New York City Guide

Where to Get the Best Mexican Food in NYC in 2023

Published on January 13, 2023 | 0 Comments
best mexican food nyc

If you’re scouring the country for the best Mexican food, NYC may not be the first city that comes to mind. After all, New York is almost as far as you can get from the U.S. and Mexico border. However, the Big Apple has plenty of famous restaurants and well-kept secrets serving up the best Mexican food in NYC. 

But in a city so vast, where should you look? What if you’re craving authentic, homestyle tacos for lunch and a high-end fusion experience for dinner? From traditional Oaxacan mole and burritos to creative Mexican-inspired treats, here’s where you can find the best Mexican food in NYC.

 

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Find the Best Mexican Food in NYC

If you’re dedicated to discovering the best Mexican food in NYC, sign up for a food tour! With the help of an expert guide, you’ll get to explore the best restaurants that the Big Apple has to offer. During food tours in NYC, you’ll also get to learn about some of the cultural influences that Mexican immigrants have had in the community, from food and music to art and architecture.

The Best Mexican Restaurants in NYC

1. Aldama

If you’re looking for a go-to brunch or dinner spot with the best Mexican food in NYC, Aldama is the place for you. This restaurant is known for its comfortable dining area, delicious Mexican street food classics and South American specialty dishes. Aldama offers both indoor and outdoor seating with tables and a large bar area. 

The Vibe

Aldama has a very soft, modern and neutral vibe, with woven textiles, wood furniture and a large stone bar. Don’t be fooled by the somewhat Scandinavian aesthetics — Aldama serves some of the best Mexican food in NYC. 

What to Order

Some of Aldama’s most popular dinner dishes include the taco de trompo (pork belly and steak tacos) and vegan mole with mushrooms and quelites chinos. Aldama also serves delicious brunch dishes like sope de chistorra and a wholesome bíonico (fruit bowl).

Aldama | 91 S. Sixth St., Brooklyn, NY 11249 United States | $$

Aldama shrimp tacos
via Aldama

2. Toloache 50

When you’re on the hunt for the best Mexican food, Times Square, NYC may seem like a surprising place to find it. Toloache 50 is located right off of West 50th Street, so it’s the perfect place to grab a bite of the best Mexican food in NYC after visiting Rockefeller center or seeing a Broadway show. 

The Vibe

Toloache 50 is a restaurant with an upscale atmosphere, perfect for a classy date or special occasion. Inside, you’ll find luxurious chandeliers, high ceilings, tile mosaic walls and plenty of indoor, outdoor and upstairs seating. 

What to Order

The Pollo Toloache is a must-try, featuring chipotle-marinated chicken breast topped with cheese and a pinto bean dumpling and served on sweet corn pico de gallo. Visitors love that each meal is clearly crafted with care and served in generous portions. After enjoying the best Mexican food in NYC, be sure to satisfy your sweet tooth with one of Toloache 50’s popular churros. 

Toloache 50 | 251 W. 50th St., New York, NY 10012 | $$$

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3. Ruta Oaxaca

When you combine chocolate, mezcal and the best Mexican food in NYC, you’re practically guaranteed to have a good time. Ruta Oaxaca offers an excellent selection of mole dishes, tacos, cocktails and more, and is an excellent place to plan a girls’ night out or date night in NYC

The Vibe

The outside of Ruta Oaxaca is bright pink, and the inside has a contemporary and slightly funky feel with neat wooden tables, a full bar and colorful neon ceiling lights. The glowing interior of Ruta Oaxaca complements their colorful take on the best Mexican food in NYC. 

What to Order

The chicken mole enchiladas are a tasty treat for any true Mexican food fanatic. Mole is a traditional sauce made with rich spices and cacao, and it tastes absolutely divine. Treat yourself and your friends to one of Ruta Oaxaca’s mezcal flights as well!

Ruta Oaxaca | 35-03 Broadway, Astoria, NY 11106 United States | $$$

Ruta Oaxaca serves some of the best Mexican food in NYC
via Ruta Oaxaca

4. Empellón 

Empellón is the place to go when you want to impress loved ones with the best Mexican food in NYC. Led by professional chef Alex Stupek, this Michelin-star restaurant is known for its incredible contemporary takes on traditional dishes, including octopus tacos, smoky cashew salsa and the dessert avocado.

The Vibe

Empellón is one of the most upscale places to find the best Mexican food in NYC. Inside, you’ll find a large, classy dining space with two floors, ceramic artwork and a full bar. Visitors may wear clean, casual clothing to Empellón, but dressing up is also appropriate. 

