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Bright white storefront with stenciled name, pedestrians pass by one with a dachsund, outdoor tables in foreground. Robert Sietsema/Eater

The East Village’s Top Mexican Restaurants Open Right Now

Find all manners of tacos, hulking nachos, and margaritas aplenty to eat outside or take away

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We’ve lost some great East Village Mexican restaurants as a result of COVID-19, including the wonderful Fonda on Avenue B. But others have leapt to take their place, like Borrachito, which brings the current birria tacos craze to the East Village. Other places that were closed for months, like the sprawling Rosie’s, have finally reopened. Many East Village Mexican restaurants now feature outdoor dining, as noted.

From bodega taquerias to effete, white-tablecloth establishments, the East Village offers the city’s broadest selection of Mexican fare. Indeed, the neighborhood boasts nearly 30 restaurants serving various takes on south-of-the-border cuisine. Whether seeking a couple of Pueblan double-tortilla tacos for a quick bite or a formal sit-down dinner with mixed drinks and creative cookery, the East Village is the place to go.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Zaragoza Mexican Deli-Grocery

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215 Avenue A
New York, NY 10009
(212) 780-9204

Named after a town in Puebla, this miniature maze founded in 2000 is both a grocery store and a cafe, via proprietors Maria, Pompeyo, and Ruben Martinez, with a taco stand in front and (for now unusable) seating in the rear. Check the chalkboard for daily specials, which recently included a nice tuck-in of albondigas (meatballs), each with a boiled quail egg at its center, and a delicious potato-and-chorizo taco made with a pair of blue corn tortillas. Outdoor dining available.

Crumbled sausage and orange potato cubes on a pair of soft bright blue corn tortillas. Robert Sietsema/Eater

2. Borrachito

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206 Avenue A
New York, NY 10009
(646) 992-4743
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Once in the back of a bar, this taqueria has established a major street presence with a colorful window dispensing antojitos with the accompaniment of Jarritos sodas, beer, and powerful mixed drinks. Perhaps more notably, Borrachito (“little drunk”) has beaten the competition by being the first to trundle out a decent birria taco, flashily made with oxtail instead of goat or chuck roast. Choice of corn or flour tortillas (pick the former) and three salsas. Outdoor dining. Order online.

A pair of juicy meat tacos, one with a flour tortilla and the other with a yellowish corn tortilla that looks homemade. Robert Sietsema/Eater

3. Sabor A Mexico

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160 1st Ave
New York, NY 10009
(212) 533-4002

This thumb-size taqueria from Roberto Escamilla offers a perspective on Mexican food from the state of Guerrero, including green chicken tamales, deep-fried flautas, and a full range of taco fillings. Neither does it neglect Mexican-American specialties, with hard-shell tacos and some invented burritos based on culinary principles of various Mexican states. Shown is the transcendent burrito stuffed with seasoned ground beef. Order online.

A burrito broken open showing red ground beef inside, sided with pico de gallo and sour cream. Robert Sietsema/Eater

4. Taqueria Diana

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129 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003
(646) 422-7871
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Right at the corner of St. Mark’s and Second Avenue, Taqueria Diana is a small, no-frills establishment that calls itself “California inspired.” It peddles good and unpretentious tacos, quesadillas, burritos, nachos, and — somewhat oddly — rotisserie chickens. This favorite of the post-bar crowd is open until the wee hours seven days, and has spawned further locations in Hell’s Kitchen, the Lower East Side, and Williamsburg. Outdoor dining available. Order online.

5. Paquitos

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143 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10003
(212) 674-2071
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This East Village favorite specializes in simple versions of Mexican-American antojitos, including nachos, burritos, enchiladas, tacos, and taco salads. One thing you can get here and few other places in town is a chimichanga (shown), which is basically a deep-fried burrito. There’s no rice in its version, but lots of cheese, beans, pico, and, in this picture, chicken (other fillings available). The gritty red salsa is great, and a couple of rudimentary standing tables are provided outside. Order online.

A deep fried burrito broken open with guacamole, sour cream, and pico de gallo on the side. Robert Sietsema/Eater

6. Taqueria St. Marks Place

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79 St Marks Pl
New York, NY 10003
(646) 964-5614
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This darkened dive bar offers tasty Mexican fare at unexpectedly low prices — in other words, a bit cheaper than you might expect given the prime location. Neither does it stint on surprising options for the area, including buche (pork stomach) and cabeza (beef head) tacos. A burrito features the dried beef machaca found in the Southwestern United States, but rare here.

Two tacos from Taqueria St. Marks in a red basket

7. La Palapa

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77 Saint Marks Pl
New York, NY 10003
(212) 777-2537
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La Palapa opened in 2000 with a resort-hotel vibe and nuanced fare much better than it needs to be, from Mexico City native Barbara Sibley. The menu concentrates on regional food, from the cochinita pibil of the Gulf to Oaxaca’s mole negro, West Coast seafood recipes, and Jalisco’s red pozole (shown). Outdoor seating available on bustling St. Marks.

