clock menu more-arrow no yes
Two people walk by a street side counter advertising tacos and other Mexican dishes in the Queens neighborhood of Jackson Heights
Taqueria Coatzingo in Jackson Heights.
Christian Rodriguez/Eater NY

NYC’s 28 Essential Mexican Restaurants

Where to find the city’s best mariscos, mole, birria, and barbacoa

View as Map
Taqueria Coatzingo in Jackson Heights.
| Christian Rodriguez/Eater NY

Look back 40 years, and NYC’s Mexican restaurant scene was dominated by sizzling fajitas, cheese enchiladas, and nachos, but the city now boasts restaurants specializing in many regions, rivaled in this country only by Los Angeles. That shift can be credited in part to the severe 10-year drought that plagued the Mexican state of Puebla, forcing residents to relocate here, and immigrants from states like Guerrero, Morelos, and Michoacán followed. New York City is now home to an amazing array of Mexican establishments, from tiny taquerias to full-blown restaurants, featuring regional fare from the Yucatan to Sinaloa — plus higher-end spots where thrilling culinary inventions are occurring.

Here’s our choice collection of New York City Mexican restaurants, including many classics along with new ones that appear on this list for the first time. Two quintessential food trucks are included, along with every size, type, and price point of restaurant.

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.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
If you book a reservation through an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

1. Taqueria Sinaloense

Copy Link
113 W 225th St
The Bronx, NY 10463
(917) 261-4146
Visit Website

While much Mexican food in New York comes from the southern part of the country, Taqueria Sinaloense draws from Sinaloa, a coastal state situated in the northwest. It opened in Marble Hill in 2018, after an unrelated restaurant with the same name closed in Elmhurst. This one specializes in tacos, including tacos de canasta (“basket tacos”) filled with chorizo and grilled cheese and dipped in oil to keep them fresh, often sold by vendors or taken on picnics; and tacos gobernador (“governor’s tacos”), lusciously filled with shrimp and fresh chiles.

A white bowl of red pozole with onion and bobbing bits of meat, next to a plate full of tacos overflowing with shrimp.
A bowl of red pozole next to tacos gobernador.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

2. La Morada

Copy Link
308 Willis Ave
The Bronx, NY 10454
(718) 292-0235
Visit Website

This small cafe in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx has succeeded in popularizing the food of Oaxaca in NYC at a reasonable price point, while also serving as a center of social activism under chef Natalia Mendez and family. Choose any of the colorful moles — negro, blanco, verde, and others — or a pampazo sandwich with chorizo and potato. Flautas, tostadas, and other antojitos are available, and we’re partial to the hand-patted, circular tlacoyos.

A table with plates of rice and beans, green and red moles, and other Mexican dishes.
Red, green, black, and white moles abound at La Morada.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

3. Santa Clarita

Copy Link
237 Willis Ave #2
Bronx, NY 10454
(718) 292-9399

The Bronx’s Mott Haven neighborhood, easily accessible by subway from all corners of the city, has become a hotbed of Mexican restaurants in the last decade — and not just the Oaxacan gem La Morada, also on this list. Santa Clarita was founded in 1971 as a Puerto Rican and Dominican restaurant, but morphed into a Mexican one with a charming taco window, a more formal indoor dining room, and a relaxing porch connecting them. The al pastor cylinder twirling in the window is particularly good, but the tacos dorados (rolled tacos), enchiladas, or anything featuring shrimp are also recommended.

A restaurant with a brownish red awning with the name of the restaurant and an giant order window visible on the left.
Mott Haven’s Santa Clarita restaurant.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

4. Las Delicias Mexicanas

Copy Link
2109 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10029
(212) 828-3659
Visit Website

This East Harlem gem specializes in standard Mexican fare with a nod to Mexico City and a tip of the hat to southern state cuisines. The pozole and huaraches are distinguished, and this is one of those places that has always served birria — as a huge soup with warm tortillas on the side rather than as crunchy red tacos. The meat is goat or lamb, rather than beef, and they provide plenty of finely chopped onions and cilantro, in addition to lime wedges. The birria also sports carrots for sweetness and tiny chickpeas.

