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Bodega Guacamole, fresh tortilla chips, jicama at Bodega Negra
Photograph: Filip Wolak

The best Cinco de Mayo specials in NYC

Celebrate May 5th with the best Cinco de Mayo specials in NYC, from killer tacos to frosty margaritas

By Christina Izzo and Time Out contributors

Despite claims that California and Texas have the best Mexican food, New York has no shortage of South of the Border eateries doling out the best tacos in town along with the top margaritas to soak 'em up, which makes it a great setting to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. On the fifth of May, toast Mexico's fateful victory with the best Cinco de Mayo specials in NYC at both longstanding Mexican restaurants and snappy newcomers.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Cinco de Mayo in NYC

Best Cinco de Mayo specials

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

1. Toloache

Restaurants Mexican Midtown West

This Mexican eatery from chef Julian Medina (Maya, Zocalo) suits its Theater District locale: The dynamic, richly appointed duplex is adorned with beautiful tiles and murals of Mexican scenes. For Cinco de Mayo, the kitchen will be offering specials like lamb tacos, lobster nachos and a beef-tongue tostada at all three of its locations, as well as a trio of flavored margaritas (cantaloupe, blood orange, pineapple-ginger). Toloache 50 will also be hosting mariachi performances throughout the day.

Oaxaca Express at La Contenta
Courtesy of La Contenta

2. La Contenta

Restaurants Mexican Lower East Side

Former Ofrenda chef Luis Arce Mota showcases both his Mexican roots and French training with dishes like rataouille-stuffed chilis rellenos and confit chicken leg over mole-sauced risotto, and Alex Valencia (Bathtub Gin, Flatiron Room) taps family recipes for cocktails like a tequila-based Old-Fashioned.

Nitehawk Cinema, dine-in movie theater
Photograph: Jolie Ruben

3. Nitehawk Cinema

Movie theaters Independent Williamsburg

The eat-in Brooklyn movie theater is throwing a Cinco de Mayo brunch complete with a screening of Three Amigos as well as a live-show performance by Latin Grammy–nominated Mariachi Flor de Toloache during the May 6th and May 7th screenings. 

Dos Caminos Soho
Photograph: Courtesy Dos Caminos

4. Dos Caminos

Restaurants Mexican Soho

The Mexican chain is rolling out Cinco de Mayo specials on May 5th, including dishes like Alaskan king crab guacamole, shrimp-poblano taquitos and soft-shell crab tacos. Beyond the bites, there will be DJs, giveaways, swag bags and samples. 


5. Fonda

Restaurants Mexican Park Slope

Packed with locals since it opened, Fonda is a South Slope hit. The spare room is mercifully devoid of South-of-the-Border kitsch: red paint on one wall, exposed brick on the other, and a bar wrapped in multi-colored fabric. If the decor is restrained, the food—contemporary, upscale Mexican—is comparatively indulgent. And indulge you can on Cindo de Mayo with food specials (chiles enchiladas, avocado cheesecake), live mariachi music and a DJ set, and a Casamigos tequila drink special for $10 all night.

Rosa Mexicano
Photograph: Rosa Mexicano

6. Rosa Mexicano

Restaurants Mexican Midtown East

Do it up on Cinco de Mayo with a three-foot flight of tacos (grilled fish, carnitas) with pasilla de Oaxaca and fressh lime, and specially bottled spicy pineapple margaritas to wash it all down. 

Tacuba Hell’s Kitchen Cantina Mexicana, Pescado a la Talla
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Tacuba Hell’s Kitchen Cantina Mexicana

7. Tacuba

Restaurants Hell's Kitchen

This boutique Latin restaurant from chef Julian Medina is celebrating the holiday with four margaritas options, including the El Santo (hibiscus-infused mezal and cilantro), as well as a la carte specials like chicken and chorizo flautas. 

8. Atlantic Social

Restaurants American creative Fort Greene

Dale Talde and his Three Kings partners David Massoni and John Bush follow up Massoni with this playful 130-seat restaurant in Prospect Heights. In addition to the full menu, the eatery will be serving tableside guacamole as well as taco and margarita specials on May 5th. 

Soft-shell-crab taco at Bodega Negra
Photograph: Filip Wolak

9. Bodega Negra

Restaurants Mexican Chelsea

Nightlife impresario Serge Becker imports London’s sex-shop-themed Mexican cantina, scrubbed clean for the Dream Downtown: He’s swapped the seedy original’s neon lights and peep-show silhouettes for copper-trimmed tables and mirrored panels. On May 5th, the restaurant will serve $25 flights of four mini margaritas, as well as a large-format margarita that's topped with a Corona bottle and serves five ($85). You can pad the booze with a Cinco for Cinco special: Five signature bites (grilled corn salad, chicken tacos) for $5 each. 

Celebrate with a michelada


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