The draw of Appu’s Cafe, a pseudo-Indian, maybe-fusion restaurant hidden in the Woodruff Medical Offices over on the east side, is one of both simple quality and contagious affection: It serves up some of the best quality vegetarian food in the city—it rightfully earned a spot on my most underrated restaurants list last year—and Appu’s wife works as a doctor in the building so they can both promote health through food and direct care.
Amid the many worthy dishes—their soups are genuinely great, from both yellow and black lentil offerings to their mulligatawny soup, a stellar black peppered-concoction that is worth every drop—it is their Maharaja Burrito that was recently named as one of the best burritos in the nation (and in the state) by Yelp!.
The vegetarian burrito is filled with turmeric rice, chunks of saag paneer, lentils and mushrooms if you request it. It has a mini-cult following on Yelp!, which is precisely what led to the ranking.
Which brings us to a little bit of intellectual honesty amid the celebration: the overstepping on behalf of Yelp! (which partnered with Insider to create the list) is a bit eyebrow-raising.
For one, there is no single best burrito in the region let alone California as a whole. An argument pitting La Azteca’s chile relleno burrito versus Al & Bea’s bean-and-cheese-heaven-in-a-burrito—in my humble opinion, both of which are far superior nods to the almighty burrito when compared to Appu’s noble attempt—would render a stalemate.
Listicles and rankings—yes, including my very own—are as deceitful as they are addicting. We will always be drawn to them but there will always be issues. While I believe the Maharaja Burrito is certainly not the best in the state, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t grab one. So enjoy. And, after that, go to Tito’s Bakery.
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