A bowl of soup with carrots and meat in it, being lifted up in a spoon.
Goat birria at Las Delicias Mexicanas.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

5. Taco Mix

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

This flagship of a mini-fleet of Pueblan taquerias owned by Alejo Sanchez specializes in al pastor, as is probably evident from the giant pineapple-topped cone of pork swirling slowly in the window. Get the mini taco, by all means: The tortillas are better and show off the meat with a few shards of fruit to greater advantage. Eat at the counter, or grab the single table way in the back. The branch downtown on Delancey Street might have better tortillas, which are made periodically at the counter, but the East Harlem original rules where atmosphere is concerned.

Two al pastor tacos dressed with the usual onion, cilantro, and pineapple on a plate.
Tacos al pastor from Taco Mix.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

6. El Mitote

Copy Link
208 Columbus Ave
New York, NY 10023
(212) 874-2929
Visit Website

El Mitote, named after an Aztec dance, partly focuses on the street food of owner Cristina Castaneda’s native Guadalajara, but there’s also classic Mexican fare from around the country. An early afternoon brunch served every day might include wild mushroom tinga tacos, huevos rancheros or chilaquiles, and a stunning bowl of red chicken pozole that’s every bit as spicy as it looks, served with a crema-painted tostada on the side.

A bowl of bright red soup with a slice of green avocado floating in it, and a tostada on a side plate.
The red chicken pozole at El Mitote.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

7. Tulcingo Del Valle

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

The mother of all Puebla bodega taquerias in town is Hell’s Kitchen’s Tulcingo del Valle, name-checking a town in the arid southern part of the state and offering a full menu ranging from goat barbacoa to pork ribs in salsa verde. It’s also one of the best places in town to score a chile relleno, stuffed with cheese and smothered in a sprightly tomato sauce. Keep your eye on chalkboard specials. It’s owned and operated by Irma Verdejo and family.

A cheese stuff chile flooded with tomato sauce, alongside rice and beans.
The chile relleno at Tulcingo Del Valle.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

8. Ruta Oaxaca

Copy Link
35-03 Broadway
Queens, NY 11106
(929) 349-1228
Visit Website

With a vibrant design featuring the color pink and a bar emphasizing mezcal and tequila (and an array of flavored salts to give them some added oomph), Ruta Oaxaca is one of the city’s best evocations of the cuisine of the southern Mexican state. Moles come in a rainbow of colors, representing ancient sauces whose history goes back to pre-Columbian times, and you can’t go wrong with the chicken bunuelos, served in a pool of dark mole Oaxaca, or the brighter mole coloradito, poured over a steak with melted chihuahua cheese.

A pitcher poised over a fish filet pouring on green sauce.
Fish with mole verde at Ruta Oaxaca.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

9. Mariscos El Submarino

Copy Link
8805 Roosevelt Ave
Queens, NY 11372
(718) 685-2780
Visit Website

This small storefront with a yellow mustached submarine for a mascot rolled into Jackson Heights in 2020, bringing a game-changing addition to the city’s Mexican seafood scene. There might be better ceviche in the five boroughs, but its aguachiles — fiery baths of shrimp, fish, and octopus — are unrivaled. They come served in a heaping molcajete, the volcanic stone vessels traditionally used to grind spices and make guacamole, with enough seafood to share. Try the refreshing verde version, or the aguachile negro, spicy as hell and tasting slightly of soy sauce.

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

10. La Estancia de la Espiga

Copy Link
42-11 102nd St
Corona, NY 11368
(718) 779-7898
Visit Website

Mexican food fans are faced with the perpetual question of where to get great barbacoa on the weekends; La Estancia de la Espiga is the best answer. Watch the goat and lamb steaming right in the window, then grab a seat at the semi-subterranean dining room or cheery outdoor area, both often filled with families from Guerrero, where proprietor Tomás Gonzalez is from. A pound of goat comes with a pile of fresh, hand-pressed tortillas (also cooked in the window), along with chopped cilantro and onions, lemon wedges, radishes, and a couple of salsas for one of Queens’ finest DIY meals.

