clock menu more-arrow no yes
A storefront with pictures of tacos and plenty of neon.
Taqueria Coatzingo is actually a full blown Pueblan restaurant and not just a taqueria — so sit down and make yourself comfortable!
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

NYC’s 30 Essential Mexican Restaurants

Where to find the best south-of-the-border restaurants in all five boroughs

View as Map
Taqueria Coatzingo is actually a full blown Pueblan restaurant and not just a taqueria — so sit down and make yourself comfortable!
| Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Look back 35 years, and NYC’s Mexican restaurant scene was dominated by sizzling fajitas, cheese enchiladas, and nachos; 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.

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

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

1. Taqueria Sinaloense

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

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 not long ago in Marble Hill, after an unrelated place with the same name closed in Elmhurst. This one specializes in tacos, including tacos 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, reminding us of Sinaloa’s beaches.

Three soft corn tacos filled with shrimp and white chopped onions.
Governor’s tacos at Taqueria Sinaloense
Robert Sietsema/Eater

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 very reasonable prices. The place also serves as a center of social activism under chef Natalia Mendez and family. Choose any of the colorful moles, or a flatbread tlayuda covered with toppings and considered a great drinking snack. Other expected antojitos are available, but I’m partial to the hand-patted, shoe-shaped huaraches.

A green mole covers a lump of meat.
Mole verde at La Morada
Alex Staniloff/Eater

3. Santa Clarita

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

Mott Haven in the Bronx, easily accessible by subway from all points in the city, has become a hotbed of Mexican restaurants in the last decade — and not just the Oaxacan gem La Morada. Santa Rita was founded in 1971 as a Puerto Rican and Dominican restaurant, but morphed into a Mexican one, joining a charming taco window with a more formal indoor dining room, with a relaxing porch in front 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.
Santa Clarita, since 1971
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 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 you might guess 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. A branch downtown on Delancey Street may have better tortillas, which are made periodically at the counter. But the East Harlem original rules where atmosphere is concerned.

Two al pastor tacos side by side
Tacos al pastor at Taco Mix
Robert Sietsema/Eater

6. El Mitote

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

Owned by Cristina Castaneda, El Mitote (named after an Aztec dance) partly focuses on the street food of her hometown of Guadalajara, but mounts a menu that includes 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 this stunning red chicken pozole 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.
Pozole rojo 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 Pueblan menu from mole de olla to costillas en salsa verde. It’s also one of the best places in town to score a vegetarian 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.
Vegetarian chile relleno at Tulcingo Del Valle
Robert Sietsema/Eater

8. Ruta Oaxaca

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

With a zingy design featuring the color pink and a bar emphasizing mezcal and tequila (and an array of flavored salts to give them oomph), Ruta Oaxaca is one of the city’s best evocations of the cuisine of that southern Mexican state, one of country’s tastiest. 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 chicken bunuelos with mole Oaxaca (a very dark mole), or the brighter mole verde, poured with extra panache over a fish filet tableside.

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

9. 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 (La Espiga for short) is the best answer. Right in the window, watch the goat or lamb steaming, then select the semi-subterranean dining room or cheery outdoor area, both often filled with families from Guerrero, where proprietor Tomás Gonzalez is from. You get a pound of goat; 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 — 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.
Weekend lamb barbacoa at La Espiga
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

10. Taqueria Coatzingo

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

This two-decade-old taqueria run by Rufino Zapata and 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.

Chunks of white gelatinous cow foot on a stiff tortilla platform with avocado, dried crumbled cheese, and other ingredients.
Cow foot tostada at Taqueria Coatzingo
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

11. Birria-Landia

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

When this truck slid up to 78th Street right on Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights not long ago, it was laden with beef birria in the style of Tijuana and Los Angeles, and the lively red soup (really, the braising liquid) that goes with it. The crew has earned a cult following for methodically turning out tacos and mulitas late into the night. The truck is operated by José Moreno, former chef at Del Posto, and his brother Jesús. A further truck in Williamsburg serves a similar menu. Now birria is found all over the city, and beyond.

