New York is widely considered the city that never sleeps. In our opinion, it’s the city that also never stops eating. A wide variety of different ethnicities and backgrounds make up the demographics of the city, making it a melting pot for perfect any tourist to sample the cuisine each culture has to offer. You have your staple cuisines that have molded the cities menu selection such as Italian and Mediterranean. Sometimes forgotten amidst the more popular numbers of alternate ethnicities is the cities amazing Mexican offerings. For those of you planning a trip to the Big Apple, we’ve compiled a list of the top 30 best Mexican restaurants in New York City that aren’t to be missed during your next visit.
195 Neptune Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11235
This grocery store doubles as an eatery with excellent homemade Mexican cuisine. This gem adopts its name from the term used to describe a resident of Veracruz. “El Jarocho” as they are commonly known, are residents from the area the owners of this food establishment hail from. You can’t miss this grocery store and its cartoon drawing of Speedy Gonzalez on the awning outside. When patrons aren’t shopping for their grocery items, they’re enjoying homemade tacos Arabes. This staple is served with grilled onions and jalapenos. You can order their cooked-to-order items in single-serving sizes or by their center-of-plate meats by the pound to bring home and prepare with tortillas for the whole family.
113 West 225th St, Bronx, NY 10463
Taqueria Sinaloense is an exception in the Mexican eatery scene in New York City. Most of the Mexican restaurants in New York City serve a menu that comes from the northern portion of the country. This eatery offers selections from the northern portion of the country near the California border. As opposed to the more traditional foldable tacos, this restaurant’s version has “basket tacos”. The tortillas are deep-fried in olive oil, giving them a slightly crispy texture and a golden brown color. They are often filled with chorizo and grilled cheese or shrimp, reminding patrons of the coastal selections of Sinaloa.
6824 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11220
This artsy restaurant invokes the spirit of Mexican arts center San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato. This Bay Ridge favorite offers Tacos de Cazadores that are filled with abundant helpings or chorizo, avocado, and cheese. The dish that is most native to the city is enchiladas de Allende. These savory enchiladas are smothered in several layers of cheese and topped with a hearty salsa verde. Another dish not to be missed at one of the best Mexican restaurants in New York City (and one of our favorites) is the quesadilla. This twist on the dish is stuffed with mushrooms and squash flowers.
308 Willis Ave, Bronx, NY 10454
This hole-in-the-wall is located in the Bronx. It is among a small handful of eateries that have helped in popularizing the cuisine of Oaxaca in New York. Their specialty is mole, which is a type of Mexican flatbread that almost reminds you of a Mexican-style pizza. The mole Verde is one of the more popular selections amongst a handful of different selections. What makes this restaurant so special is the fact that it also serves as a community hub for social activism in the Mexican community. With Chef Natalia Mendez at the helm, this Bronx favorite is keeping cultural traditions alive and bringing awareness to the importance of equality in New York.
75 Victory Blvd, Staten Island, NY 10301
The easy-to-miss Taqueria El Gallo Azteca sits nestled on a corner, just a stone’s-throw away from the ferry on lively Victory Boulevard. With only three tables and a handful of counter seats, you’d be hard-pressed to comfortably accommodate a large party. However, the intimacy of this favorite makes up where size lacks in one of the best Mexican restaurants in New York City. The keyword here is simplistic, and this perfect-type-of-average provides something that one misses upon leaving the homestead for good. Simple, homemade favorites like quesadillas and the hotdog torta will leave you going back for seconds on your next trip to the New England area.
234 E. 116th St, New York, NY 10029
If you want an authentic Mexican environment that still leaves a ripple in time in Spanish Harlem, Taco Mix is your spot. This is your traditional, smaller taco with fresh pico, several types of salsa, and a generous helping of savory meat. Nothing more, nothing less. How could you go wrong? This specific brand of eatery mirrors the traditions of Pueblan taco-houses and doesn’t miss a beat. Next time you’re in Harlem, this is a must-stop. This would have to be our number one pick for the most genuine, true-to-their-roots Mexican eatery.
3908 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11232
This Brooklyn Mexican restaurant focuses mostly on the Mexican-style sandwich the tortas. These giant rolls come topped with just about anything. Massive piles of meat are served with refried beans, avocado, sour cream, peppers, and any type of salsa you want. With the recent rise in popularity of tortas to more mainstream American cuisine, Don Pepe can claim the title of a pioneer with the opening year of 2003.
61 Columbus Ave at 62nd St, New York, NY 10023
This slightly more upscale Mexican eatery boasts some of the finest culinary samplings in the entire state. Rosa Mexicano has two locations open in the city. One is near the Lincoln Center, with a second location in Union Square tucked into the East Side. With three lead chefs splitting the work between the two locations, the menu is a constantly shifting display of specials native to various regions. The East Side location is widely considered the city’s first Mexican fine-dining outpost. Josefina Howard will occasionally feature a special guest chef to whip up something special for restaurant patrons.