On a green plate, a giant hunk of meat with onions and cilantro, and a side plate of tortillas.
A plate of lamb barbacoa at La Estancia de la Espiga.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

11. Taqueria Coatzingo

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

This two-decade-old taqueria run by Rufino Zapata and his family has been a beacon for Pueblan food in Jackson Heights. “Taqueria” is perhaps too modest a term, since the current establishment occupies two storefronts, one of which doubles as a bar and dance hall. The cemitas are made on bread baked in the restaurant’s own panaderia. This is one of the city’s best and most reasonably priced Mexican restaurants in the city, and the tacos come with guac. ’Nuff said.

Three cone shaped tacos with guacamole spilling out and chiles and radishes on the side.
Tacos spill over with guacamole and chiles at Taqueria Coatzingo.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

12. Birria-Landia

Copy Link
77-99 Roosevelt Ave
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
(347) 283-2162
Visit Website

When this truck pulled up to 78th Street on Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights in 2019, it was laden with crunchy, beef birria tacos prepared in the style of Tijuana and Los Angeles. The crew has since earned a citywide following for methodically turning out tacos and mulitas late into the night and is largely credited with kicking off the city’s birria taco boom. The truck is operated by José Moreno, former chef at Del Posto, and his brother Jesús, who have since expanded with locations in Williamsburg and Fordham Manor.

A corn tortilla is dipped into rendered beef fat, giving it an orange hue. Several other tortillas wait on the grill next to it.
The truck’s corn tortilla are dipped in rendered beef fat before heading onto the grill.
Christian Rodriguez/Eater NY

13. Cienega Las Tlayudas de Oaxaca Mexican Cuisine

Copy Link
10432 Corona Ave
Corona, NY 11368
(718) 255-1643

This informal, colorfully decorated restaurant open since 2013 specializes in tlayudas. These giant rounds of masa dough are rolled thin, cooked to near crispness, and topped with ingredients that often include cheese, black beans, cactus strips, jalapenos, tomato, and avocado — plus barbacoa, tripe, lengua, and other meats. Other good choices include its monster tacos placeros, chilaquiles, and enmoladas (mole enchiladas).

A blue dining room with some guys sitting at a table by the wall.
The colorful dining room at Cienega Las Tlayudas de Oaxaca Mexican Cuisine.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

14. Casa Enrique

Copy Link
Read Review |
5-48 49th Ave
Long Island City, NY 11101
(347) 448-6040
Visit Website

A shaggy dog wearing a sombrero is the logo for Casa Enrique, a small-but-celebrated restaurant in Long Island City and New York’s first Mexican food business to earn a Michelin star. Chef Cosme Aguilar’s menu includes cochinito Chiapaneco, pork ribs marinated in a bright red guajillo chile sauce, and other dishes from his hometown of Chiapas, Mexico’s southernmost state.

Black beans, yellow rice, and some bright red pork ribs in thick sauce.
Cochinito Chiapeneco, pork ribs that have been marinated in a sauce of guajillo chiles.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

15. Los Tacos No. 1

Copy Link
75 9th Ave
New York, NY 10011
(212) 246-0343
Visit Website

Los Tacos No. 1 is a corrugated metal structure within Chelsea Market that draws long lines at lunch and dinner. It does only a few things, but does them very well. Fresh flour and corn tortillas form the basis for pork adobada tacos, which will remind you of the pineapple-tenderized al pastor of Puebla. The beach favorite of grilled steak (carne asada) is also available, and either filling can be used to make a double-tortilla mula), gluing its tortillas together cheese. Find other locations in Times Square, Grand Central, Noho, and Tribeca.