A square bowl of orange soup with pale hominy and green avocado slices visible in it. Robert Sietsema/Eater

8. Tacos Cuautla Morelos

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438 E 9th St
New York, NY 10009

This place is descended from a Queens bar with a full menu of Mexican fare, some of it unique to the state of Morelos. It’s no longer associated with the original, and the menu here is reduced, but you can still find good hand-patted antojitos like huaraches (shown) and tlacoyos, and great breakfast chilaquiles and burritos, though it doesn’t open till 11 a.m. Outdoor dining available. Order online. Note: A trailer spawned by the restaurant parks at First Avenue and 13th Street.

An oblong length of browned masa with a number of toppings including crema and crumbled white cheese. Robert Sietsema/Eater

9. Empellón Al Pastor

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132 Saint Marks Pl
New York, NY 10009
(212) 367-0999
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Right across from Tompkins Square, near the epicenter of the tumultuous East Village outdoor dining scene, this bar, via chef Alex Stupak, specializes in Mexican spirits and drinks, and offers a list of tacos centered on the namesake twirling cylinder of pineapple-marinated pork. Further options include a celebrated cheeseburger taco. All sorts of playful snacks fill out the menu, such as a corn dog with huitlacoche mustard. Outdoor dining available.

Six tacos, each on its own paper plate, including ingredients like ground beef, sliced avocado, pork chunks, and bright green cilantro. Robert Sietsema/Eater

10. Downtown Bakery

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69 1st Ave
New York, NY 10003
(212) 254-1757

Handily morphing from an Italian bakery to a Mexican bakery and finally to a taqueria, this venerable bare-bones institution open since the early ’90s was founded and is still owned by Pueblan immigrants Olivia Marin and Manuel Marmolejo. It produces some of the most wallet-friendly eats in the EV. My favorite is the chicken enchiladas with chile guajillo sauce, but the breakfast tacos and humongous burritos are similarly compelling. Cash only. Order online.

11. El Diablito Taqueria

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60 E 3rd St
New York, NY 10003
(646) 692-9268
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For some of the lushest nachos in town, flooded with yellow rivers of cheese and dabbed with crema, head to El Diablito, which has the feel of a Mexican restaurant near a college campus. Eight main toppings are available. The best I’ve tried is the crumbly el diablito pork, which is really just spicy chorizo. Breakfast burritos, tacos, huaraches, and quesadillas are also available. Order online.

El Diablito nachos East Village

12. Rosie's

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29 E 2nd St
New York, NY 10003
(212) 335-0114
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This sprawling spot from the veteran restaurateurs behind Cookshop offers a veritable index of Mexican regional cuisines. The menu effortlessly hops from ceviches to tlacoyos to carnitas to a Oaxacan mixed-meat grill-up. Many of the antojitos, reinvented by chefs Marc Meyer, Angel Andrade, and Chester Gerl, are whipped up in an open kitchen smack dab in the middle of the restaurant. Outdoor seating available. Order online.

Chicken on a white plate in a very dark brown mole sauce, with tortillas rolled in a napkin on the side. Robert Sietsema/Eater

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1. Zaragoza Mexican Deli-Grocery

215 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009
Crumbled sausage and orange potato cubes on a pair of soft bright blue corn tortillas. Robert Sietsema/Eater

Named after a town in Puebla, this miniature maze founded in 2000 is both a grocery store and a cafe, via proprietors Maria, Pompeyo, and Ruben Martinez, with a taco stand in front and (for now unusable) seating in the rear. Check the chalkboard for daily specials, which recently included a nice tuck-in of albondigas (meatballs), each with a boiled quail egg at its center, and a delicious potato-and-chorizo taco made with a pair of blue corn tortillas. Outdoor dining available.

215 Avenue A
New York, NY 10009

2. Borrachito

206 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009
A pair of juicy meat tacos, one with a flour tortilla and the other with a yellowish corn tortilla that looks homemade. Robert Sietsema/Eater

Once in the back of a bar, this taqueria has established a major street presence with a colorful window dispensing antojitos with the accompaniment of Jarritos sodas, beer, and powerful mixed drinks. Perhaps more notably, Borrachito (“little drunk”) has beaten the competition by being the first to trundle out a decent birria taco, flashily made with oxtail instead of goat or chuck roast. Choice of corn or flour tortillas (pick the former) and three salsas. Outdoor dining. Order online.

206 Avenue A
New York, NY 10009

3. Sabor A Mexico

160 1st Ave, New York, NY 10009
A burrito broken open showing red ground beef inside, sided with pico de gallo and sour cream. Robert Sietsema/Eater

This thumb-size taqueria from Roberto Escamilla offers a perspective on Mexican food from the state of Guerrero, including green chicken tamales, deep-fried flautas, and a full range of taco fillings. Neither does it neglect Mexican-American specialties, with hard-shell tacos and some invented burritos based on culinary principles of various Mexican states. Shown is the transcendent burrito stuffed with seasoned ground beef. Order online.