What to Order

The chopped cabbage salad with fava bean dressing is one of Empellón’s most popular dishes and a treat to enjoy for lunch. For more dinner-friendly options, look to their octopus tacos with fingerling potatoes, chile-garlic sauce, onion and cilantro. 

Empellón | 510 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10022 United States | $$$

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5. Casa Enrique

For some of the best Mexican food in NYC’s long island city, head over to Casa Enrique. Here you’ll find a laid-back casual atmosphere with a modern take on delicious Mexican foods, inspired by chef Cosme Aguilar’s childhood favorites. 

The Vibe

Casa Enrique’s no-frills dining room has relaxing white walls, tables and chairs. Tabletop florals and décor may change frequently to match the seasons or celebrate cultural holidays and sporting events. Casa Enrique is a great place to grab a casual weeknight dinner with a small group of family or friends. 

What to Order

On a chilly day in the Big Apple, there’s no better way to warm up than with the best Mexican food in NYC. Grab a bowl of savory “pozole de me tia” from Casa Enrique, a red hominy pork soup with oregano, radish, lettuce, onion and avocado. Some other well-loved dishes include the mole de Piaxtla and pastel tres leches dessert. 

Casa Enrique | 5-48 49th Ave., Long Island City, NY 11101 | $$

braised meat from casa enrique
via Casa Enrique

6. Oxomoco

Is there anything better than margaritas and queso on a bright, sunny day? Oxomoco is a great choice if you’re looking for the best Mexican food in NYC with some top-notch outdoor seating. Located in Brooklyn, Oxomoco serves up delicious frozen cocktails, tasty brunch and unique dinner dishes.

The Vibe

The patio at Oxomoco is one of the best places to eat in NYC on a lovely summer day, but don’t worry if you can’t snag an outdoor table. Oxomoco’s indoor dining area still feels fresh with plenty of live greenery, bright sunroofs and a modern boho vibe.  

What to Order

Oxomoco puts a modern spin on some traditional Mexican favorites, so they’re an excellent place to step outside your comfort zone while still getting some of the best Mexican food in NYC. Dig into golden tilefish tacos with grilled cabbage, pickled leeks and shrimp-fennel salsa, paired with a frozen guava margarita. 

Oxomoco | 128 Greenpoint Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11222 United States | $$$

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7. La Morada

Forget “modern twists” and “Mexican-inspired” meals; if you’re craving the best Mexican food in NYC, La Morada is the place to go for real Oaxacan cuisine. In addition to providing some of the best authentic Mexican food in NYC, La Morada plays an active role in the community. For example, they provided thousands of free meals to those in need during the height of COVID-19 lockdowns. 

The Vibe

With deep purple walls, eclectic art and simple seating, walking into La Morado feels like walking into a true taqueria in Mexico. La Morada decorates their dining area with photos of the community, a little library and stickers for social activism. It’s clear to see that this family-run business cares deeply about their food and their people.

What to Order

Out of all the restaurants serving the best Mexican food in NYC, La Morada is the best place to get authentic enchiladas, quesadillas, sopes and more. Try the mole poblano with pork or nachos loaded with black beans, sour cream, tomatoes, lettuce and cheese. La Morada’s entrées always come with a side of rice and beans — as they should!

La Morada | 308 Willis Ave., Bronx, NY 10454 | $$

la morada serves some of the best mexican food in nyc
via La Morada

8. Casa Carmen

Treat yourself to the best Mexican food in NYC and an upscale atmosphere at Casa Carmen, a family-owned restaurant inspired by grandmother Carmen “Titita” Ramirez Degollado. This restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy classy NYC foods in the Tribeca area. For some, the menu prices may seem a little steep, but visitors can’t get over the excellent service, atmosphere and food at Casa Carmen. 

The Vibe

Casa Carmen is a great place to enjoy a fine dinner for two or celebrate a special occasion with the best Mexican food in NYC. Inside, you’ll find luxurious stone surfaces, natural wood beam ceilings, dark pottery and ambient lighting. The dress code for Casa Carmen is casual, but feel free to dress up if you’d like. 

What to Order

You can’t go wrong with nearly anything on Casa Carmen’s menu full of the best Mexican food in NYC, but guests frequently rave about their mole. To see what all the hype is about, try the chicken or vegetable enmoladas Xico with mole Xico, crema, Cotija cheese and beans. 