<span data-author="-1">A corn tortilla holds a mountain of grilled pork, pineapple, and salsa.</span>
An adobado taco at Los Tacos No. 1.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

16. El Cantinero

Copy Link
86 University Pl
New York, NY 10003
(212) 255-9378
Visit Website

Before the city had food from Puebla, it had Tex-Mex, and one of our oldest local purveyors is El Cantinero. This dark, bi-level den just south of Union Square excels at sizzling fajitas, cheese enchiladas, and hard shell tacos, three staples of Tex-Mex cuisine. Nachos are carefully laid out the old-fashioned way with beans and melted cheese, and there are frozen margaritas by the bucketful.

Nachos topped with jalapeno, sour cream, and lettuce are arranged in a starburst pattern.
Nachos from El Cantinero.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

17. Oxomoco

Copy Link
Read Review |
128 Greenpoint Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11222
(646) 688-4180
Visit Website

With its austere white facade, set back from the street and occupied by an open-air seating area, Oxomoco channels LA’s outdoor Mexican cafes. A wood-fired oven scents the air, and from it chef Justin Bazdarich pulls skate and tender lamb barbacoa, both stuffed in tacos. Plenty of less-traditional inventions are worth tasting, too, including the restaurant’s beet “chorizo” and a tostada topped with grasshopper mayonnaise and beef tartare.

A bustling dining room packs customers at tables and a high-top bar.
The bustling dining room at Oxomoco.
Louise Palmberg/Eater NY

18. Lupe's East L.A. Kitchen

Copy Link
110 6th Ave #1607
New York, NY 10013
(212) 966-1326
Visit Website

For homesick Angelinos and San Franciscans, New York boasts a couple of Cal-Mex spots, foremost of which is Lupe’s East L.A. Kitchen, where you can get cheese enchiladas in chile colorado, rolled potato taquitos, chile verde, and a full range of bulbous Mission burritos, a Cal-Mex invention. This restaurant with a trippy diner setting and views of Sixth Avenue is operated by David Seixas. 

Potato stuffed taquitos snowed with cheese and sided with salad, yellow rice, and black beans.
Rolled potato taquitos at Lupe’s East L.A. Kitchen.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

19. Aldama

Copy Link
91 S 6th St
Brooklyn, NY 11249
(929) 298-0233
Visit Website

Fueled my mezcal and the thump of reggaeton until 2 a.m. on weekends, Aldama is the closest thing Brooklyn has to the hip, late-night restaurants and bars of Mexico City. Make a reservation for dinner — when dutifully constructed tacos al pastor and plates of vegan mole shine — or arrive after 10 p.m., when a live DJ holds court and bartenders addle customers with frozen cocktails and copitas of tequila. The spot comes from owner Chris Reyes and chef Gerardo Alcaraz, an alum of the three-Michelin-starred Martin Berasategui in Spain.

A shot from outside Aldama shows patrons enjoying dinner inside the warmly lit bar room.
The subterranean bar room at Aldama.
Gary He/Eater NY

20. Santa Ana Deli & Grocery

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

Bodega taquerias from the state of Puebla abound in Bushwick, including this one named after the town of Santa Ana Xalmimilulco. The groceries at Santa Ana Deli & Grocery have withered to a few shelves, but still display a killer collection of dried and canned chiles. The menu, stenciled over the counter at the end of the room, is expansive, including rolled tacos arabes in flour tortillas; rice-bearing tacos placeros that enfold other homely fillings like boiled egg and chiles relleno; and a wonderful burrito Santa Ana, sauced with the colors of the Mexican flag. The grocery was founded in the 1980s and is still owned and operated by Polo Teco and family.

A burrito is topped with white, green, and red sauces in the colors of the Mexican flag.
The Santanero burrito is sauced with the colors of the Mexicna flag.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

21. Purépecha

Copy Link
213 Smith St
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(347) 916-1227
Visit Website

This Cobble Hill restaurant owned by siblings Sandra and Willson Lopez is decorated with a colorful mural of Mexican motifs: a sugar skull, agave cacti, and ears of maize. It mounts a menu with many specialties from the state of Michoacán, directly west of Mexico City. Carnitas is a dish associated with the state, a pork confit that can be dry or almost soupy, here loaded into tacos and topped with guacamole. Other standouts include a fried fish taco and enchiladas placeras, bean-stuffed enchiladas with a mild tomato sauce.

