Before, when you heard someone say that there are no good Mexican spots in New York, you would find yourself agreeing as that argument is mostly true. However, times have changed and many people can definitely say that there are now great restaurants in NYC where you can get authentic Mexican food. If you know where to look, you can discover back room taquerias, traditional Mexican food stalls, and fine dining restaurants serving exceptional Mexican dishes. Below are 10 of the best Mexican restaurants around the city, where you can get your tacos, burritos, and guacamole fix.
10 Places to Enjoy Mexican Food in New York City
This Mexican-inspired shared plates restaurant has world-renowned Chef Enrique Olvera creating the magnificent dishes, along with his team of talented cooks. The dishes that Cosme serves are rooted in Mexican flavors and traditions, while also honoring the local and seasonal ingredients from the Hudson Valley. The windowless restaurant has 65 seats in the main dining area and another 65 in the bar and lounge area. Although the menu changes frequently, some of the most recommended dishes include the duck carnitas, lobster pibil, and the mushroom and squash barbacoa.
- El Atoradero
This restaurant evolved out of a Bronx bodega, where the owner, Denisse Lina Chavez, would serve her famous carnitas. Due to rent hikes at the Bronx location, El Atoradero landed at a much larger location in Prospect Heights. The restaurant has an ever-changing menu, so make sure that you ask about the daily specials. But, there will always be carnitas which are luscious chunks of braised pork that are piled into sopes, picadas, or tacos.
- Casa Enrique
This 40-seat Mexican eatery features traditional Mexican plates, which include recipes based on the owner’s late mother. Some of their signature dishes are chicken mole and cochinito chiapaneco or guajillo marinated baby pork ribs.
- Los Tacos No. 1
This tiny taco kiosk is the brainchild of three friends from Southern California and Tijuana, Mexico and is considered by some as the best in the city. The tortillas are hand-pressed to order so you can be guaranteed of their quality and freshness. The taquero can even customize your order and make it the way you like it. Although there is no seating as it is only a stand-up kiosk, the experience will be worth it. Make sure that you try the al pastor pork taco and the adobada.
- Rosa Mexicano TriBeCa
This place houses a full-service restaurant on the second floor, while the ground floor has a tequileria concept called Masa Y Agave. Both concepts have a dedicated Masologist to make great tortillas for quesadillas, enchiladas, and tacos. Try their guacamole, tacos al carbon, and shrimp quesadillas and you will definitely come back wanting more.
This Mexican eatery is owned by husband and wife restaurateur Marc Meyer and Vicki Freeman. Rosie’s was inspired by Meyer’s Mexico travels over the last 30 years as well as Chef Angel Andrade’s family recipes. Some of the specialties feature tacos, ceviches, huaraches, whole-roasted meat and many more. Do not forget to order fresh seafood cocktails, pescada a la talla, guise de puerco, and their Enchilada Suizas.
- Tacuba Midtown
This place is owned and managed by Mexican chef and restaurateur Julian Medina. It features starters and ceviches like quesadilla de flor with burrata, zucchini flower, manchego, kale pesto, and chile de arbol. Aside from great food, Tacuba Midtown also has cocktails like margaritas, palomas, as well as tequila flights, wine, and beer.
- Playa Betty’s
This Mexican place located on the Upper West Side was inspired by the taco shacks that are along the California coastline. You can never go wrong with their tostadas and traditional tacos. You can also try other unique varieties such as the Southern Girl Taco which consists of fried chicken, poblano chiles, shredded lettuce, jalapeño crema.
- El Vez and El Vez Burrito Bar
From Philly, Stephen Starr brought his famous Mexican joint to New York, also bringing specialties such as tacos and enchiladas. It even expanded to a fast-casual burrito concept where you can build your own burrito. You can choose among various proteins, salsas, and toppings, including Fritos for added crunch. For dessert, you have to try the horchata-flavored soft serve for a great ending to a nice meal.
This food truck has gained a lot of following because of its gourmet taco varieties featuring duck, pork belly, and goat among others. You can even garnish your taco with different fresh vegetables and a variety of hot sauces. The specials change daily, so make sure that you try the carnitas and smoked beef taco when you can.