Casa Carmen | 114 Franklin St., New York, NY 10013 | $$$

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9. Claro

After a busy day exploring things to do in NYC, Claro is an excellent place to enjoy tasty, filling Mexican food in Brooklyn. Chef T.J. Steele runs this authentic little spot, where most of the ingredients are imported straight from Mexico. Claro serves brunch, dinner and an abundance of cocktails, mezcal and mezcal flights. 

The Vibe

Claro has a quirky, authentic and somewhat dark vibe. Inside, you’ll find unique murals and pottery, classic wooden tables and black metal barstools. Claro also has a lovely patio area that’s heated in winter. 

What to Order

Schedule a ride or bring a designated driver — in addition to the best Mexican food in NYC, Claro has a mighty selection of mezcal. Claro also offers several non-alcoholic drinks worth indulging in, such as their seasonal agua fresca or la flor pura aguamiel. Pair your drinks with one of their delicious menu items like masa pancakes or mole rojo. 

Claro | 284 Third Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11215 | $$

turkey tinga memela from claro
via Claro

10. Taqueria Al Pastor

Taqueria Al Pastor is a great place to find the best cheap Mexican food in NYC. Street tacos and tostadas run only around five to six dollars, and they’re piled high with delicious ingredients like fried pork, fish or mushrooms, onions, salsa and fresh cilantro. Taqueria el Pastor is the perfect stop for a quick lunch or snack of the best Mexican food in NYC. 

The Vibe

Taqueria Al Pastor is a “quick bites” kind of place mostly serving food to go. Even so, the interior is wonderfully decorated with hand-painted Mexican tiles, string bulb lights and colorful tables. Their no-frills menu is displayed overhead, and lots of locals come here to enjoy a real taste of Mexico. 

What to Order

For vegans and vegetarians, Taqueria Al Pastor’s fried cactus taco is a unique and tasty way to enjoy the best Mexican food in NYC. Others may enjoy the popular al pastor or fish tacos. Whatever you decide to order, go for all the included toppings and prepare to have your mind blown by how well the flavors play together. 

Taqueria Al Pastor | 119 Court St., Brooklyn, NY 11201 | $

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11. Añejo

Añejo has everything you need to satisfy your cravings for the best Mexican food in NYC. From shrimp tacos to empanadas and pineapple chipotle guacamole, this is a great place to enjoy dinner or a quick bite of tapas before going out for the night. Like many places in the city, Añejo also offers some interesting twists, like fried squash blossoms and cheeseburger fundido. 

The Vibe

Compared to most other restaurants in NYC, Añejo has a rather spacious dining area, with tables big enough to suit large parties seeking the best Mexican food in NYC. Overall, the atmosphere feels open and natural to the city, with exposed brick walls, wood floors and ceiling details and a grand full bar. 

What to Order

The pork belly tostadas offer the perfect, savory bite to compliment your house margarita or tequila flight. Each crispy tostada is topped with a generous slice of caramelized pork, avocado, crema and cilantro. If pork isn’t your style, try the chicken al pastor tacos or wild mushroom queso fundido. 

Añejo | 301 Church St., New York, NY 10013 | $$

anejo serves some of the best mexican food in nyc
via Añejo

12. La Loteria

La Loteria puts a modern, “New York” spin on some classic Mexican dishes, but they still serve up some of the best Mexican food in NYC. Come here to enjoy carefully crafted bites like traditional guacamole, churros and chilaquiles. This cool spot can get busy in the evenings, so dinner reservations are highly recommended.

The Vibe

The vibe at La Loteria is modern and eclectic. The interior features black leather booth seating, sprawling patterned tile and a beautiful covered patio. La Loteria’s dining area also has massive front windows — perfect for people-watching while you enjoy the best Mexican food in NYC.

What to Order

Atla’s menu flexes with the seasons, so be on the lookout to catch your favorite dish. Some delicious go-tos include their chicken tacos with guacamole, grilled pineapple, cotija cheese and chipotle aioli, and cinnamon churros with chocolate and dulce de leche dips. Make sure to grab a clamato or michelada, too!

La Loteria | 29 Seventh Ave. South, New York, NY 10014 | $$

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13. Tacos Güey 

After exploring some classy and fun indoor activities in NYC, treat yourself and your friends to some of the best Mexican food in NYC at Tacos Güey. Tacos Güey is a trendy spot on 19th Street specializing in seafood dishes, but they also serve some excellent cocktails and, of course, tacos. 

