The latest project by the Piro guys, Dos Locos might remind Americans of US Mexican-American chain, Chipotle. And by that, we mean it’s almost a carbon copy from the red menu display on the wall, to the bulging, duffel-like burritos with flavors like barbacoa beef and pork carnitas, to identical condiments. However, unlike other China knockoffs which simply ape the layout, Dos Locos tries capturing the spirit of the original by ditching the additives and using top-shelf ingredients like free-range chicken. For the most part, it succeeds.
Its authenticity can be attributed to Chinese-American owner Charles Zeng doing his research aka eating mountains of Chipotle while working mergers and acquisitions in NY.
You order up front on the right, and the guy behind the glass compiles your burrito to your specifications, moving it down the counter like an assembly line. You pay the cashier on the left. However, we’ve heard through the grapevine that they might change the format to sit-down to accommodate Chinese customers.
We found Dos Locos’ staff exuberant and spunky, all too rare a breed in Shanghai.
Chips and guacamole
Burritos are Dos Locos’ lifeblood. They offer four flavors: grilled chicken (55RMB), beef barbacoa (65RMB), pork carnitas (55RMB), and vegetarian (55RMB). You choose from a selection of condiments, including either brown rice or cilantro lime rice, bacon-baked pinto beans or vegetarian kidney beans, and then guacamole, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and a trio of salsas.
They also offer a burrito bowl, basically the contents of your burrito over rice without a tortilla. We advise against it. While at Chipotle, the ingredients are fresh and colorful enough to hold their own, Dos Locos’ are slightly more monochromatic; the beans taste blander, the pork’s drier, and the guac, despite using the same Hass avocados, lacks some butteriness. They need the tortilla to bind them together. But when it does, enter one of the better bundles of meat, veg, and cheese in Shanghai.
Also don’t miss the pot brownies (20RMB). No, they don’t contain pot, but the lush, earthy fudge makes up for it.
Unfortunately, there’s no Negro Modelo or signature margarita to wash it all down, but they do offer Delirium Tremens (55RMB), Brooklyn IPA (45RMB), and one of our favorites, Rogue Dead Guy Ale (45RMB), along with the obligatory Corona (25RMB) and Dos Equis (35RMB).
Whether you’re looking for edible Mexican-American in Shanghai or missing your favorite red and brown burrito chain, Dos Locos massages the spot, despite a few rough patches.
Dos Locos – Suite B1-11, South Phase, 1515 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Changde Lu
(静安嘉里中心, 南京西路1515号南区B1-11, 近常德路).
See a complete list of our reviews here.
Benjamin Cost is Shanghaiist’s Food Editor. Email tips, recommendations, and news updates on Shanghai’s dining scene to [email protected].