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13 Top Mexican Restaurants in the East Village

Find all manner of tacos, nachos, birria, tlaycoyos, pozoles, and margaritas aplenty

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From humble bodega taquerias to white-tablecloth establishments, the East Village has got it all. The neighborhood offers the city’s broadest selection of Mexican fare, running from regional specialties to Tex-Mex, to vegan menus, and beyond. Indeed, the neighborhood boasts nearly 30 restaurants serving various takes on the cuisine. So, whether seeking a couple of double-tortilla tacos for a quick bite, a California-style burrito, or a formal sit-down dinner with mixed drinks and a wine list, the East Village is the place to go.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Yellow Rose

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From owners Krystiana and Dave Rizo, who were influenced by Superiority Burger, this comfy spot micro-focuses on the cooking of San Antonio late in the last century. Highlights of the menu include bean and cheese tacos, carne guisada tacos, chips and vegan queso, and a migas brunch taco, which is like chilaquiles wrapped inside a tortilla. Flour tortillas abound.

Four tacos and two doughnuts on an orange tray.
Breakfast tacos and other brunch offerings at Yellow Rose.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Zaragoza Mexican Deli Grocery

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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 tables 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. And it’s a good place to pick up a kilo of tortillas, bottled salsas, or a six-pack of Mexican beer.

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

Borrachito

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Once in the back of a bar, this taqueria has established a bright 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 trundled out a decent version of birria, made with oxtail instead of goat or chuck roast. Choice of corn or flour tortillas (pick the former) and three salsas. Burritos, fruit salads, and tortilla soup also available.

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

Sabor A Mexico Taqueria

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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 freewheeling burritos based on culinary principles of various Mexican states. Shown is the transcendent burrito stuffed with seasoned ground beef.

A burrito broken open showing red ground beef inside, sided with pico de gallo and sour cream.
Ground-beef burrito at Sabor A Mexico.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Taqueria St. Marks Place

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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 that’s a rare East Village find features the dried beef machaca found in the Southwestern United States and also associated with the states of Sinaloa and Sonora.

Two tacos from Taqueria St. Marks in a red basket
Tacos from a St. Marks dive bar.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Electric Burrito

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The excitement was palpable when this San Diego style burrito carryout (okay, there are a few seats along a counter) right on St. Marks opened last year. The menu is evenly divided into breakfast burritos and specialty burritos, with the former often containing french fries. Who can resist fries in a burrito? Meat choices run to pollo asado, carnitas, and carne asado (respectively, chicken, pork, and beef) but there are plenty of vegetarian options, too.

Two hands extend two halves of a California burrito, stuffed with fries, carne asada, rice, and pico de gallo
California burrito.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

La Palapa

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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 and influenced by the cooking of Diana Kennedy. 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.

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

Tacos Cuautla Morelos

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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, as well as great breakfast chilaquiles and burritos, though it doesn’t open till 11 a.m.

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

Empellón Al Pastor

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Right across from Tompkins Square, near the epicenter of the tumultuous East Village outdoor dining scene, this heavy-metal-themed 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.

Six tacos, each on its own paper plate, including ingredients like ground beef, sliced avocado, pork chunks, and bright green cilantro.
A selection of tacos at Empellón Al Pastor.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Bar Verde

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Really, there’s nothing standing in the way of creating a great Mexican restaurant in a vegan vein, and Bar Verde — by chef Matthew Kenney — proves it. All the antojitos come out fine without meat and cheese, including the Oaxacan tlayuda, which arrives lushly strewn with mushrooms, guacamole, and jackfruit, with too many additional ingredients to count. Mixed drinks are another strong point.

A round cracker with all sorts of ingredients densely strewn on it including guacamole and mushrooms.
Tlayuda mixta at Bar Verde.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Downtown Bakery

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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.

A pair of tacos rolled inside tissue paper.
Downtown Bakery originated the breakfast taco in the East Village.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Rosie's

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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, Vicki Freeman, Chris Paraskevaides, and Anna-Marie McCullagh, are whipped up in an open kitchen smack dab in the middle of the open-sided restaurant.

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

Don’s Taqueria at Ben's Deli

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Not too long ago a taco counter appeared in the front of this classic Alphabet City bodega, with a menu of well-executed antojitos more expansive than most. Included are tacos dorados, burritos, slammin’ quesadillas made Mexican-American style with a pair of flour tortillas, tortas — and even cemitas featuring the correct roll, with papalo leaves that give the sandwich its distinctive flavor.

A thick sandwich on a round roll with cheese, guacamole, and black beans oozing out.
Pollo milanesa cemita at Ben’s Deli.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Yellow Rose

Four tacos and two doughnuts on an orange tray.
Breakfast tacos and other brunch offerings at Yellow Rose.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

From owners Krystiana and Dave Rizo, who were influenced by Superiority Burger, this comfy spot micro-focuses on the cooking of San Antonio late in the last century. Highlights of the menu include bean and cheese tacos, carne guisada tacos, chips and vegan queso, and a migas brunch taco, which is like chilaquiles wrapped inside a tortilla. Flour tortillas abound.