Three tacos of shredded meat topped with guacamole.
Carnitas tacos at Purépecha.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

22. Claro

Copy Link
Read Review |
284 3rd Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11215
(347) 721-3126
Visit Website

This cozy and innovative spot near the Gowanus Canal partly specializes in Oaxacan food via chef T.J. Steele. Sure, there are memelas, garnaches, and other hand-patted masa creations, but check out the rotating list of moles — used to blanket duck, sea bass, pork cheek, and other meats — and perfect for sopping up with a tortilla. The logo is a woodcut of a happy goat paradoxically relaxing in a stewpot, and a backyard seating area is one of Brooklyn’s most glorious when summer rolls around.

A whole duck leg is blanketed in a pool of mole negro.
A duck leg blanketed in mole negro.
Amber-Lynn Taber/Eater NY

23. Antojitos del Patron Mexican Snacks

Copy Link
52 Lincoln Rd
Brooklyn, NY 11225
(347) 533-9911
Visit Website

Part of a cluster of three restaurants on the same block owned by a pair of Guatemalan sisters, Brenda Castellanos and Ana Prince, Antojitos del Patron is a cozy cafe offering homestyle, corn-based Mexican food. Steamed in a banana leaf, the Oaxacan tamal is magnificent, a massive cylinder of masa drenched in a chunky pork sauce, a full meal in itself. Specialty tacos are also available, including tacos al pastor and tacos de calabacitas, the latter made with the usual zucchini and corn kernels.

A thick burrito smothered in tomato sauce and pork chunks.
An unsheathed Oaxacan tamal at Antojitos del Patron.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

24. Tacos El Bronco

Copy Link
860 5th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11232
(917) 405-5759

I guess by now everyone knows to get the tiny tripe tacos at this amazing taco truck that parks opposite the Jackie Gleason Bus Depot, a stone’s throw from the Green-Wood Cemetery in Sunset Park. Note that the tripe here is not of the honeycomb variety, but is instead made from veal intestines. I guarantee both substances are equally good in a taco. Otherwise, steer in the direction of goat, calf tongue, veal head, or pork skin.

A takeout container filled with green onions and a few double-wrapped tacos with vegetable and meat fillings.
Tacos, cucumber slices, and a bulbous green onion overflow from a takeout container.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

25. Don Pepe Tortas Y Jugos

Copy Link
3908 5th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11232
(718) 435-3326
Visit Website

Opened in 2003, Don Pepe presaged an era when the Mexican sandwiches called tortas were super-sized and rendered glamorous as massive feeds for any meal. Dozens upon dozens of sandwiches are offered, often bearing the names of Mexican states or foreign countries and laden with multiple meats. Juices are another focus of this rollicking cafe that also offers commonplace antojitos in an orange-colored dining room.

The Mexican sandwich called the torta, loaded down with multiple meats, string cheese, avocado, jalapenos, and many more ingredients.
An overflowing torta from Don Pepe Tortas Y Jugos.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

26. Taqueria El Gallo Azteca

Copy Link
75 Victory Blvd
Staten Island, NY 10301
(718) 273-6404
Visit Website

A short distance from the ferry on soaring Victory Boulevard, tiny corner taqueria El Gallo Azetca, with only three tables and a few counter seats, has long been serving the taco needs of Staten Islanders. The quesadillas are equally celebrated, and Pueblan cemitas (round sandwiches on seeded rolls) are served complete with papalo leaves. Don’t miss the fabled hot dog torta.

An overstuffed round sandwich with hot dogs, white cheese, and avocado, among other ingredients.
A hot dog torta at Taqueria El Gallo Azteca.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

27. Coszcal De Allende

Copy Link
6824 3rd Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 921-3523
Visit Website

After a career operating restaurants in Manhattan, Veronica and Luis Felipe moved to Bay Ridge in 2010 and opened Coszcal de Allende, a delightful place that evokes the atmosphere of arts center San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato. Tacos de cazadores (“hunters’ tacos”) feature a filling of chorizo, avocados, and cheese, while quesadillas arrive stuffed with mushrooms, squash flowers, or huitlacoche. The dish most characteristic of the city is enchiladas de Allende (also referred to as enchiladas Sanmiguelense), stuffed with cheese, mantled with more cheese, and smothered in a piquant salsa verde.

