Battle of the Burrito: El Jefe’s vs Felipe’s


Jay Parmeshwar

Felipe’s and El Jefe’s face off in this battle of the burritos.

Henry Bonney and James Rochberg

El Jefe’s or Felipe’s? Senior Coltrane Howell knows, telling the Register Forum, “[Felipes] needs to be blown up. Seriously they need to blow that place up, they suck.” Rufus Helmreich ’24 says, “Why would anyone ever go to El Jefe’s? Felipe’s is obviously better.” Clearly, opinions are conflicted on which is the superior Mexican food option in Harvard Square. Both restaurants have their respective draws, and we want to examine the pros and cons of each to give our definitive answer on which is better and see if CRLS agrees. 

Felipe’s is known to offer a warm environment and plentiful seating, a roof deck open in the summer, a burrito counter, and a bustling bar (not applicable to patrons under the age of 21). The most popular menu items are burritos and chimichangas. Their burritos are made up of high quality meats, perfectly steamed tortillas, and a basic selection of fillings; these burritos can be deep fried and topped with queso to create a chimichanga. Guacamole, steak, queso, and other add-ons come with extra charges. Felipe’s employees consistently handle large crowds well. Although you can almost always expect a line at Felipe’s, it’s also always expected to be moving quickly. 

CRLS is split nearly evenly between the two Mexican restaurants, with around 53% of students surveyed preferring El Jefe’s.

El Jefe’s recently opened a new location directly across the street from Felipe’s, moving from their previous location adjacent to The Garage in Harvard Square. The new space is narrow, modern, brightly lit, with walls covered by an abundance of different hot sauces free for the taking. Many find their burrito bowls to be their most attractive menu item. Their tortillas are moderately dry and their chimichangas offer a restricted selection of size and filling.

Many CRLS students seem to prefer Felipe’s. The once-out-of-the-way location and lack of versatility on El Jefe’s menu combined with loyalty to Felipe’s dissuaded students from giving El Jefe’s a fair shot, but once one does, many don’t look back. The sometimes inefficient service, smaller seating area, and somewhat unremarkable burritos are more than made up for by their burrito bowl. Only limited by the size of the bowl, giving room for a plethora of toppings, the $11.24 price tag ensures a tasty, filling meal at El Jefe’s. The quality of the meat and rice is minutely inferior to that of Felipe’s, but this is inconsequential when they are coupled with free additions such as fried plantains, chipotle mayo, mango habanero salsa and red cabbage: none of which are offered at Felipe’s. This combination of superior flavor, size, and price outweighs any argument in favor of Felipe’s.

CRLS is split nearly evenly between the two Mexican restaurants, with around 53% of students surveyed preferring El Jefe’s. We are relieved that the majority of students have arrived at the correct preference, yet disappointed that nearly half the students favor limited options, small portions, inflated prices, 2 dollar guac, and the risk of leaving a meal hungry. In the Battle of the Burrito, El Jefe’s emerges victorious. We urge anyone who hasn’t tried El Jefe’s to find out what you’re missing out on, and anyone who hasn’t tried Felipe’s to go and see why El Jefe’s is better.

This article also appears in our February 2023 print edition.