The Vibe

Tacos Güey has a trendy, modern vibe with oak tables and streamlined black chairs. Inside, there’s a large full bar and plenty of barstools, booths and table seating. Ambient ceiling lights make this place feel warm and cozy, setting the scene for the best Mexican food in NYC. 

What to Order

From their name, Tacos Güey may sound like a standard taco joint, but this is actually a great place to try classy dishes like diver scallop aguachile and prawn ceviche. Of course, Tacos Güey has some delicious tacos too, including pollo asado, hongo asado and lengua (beef’s tongue). 

Tacos Güey | 37 W. 19th St., New York, NY 10011| $$$

tacos from tacos guey
via Tacos Güey

14. Mesa Coyoacan

Another great spot in Brooklyn, Mesa Coyoacan is well-known for serving up some of the best Mexican food in NYC. Here you can find classic plates like enchiladas verdes and huevos rancheros made with organic ingredients and grass-fed beef. Mesa Coyoacan is a dinner-only place to find the best Mexican food in NYC, so plan ahead with a reservation if you can. 

The Vibe

If Mesa Coyoacan had to be described in one word, it would be “warm.” The indoor dining area is ornately decorated with candles, Edison light bulbs and long, communal wood tables perfect for dining with a group. Mesa Coyoacan also has plenty of colorful patio seating.

What to Order

If you’re looking to branch out of your comfort zone with the best Mexican food in NYC, try their signature dish: chiles en nogada. This plate features a roasted poblano pepper stuffed with shredded pork and chicken, peaches, apples, pears and almonds, and topped with pomegranate and walnut sauce.

Mesa Coyoacan | 372 Graham Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11211 | $$

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15. JAJAJA Mexicana

Who would’ve guessed that the best Mexican food in NYC could be vegan? JAJAJA Mexicana is here to blow your mind with plant-based versions of traditional Mexican favorites. With multiple locations around the city, they make it easy to grab healthy and delicious Mexican food whenever you crave it.  

The Vibe

Individual locations may vary, but JAJAJA’s interior vibe is mostly eclectic, colorful and trendy. Mexican tiles, greenery and archways decorate the dining areas, with plenty of bar and table seating. This is a great place to enjoy the best Mexican food in NYC with a friend or take a break after a busy day of shopping. 

What to Order

Even devout carnivores are sure to love the nachos loaded high with plant-based chorizo, refried beans, habanero “queso” and more. JAJAJA even offers a miche-nada (a michelada made with non-alcoholic beer) so you can complement the best Mexican food in NYC without getting too tipsy. 

JAJAJA Mexicana | Multiple Locations | $$

nacho bowl from jajaja mexicana
via JAJAJA Mexicana

16. Nene’s Deli Taqueria

Craving a hot and cheesy Mexican concoction? Nene’s Deli Taqueria has you covered with some of the best Mexican food in NYC. This local taqueria and grocery spot in Brooklyn cooks up incredible birria burritos, birria pizzas, empanadas and more. 

The Vibe

Nene’s Deli Taqueria is located inside Eric Mini Market. There are some seats and tables outside of the storefront, but this is mostly a grab-and-go location and a hidden gem for the best cheap Mexican food in NYC.

What to Order

Birria pizza is one of Nene’s most popular dishes and undoubtedly the best Mexican food in NYC. Imagine a giant, thick quesadilla stuffed with meat, avocado, onions and tons of cheese, served with a side of consummé. While you’re there, browse the deli aisles for Mexican sodas, sauces and other pantry essentials!

Nene’s Deli Taqueria | 14 Starr St., Brooklyn, NY 11237 | $

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17. Casa Azul

This restaurant serving the best Mexican food in NYC is named after Frida Kahlo’s old residence in Mexico City. Visitors frequently rave about the restaurant’s bold interior design, excellent customer service, strong cocktails and incredible food. 

The Vibe

Inside Casa Azul, you’ll find swirling blue epoxy tables, deep blue walls and bold wall art. Everything feels very cohesive and funky, and after dark, the place lights up with ambient blue lighting. Casa Azul is a truly impressive place to eat dinner or grab a casual drink. 

What to Order

The best way to determine who has the best Mexican food in NYC is with the simple dishes — like guacamole. When visiting Casa Azul, you simply have to order their unbelievable guacamole or queso fundido for the table. For the main course, try the tlayuda Oaxaqueña or carne azada, and be sure to satisfy your sweet tooth with a specialty cocktail or house margarita. 