Enchiladas smothered in cheese and sided with beans and rice.
Enchiladas de Allende at Coszcal De Allende.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

28. Doña Zita

Copy Link
1221 Bowery St
Brooklyn, NY 11224
(347) 492-6160
Visit Website

For a dozen years, this wonderful canteen has lingered among the back alleys of Coney Island (on a thoroughfare absurdly called Bowery Street), dishing up gigantic versions of tacos, quesadillas, sopes, and other antojitos, but its most glorious production may be the Pueblan cemita, a sandwich so big your mouth can’t fit around it, with such a wad of fresh papalo leaves you can smell them as the sandwich is handed over the counter.

A giant domed sandwich held up to show how big it is.
Doña Zita’s chicken milanesa cemita.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Loading comments...

1. Taqueria Sinaloense

113 W 225th St, The Bronx, NY 10463
A white bowl of red pozole with onion and bobbing bits of meat, next to a plate full of tacos overflowing with shrimp.
A bowl of red pozole next to tacos gobernador.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

While much Mexican food in New York comes from the southern part of the country, Taqueria Sinaloense draws from Sinaloa, a coastal state situated in the northwest. It opened in Marble Hill in 2018, after an unrelated restaurant with the same name closed in Elmhurst. This one specializes in tacos, including tacos de canasta (“basket tacos”) filled with chorizo and grilled cheese and dipped in oil to keep them fresh, often sold by vendors or taken on picnics; and tacos gobernador (“governor’s tacos”), lusciously filled with shrimp and fresh chiles.

113 W 225th St
The Bronx, NY 10463

2. La Morada

308 Willis Ave, The Bronx, NY 10454
A table with plates of rice and beans, green and red moles, and other Mexican dishes.
Red, green, black, and white moles abound at La Morada.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

This small cafe in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx has succeeded in popularizing the food of Oaxaca in NYC at a reasonable price point, while also serving as a center of social activism under chef Natalia Mendez and family. Choose any of the colorful moles — negro, blanco, verde, and others — or a pampazo sandwich with chorizo and potato. Flautas, tostadas, and other antojitos are available, and we’re partial to the hand-patted, circular tlacoyos.

308 Willis Ave
The Bronx, NY 10454

3. Santa Clarita

237 Willis Ave #2, Bronx, NY 10454
A restaurant with a brownish red awning with the name of the restaurant and an giant order window visible on the left.
Mott Haven’s Santa Clarita restaurant.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

The Bronx’s Mott Haven neighborhood, easily accessible by subway from all corners of the city, has become a hotbed of Mexican restaurants in the last decade — and not just the Oaxacan gem La Morada, also on this list. Santa Clarita was founded in 1971 as a Puerto Rican and Dominican restaurant, but morphed into a Mexican one with a charming taco window, a more formal indoor dining room, and a relaxing porch connecting them. The al pastor cylinder twirling in the window is particularly good, but the tacos dorados (rolled tacos), enchiladas, or anything featuring shrimp are also recommended.

237 Willis Ave #2
Bronx, NY 10454

4. Las Delicias Mexicanas

2109 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10029
A bowl of soup with carrots and meat in it, being lifted up in a spoon.
Goat birria at Las Delicias Mexicanas.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

This East Harlem gem specializes in standard Mexican fare with a nod to Mexico City and a tip of the hat to southern state cuisines. The pozole and huaraches are distinguished, and this is one of those places that has always served birria — as a huge soup with warm tortillas on the side rather than as crunchy red tacos. The meat is goat or lamb, rather than beef, and they provide plenty of finely chopped onions and cilantro, in addition to lime wedges. The birria also sports carrots for sweetness and tiny chickpeas.

