clock menu more-arrow no yes
Aqui En Bella Puebla is popular with families.
Aqui En Bella Puebla is popular with families.

NYC’s 12 Top Restaurants Serving the Underrated Food of Puebla, Mexico

Where to go for the earthy cuisine, from sit-down restaurants to bodega taquerias

View as Map
Aqui En Bella Puebla is popular with families.

When natives of the southern Mexican state of Puebla began arriving in New York in earnest in the late ’80s and early ’90s, they had a profound impact on the city’s idea of what Mexican food could be — several degrees earthier, spicier, more varied, and more colorful than the crowd-pleasing burritos, nachos, and hard-shell tacos New Yorkers were used to eating.

As the years have passed, many Poblano restaurants have expanded their menus beyond even the vast range of hand-patted masa vessels — sopes, huaraches, and tlacoyos and complex moles, like mole poblano, to highlight iconic dishes like round, seeded cemita sandwiches perfumed with pápalo leaves and mole de olla, a hearty one-pot beef and vegetable soup. But the most enduring Poblano establishment remains the bodega taquería, serving up ever-underrated tacos (especially by Angelenos) like the shawarma-inspired, often-pita-wrapped tacos Árabes and the hulky, humble tacos placeros.

Despite being one of the world’s great regional cuisines, Poblano food, especially the permutations that have developed in New York, remains undervalued in the canon of Mexican food — at least in American eyes. Here are a dozen places that serve some of the very best Poblano food that New York has to offer.

Explore more stories from the United States of Mexican Food.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Jalisco Tacos

Copy Link
214 St Ann's Ave
The Bronx, NY 10454
(718) 585-4148

The highlights of the short menu at this marvelous taquería in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx include rolled and deep-fried tacos dorados; pancita, a robust tripe soup; and enchiladas verdes stuffed with seasoned ground beef, in what is perhaps a tip of the hat to Dominicans in the neighborhood, for whom ground beef picadillo is a treasured dish.

A red tripe soup served with tortillas, lime wedges, and fresh herbs.
Pancita

2. Taco Mix

Copy Link
234 E 116th St #1
New York, NY 10029
(212) 289-2963

For more than two decades, an al pastor cylinder, topped with a very juicy pineapple, has slowly rotated in the open window of Taco Mix. The lush results, delivered on a pair of small corn tortillas, are further enhanced with pieces of fruit. Oreja (ear) and tripa (tripe) tacos are other good bets, but stick with the small tacos rather than the larger ones. (The tortillas are better, and the proportion of meat to tortilla is superior too.) Also check out the chicharrón and huitlacoche quesadillas, and be prepared to eat standing up.

Two tacos spread flat with meat, onions, cilantro, and red salsa.
Tacos al pastor

3. Tulcingo del Valle

Copy Link
665 10th Ave
New York, NY 10036
(212) 262-5510
Visit Website

On the fringes of Times Square and the Garment District, Tulcingo del Valle became one of the city’s prominent bodega taquerías shortly after opening in late 2001. It’s now more of a full-blown restaurant, though the grocery shelves remain. It’s named, like many Poblano restaurants, for the locale where its proprietors originated — e.g., Zaragoza, Izúcar, and Taquería Coatzingo — it refers to a small city in southwest Puebla state; it so happens that a number of other Poblano restaurants, especially in Jackson Heights, share the same origins.

Mind the chalkboard specials, or just order the cemita — a round seeded roll topped with your choice of carne enchilada, barbacoa de chivo, carnitas, or cecina (a classic Poblano salted beef) and heaped with beans, avocado, stringy cheese, mayo, chipotle peppers, and pungent pápalo leaves. Gorditas con chicharrón, sopes with a choice of toppings, and the Tulcingo tacos placeros are just as tasty. A complete collection of Mexican Jarritos sodas are available to wash down your meal.

A cheese stuff chile flooded with tomato sauce, alongside rice and beans.
Chile relleno

4. Aquí en Bella Puebla

Copy Link
94-11 Roosevelt Ave
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
(718) 639-7300

While many of the city’s Poblano eateries are taquerías with limited seating and a grab-and-go attitude, Aquí en Bella Puebla is in a sizable dining room with green decor; serapes, sombreros, and clay folk motifs on the walls; and large mirrors that allow you to see and be seen while dining, a la a French bistro. The menu spans tacos Árabes, tlacoyos, a mole pipián that’s red instead of green, and some of the most opulent tacos placeros in town (don’t miss the one that features an entire chile relleno). Sometimes, the beef stew called mole de guaje is available, thickened with the guaje seeds that are also sometimes sprinkled on tacos.

