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The aguachile negro at Mariscos El Submarino in Jackson Heights comes served out of a hulking molcajete.
Behold, the aguachile negro at Mariscos El Submarino.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Where to Slurp Mexican Mariscos in NYC

Aguachiles, tostadas, fish soups, and shrimp cocktails await at these six restaurants

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Behold, the aguachile negro at Mariscos El Submarino.
| Luke Fortney/Eater NY

At long last, there are enough standout Mexican seafood shops in New York City to assemble a guide to mariscos. The catch-all Spanish word, meaning seafood or shellfish, is used to refer to tostadas, aguachiles, ceviches, fish soups, shrimp cocktails, and other dishes that are often eaten in the mornings and afternoons as makeshift hangover cures. Pair one with a tall glass of Clamato tomato juice and beer, and you’re back on two feet.

Today the majority of the city’s marisquerías specialize in the aguachiles and seafood cocktails found in coastal towns in western Mexican states like Baja California and Sinaloa. With luck, more are on the way, but for now, here are a handful of spots specializing in mariscos — and our favorite dishes at each.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Mixta tostada at Mariscos El Submarino

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Mariscos El Submarino is the gold standard of Mexican mariscos in New York City right now. The fish is fresh, the portions are generous, and the aguachile negro — a heaping serving of shrimp and octopus served out of a massive volcanic molcajete — is as good as they say. The simple seafood tostadas are one of the best ways to get a sense of the quality of the ingredients here: Limey pieces of fish, shrimp, and octopus balance on a yellow tostada like a surfer catching a wave. Slices of red onion and avocado complete the scene.

A round cracker with shrimp and other seafood piled high, topped with sliced and fanned avocado.
Bits of shrimp, fish, and octopus balance on a tostada.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Aguachile especial at El Culichi

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El Culichi is the newest mariscos spot on this list and one of the only places in the city you’ll find aguachiles served at a food truck right now. The truck set up shop under the 7 train in August, separating itself from the other mariscos shops in the neighborhood with its seafood burritos, tacos dorados, and aguachiles made with fiery chiltepín. The chiles, native to the Mexican state of Sinaloa, are ground in a molcajete, sometimes with serrano peppers, then mixed with lime and seafood. The aguachile especial, made with both of those peppers and a splash of grocery store Clamato, is spicy enough to make your face twitch.

Red juices, red onion, cucumber, and pieces of seafood slosh around in a plastic container.
The aguachile especial is fortified with Clamato clam juice.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Shrimp cocktail at La Esquina Del Camaron Mexicano

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This mariscos shop operates out of the back of a Jackson Heights bodega. Enter through the deli’s front door, on the corner of Roosevelt Avenue and 80th Street, where there’s one indoor table for four, or head around the side of the building where there’s a takeout window and benches for slurping seafood. The saccharine shrimp cocktail is the way to go here. It’s available in a handful of sizes (between $10 to $20 each) with enough shrimp to make for a full meal. Packets of saltines come free, and there’s bottles of Valentina hot sauce waiting on indoor and outdoor tables.

A hand grips a plastic cup brimming with cooked shrimp and red liquid. A spoon completes the scene.
This shrimp cocktail comes with plenty of saltines on the side.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Aguachile verde at Los Mariscos

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One of the city’s best aguachiles was hiding in plain sight years before the latest wave of Mexican seafood spots. Los Mariscos, a spin-off of the popular taco chain Los Tacos No. 1, has been hunkered in Chelsea Market since 2016, dishing up fish tacos, ceviche, seafood cocktails, and more. Best of all is the aguachile verde, a bowl of shrimp, lime, and serrano chiles that seems to fall in the shadow of the other dishes here. (Fine, more for us.) It’s hot as hell and pairs well with a cool glass of Clamato and beer.

Cucumbers, shrimp, and red onion overflow from a molcajete at Los Mariscos in Chelsea Market.
Cucumber slices won’t save you from this fiery aguachile.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Aguachile verde at Ensenada

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Looking for aguachiles in Brooklyn? Ensenada is your best bet. This spot specializing in mariscos and mezcal shares a dining room with Williamsburg nightclub Black Flamingo, although the two venues operate at different hours. Look out for the colorful selection of aguachiles, which are thinner and less spicy than those found at other restaurants on this list, allowing the seafood to shine. The simple aguachile verde, with shrimp, cucumber, onion, radish, and avocado, is the move here, served with tostadas made with masa from Bushwick tortilleria Sobre Masa.

A white bowl with a brown rim is filled with green liquid of avocado and herbs on a white backdrop.
Find this aguachile above the dance floor at Williamsburg’s Black Flamingo nightclub.
Adam Friedlander/Ensenada

Shrimp cocktail at El Rey Del Pescado

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This bar with live music and club lighting in its backyard opened a month before the city closed restaurants for indoor dining due to the pandemic. Thankfully, its seafood tacos and aguachiles are still here today. Skip the tostadas, which come blanketed in dressing, and order this colorful cocktail served out of a tall sundae glass with saltines on the side. It’s not too sweet, with cut-up pieces of shrimp and octopus floating throughout, and benefits from a dab of hot sauce. The pungent fish soup, called vuelve a la vida, could use a squirt of lime but otherwise comes in close second.