2109 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10029

5. Taco Mix

234 E 116th St #1, New York, NY 10029
Two al pastor tacos dressed with the usual onion, cilantro, and pineapple on a plate.
Tacos al pastor from Taco Mix.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

This flagship of a mini-fleet of Pueblan taquerias owned by Alejo Sanchez specializes in al pastor, as is probably evident from the giant pineapple-topped cone of pork swirling slowly in the window. Get the mini taco, by all means: The tortillas are better and show off the meat with a few shards of fruit to greater advantage. Eat at the counter, or grab the single table way in the back. The branch downtown on Delancey Street might have better tortillas, which are made periodically at the counter, but the East Harlem original rules where atmosphere is concerned.

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

6. El Mitote

208 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10023
A bowl of bright red soup with a slice of green avocado floating in it, and a tostada on a side plate.
The red chicken pozole at El Mitote.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

El Mitote, named after an Aztec dance, partly focuses on the street food of owner Cristina Castaneda’s native Guadalajara, but there’s also classic Mexican fare from around the country. An early afternoon brunch served every day might include wild mushroom tinga tacos, huevos rancheros or chilaquiles, and a stunning bowl of red chicken pozole that’s every bit as spicy as it looks, served with a crema-painted tostada on the side.

208 Columbus Ave
New York, NY 10023

7. Tulcingo Del Valle

665 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036
A cheese stuff chile flooded with tomato sauce, alongside rice and beans.
The chile relleno at Tulcingo Del Valle.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

The mother of all Puebla bodega taquerias in town is Hell’s Kitchen’s Tulcingo del Valle, name-checking a town in the arid southern part of the state and offering a full menu ranging from goat barbacoa to pork ribs in salsa verde. It’s also one of the best places in town to score a chile relleno, stuffed with cheese and smothered in a sprightly tomato sauce. Keep your eye on chalkboard specials. It’s owned and operated by Irma Verdejo and family.

665 10th Ave
New York, NY 10036

8. Ruta Oaxaca

35-03 Broadway, Queens, NY 11106
A pitcher poised over a fish filet pouring on green sauce.
Fish with mole verde at Ruta Oaxaca.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

With a vibrant design featuring the color pink and a bar emphasizing mezcal and tequila (and an array of flavored salts to give them some added oomph), Ruta Oaxaca is one of the city’s best evocations of the cuisine of the southern Mexican state. Moles come in a rainbow of colors, representing ancient sauces whose history goes back to pre-Columbian times, and you can’t go wrong with the chicken bunuelos, served in a pool of dark mole Oaxaca, or the brighter mole coloradito, poured over a steak with melted chihuahua cheese.

35-03 Broadway
Queens, NY 11106

9. Mariscos El Submarino

8805 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372
The aguachile negro at Mariscos El Submarino in Jackson Heights comes served out of a hulking molcajete.
The famed aguachile negro at Mariscos El Submarino.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

This small storefront with a yellow mustached submarine for a mascot rolled into Jackson Heights in 2020, bringing a game-changing addition to the city’s Mexican seafood scene. There might be better ceviche in the five boroughs, but its aguachiles — fiery baths of shrimp, fish, and octopus — are unrivaled. They come served in a heaping molcajete, the volcanic stone vessels traditionally used to grind spices and make guacamole, with enough seafood to share. Try the refreshing verde version, or the aguachile negro, spicy as hell and tasting slightly of soy sauce.

8805 Roosevelt Ave
Queens, NY 11372

10. La Estancia de la Espiga

42-11 102nd St, Corona, NY 11368
On a green plate, a giant hunk of meat with onions and cilantro, and a side plate of tortillas.
A plate of lamb barbacoa at La Estancia de la Espiga.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Mexican food fans are faced with the perpetual question of where to get great barbacoa on the weekends; La Estancia de la Espiga is the best answer. Watch the goat and lamb steaming right in the window, then grab a seat at the semi-subterranean dining room or cheery outdoor area, both often filled with families from Guerrero, where proprietor Tomás Gonzalez is from. A pound of goat comes with a pile of fresh, hand-pressed tortillas (also cooked in the window), along with chopped cilantro and onions, lemon wedges, radishes, and a couple of salsas for one of Queens’ finest DIY meals.