A pair of tacos stuffed with meat, green cilantro, and onions, served with sliced radishes and cucumbers
Birria tacos at Birria-Landia
Robert Sietsema/Eater

12. Cienega Las Tlayudas de Oaxaca Mexican Cuisine

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

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 quesillo, black beans, cactus strips, jalapeños, tomato, and avocado — plus meat or poultry. Other good choices include monster tacos placeros, chilaquiles, and enmoladas (mole enchiladas).

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

13. 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. Chef Cosme Aguilar’s menu includes cochinito Chiapeneco, pork braised in bright red guajillo chile sauce, among other dishes from his hometown in Chiapas, Mexico’s southernmost state.

Black beans, yellow rice, and some bright red pork ribs in thick sauce.
Cochinito Chiapeneco at Casa Enrique
Robert Sietsema/Eater

14. Los Tacos No. 1

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

Evoking a beachside taco stand in Baja or maybe San Diego, 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 with cheese. Find other locations in Times Square, Grand Central, and Tribeca.

A mula is a taco with two tortillas and a meat filling, stuck together with melted white cheese.
Pork adobada mula at Los Tacos No. 1
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

15. La Fondita Restaurant

Copy Link
49-11 69th St
Woodside, NY 11377
(718) 255-6589
Visit Website

This Woodside wonder near the Maspeth border specializes in food from the southwestern state of Guerrero, where chef Adela Arias-Galvez was born. The spicy red weekend pozole is not to be missed, but even better is an off-menu item called mole de guerrero, a thick red sauce that tastes great on pork ribs (shown) or chicken, in a recipe attributed to the chef’s grandmother.

Three ribs rise in a deep red sauce, while a plate of yellow rice and refried pink beans lurks on the side...
Pork ribs at La Fondita Restaurant
Robert Sietsema/Eater

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. One of our oldest purveyors is El Cantinero, a dark, bi-level den just south of Union Square that 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, and yes, there are frozen margaritas by the bucketful.

Nachos laid out in a starburst pattern.
Nachos at 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, Oxocmoco channels LA’s outdoor Mexican cafes. A wood-fired oven scents the air, and from it chef Justin Bazdarich pulls pork cheek carnitas, flank steak, and tender lamb barbacoa, all stuffed in tacos. Bigger feeds include a whole roasted branzino and bavette steak with chile ancho butter. Plenty of less-traditional inventions worth tasting include a charred carrot tamal smothered in hoja santa sauce, and a beef tartare tostada.

A fish occupies a plate in the middle, with satellite sauces and blue corn tortillas.
Whole branzino at Oxomoco
Louise Palmberg

18. Atla

Copy Link
Read Review |
372 Lafayette St
New York, NY 10012
(347) 662-3522
Visit Website

As a sort of casual counterweight to the formality and expense of Cosme, Enrique Olvera and Daniela Soto-Innes opened this small and sunny spot near Cooper Square, though Soto-Innes departed recently. The menu often gets playful, with a cauliflower al pastor taco, for example, or fish milanese, or a kale tamal, and a faddish birria service was recently added. But much of the menu is more doctrinaire, with beverages that run from espresso to invented cocktails.

A piece of toasted thickly heaped with colorful cherry tomatoes cut in half, onions, and avocado.
Avocado toast
Photo by Nick Solares

19. 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 — in a trippy diner setting with a view of Sixth Avenue, 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

20. Paloma’s Bk

Copy Link
1 Knickerbocker Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11237
(718) 576-3022
Visit Website

This descendent of the Ridgewood restaurant also called Paloma’s, from owner and chef Fabiola Maldonado, has a much more ambitious menu than its predecessor and a cocktail-lounge atmosphere featuring a giant painting of a chanteuse behind the bar, and a musical performance space adjacent to the dining room. The menu strays to all sorts of regional Mexican places, though anchored in a small collection of Oaxacan moles. The scallop aguachile is particularly appealing, and one can’t go wrong with the tacos gobernador, a specialty of Sinaloa spilling buttery and tender shrimp out their ends.