Guashamole de res
Guashamole de res

5. Taquería Coatzingo

Copy Link
7605 Roosevelt Ave
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
(718) 424-1977

Because it’s open from 9 a.m. till the wee hours of the morning, and is proximate to the Jackson Heights subway and bus station, Taquería Coatzingo is one of the most hopping Poblano restaurants in town. The menu is ingratiatingly broad, including chile-encrusted shrimp tacos with a saucy guacamole, chicken enchiladas smothered in crema and salsa verde, and meal-size soups like mole de olla and pozole, both served with a pair of tostadas.

Mole poblano tamale
Mole poblano tamale

6. Zaragoza Deli

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

In the northernmost part of the East Village, across 14th Street from Stuyvesant Town, Zaragoza has long been a bulwark in a neighborhood under assault by luxury real estate developments. The cafe serves up around four or five blue-plate specials each day — offerings might include egg-filled albóndigas in chile sauce, pork ribs and verdólagas (purslane) in salsa verde, smothered chile relleno, or its signature potato and chorizo enchiladas.

Potato and chorizo enchiladas
Potato and chorizo enchiladas

7. Downtown Bakery Cocina Mexicana

Copy Link
69 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10003
(212) 254-1757
Visit Website

Once a plainly named Italian bakery, it became a plainly named Mexican bakery in the early 1990s. The savory items added to the menu quickly eclipsed the baked goods — which are still represented today in vestigial form — and while its breakfast taco and breakfast burrito were some of New York’s first forays into the style, the Poblano specialities are the move. (The chicken enchiladas with fiery guajillo chile sauce are a standout dish.) A modest amount of seating is available at this East Village classic.

Chicken enchiladas in guajllo sauce
Chicken enchiladas in guajllo sauce

8. Santa Ana Deli

Copy Link
171 Irving Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11237
(718) 628-4691

This quintessential bodega taquería was founded in Bushwick in 1986, and transformed into a fuller-fledged cafe in the aughts. It remains one of the city’s most charming examples of the genre. Order from the handwritten menu over the kitchen counter in the rear; you won’t go wrong with any of the Poblano staples, from the tacos placeros to the huaraches to the cemitas — or even the burrito of its own invention, sluiced with three sauces in the colors of the Mexican flag.

Huarche and tacos Arabes
Huarche and tacos Arabes

9. Taquería Izucar

Copy Link
1503 Myrtle Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11237

A glorious mural of the Virgin of Guadalupe towers outside this tiny taquería under the M tracks in Bushwick, which keeps whatever hours it pleases and has become famous citywide for its suadero tacos. In the urban style, these are made on a pair of small, white-corn tortillas topped with chunky and uber-mellow veal brisket, and garnished with chopped onions and cilantro. Apply whatever heat enhancer you want, contained in squirt bottles and metates along the narrow counter. (If the metates aren’t there, just ask.) Dried and oiled cayenne peppers are a favorite.

Suadero tacos
Suadero tacos

10. Antojitos El Atoradero

Copy Link
636 Degraw St
Brooklyn, NY 11217

It all began with a cauldron of bubbling carnitas in a Bronx grocery, made by painstaking cook Denisse Chavez, that spawned a small, well-publicized Mexican bistro in Prospect Heights and a taquería attached to Parklife, a Gowanus bar. The Prospect Heights spot is now kaput, but the Parklife concession, now known as Antojitos El Atoradero, soldiers onward. It’s presided over by Chavez’s son Johnny Rosas, who’s still turning out wonderful tacos on her trademark blue-corn tortillas, as well as flautas and nachos that substitute french fries for the usual tortilla chips.

Carnitas tacos on blue corn tortillas
Carnitas tacos on blue corn tortillas

11. Xochil Pizzeria

Copy Link
4613 5th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 435-2288

After creating the bodega taquería, Poblanos moved into pizzerias, especially in Sunset Park and Western Queens. Like the Italians and Albanians before them, they discovered that pizzerias are perfect family businesses. Some eventually added tacos to their menus, or created fusion pies with Mexican elements. But Xochil Pizzeria — means “flower” in Náhuatl, a first language for some southern Poblano immigrants — chose to create an idiosyncratic collection of antojitos, including ones that could be made in the pizza ovens. Included were the crumbly cookies called polvorones, and tlacoyos topped with red or green salsa and grated cheese — resembling a slice of pizza, but perhaps only coincidentally.