42-11 102nd St
Corona, NY 11368

11. Taqueria Coatzingo

7605 Roosevelt Ave, Jackson Heights, NY 11372
Three cone shaped tacos with guacamole spilling out and chiles and radishes on the side.
Tacos spill over with guacamole and chiles at Taqueria Coatzingo.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

This two-decade-old taqueria run by Rufino Zapata and his family has been a beacon for Pueblan food in Jackson Heights. “Taqueria” is perhaps too modest a term, since the current establishment occupies two storefronts, one of which doubles as a bar and dance hall. The cemitas are made on bread baked in the restaurant’s own panaderia. This is one of the city’s best and most reasonably priced Mexican restaurants in the city, and the tacos come with guac. ’Nuff said.

7605 Roosevelt Ave
Jackson Heights, NY 11372

12. Birria-Landia

77-99 Roosevelt Ave, Jackson Heights, NY 11372
A corn tortilla is dipped into rendered beef fat, giving it an orange hue. Several other tortillas wait on the grill next to it.
The truck’s corn tortilla are dipped in rendered beef fat before heading onto the grill.
Christian Rodriguez/Eater NY

When this truck pulled up to 78th Street on Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights in 2019, it was laden with crunchy, beef birria tacos prepared in the style of Tijuana and Los Angeles. The crew has since earned a citywide following for methodically turning out tacos and mulitas late into the night and is largely credited with kicking off the city’s birria taco boom. The truck is operated by José Moreno, former chef at Del Posto, and his brother Jesús, who have since expanded with locations in Williamsburg and Fordham Manor.

77-99 Roosevelt Ave
Jackson Heights, NY 11372

13. Cienega Las Tlayudas de Oaxaca Mexican Cuisine

10432 Corona Ave, Corona, NY 11368
A blue dining room with some guys sitting at a table by the wall.
The colorful dining room at Cienega Las Tlayudas de Oaxaca Mexican Cuisine.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

This informal, colorfully decorated restaurant open since 2013 specializes in tlayudas. These giant rounds of masa dough are rolled thin, cooked to near crispness, and topped with ingredients that often include cheese, black beans, cactus strips, jalapenos, tomato, and avocado — plus barbacoa, tripe, lengua, and other meats. Other good choices include its monster tacos placeros, chilaquiles, and enmoladas (mole enchiladas).

10432 Corona Ave
Corona, NY 11368

14. Casa Enrique

5-48 49th Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101
Read Review |
Black beans, yellow rice, and some bright red pork ribs in thick sauce.
Cochinito Chiapeneco, pork ribs that have been marinated in a sauce of guajillo chiles.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

A shaggy dog wearing a sombrero is the logo for Casa Enrique, a small-but-celebrated restaurant in Long Island City and New York’s first Mexican food business to earn a Michelin star. Chef Cosme Aguilar’s menu includes cochinito Chiapaneco, pork ribs marinated in a bright red guajillo chile sauce, and other dishes from his hometown of Chiapas, Mexico’s southernmost state.

5-48 49th Ave
Long Island City, NY 11101

15. Los Tacos No. 1

75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011
<span data-author="-1">A corn tortilla holds a mountain of grilled pork, pineapple, and salsa.</span>
An adobado taco at Los Tacos No. 1.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Los Tacos No. 1 is a corrugated metal structure within Chelsea Market that draws long lines at lunch and dinner. It does only a few things, but does them very well. Fresh flour and corn tortillas form the basis for pork adobada tacos, which will remind you of the pineapple-tenderized al pastor of Puebla. The beach favorite of grilled steak (carne asada) is also available, and either filling can be used to make a double-tortilla mula), gluing its tortillas together cheese. Find other locations in Times Square, Grand Central, Noho, and Tribeca.

75 9th Ave
New York, NY 10011

Related Maps

16. El Cantinero

86 University Pl, New York, NY 10003