Get us in your inbox

Search
Tlayuda con chapulines at The Black Ant
Photograph: Filip Wolak

The 15 best Mexican restaurants in NYC

The finest Mexican fare, including guacamole, house-made tortillas and all manner of tacos and margaritas, you鈥檒l find in town.

Advertising

The one thing you’ll catch New Yorkers being humble about–self-deprecating, even–is our Mexican food. We’ll demure to west coasters before muttering under our breath about NYC’s pizza, bagels and the inimitable tap water that’s said to make them so great. But our very own Mexican culinary landscape has gone from good to great and then some over the years, and we, too, have plenty to boast about. Here’s where to find the very best right now.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in NYC

Mexican concepts we love so much that we welcomed them into Time Out Market

  • Restaurants
  • Vegan
  • DUMBO

With BKLYN Wild at Time Out Market, Ivy Stark is embracing a healthy plant-based menu that focuses on local ingredients that are actually local—as in, Brooklyn. This way, everyone can dig in, no matter their dietary restrictions. 

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • DUMBO

If there is an Iron Throne of New York’s Mexican cuisine, this Stark has a claim to it. In this city we adore our taquerias and Mexican food trucks, though, for many of us, the first time we picked up a refined taco off elegant dishware was at an Ivy Stark restaurant.

Best Mexican restaurants in NYC

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Gowanus
  • price 3 of 4

Michilin-starred Claro shines on Third Avenue, where it makes cheese, chorizo, masa, mole and tortillas on-site for its Oaxacan seasonal tasting menus. A $72 four-course dinner might include tostada de pulpo, barbacoa tacos, and mains like mole almendrado with soft shell crab or mole rojo with pork cheek, and churros or chocolate mole cake for dessert. We highly recommend the accompanying mezcal flight, and slightly cheaper prix-fixe options ($45 for food; $38 for booze) are served at brunch. In addition its bar and dining room, Claro has a peaceful patio in the back. 

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Flatiron
  • price 3 of 4

Enrique Olvera’s elegant high-gear plates—pristine, pricey and market-fresh—are among the most coveted in New York dining. Tacos make a solitary appearance on the menu, in an atypically generous portion of duck carnitas. But Olvera’s single-corn tortillas pop up frequently, beginning with a complimentary starter and accompanying entrées elsewhere.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Greenpoint
  • price 2 of 4

Another Michelin sparkler, Oxomoco’s wood-fired oven turns out terrific fish, barbacoa and “chorizo” tacos made of beets, and one of the best steaks we’ve had in or out of dedicated steakhouses. We’ve always been partial to its frozen drinks (a mango mezcalero and paloma were getting frosty at press time), and plenty of other cocktails, wine and beer options are available as well.

Casa Enrique
  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Long Island City
  • price 2 of 4

The owners of Bar Henry branched out to Queens with this 40-seat Mexican eatery, specializing in the regional cuisine of Cintalapa, Chiapas. Brothers Cosme and Luis Aguilar pay homage to their late mother with traditional plates, including chicken mole and cochinito chiapaneco (guajillo-marinated baby pork ribs), which are based on her recipes. The white-painted spot leads a garden out back. 

Advertising
  • Shopping
  • Grocery stores
  • Gowanus
  • price 1 of 4

This family-run, neighborhood favorite bodega also makes some of the area’s most excellent tacos. They come two to an order for $6.50-$8.50. Choose from fillings like beef, chorizo, lenuga and fish, or egg ‘em in the a.m. Burritos, quesadillas and nachos are also all on the menu, and, although there are a few seats available in the back, plan to take it all to go, just in case. 

