Fresno’s most famous restaurant dish? Sal’s fancy burrito


Sal’s Mexican restaurant’s popular Fancy Burrito with Chile Con Carne in the foreground was voted Fresno’s Most Famous Dish Bee Readers Poll, pictured Thursday, May 26, 2022 in Fresno.

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What is Fresno’s most famous restaurant dish?

We asked this question in an online survey of Bee readers and you answered it. The winner: the fancy burrito from Sal’s Mexican restaurants.

Read on to know more about it.

What other foods have made it to the top of the Most Famous Dishes playlists? Take a look at the top 10.

Note: We asked about the best-known restaurant dishes – not the best. And 7% of the votes were write-in, but split between so many restaurants that they didn’t change the top 10 ranking.

Sal’s Mexican restaurant’s popular Fancy Burrito featuring Chili Con Carne, left, or made with Chili Verde, right, was voted Fresno’s Most Famous Dish Bee Readers Poll, pictured Thursday 26 May 2022 in Fresno. ERIC PAUL ZAMORA [email protected]

1. The chic burrito of Mexican restaurants in Sal.

This burrito features beans and chili con carne in a large flour tortilla topped with more chili con carne and lots of melted jack cheese.

“It’s comfort food for me,” said Sal’s owner/partner Lorraine Salazar.

His father, the restaurants’ founder, Sal Salazar, invented it in the 1970s using his grandmother’s chili con carne recipe.

“It’s a moist burrito to eat with your fork,” she said. “It was just one of those things that took off that people love. They identify that with Mexican comfort food.

You can get all kinds of variations, like half a chili verde burrito, or make it extra crispy. It is available in full size or half size. It is available at all three Sal locations: Fresno, Selma and Madera.

2. The tacos of La Elegante.

food web
La Elegante’s adobada (chili-braised pork) tacos were named in a Food Network story about the best things to eat in California by Natalie B. Compton. Natalie B. Compton BEE SPECIAL

La Elegante has a small taqueria at 1420 Kern St. in Chinatown. His asada and al pastor tacos are favorites.

It also has a food truck, which has often won the Taco Truck Throwdown. The best place to find the truck is from 10:30 a.m. to about 2:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday at the corner of Maple and Muscat avenues in southeast Fresno.

3. Me-n-Ed’s pizza.

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A pizza like this is popular at Me-n-Ed’s, a staple with over 40 locations in the Central San Joaquin Valley. PAUL MULLINS Special Bee

Me-n-Ed’s is a decades-old favorite with over 40 locations in the Central San Joaquin Valley. Its pizzas range from the classic All Meat (with seven kinds of meat) to the Valley Veggie.

4. Dog House Grill’s three-point sandwich.

Three-point sandwiches from the Dog House Grill are pictured in this file photo from Fresno Bee. Fresno Bee staff photo

The sliced ​​tri-tip with barbecue sauce on a French roll is a popular favorite at Dog House Grill.

The restaurant itself is also a Fresno staple and gets packed during big games. The restaurant is at 2789 E. Shaw Ave. across from the Save Mart Center.

5. Annex Kitchen Sweetcorn Agnolotti.

Annex Kitchen uses Fresno State sweet corn as a filling for its agnolotti. Annex kitchen Special for the bee

This dish from chef Jimmy Pardini — little buttered pillows of handmade pasta stuffed with sweetcorn from the state of Fresno — has a reputation. It was the focus of an episode of “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” on Cooking Channel.

It is only available during sweet corn season (which has yet to begin), although other versions of the dish are available year-round.

The restaurant is at 2257 W. Shaw Ave.

6. Cracked Pepper Bistro Bread Pudding.

Bread pudding at Cracked Pepper Bistro is slathered with caramel and whipped cream in this 2009 file photo. DARRELL WONG Fresno Bee staff photo

Perhaps the most well-known dessert in town, most people who eat out end their meal with this bread pudding.

It’s a tasty combo of pastries, croissants, brandy, rum and cream, and you can see the recipe on our website.

The restaurant is on the southwest corner of Palm and Herndon Avenues.

7. The tacos of El Premio Mayor.

Mayor of El Premio’s Alejandra Gonzalez, left, and Bianca Loza, right, serve free tacos to homeless people outside the Poverello home in this 2017 Fresno Bee file photo. ERIC PAUL ZAMORA [email protected]

Another frequent Taco Truck Throwdown winner, this company owns a taco truck and two taquerias.

One brick-and-mortar location is at the southwest corner of Shields and Maroa Avenues, the other at 3247 E. McKinley Ave. His food truck is on hiatus right now, but will resume in June at Tioga-Sequoia Brewing and Fresno Street Eats events. Follow him on Instagram to find out where he will be.

8. Estrada’s hot salad (tostada compuesta).

Estrada’s Spanish Kitchen at 370 N. Blackstone Ave. is pictured in this undated file photo. Richard Darby FRESNO BEE

This one is a blast from the past.

The last of the Estrada restaurants closed over 20 years ago. But Fresnans still talks about his old Californian/Spanish cuisine – specifically the tostada compuesta, more commonly known as a hot salad.

Former Fresno Bee food writer Sabine Morrow described it this way in 1991: “A warm, crispy corn tortilla was spread with tangy beans and topped with a mound of shredded lettuce, which had been drizzled with a invigorating vinaigrette. The result was a striking contrast of tastes and textures. A splash of brick red hot sauce and a handful of grated cheese finished off the tostada.

9. A connection between Chef Paul’s Fried Chicken and Grandmarie’s Chicken Pie Shop Chicken Pie.

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Chef Paul’s Cafe in downtown Fresno serves the chicken and waffles pictured in this Fresno Bee file photo and other comfort food. TOMAS OVAL Special for the bee

The Tower District’s Chicken Pie Shop closed in 2019, turning its chicken gravy pies and green vinyl seats into souvenirs.

But Chef Paul is thriving. The small restaurant at 952 F St. has a stellar reputation, winning a poll of black-owned restaurants and kudos from comedian Joe Rogan and model Tyra Banks.

It serves soul food and comfort food, and is perhaps best known for its oxtail soup, fried chicken and waffles.

10. The Daily Planet’s Royal Stockholm.

The Stockholm Royale is a classic Fresno cocktail. It’s pictured in this Fresno Bee 2020 file photo from when Veni Vidi Vici was selling kits to make it during the pandemic. Veni Vidi Vici

This pink cocktail is a Tower District classic.

It is said to have been invented by the late bartender/musician Brad Hufft of the Daily Planet. This restaurant is long gone, but Stockholm Royale – a twist on Stockholm 75 – remains a favorite. Order it at any bar in the tower and they’ll know how to make it.

You can find the recipe, courtesy of Veni Vidi Vici on The Bee’s website.

A few favorites who narrowly missed out on the top 10? The 3ft long anaconda burrito at Taqueria Yarelis that went viral a while back.

Old-school entrees Nicola’s Stuffed Steak and Daily Planet’s Pot Roast also just missed the top 10.

And several people wrote in to vote for the chili relleno at Sabor Cocina Latina & Bar and the roast chicken at the long-closed Jet Drive-In on First Street.

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Bethany Clough covers restaurants and retail for The Fresno Bee. A journalist for 20 years, she now works to answer readers’ questions about business openings, closings and other economic news. She has a journalism degree from Syracuse University and her last name is pronounced Cluff.