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Nov 21, 1997 02:25 PM

My Fave Mexican

  • d

My favorite Mexican restraunt is Cancun on 8th Ave.
between 55th and 56th. It's not fancy, but I think the
food is great. I've often seen Letterman's band members
there and Broadway actors. The food's a little heavy,
and the portions are large, but the flavor is heaven.
Plus they have the strongest Margharittas I've ever
had. It's a fun Happy Hour place for Midtown workers.

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  1. Have you tried Mi Nidito on 8th Ave and 51st? The food
    there is very good and the staff is real pleasant.
    The place I'm always drawn back to is Zarela's on 2nd
    Ave and 50th. Dynamite Margaritas with a nice bar crowd
    and food unlike any other Mex in NYC. The mariachi band
    on the stairs makes this place.

    11 Replies
    1. re: J.Knoesel

      I'm w/you on Zarela's. There are more "authentic" Mexican restaurants in NYC, but none better, in my opinion. If it has any flaws, it's that the appetizers tend to be better than the entrees, although a wonderful meal can be had from the appetizers and salads. The snapper hash is one of my favorite dishes in NYC.
      I only regret that they stopped serving two of my favorite dishes -- the corn and crab chowder and the bread pudding.


      1. re: Dave Feldman

        Soul brother, red snapper hash. It is cilantro, my man.
        The essence of life. The true herb, unlike those that I
        often find in the bong. Although , One hit leads to

        1. re: J.Knoesel

          What about Gabriela's on Amsterdam and 93th? Not
          everything is great there, but they have wonderful
          soups, soft tacos, taquitos al pastor (about which Jim
          wrote in his Mexico City piece), roast chicken, beef
          fajitas (sorry about this one, but who can resist a
          sizzling dish with chewy beef and a quarter inch of
          fat?) Their fish specials are usually delicious, too.
          Their corn tortilla are made fresh, and the price is

          1. re: Alan Divack

            I went to Gabrielas a few weeks ago with the wife &
            kids after a trip to the Bronx Zoo. The pork carnitas
            was dynamite and they also have a childrens menu. I do
            plan a return trip with a group of adult friends
            because I think a large group can really party down
            there. Did you know that Gabriela was put in business
            by the late Artie Cutler who was a partner in Carmines
            & Ollie's Noodle Shops ? She was his housekeeper and he
            loved her cooking so much that he put her in business.

            1. re: J.Knoesel
              Lisa Antinore

              Anyone try the tiny Mexican Radio in Little Italy? Or Mi Cocina or Rocking Horse Mexican Cafe (great around the day of the Dead when they dispaly and auction off handmade altars whose profits go to God's Love we deliver). There's an excellent nopales salad here. Also El Rey in Astoria- haven't been there in a while but loved dynamite tamales and I heard they were setting up for tacos al carbon and pastor (my favorite street foods in Mexico city!!!!)

              1. re: Lisa Antinore

                Sorry to report that El Rey (about 3 blocks from my house) is way downhill. All good Mexicans go downhill, not sure why. Their tamales used to rival the best in Mexico city, but no more.

                Problem with Al Pastor is they ain't gonna make it themselves (VERY labor intensive), and that means liverwursty processed meat-product gyro durafleish logs.

                1. re: Lisa Antinore


                  Rocking Horse Mexican is good for the Chelsea
                  neighborhood. I go there a few times a year when I
                  have tickets for the Joyce Theatre. It's fun, and not
                  very expensive (especially for Joyce subscribers who
                  get 2 entrees for the price of 1).

                  Haven't been to Mi Cocina in quite awhile. Always
                  enjoyed my meal there too.

                  1. re: Lisa Antinore
                    Josh Mittleman

                    I agree with the comemnts on Rocking Horse. Riva & I
                    discovered it on a shopping trip to The Kitchen Shop
                    (or whatever it's called; the place two doors up from
                    Bright Food Shop). We were leaving with a load of
                    Mexican ingredients & several pounds of Hatch chiles
                    and eating something Mexican seemed like the right

                    From my experience, the food isn't particularly
                    authentic, but it is very good. Interesting

                    We found that two appetizers was plenty of food for us
                    to split for lunch.

            2. re: Dave Feldman
              Josh Mittleman

              Zarela's is great, I agree, though it's awfully
              expensive and the crowds are absurd. And I'll never
              forgive them for taking pistachio souffle off the

              Our favorite Mexican these days is Gabriella, on
              Amsterdam Avenue at 92nd. Authentic, interesting food,
              and the price really are wonderful: A whole chicken
              with two veg and mole sauce for about $12. It is
              subject to horrendous crowds at peak hours, but go on
              an off night and you'll have no problem.

              1. re: Josh Mittleman

                Gabriella's is sort of in my neighborhood, so I know it well. Their chicken is wonderful, but most of the dishes just aren't as good as I can get in L.A. (which I travel to frequently). But the service is gracious, even when they are mobbed, and I agree that it is a cut above the other Mexican restaurants in Manhattan (Zarela's excepted). I'd rather eat here than at Rosa Mexicano or Mi Cocina, and of course, it's much less expensive than the former.


                1. re: Dave Feldman

                  The folks that brought you Maryann's Mexican restaurants have recently opened up a great looking place in Tribeca (Corner of Reade and West Bway). Loved the chow there and the drinks are just awesome and fairly priced ($6 bucks for a marg.) It's fun in the winter but I predict that this place is going to ROCK in the summer when the temperature hits in the 90's and they open up their surrounding french doors. Say hi to their cool manager Harry.

          2. Zocalo on East 82nd Street has great food and a nice
            cheery ambiance. The menu is very imaginative with
            lots of fresh fish and interesting garnishes. Also,
            Mi Cocina in the Village has great food.