El Parador Cafe

Restaurants, Mexican Murray Hill
El Parador Cafe
El Parador Cafe
Made-to-order guacamole has become a staple of upscale places, but at El Parador, the molcajete (lava-rock bowl) it’s made in is almost 50 years old. The dining room’s multigenerational party atmosphere is another sure sign of the restaurant’s longevity. Even with a reservation, you may have to wait at the bar, which is fine—the warm chips and cinnamon-spiked salsa go well with margaritas. El Parador is known for two classic main courses. Mole poblano is quintessential comfort food, ample for two. Ropa vieja is more than what its name (“old clothes”) suggests; the shredded beef is flavorful and chewy. Coconut-coated fried ice cream also has multigenerational appeal.


Venue name: El Parador Cafe
Address: 325 E 34th St
New York
Cross street: between First and Second Aves
Opening hours: Daily noon–11pm
Transport: Subway: 6 to 33rd St
Price: Average main course: $20. AmEx, DC, Disc, MC, V
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Average User Rating

5 / 5

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Solid guac. Awesome fish tacos. And a tequila list that's about as long as the Old Testament. In terms of Mexican joints, this is pretty much all you can ask for.

If you look up El Parador on Google Maps, it's labeled as a "landmark" NYC restaurant. "Landmark" may be a bit ambitious, but a really sold option in Murray Hill? Definitely bits the bill there. This place has been around for almost 60 years, which in restaurant years is like 4,893. And they're still in business because they still dish out quality Mexican fare.

Here's the thing about Mexican- it's super easy to make it decent, but elevating it to actually "good" is an art. El Parador's menu is pretty standard for what you'd find elsewhere, but they execute the classics very well. 

Start with the aforementioned quac, dive into a plate of nachos, and make sure you order the pollo mole. And drink all the tequila you can stomach, but that goes without saying.