4324 4th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11232
Across from the Jackie Gleason Bus Depot sits a food truck that most Brooklyn natives have either sampled or at least caught wind of. This authentic Mexican specialist serves tripe, lengua, and veal head, a truly authentic Mexican food fan’s dream. Often hard to find Man abundance of Mexican locations that offer dishes beyond the ground or shredded beef, chicken, or pork, this food truck is a welcome commodity in Brooklyn. Don’t pass on the lengua tacos, which is one of our personal favorites.
665 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10036
This Puebla taco house is located in the popular Hell’s Kitchen area of New York City which is known for a variety of trendy locations. These heavy, tomato-based sauces topped on their wet burritos and chili Rellenos is the stick-to-your-rib equivalent to American southern comfort food in our book. Their specials are constantly changing so if you’re a local don’t forget to keep your eyes on their board for new specials.
284 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215
A second Oaxacan specialty location makes the list by way of Brooklyn. These dishes are culinary works of art with a futuristic twist, making them trendy and experimental enough to be an excellent date or cocktail night go-to. The hand-patted mole are among the best in the city by far, and dishes like tuna tostadas make this a special place. The stew-pot logo accentuates the restaurant well, as this Oaxacan hit has a splash of soul-food thrown in the mix that takes it over the top.
9413 37th Avenue, Queens, NY 11372
This upscale Mexican restaurant is a full-range cocktail bar and fine-dining experience for any occasion. Although the full-scale bar is an excellent commodity at this location, it is not the centerpiece. The food here is not to be missed. Experimental and contemporary Mexican dishes light up the menu courtesy of restaurant operator Pedro Pablo Castro. Known for its rich southern Mexican masterpieces, this is another restaurant that has a mole that tastes like it’s straight from the southern borders of Mexico.
213 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
This colorful and trendy Mexican restaurant catches the eye of its customers with pieces of artwork consisting of sugar skulls and several different variations of the agave cactus. With a much less common menu consisting of dishes from Michoacán, which is due west of Mexico City. If you’re a fan of pork dishes or fried fish, this Cobble Hill restaurant should be on your list of places to visit in New York City.
7605 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372
This Pueblan food staple in Jackson Heights occupies two whole storefronts in the area. One is reserved completely for a dance hall. It’s safe to say that Taqueria Coatzingo is a fairly lively place. Expect every dish you try from this original Pueblan fixture to be made from scratch. This is a favorite spot for the locals because of the dance hall, but don’t be fooled. This is much more than just a club. The food is just as big of a draw as the club part of the business.
171 Irving Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237
In Bushwick, this is just one of many Mexican Bodegas. The fact that it stands out as one of the best speaks volumes about this place. Over time, the menu has overtaken the grocery part of the operation and makes up the largest portion of the business. The homemade food here is something special, with staples like chili Relleno and the burrito Santa Ana bringing back in locals time after time. Although the grocery section is only made up of about two or three shelves nowadays, this Brooklyn favorite is alive and kicking.
77-99 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372
There are several taco trucks to make the list of the best Mexican food establishments in Gotham. Modeling after the Tijuana/Los Angeles style of cuisine, this taco truck has a red soup and cilantro heavy tacos that you can’t pass up. Serving food late into the night, this taco truck is no stranger to busy days and nights. Lines can sometimes stretch for blocks as locals roll in and religiously order their favorites from this Jackson Heights favorite.
189 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011
Roberto Santibañez is a busy man as lead chef for all three Fonda restaurants in New York City. With menus that constantly evolve based on seasonal favorites and regional staples, there’s a modern twist that keeps Fonda fresh as they keep cranking out the specials that are this restaurants trademark. The best part about this restaurant is the refreshingly low cost of their menu. With shades of a trendy Midtown fusion-style hipster restaurant, this favorite manages to keep up with the thrifty East Village prices.
10432 Corona Ave, Queens, NY 11368
This somewhat tacky, off-the-wall is an eye-catcher, to say the least. Tlayudas is the specialist at this Oaxacan implant in the middle of Corona. These are considered the pizza of the region. Black beans, jalapenos, cactus strips, and other types of meats are some of the typical toppings on these fired treats. Don’t forget the mole. The mole enchiladas here are some of the best in the city.
110 6th Ave, New York, NY 10013
This is one of the few Mexicali restaurants in the New York City area. Chile colorado, Mission Burritos, and other favorites you’d find on the menu in San Francisco or Los Angeles on a taco truck can all be found here. The restaurant is set up with a diner theme, chock full of odes to the trippy era of San Francisco and LA.
