Flatiron Lunch: Shaka Burrito Has Your Healthy Post-Surfing Meal

Every Friday we go south of the ML boundaries in search of a delicious lunch. Sometimes it’s Murray Hill south or the Flatiron District, sometimes Gramercy and everything in between- but we just like to call it Flatiron Lunch.

For our last edition of diet-friendly Flatiron Lunches (and before the mutiny is complete), I present Shaka Burrito, a slightly out-of-bounds Hawaii-themed healthy burrito and taco place. Started as a Jersey Shore restaurant in Long Branch, Shaka opened on East 23 a couple months ago.

Shaka is really committed to the Hawaiian surfer/beach theme. With surf boards displaying the menu and a tiki hut like drink display…

And even a medium sized aquarium with live fish!!!

The Big Kahuna burrito ($9.95) seemed like a safe ML bet with chicken, beef, two types of cheese, cabbage, guacamole, beans, brown rice, onions and corn salsa in a whole wheat wrap. The burrito came with a fair side portion of tortilla chips and salsa, which I downed (not totally surprising given I have been known to have chips and salsa for dinner).

Despite a good variety of ingredients, the overall flavor of the burrito was underwhelming. It seemed to me that the individual ingredients weren’t properly marinated, roasted or seasoned in advance of cooking, so there wasn’t depth to the flavors. The medium spicy salsa struck a balance between fresh tomatoes and smokey flavor and helped elevate the burrito.

The mahi mahi fish rice bowl ($8.75) struck me as a good alternate dish to try. My first problem with the dish was the base of cilantro brown rice. You may or may not like Chipotle, but the way they flavor the rice with oil, salt, lime juice, more salt, and cilantro is delicious to me. This rice doesn’t have that.

I also noticed that the dish has cilantro pineapple puree, but really it tasted more like chopped pineapple. I think it would have been much better if it was more like a jalapeño pineapple salsa.

THE + (What people who like this place will say)

  • Healthy food with 10% of profits donated to charity.
  • The summer beach theme warms up me up during this NYC winter.
  • With the right salsas, these dishes shine.

THE – (What people who don’t like this place will say)

  • Shaka doesn’t develop the potential flavors.
  • I don’t care about health or the environment.
  • Wahoo’s and Chipotle also have healthy options that taste better.

Shaka Burrito, 210 East 23rd Street btwn 2nd and 3rd Avenues, (212) 213-4612


  • The weird thing to me — and I haven’t eaten there yet — is that they’re styling themselves as “Hawaiian-themed,” but don’t serve plate lunches or loco mocos. And how difficult are those to make? Seems like an overpriced gimmicky place.

  • For those who now have a yen for fish tacos and non-bigchain mexi, Wahoo’s on Park Ave South (around 25th St) looks to be the better option. Search ML for the past reviews. I gotta stop by there soon; been too long.

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