La Palapa

Restaurants , Mexican East Village
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(1 user review)
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 (Photograph: NOAH FECKS)
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Photograph: NOAH FECKS

LA PALAPA, NYC

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3 Pozoles at La Palapa

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La Palapa NYC

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Chiles en nogada by La Palapa

Venue says: "Happy Taco Day! Try our lunch time Taco Happy Hour with $3 tacos Monday-Friday 12 -4!!"

Thankfully, the fare La Palapa offers is as delicious to taste as the restaurant’s name is fun to say. The quaint storefront on St. Mark’s Place in the East Village—with white-linen awnings covering the tiki-esque wooden tub chairs pulled up to two-top wooden tables—is, appropriately, evocative of a palapa: an open-sided shelter made of a palm-leaf top, often found on Mexican beaches. The restaurant’s menu is vaster than what you’d likely find at a beach shack, but its festive drinks, warm aesthetic, and friendly and relaxed staff all play the lazing-in-the-sand part. Here, picking your poison is a pleasure: Start out with transportive frozen margarita to get the vacation vibes going, regardless of Manhattan’s weather. While you won’t go wrong with the regular edition ($9), you can mix and match flavors (each $1) to make concoctions like “watermelon jalapeño”. (Pro tip: Despite the strawberry frozen margarita’s intense pink pigment, its sugar factor is not overpowering but rather delicious.) If you prefer a more complexly composed cocktail, go for the tequila mojito ($13), combining watermelon, mint and lime. Or, skip the mixtures altogether and order from the impressive list of tequilas and mescals.

While you sip your drinks, snack on guacamole por orden ($14), which takes the standard starter and freshens it with an interactive twist. The order comes with three different spiced sauces that you can add to a dollop of guac on your own plate, allowing you to create your own unique iteration of the green goodness over and over again. And for the health-conscious clientele, crudité is available to accompany the guac (rather than house-made corn chips) for an additional buck. Or, opt for one of the four house salads, which you can transform into a heartier main dish by adding a protein. If you want something a little less common to start your meal, try crepas de huitlacoche ($12), a Mexican take on mushroom crepes. Or, see the menu of rotating specials, which on a recent night included salmon-ceviche tostadas and potato-chorizo taquitos.

For your main course, whether you go for the generously sauced enchiladas with either tomatillo salsa verde or red mole, chile rellenos or tacos de pescado, you need not venture outside your comfort zone to leave satiated. What La Palapa does best is serve large portions of your Mexican-food favorites in an atmosphere that naturally relaxes you. Take that feeling, coast into your dessert course of moist tres leches cake or rich flourless chocolate cake, and keep living la buena vida.

BY TIME OUT COMMUNITY REVIEWER: ALEXIS GUTTER

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La Palapa says
Award wining margaritas, tacos and rich regional Mexican cuisine. La Palapa brings the vibrant flavors of Mexico to New York. Join us for Sangria Sundays! $10 Pitchers all day and all night.
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Venue name: La Palapa
Contact:
Address: 77 Saint Marks Place
New York
10003
Cross street: between First and Second Aves
Opening hours: Mon–Fri noon–midnight; Sat, Sun 11am–midnight
Transport: Subway: 6 to Astor Pl
Price: Average main course: $21. AmEx, MC, V
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Sally Y
tastemaker

When you pass by La Palapa, it looks like any other Mexican restaurant in NYC. It's filled with tons of seating, Latin music plays over the speakers, and the doors are open to let the breeze in on a beautiful day. However, once you sit down and have some food and drinks, you realize that you're at one of the best Mexican restaurants in NYC. 


Starting off with the beverages, both the margarita and michelada are amazing. I especially recommend the michelada as it has the perfect limey balance, and they give you your beer in a small pitcher. The beverage transforms to more than just a drink. Now it's an fun experience! 


In terms of the food, you really can't go wrong. The guacamole comes with both chips and veggies, to scoop up that avocado goodness. The addition of the vegetables really brings out the freshness of the guacamole and gives you that extra crunch when you use your radish, jicama, or cucumber instead of the chip. Quesadillas are also definitely a go to if you have a group of people. They don't skimp on the meat, and there's still plenty of cheese to give you that gooey quesadilla cheesiness you know you want. Lastly, the dinner items are also fantastic. I don't remember what exactly was ordered as we shared all plates family style (but they're not family style portions), but I know there wasn't one thing I didn't enjoy.