Where: 879 Embarcadero Del Norte, 805-968-0123, freebirds.com
What: Classic Mexican fare in a college atmosphere.
How much? Prices vary depending on meat selection: Burritos $7.15 – $8.15; Quesadillas $8.15; Nachos $9.15; Tacos $8.15; Side of guacamole $1.55.
The dish: Freebirds World Burrito has been an Isla Vista institution since 1987. Never one to rest on his laurels, owner Mark Orfalea is on a non-stop mission to improve the dining experience for residents of this college town by continuously tweaking the flavors and options in his menu. The list may be simple (burritos, tacos, quesadillas, and nachos comprise the main choices), but the true culinary delight lies in the ever-expanding list of fresh ingredients available to build your own perfect meal. After picking from their mouth-watering chicken or beef as a staple, the customer can go to town with a rainbow of the highest quality beans (pinto, black, or refried), Spanish rice, cheese, lettuce, onions, jalape±os, salsa (mild, medium, or hot), pico de gallo, cilantro, barbecue sauce, sour cream, and an understated guacamole that excels by emphasizing the avocado and leaving out the filler. If that isn’t enough to stretch your stomach, try a homemade brownie and horchata for dessert. Implied by the name of their large burritos, you’ll have a monster of a good time.