160 1st Ave
New York, NY 10009

4. Taqueria Diana

129 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

Right at the corner of St. Mark’s and Second Avenue, Taqueria Diana is a small, no-frills establishment that calls itself “California inspired.” It peddles good and unpretentious tacos, quesadillas, burritos, nachos, and — somewhat oddly — rotisserie chickens. This favorite of the post-bar crowd is open until the wee hours seven days, and has spawned further locations in Hell’s Kitchen, the Lower East Side, and Williamsburg. Outdoor dining available. Order online.

129 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003

5. Paquitos

143 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10003
A deep fried burrito broken open with guacamole, sour cream, and pico de gallo on the side. Robert Sietsema/Eater

This East Village favorite specializes in simple versions of Mexican-American antojitos, including nachos, burritos, enchiladas, tacos, and taco salads. One thing you can get here and few other places in town is a chimichanga (shown), which is basically a deep-fried burrito. There’s no rice in its version, but lots of cheese, beans, pico, and, in this picture, chicken (other fillings available). The gritty red salsa is great, and a couple of rudimentary standing tables are provided outside. Order online.

143 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10003

6. Taqueria St. Marks Place

79 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003
Two tacos from Taqueria St. Marks in a red basket

This darkened dive bar offers tasty Mexican fare at unexpectedly low prices — in other words, a bit cheaper than you might expect given the prime location. Neither does it stint on surprising options for the area, including buche (pork stomach) and cabeza (beef head) tacos. A burrito features the dried beef machaca found in the Southwestern United States, but rare here.

79 St Marks Pl
New York, NY 10003

7. La Palapa

77 Saint Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003
A square bowl of orange soup with pale hominy and green avocado slices visible in it. Robert Sietsema/Eater

La Palapa opened in 2000 with a resort-hotel vibe and nuanced fare much better than it needs to be, from Mexico City native Barbara Sibley. The menu concentrates on regional food, from the cochinita pibil of the Gulf to Oaxaca’s mole negro, West Coast seafood recipes, and Jalisco’s red pozole (shown). Outdoor seating available on bustling St. Marks.

77 Saint Marks Pl
New York, NY 10003

8. Tacos Cuautla Morelos

438 E 9th St, New York, NY 10009
An oblong length of browned masa with a number of toppings including crema and crumbled white cheese. Robert Sietsema/Eater

This place is descended from a Queens bar with a full menu of Mexican fare, some of it unique to the state of Morelos. It’s no longer associated with the original, and the menu here is reduced, but you can still find good hand-patted antojitos like huaraches (shown) and tlacoyos, and great breakfast chilaquiles and burritos, though it doesn’t open till 11 a.m. Outdoor dining available. Order online. Note: A trailer spawned by the restaurant parks at First Avenue and 13th Street.

438 E 9th St
New York, NY 10009

9. Empellón Al Pastor

132 Saint Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009
Six tacos, each on its own paper plate, including ingredients like ground beef, sliced avocado, pork chunks, and bright green cilantro. Robert Sietsema/Eater

Right across from Tompkins Square, near the epicenter of the tumultuous East Village outdoor dining scene, this bar, via chef Alex Stupak, specializes in Mexican spirits and drinks, and offers a list of tacos centered on the namesake twirling cylinder of pineapple-marinated pork. Further options include a celebrated cheeseburger taco. All sorts of playful snacks fill out the menu, such as a corn dog with huitlacoche mustard. Outdoor dining available.

132 Saint Marks Pl
New York, NY 10009

10. Downtown Bakery

69 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

Handily morphing from an Italian bakery to a Mexican bakery and finally to a taqueria, this venerable bare-bones institution open since the early ’90s was founded and is still owned by Pueblan immigrants Olivia Marin and Manuel Marmolejo. It produces some of the most wallet-friendly eats in the EV. My favorite is the chicken enchiladas with chile guajillo sauce, but the breakfast tacos and humongous burritos are similarly compelling. Cash only. Order online.

69 1st Ave
New York, NY 10003

11. El Diablito Taqueria

60 E 3rd St, New York, NY 10003
El Diablito nachos East Village

For some of the lushest nachos in town, flooded with yellow rivers of cheese and dabbed with crema, head to El Diablito, which has the feel of a Mexican restaurant near a college campus. Eight main toppings are available. The best I’ve tried is the crumbly el diablito pork, which is really just spicy chorizo. Breakfast burritos, tacos, huaraches, and quesadillas are also available. Order online.

60 E 3rd St
New York, NY 10003

12. Rosie's

29 E 2nd St, New York, NY 10003
Chicken on a white plate in a very dark brown mole sauce, with tortillas rolled in a napkin on the side. Robert Sietsema/Eater

This sprawling spot from the veteran restaurateurs behind Cookshop offers a veritable index of Mexican regional cuisines. The menu effortlessly hops from ceviches to tlacoyos to carnitas to a Oaxacan mixed-meat grill-up. Many of the antojitos, reinvented by chefs Marc Meyer, Angel Andrade, and Chester Gerl, are whipped up in an open kitchen smack dab in the middle of the restaurant. Outdoor seating available. Order online.

29 E 2nd St
New York, NY 10003

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