Tlaycoyos and polvorones inside
Tlaycoyos and polvorones inside

12. La Flor de Santa Inés

Copy Link
731 Church Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11218
(718) 854-4854

This combination Mexican grocery, bakery, sandwich shop, and cafe in Flatbush tenders the expected tacos, sopes, huaraches, and quesadillas, and it truly excels at mole enchiladas, chilaquiles, and tortas. Still, you should skip them all and order a cemita. They’re made with a round seeded roll layered with beans, chiles, cheese, and avocado in addition to a main ingredient of your choice — three kinds of breaded cutlet milanesa are standard — and fresh pápalo leaves, which scent the sandwich with the fragrance of burning leaves in autumn and send the whole thing into orbit.

Cemita with french fries
Cemita with french fries

Loading comments...

1. Jalisco Tacos

214 St Ann's Ave, The Bronx, NY 10454
A red tripe soup served with tortillas, lime wedges, and fresh herbs.
Pancita

The highlights of the short menu at this marvelous taquería in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx include rolled and deep-fried tacos dorados; pancita, a robust tripe soup; and enchiladas verdes stuffed with seasoned ground beef, in what is perhaps a tip of the hat to Dominicans in the neighborhood, for whom ground beef picadillo is a treasured dish.

214 St Ann's Ave
The Bronx, NY 10454

2. Taco Mix

234 E 116th St #1, New York, NY 10029
Two tacos spread flat with meat, onions, cilantro, and red salsa.
Tacos al pastor

For more than two decades, an al pastor cylinder, topped with a very juicy pineapple, has slowly rotated in the open window of Taco Mix. The lush results, delivered on a pair of small corn tortillas, are further enhanced with pieces of fruit. Oreja (ear) and tripa (tripe) tacos are other good bets, but stick with the small tacos rather than the larger ones. (The tortillas are better, and the proportion of meat to tortilla is superior too.) Also check out the chicharrón and huitlacoche quesadillas, and be prepared to eat standing up.

234 E 116th St #1
New York, NY 10029

3. Tulcingo del Valle

665 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036
A cheese stuff chile flooded with tomato sauce, alongside rice and beans.
Chile relleno

On the fringes of Times Square and the Garment District, Tulcingo del Valle became one of the city’s prominent bodega taquerías shortly after opening in late 2001. It’s now more of a full-blown restaurant, though the grocery shelves remain. It’s named, like many Poblano restaurants, for the locale where its proprietors originated — e.g., Zaragoza, Izúcar, and Taquería Coatzingo — it refers to a small city in southwest Puebla state; it so happens that a number of other Poblano restaurants, especially in Jackson Heights, share the same origins.

Mind the chalkboard specials, or just order the cemita — a round seeded roll topped with your choice of carne enchilada, barbacoa de chivo, carnitas, or cecina (a classic Poblano salted beef) and heaped with beans, avocado, stringy cheese, mayo, chipotle peppers, and pungent pápalo leaves. Gorditas con chicharrón, sopes with a choice of toppings, and the Tulcingo tacos placeros are just as tasty. A complete collection of Mexican Jarritos sodas are available to wash down your meal.

665 10th Ave
New York, NY 10036

4. Aquí en Bella Puebla

94-11 Roosevelt Ave, Jackson Heights, NY 11372
Guashamole de res
Guashamole de res

While many of the city’s Poblano eateries are taquerías with limited seating and a grab-and-go attitude, Aquí en Bella Puebla is in a sizable dining room with green decor; serapes, sombreros, and clay folk motifs on the walls; and large mirrors that allow you to see and be seen while dining, a la a French bistro. The menu spans tacos Árabes, tlacoyos, a mole pipián that’s red instead of green, and some of the most opulent tacos placeros in town (don’t miss the one that features an entire chile relleno). Sometimes, the beef stew called mole de guaje is available, thickened with the guaje seeds that are also sometimes sprinkled on tacos.

94-11 Roosevelt Ave
Jackson Heights, NY 11372

5. Taquería Coatzingo

7605 Roosevelt Ave, Jackson Heights, NY 11372
Mole poblano tamale
Mole poblano tamale

Because it’s open from 9 a.m. till the wee hours of the morning, and is proximate to the Jackson Heights subway and bus station, Taquería Coatzingo is one of the most hopping Poblano restaurants in town. The menu is ingratiatingly broad, including chile-encrusted shrimp tacos with a saucy guacamole, chicken enchiladas smothered in crema and salsa verde, and meal-size soups like mole de olla and pozole, both served with a pair of tostadas.