5-48 49th Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101
This small but very popular restaurant in Long Island City rose to popularity thanks to Chef Cosme Aguilar’s menu creations. Braised pork in red sauce with a side of black beans is one of the more popular choices here, but there are plenty of other dishes to sample that brings the flavor of Chiapas right into New York City. This is Mexico’s southernmost state, so if you’re into that authentic southern Mexico flavor, this place is right up your alley.
372 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012
Near Cooper Square, this enjoyable dine-in restaurant is nestled among quick-to-go style Mexican taquerias. The kale tamales and cauliflower tacos are among some of the options on this somewhat off-the-wall menu. Drink options include anything from crazy cocktails to espressos, making this an establishment with the ability to cater to any crowd. This fashionable, up-to-date eatery is a hit with the trendier tenants of the city.
128 Greenpoint Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222
A nod to LA’s outdoor cafes, the smell of wood fire permeates the air as roasted pork carnitas and flank steak sear to perfection over an open flame. Most of their meats are stuffed into larger-than-life tacos, although you can order larger portions and whole roasts to feed larger parties. This restaurant is priced up there with some of the trendier spots but seems to be worth every penny to the locals in Brooklyn.
215 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009
Yet another Pueblan grocery store makes the list of the best Mexican restaurants in New York. They offer a plethora of fresh, handmade tortillas, along with fresh chiles and other vegetables. In the East Village, this place is a go-to for homemade goods and farm-fresh vegetables. There are even a couple of small tables in the back that make up a small cafe. Great daily specials are served here including their popular tacos and quail-egg-stuffed meatballs. This is true Mexican cafe food.
229 W 43rd St, New York, NY 10036
This is about as close as you’ll get to a beachside taco stand in the middle of New York City. With a feeling of San Diego in the atmosphere, this simple eatery is a basic metal structure that only specializes in a few dishes. However, they are very good at what they do. Every day they make fresh flour and corn tortillas to go with their pineapple marinated pork for their tacos. The grilled steak is also a hit. If you ever find yourself here, ask about the double-decker tortilla. This monster is a double filling that sticks together with cheese and rice. We bet you can’t finish it.
86 University Pl, New York, NY 10003
At one point in history, New York City was a place void of food from Puebla. Before the introduction, the city officially had Tex-Mex. El Cantinero is one of the few restaurants still holding strong to the Tex-Mex style cuisine. Located near Union Square, patrons pass by every day for classic fajitas, hard-shell tacos, enchiladas, and of course, nachos. Frozen margaritas are also available for patrons seeking a cold adult beverage.
35 E. 21st St, New York, NY 10010
Cosme is another taste of Mexico City coming to you by way of New York City. Enrique Olvera and co-owner Daniela Soto-Innes introduced such dishes as duck carnitas (which are heavenly), lamb belly with green mango, and honey nut squash. The restaurant is very spacious and boasts very bright lighting, almost reminding us of a warehouse or a huge laboratory of some sort. Cosme is also a very trendy spot, so expect to pay a pretty penny for this excellent cuisine. Spoiler: It’s worth every penny.
1395 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10021
Javelina puts a unique twist on the TexMex brand. This Mexican restaurant has several different versions of chile con queso turned into different soups and dips. The most unique thing about Javelina is the twist they put on several different regional dishes. You can find their version of the Bob Armstrong dip, El Rancho dip, and the sizzling fajitas of Houston, Texas.
49-11 69th St, Woodside, NY 11377
With cuisine hailing from the southwestern state of Guerrero, their spicy, red-sauced-based menu is a hit in Woodside. Chef Adela Arias-Galvez is native to the region and brings his special twist to local New Yorkers seeking a new spin on Mexican food. Try the mole de Guerrero or their barbecue pork ribs if you ever find yourself in the area.
63 Carmine Street, New York, NY 10014
This Mexican restaurant is one of the only of its kind in New York City. They have four locations across the city. You can find them in the Lower East Side, the West Village, Williamsburg, and Hudson Yards. JaJaJa serves a strictly vegetarian-based menu that is friendly to any vegetarian or vegan in the city. They also offer delivery and catering at each of their locations.
259 Vesey St, New York, NY 10282
El Vez Burrito Bar in New York City has something for everybody. With a selection of over 150 different types of liquor, this full-service bar is a great stop for happy hour. This restaurant is themed much like a self-serve Mexican franchise. Everything is prepared, allowing patrons to move along a service line and select their entrees and toppings. This one has our top vote for convenience when you’re in a hurry!
160 8th Ave, New York, NY 10011
Mexicue has a very special story behind it. This restaurant chain now has multiple locations, but this wasn’t always the case. Owner Thomas Kelly started Mexicue as a small food truck in New York. Customers would line up for his beef short-rib tacos and other experimental dishes he put together. He’s certainly come a long way from those days. Mexicue now has four locations, including one in Washington D.C.
Next time you’re in New York City make it a point to stop by and sample any of the restaurants on this list. Depending on what you’re in the mood for, you’re certain to find something for every occasion.