A pair of upturned hands covered with mayo-oozing crab shreds and greenery.
Crab tostada at Paloma’s BK
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

21. 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.

Two rolled tacos arabes with pork and chipotle sauce oozing out the ends.
Tacos arabes at Santa Ana Deli & Grocery
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

22. Nene’s Deli Taqueria

Copy Link
14 Starr St
Brooklyn, NY 11237
(347) 413-6684
Visit Website

Sometimes it seems like Bushwick is nothing but a mass of birria, offered in nearly every corner of the neighborhood. Nene’s is wedged into a narrow bodega south of Maria Hernandez Park, where chef Andrés Tonatiuh Galindo Maria relocated his birria operation not too long ago, making a bewildering number of antojitos featuring his beef birra, running from mulitas to burritos to (gasp!) birria ramen. The mulita is particularly recommended due to its double complement of tortillas and generally soggy (in a good way) demeanor, and its surprise inclusion of guac.

A pair of mulita halves with guacamole and meat visible between two tortillas.
Mulita at Nene’s Deli Taqueria
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

23. 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 cactus, and ear 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 Maruata taco of fried fish named after a beach town, and a grandma recipe of bean-stuffed enchiladas with a mild tomato sauce called enchiladas placeras.

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

24. 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 moles, chorizo memelas, and the dressed flatbreads called tlayudas, but there are also hand-patted tortillas and shrimp tacos made therefrom, washed down with beer and mezcal. 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 tuna tostada topped with pieces of orange and avocado, on a slate-colored plate.
Tuna tostada from Claro
Amber-Lynn Taber/Eater

25. 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. Special types of tacos are available, including tacos arabes and tacos al pastor, both originating in Puebla.

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

26. Tacos El Bronco

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

I guess by now everyone knows to get the tiny tripa 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 tripa 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.

Tacos El Bronco truck
Tacos El Bronco
Robert Sietsema/Eater

27. 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.
A torta at Don Pepe Tortas Y Jugos
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

28. Taqueria El Gallo Azteca

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

A nice walk from the ferry on soaring Victory Boulevard, tiny corner El Gallo, 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.
Hot dog torta at Taqueria El Gallo Azteca
Robert Sietsema/Eater

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

30. 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.
Pollo milanesa cemita
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Loading comments...

1. Taqueria Sinaloense

113 W 225th St, The Bronx, NY 10463
Three soft corn tacos filled with shrimp and white chopped onions.
Governor’s tacos at Taqueria Sinaloense
Robert Sietsema/Eater

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 not long ago in Marble Hill, after an unrelated place with the same name closed in Elmhurst. This one specializes in tacos, including tacos 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, reminding us of Sinaloa’s beaches.

113 W 225th St
The Bronx, NY 10463

2. La Morada

308 Willis Ave, The Bronx, NY 10454
A green mole covers a lump of meat.
Mole verde at La Morada
Alex Staniloff/Eater

This small cafe in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx has succeeded in popularizing the food of Oaxaca in NYC at very reasonable prices. The place also serves as a center of social activism under chef Natalia Mendez and family. Choose any of the colorful moles, or a flatbread tlayuda covered with toppings and considered a great drinking snack. Other expected antojitos are available, but I’m partial to the hand-patted, shoe-shaped huaraches.