A hand drizzles a bottle of Valentina hot sauce over a saltine loaded with Mexican seafood.
This shrimp cocktail needs a dab of Valentina.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Mixta tostada at Mariscos El Submarino

A round cracker with shrimp and other seafood piled high, topped with sliced and fanned avocado.
Bits of shrimp, fish, and octopus balance on a tostada.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Mariscos El Submarino is the gold standard of Mexican mariscos in New York City right now. The fish is fresh, the portions are generous, and the aguachile negro — a heaping serving of shrimp and octopus served out of a massive volcanic molcajete — is as good as they say. The simple seafood tostadas are one of the best ways to get a sense of the quality of the ingredients here: Limey pieces of fish, shrimp, and octopus balance on a yellow tostada like a surfer catching a wave. Slices of red onion and avocado complete the scene.

A round cracker with shrimp and other seafood piled high, topped with sliced and fanned avocado.
Bits of shrimp, fish, and octopus balance on a tostada.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Aguachile especial at El Culichi

Red juices, red onion, cucumber, and pieces of seafood slosh around in a plastic container.
The aguachile especial is fortified with Clamato clam juice.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

El Culichi is the newest mariscos spot on this list and one of the only places in the city you’ll find aguachiles served at a food truck right now. The truck set up shop under the 7 train in August, separating itself from the other mariscos shops in the neighborhood with its seafood burritos, tacos dorados, and aguachiles made with fiery chiltepín. The chiles, native to the Mexican state of Sinaloa, are ground in a molcajete, sometimes with serrano peppers, then mixed with lime and seafood. The aguachile especial, made with both of those peppers and a splash of grocery store Clamato, is spicy enough to make your face twitch.

Red juices, red onion, cucumber, and pieces of seafood slosh around in a plastic container.
The aguachile especial is fortified with Clamato clam juice.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Shrimp cocktail at La Esquina Del Camaron Mexicano

A hand grips a plastic cup brimming with cooked shrimp and red liquid. A spoon completes the scene.
This shrimp cocktail comes with plenty of saltines on the side.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

This mariscos shop operates out of the back of a Jackson Heights bodega. Enter through the deli’s front door, on the corner of Roosevelt Avenue and 80th Street, where there’s one indoor table for four, or head around the side of the building where there’s a takeout window and benches for slurping seafood. The saccharine shrimp cocktail is the way to go here. It’s available in a handful of sizes (between $10 to $20 each) with enough shrimp to make for a full meal. Packets of saltines come free, and there’s bottles of Valentina hot sauce waiting on indoor and outdoor tables.

A hand grips a plastic cup brimming with cooked shrimp and red liquid. A spoon completes the scene.
This shrimp cocktail comes with plenty of saltines on the side.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Aguachile verde at Los Mariscos

Cucumbers, shrimp, and red onion overflow from a molcajete at Los Mariscos in Chelsea Market.
Cucumber slices won’t save you from this fiery aguachile.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

One of the city’s best aguachiles was hiding in plain sight years before the latest wave of Mexican seafood spots. Los Mariscos, a spin-off of the popular taco chain Los Tacos No. 1, has been hunkered in Chelsea Market since 2016, dishing up fish tacos, ceviche, seafood cocktails, and more. Best of all is the aguachile verde, a bowl of shrimp, lime, and serrano chiles that seems to fall in the shadow of the other dishes here. (Fine, more for us.) It’s hot as hell and pairs well with a cool glass of Clamato and beer.

Cucumbers, shrimp, and red onion overflow from a molcajete at Los Mariscos in Chelsea Market.
Cucumber slices won’t save you from this fiery aguachile.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Aguachile verde at Ensenada

A white bowl with a brown rim is filled with green liquid of avocado and herbs on a white backdrop.
Find this aguachile above the dance floor at Williamsburg’s Black Flamingo nightclub.
Adam Friedlander/Ensenada

Looking for aguachiles in Brooklyn? Ensenada is your best bet. This spot specializing in mariscos and mezcal shares a dining room with Williamsburg nightclub Black Flamingo, although the two venues operate at different hours. Look out for the colorful selection of aguachiles, which are thinner and less spicy than those found at other restaurants on this list, allowing the seafood to shine. The simple aguachile verde, with shrimp, cucumber, onion, radish, and avocado, is the move here, served with tostadas made with masa from Bushwick tortilleria Sobre Masa.

A white bowl with a brown rim is filled with green liquid of avocado and herbs on a white backdrop.
Find this aguachile above the dance floor at Williamsburg’s Black Flamingo nightclub.
Adam Friedlander/Ensenada

Shrimp cocktail at El Rey Del Pescado

A hand drizzles a bottle of Valentina hot sauce over a saltine loaded with Mexican seafood.
This shrimp cocktail needs a dab of Valentina.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

This bar with live music and club lighting in its backyard opened a month before the city closed restaurants for indoor dining due to the pandemic. Thankfully, its seafood tacos and aguachiles are still here today. Skip the tostadas, which come blanketed in dressing, and order this colorful cocktail served out of a tall sundae glass with saltines on the side. It’s not too sweet, with cut-up pieces of shrimp and octopus floating throughout, and benefits from a dab of hot sauce. The pungent fish soup, called vuelve a la vida, could use a squirt of lime but otherwise comes in close second.

A hand drizzles a bottle of Valentina hot sauce over a saltine loaded with Mexican seafood.
This shrimp cocktail needs a dab of Valentina.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

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