7605 Roosevelt Ave
Jackson Heights, NY 11372

6. Zaragoza Deli

215 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009
Potato and chorizo enchiladas
Potato and chorizo enchiladas

In the northernmost part of the East Village, across 14th Street from Stuyvesant Town, Zaragoza has long been a bulwark in a neighborhood under assault by luxury real estate developments. The cafe serves up around four or five blue-plate specials each day — offerings might include egg-filled albóndigas in chile sauce, pork ribs and verdólagas (purslane) in salsa verde, smothered chile relleno, or its signature potato and chorizo enchiladas.

215 Avenue A
New York, NY 10009

7. Downtown Bakery Cocina Mexicana

69 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10003
Chicken enchiladas in guajllo sauce
Chicken enchiladas in guajllo sauce

Once a plainly named Italian bakery, it became a plainly named Mexican bakery in the early 1990s. The savory items added to the menu quickly eclipsed the baked goods — which are still represented today in vestigial form — and while its breakfast taco and breakfast burrito were some of New York’s first forays into the style, the Poblano specialities are the move. (The chicken enchiladas with fiery guajillo chile sauce are a standout dish.) A modest amount of seating is available at this East Village classic.

69 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10003

8. Santa Ana Deli

171 Irving Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237
Huarche and tacos Arabes
Huarche and tacos Arabes

This quintessential bodega taquería was founded in Bushwick in 1986, and transformed into a fuller-fledged cafe in the aughts. It remains one of the city’s most charming examples of the genre. Order from the handwritten menu over the kitchen counter in the rear; you won’t go wrong with any of the Poblano staples, from the tacos placeros to the huaraches to the cemitas — or even the burrito of its own invention, sluiced with three sauces in the colors of the Mexican flag.

171 Irving Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11237

9. Taquería Izucar

1503 Myrtle Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237
Suadero tacos
Suadero tacos

A glorious mural of the Virgin of Guadalupe towers outside this tiny taquería under the M tracks in Bushwick, which keeps whatever hours it pleases and has become famous citywide for its suadero tacos. In the urban style, these are made on a pair of small, white-corn tortillas topped with chunky and uber-mellow veal brisket, and garnished with chopped onions and cilantro. Apply whatever heat enhancer you want, contained in squirt bottles and metates along the narrow counter. (If the metates aren’t there, just ask.) Dried and oiled cayenne peppers are a favorite.

1503 Myrtle Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11237

10. Antojitos El Atoradero

636 Degraw St, Brooklyn, NY 11217
Carnitas tacos on blue corn tortillas
Carnitas tacos on blue corn tortillas

It all began with a cauldron of bubbling carnitas in a Bronx grocery, made by painstaking cook Denisse Chavez, that spawned a small, well-publicized Mexican bistro in Prospect Heights and a taquería attached to Parklife, a Gowanus bar. The Prospect Heights spot is now kaput, but the Parklife concession, now known as Antojitos El Atoradero, soldiers onward. It’s presided over by Chavez’s son Johnny Rosas, who’s still turning out wonderful tacos on her trademark blue-corn tortillas, as well as flautas and nachos that substitute french fries for the usual tortilla chips.

636 Degraw St
Brooklyn, NY 11217

11. Xochil Pizzeria

4613 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11220
Tlaycoyos and polvorones inside
Tlaycoyos and polvorones inside

After creating the bodega taquería, Poblanos moved into pizzerias, especially in Sunset Park and Western Queens. Like the Italians and Albanians before them, they discovered that pizzerias are perfect family businesses. Some eventually added tacos to their menus, or created fusion pies with Mexican elements. But Xochil Pizzeria — means “flower” in Náhuatl, a first language for some southern Poblano immigrants — chose to create an idiosyncratic collection of antojitos, including ones that could be made in the pizza ovens. Included were the crumbly cookies called polvorones, and tlacoyos topped with red or green salsa and grated cheese — resembling a slice of pizza, but perhaps only coincidentally.

4613 5th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11220

12. La Flor de Santa Inés

731 Church Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11218
Cemita with french fries
Cemita with french fries

This combination Mexican grocery, bakery, sandwich shop, and cafe in Flatbush tenders the expected tacos, sopes, huaraches, and quesadillas, and it truly excels at mole enchiladas, chilaquiles, and tortas. Still, you should skip them all and order a cemita. They’re made with a round seeded roll layered with beans, chiles, cheese, and avocado in addition to a main ingredient of your choice — three kinds of breaded cutlet milanesa are standard — and fresh pápalo leaves, which scent the sandwich with the fragrance of burning leaves in autumn and send the whole thing into orbit.

731 Church Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11218

Related Maps