Four tacos and two doughnuts on an orange tray.
Breakfast tacos and other brunch offerings at Yellow Rose.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Zaragoza Mexican Deli Grocery

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

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 tables 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. And it’s a good place to pick up a kilo of tortillas, bottled salsas, or a six-pack of Mexican beer.

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

Borrachito

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

Once in the back of a bar, this taqueria has established a bright 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 trundled out a decent version of birria, made with oxtail instead of goat or chuck roast. Choice of corn or flour tortillas (pick the former) and three salsas. Burritos, fruit salads, and tortilla soup also available.

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

Sabor A Mexico Taqueria

A burrito broken open showing red ground beef inside, sided with pico de gallo and sour cream.
Ground-beef burrito at Sabor A Mexico.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

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 freewheeling burritos based on culinary principles of various Mexican states. Shown is the transcendent burrito stuffed with seasoned ground beef.

A burrito broken open showing red ground beef inside, sided with pico de gallo and sour cream.
Ground-beef burrito at Sabor A Mexico.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Taqueria St. Marks Place

Two tacos from Taqueria St. Marks in a red basket
Tacos from a St. Marks dive bar.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

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 that’s a rare East Village find features the dried beef machaca found in the Southwestern United States and also associated with the states of Sinaloa and Sonora.

Two tacos from Taqueria St. Marks in a red basket
Tacos from a St. Marks dive bar.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Electric Burrito

Two hands extend two halves of a California burrito, stuffed with fries, carne asada, rice, and pico de gallo
California burrito.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

The excitement was palpable when this San Diego style burrito carryout (okay, there are a few seats along a counter) right on St. Marks opened last year. The menu is evenly divided into breakfast burritos and specialty burritos, with the former often containing french fries. Who can resist fries in a burrito? Meat choices run to pollo asado, carnitas, and carne asado (respectively, chicken, pork, and beef) but there are plenty of vegetarian options, too.

Two hands extend two halves of a California burrito, stuffed with fries, carne asada, rice, and pico de gallo
California burrito.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

La Palapa

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

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 and influenced by the cooking of Diana Kennedy. 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.

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

Tacos Cuautla Morelos

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

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, as well as great breakfast chilaquiles and burritos, though it doesn’t open till 11 a.m.

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

Empellón Al Pastor

Six tacos, each on its own paper plate, including ingredients like ground beef, sliced avocado, pork chunks, and bright green cilantro.
A selection of tacos at Empellón Al Pastor.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Right across from Tompkins Square, near the epicenter of the tumultuous East Village outdoor dining scene, this heavy-metal-themed 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.

Six tacos, each on its own paper plate, including ingredients like ground beef, sliced avocado, pork chunks, and bright green cilantro.
A selection of tacos at Empellón Al Pastor.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Bar Verde

A round cracker with all sorts of ingredients densely strewn on it including guacamole and mushrooms.
Tlayuda mixta at Bar Verde.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Really, there’s nothing standing in the way of creating a great Mexican restaurant in a vegan vein, and Bar Verde — by chef Matthew Kenney — proves it. All the antojitos come out fine without meat and cheese, including the Oaxacan tlayuda, which arrives lushly strewn with mushrooms, guacamole, and jackfruit, with too many additional ingredients to count. Mixed drinks are another strong point.

A round cracker with all sorts of ingredients densely strewn on it including guacamole and mushrooms.
Tlayuda mixta at Bar Verde.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Downtown Bakery

A pair of tacos rolled inside tissue paper.
Downtown Bakery originated the breakfast taco in the East Village.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

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.

A pair of tacos rolled inside tissue paper.
Downtown Bakery originated the breakfast taco in the East Village.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Rosie's

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

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, Vicki Freeman, Chris Paraskevaides, and Anna-Marie McCullagh, are whipped up in an open kitchen smack dab in the middle of the open-sided restaurant.

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

Don’s Taqueria at Ben's Deli

A thick sandwich on a round roll with cheese, guacamole, and black beans oozing out.
Pollo milanesa cemita at Ben’s Deli.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Not too long ago a taco counter appeared in the front of this classic Alphabet City bodega, with a menu of well-executed antojitos more expansive than most. Included are tacos dorados, burritos, slammin’ quesadillas made Mexican-American style with a pair of flour tortillas, tortas — and even cemitas featuring the correct roll, with papalo leaves that give the sandwich its distinctive flavor.

A thick sandwich on a round roll with cheese, guacamole, and black beans oozing out.
Pollo milanesa cemita at Ben’s Deli.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

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