Mesa Coyoacan
  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Williamsburg
  • price 2 of 4

Chef Ivan Garcia (Mercadito) explores his Mexico City roots at this eatery, named for the neighborhood where he grew up. The food echoes the multiregional snacks you might find on the capital city’s streets: A trio of tamales presents versions from Oaxaqueño (chicken and mole), Chiapaneco (pork, fruit and nuts) and Veracruzano (tilapia with guajillo salsa). Other preparations come straight from the chef’s family, including a secret-recipe ceviche.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • East Harlem
  • price 1 of 4

The East Harlem outpost of this four-location mini chain makes a strong showing for the title of NYC’s best al pastor tacos. They’re sliced to order from a rotating spit crowned with a hunk of grilled pineapple, and the tortilla-to-meat ratio is perfectly balanced. Several other options are also on the menu, along with burritos, quesadillas and nachos. 

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • East Village
  • price 1 of 4

Inside the boisterous graffiti-tagged room—clinging to the grit of its ’80s incarnation, punk haunt Alcatraz—servers move tacos from the ordering counter with a speed that would impress a track-and-field coach. Alex Stupak's tacos are unfussy, served on paper plates with sides that come in takeout containers. The tortillas—made from Indiana corn that’s nixtamalized (the grains are cooked in limewater and hulled) and pressed in-house daily—are thin and springy, with a delicate maize sweetness.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Greenwich Village

The old Tolache space may look familiar, but Kuxé, from that same restaurant team, has a new menu that’s the product of collaboration from its staffers, including tostada de ceviche, chile relleno and several taco varieties. Beer, wine, micheladas and cocktails like the cucumber-infused Kuxé margarita and the mezcal Oaxacan Sunsetsare also available. 

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Noho
  • price 3 of 4

This Cosme spinoff is more casual than the Flatiron megahit, with a smaller but delicious menu. Start with the guacamole and Arctic char tartare, add a couple shrimp, avocado or suadero tacos, dip into the selection of three salsas and you’ve fashioned a feast. Atla’s drink list is a mile longer than its food options, featuring half-a-dozen margaritas, classic cocktails, and several mezcals to sip. Imbued with cues from Mexico City’s all-day restaurants, the 60-seat space features sleek black and oakwood furniture, a white terrazzo tiled bar and verdant vegetation lining the walls.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Brooklyn Heights
  • price 2 of 4

The team behind Colonie pivots from farm-to-table American to regional Mexican cuisine with this 60-seat canteen in Dumbo. The team turns out market-driven South of the Border fare, bolstered by from-scratch ingredients, like homemade chorizo and hand-pressed tortillas made with heirloom corn. 

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Chelsea
  • price 1 of 4

Small, scratch made corn tortillas puff up on the grill like blowfish at this west coaster–approved Chelsea Market taco counter, deflating before they’re piled with superbly juicy adobada pork. The red-chili-marinated pig is trimmed shawarma-style from a glistening spit, its natural sweetness jacked up with shards of pineapple and a squirt of lime.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • East Village
  • price 2 of 4

The namesake ant is queen at this low-lit East Village cantina from Ofrenda’s Jorge Guzman and Mario Hernandez. Hailing from the Dominican Republic and Cuernavaca, Mexico, respectively, the pair sources ingredients and the modern Mayan decor straight from their home states. Menu highlights include the black ant guacamole, grasshopper tlayudas, fish tacos and braised oxtail. 

M贸le
  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4

With breakfast burritos, tortas and chilaquiles at brunch, nachos, quesadillas and tacos at lunch, enchiladas, fajitas and stuffed poblano peppers at dinner (plus some crossover), this is a terrific spot to snack and sip margaritas any time of day. 

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • East Village
  • price 1 of 4

Siblings Leo and Oliver Kremer left the Bay Area to teach New Yorkers a thing or two about Cal-Mex cuisine. Their tiny East Village storefront (Now with three NYC locations) specializes in San Francisco–style burritos—California’s plump, pico de gallo–drenched big bites. Try one stuffed with rice and beans, along with your choice of protein: carne asada, locally raised, brined and grilled chicken, or slow-cooked carnitas. 

Need a margarita?

See the best Mexican restaurants in America

Recommended
    You may also like
      Advertising