Casa Azul | 369 Seventh Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11215 | $$

Casa Azul serves some of the best mexican food in nyc
via Casa Azul

18. Tacos El Bronco

Those who know where to find the best Mexican food in NYC know it doesn’t have to come from a large, showy restaurant. Tacos El Bronco is a traditional taqueria with one physical location and two food trucks in Brooklyn and the Bronx.

The Vibe

Tacos El Bronco’s brick-and-mortar location feels like a local Mexican diner, with scenic murals on the walls, tile details and plenty of standard café tables. If you’re craving authentic, homestyle Mexican food in a casual, comfortable atmosphere, Tacos El Bronco is the place for you. 

What to Order

You can’t go wrong with ordering any of Tacos El Broncos tacos, from lengua to Mexican sausage, goat or chicken. Tacos El Bronco also serves a wide variety of the best Mexican food in NYC, including tortas, burritos, tostadas and more. Whatever you decide to order (and it’s a tough decision!), make sure you load up with their delicious guacamole and green sauce.

Tacos El Broncos | 4324 Fourth Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11220 | $$

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19. Bar Tulix

If you’re looking for the best Mexican food in NYC for pescatarians and seafood lovers, there’s plenty of fish in the sea and on the menu at Bar Tulix. Although they are mostly a popular spot for cocktails, Bar Tulix in Soho is also an excellent place to enjoy Mexican-inspired brunch or dinner with a small group.

The Vibe

The dining area at Bar Tulix feels very classy, with warm, candlelit tables, fine wine glasses and dim, ambient lighting. The full bar and upscale vibes make this a great place to celebrate a special occasion or catch some of the best Mexican food NYC has to offer before going out for the evening.

What to Order

The menu at Bar Tulix is mostly seafood-leaning, with some popular options being sea bass aguachile and banana leaf grilled salmon. There are also a number of land-based options, including boneless chicken al pastor and squash tacos. 

Bar Tulix | 25 W. Houston St., New York, NY 10012 | $$$

branzino tacos at bar tulix
via Bar Tulix

20. Los Tacos No. 1

For authentic street tacos based on traditional family recipes, it’s hard to compete with Los Tacos No. 1. Guests love visiting Los Tacos No. 1 at several of their locations because the food is always flavorful, the staff are always friendly and Los Tacos makes their tortillas fresh in-house. 

The Vibe

Los Tacos No. 1 has several locations, so individual vibes may vary, but they mostly cater to a street food-style experience with the best Mexican food in NYC. Their food is typically packaged to go, but some locations feature standing table areas and an open salsa bar. 

What to Order

Carna asada and adobada tacos are very popular choices here, but fans say everything on the menu is full of flavor and similar to tacos you might find on the West Coast. Each taco only costs around five to six dollars, so feel free to mix and match to your heart’s content. 

Los Tacos No. 1 | Multiple Locations | $

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21. Cosmé

Looking for the best Mexican food in NYC with an atmosphere above typical food halls in NYC? Cosmé is one of the classiest places to enjoy the best Mexican food in NYC. If you’re prepared to shell out a little extra dough, you’ll find the overall experience at Cosmé is unbeatable. 

The Vibe

Everything about Cosmé’s interior feels modern and classy, from the spacious dining area to sleek black seats and dim, cozy lighting. Like many upscale restaurants, food and cocktails at Cosmé are served in stylized, balanced proportions. The dress code here is casual, but it’s appropriate to dress up if you choose. 

What to Order

Cosmé serves the best Mexican food in NYC as well as many modern Mexican and South American-inspired dishes. Each bite is carefully crafted to bring out the best in each flavor component, so you can trust that you’ll be impressed with anything on the menu. Some of Cosmé’s most popular dishes include duck carnitas, corn husk meringue and lamb barbacoa. 

Cosmé | 35 E. 21st St., New York, NY 10010 | $$$$

cosme serves some of the best mexicn food in nyc
via Cosmé

If you aren’t from the East Coast, it may surprise you that so many New York restaurants offer cheap Mexican food, modern Mexican food or the best authentic Mexican food in NYC. Even the pickiest Mexican food aficionados are sure to find flavors they love in the big city. The best Mexican food in NYC may even outshine some restaurants on the West Coast or near the border! We hope that this list will inspire you to taste for yourself and discover the best Mexican food in Times Square, Brooklyn, the Bronx and beyond.

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