We've given Atilano's a few chances over the fears. A rather disastrous first meeting gave way to a better second experience after a change in ownership. These days Atilano's is a regular in our rotation, so apparently things have changed for the better. What has improved?
First, let's be perfectly clear what Atilano's is and what it isn't. This is mainly a burrito shop, a burrito shop where sour cream is featured liberally throughout the rather large menu. This means Atilano's might not be your thing if you're one of those annoying purists.
For the rest of us, the burritos here are simply good. Be it the fajitas burrito—always fresh tasting—or the incredibly hearty and heavy Atilano's Burrito, you'll be able to find something decent here. And for being such a large menu, each item actually feels surprisingly different. We're not just talking a base stuffing with a new addition for each burrito; every one has a unique individual flavor.
And of course, if you prefer going sans tortilla, you can get the stuffing served on a plate. (In a sense, this might be what makes the menu so large—a large portion of items are on there both as a burrito and as a plate.)
Original June 17th, 2010 review
This is take two for Atilano's, a place I decided to give a second chance after a change in ownership.
I don't know if the kitchen has changed or not, but I have an inkling that it has. Atilano's Gone is the flavorless bland food of yore, and in its place you will find what the owners label true "San Diego Mexican." To me it seems like they've succeeded.
The menu is still longer than a Stephen King novel, and that's OK with me. As far as I'm concerned this is "good food done fast"—the drive-through is still there—and it's kind of fun to have a vast strange selection. Particularly seeing the competition up the street from the Inlander reader's second "best late-night food," Taco Bell. By our last check, Atilano's still is open until midnight.
The important part here, though, is that the food now is both good and reasonable. For $4 I tried a chile relleno burrito, and it was very good. Stuffed with Mexican cheese and a nice spicy pepper, as well as rice and beans, it might not give De Leon or Tumbras a run for their money, but it was still good Mexican-style comfort food. It was also rather large, so hey, bang for the buck and all that.
A comeback story is always good, and Atilano's has definitely come back from being dull. Hopefully you didn't have an excuse to go to Taco Bell before, but if you did, there's no longer any reason to go there. In terms of late-night drive-through Mexican, Atilano's is quite good.