Noguchi.

If you are in Tokyo and would like to check out Chiles you can find them on Google Maps under Chills Mexican Grill or just visit their english website HERE.