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.
Santa Clarita, since 1971
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Mott Haven in the Bronx, easily accessible by subway from all points in the city, has become a hotbed of Mexican restaurants in the last decade — and not just the Oaxacan gem La Morada. Santa Rita was founded in 1971 as a Puerto Rican and Dominican restaurant, but morphed into a Mexican one, joining a charming taco window with a more formal indoor dining room, with a relaxing porch in front 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 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 side by side
Tacos al pastor at Taco Mix
Robert Sietsema/Eater

This flagship of a mini-fleet of Pueblan taquerias owned by Alejo Sanchez specializes in al pastor, as you might guess 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. A branch downtown on Delancey Street may 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.
Pozole rojo at El Mitote
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Owned by Cristina Castaneda, El Mitote (named after an Aztec dance) partly focuses on the street food of her hometown of Guadalajara, but mounts a menu that includes 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 this stunning red chicken pozole 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.
Vegetarian chile relleno at Tulcingo Del Valle
Robert Sietsema/Eater

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 Pueblan menu from mole de olla to costillas en salsa verde. It’s also one of the best places in town to score a vegetarian 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 zingy design featuring the color pink and a bar emphasizing mezcal and tequila (and an array of flavored salts to give them oomph), Ruta Oaxaca is one of the city’s best evocations of the cuisine of that southern Mexican state, one of country’s tastiest. 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 chicken bunuelos with mole Oaxaca (a very dark mole), or the brighter mole verde, poured with extra panache over a fish filet tableside.

35-03 Broadway
Queens, NY 11106

9. 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.
Weekend lamb barbacoa at 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 (La Espiga for short) is the best answer. Right in the window, watch the goat or lamb steaming, then select the semi-subterranean dining room or cheery outdoor area, both often filled with families from Guerrero, where proprietor Tomás Gonzalez is from. You get a pound of goat; 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 — one of Queens’ finest DIY meals.

42-11 102nd St
Corona, NY 11368

10. Taqueria Coatzingo

7605 Roosevelt Ave, Jackson Heights, NY 11372
Chunks of white gelatinous cow foot on a stiff tortilla platform with avocado, dried crumbled cheese, and other ingredients.
Cow foot tostada at Taqueria Coatzingo
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

This two-decade-old taqueria run by Rufino Zapata and 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

11. Birria-Landia

77-99 Roosevelt Ave, Jackson Heights, NY 11372
A pair of tacos stuffed with meat, green cilantro, and onions, served with sliced radishes and cucumbers
Birria tacos at Birria-Landia
Robert Sietsema/Eater

When this truck slid up to 78th Street right on Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights not long ago, it was laden with beef birria in the style of Tijuana and Los Angeles, and the lively red soup (really, the braising liquid) that goes with it. The crew has earned a cult following for methodically turning out tacos and mulitas late into the night. The truck is operated by José Moreno, former chef at Del Posto, and his brother Jesús. A further truck in Williamsburg serves a similar menu. Now birria is found all over the city, and beyond.

77-99 Roosevelt Ave
Jackson Heights, NY 11372

12. 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.
Cienega Las Tlayudas de Oaxaca Mexican Cuisine
Robert Sietsema/Eater

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 quesillo, black beans, cactus strips, jalapeños, tomato, and avocado — plus meat or poultry. Other good choices include monster tacos placeros, chilaquiles, and enmoladas (mole enchiladas).

10432 Corona Ave
Corona, NY 11368

13. 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 at Casa Enrique
Robert Sietsema/Eater

A shaggy dog wearing a sombrero is the logo for Casa Enrique, a small but celebrated restaurant in Long Island City. Chef Cosme Aguilar’s menu includes cochinito Chiapeneco, pork braised in bright red guajillo chile sauce, among other dishes from his hometown in Chiapas, Mexico’s southernmost state.

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

14. Los Tacos No. 1

75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011
A mula is a taco with two tortillas and a meat filling, stuck together with melted white cheese.
Pork adobada mula at Los Tacos No. 1
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Evoking a beachside taco stand in Baja or maybe San Diego, 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 with cheese. Find other locations in Times Square, Grand Central, and Tribeca.

75 9th Ave
New York, NY 10011

15. La Fondita Restaurant

49-11 69th St, Woodside, NY 11377