Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Aug 20, 2004 10:26 AM

Best Mexican in Midtown

  • c

I'll be visiting NYC for the first time with my kids. We're staying at 51st & 7th. What's the best Mexican in midtown? THANKS!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. first, don't eat in midtown -- there is absolutely no reason to do so whatsoever....this is the easiest city in the US to get around in (except maybe for downtown Portland) and you can go almost anywhere in Manhattan in 5-30 minutes.

    second, where are you visiting from? there may well be far better Mexican there than here (of the major ethnic foods, Mexican may be the the most blighted in NY)

    2 Replies
    1. re: Nathan

      Visiting from Canada where Mexican food more or less doesn't exist (unless you're talking about Doritos and Taco Bell). Went to Mexico with the kids last year and they loved the food.

      1. re: Channer

        NYC is the wrong choice (where in Canada?) ... considering their culinary chops I wouldn't be surprised to find as good Mexican in Toronto or Vancouver as here.

    2. There are a number of small mexican joints that have popped up in midtown west (i.e., Hell's Kitchen). Tulcingo del valle (10th Ave btw 46th and 47th) is one that's gotten a lot of attention (their al pastor is quite tasty but avoid the guacamole). I also enjoy La Paloma (45th off 9th Ave) though it's really more tex-mex than mex-mex.

      Still, Nathan's points are well taken. Mexican food is not manhattan's strongest suit, and NYC is very accessible by public transportation. If mexican is really what you want, consider heading up to Harlem or out to Brooklyn or Queens.

      8 Replies
      1. re: a&w

        Sorry, I an unfamiliar with NYC, but I see this "Hell's Kitchen" being mentioned on the board. What is that?

        1. re: Channer

          This is from's neighborhood guide, which I find useful for these questions.

          Hell's Kitchen: "Roughly 59th to 40th Streets, and bounded by the Hudson River and Fifth Avenue; Eighth Avenue demarcates the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood and the impersonal, tourist-heavy Midtown West."

          It's a great neighborhood (west of eighth, that is) - I think it has "downtown feel"

          I hope you enjoy your trip


          1. re: Channer

            Hell's Kitchen, besides referring to the neighborhood, is also the name of an upscale Mexican restaurant which happens to be located in that neighborhood. (Which I thought was very good, if a little fancier and pricier than you might be interested in with kids.) Some of the references you've seen on this board might be to the restaurant rather than the neighborhood. Check out the menu on the link provided.

            Hell's Kitchen
            679 9th Ave (Btwn 46th & 47th St)

            To add even more confusion, there are two other restaurants in the neighborhood, one called "44 & X Hell's Kitchen" and H.K. (standing for Hell's Kitchen), neither of which are Mexican restaurants.


            1. re: Channer

              Sorry for the confusion, Channer. I was referring to the area, not the restaurant (which is good, but only nominally mexican, in my opinion).

            2. re: a&w

              it should be noted that even in the outer boroughs (like Manhattan) about the only thing besides Tex-Mex or Cal-Mex is Pueblan has been discussed here before -- the cuisines of Oaxaca, Sonora, Baja Mex, etc. are pretty much nonexistent in any of the boroughs.

              1. re: Nathan

                oops, that should have read "Baja California" not "Baja Mex"

                1. re: Nathan

                  not totally true. you can get yr pato en pipian and yr ceviche de pescado and more, but it will usually be at fairly upscale restaurants like ROCKING HORSE. for less expensive, try the passable baja fish tacos at CAFE EL PORTAL. its sad yes, but its not all that dire and its getting better evry day around here. besides these folks are not looking for breadth, only to enjoy a style of food they cannot get at home.

                2. re: a&w

                  There are many immigrants from the state of Puebla in NYC these days and you can easily find authentic Mexican food if you are willing to explore certain areas (maybe someone can help you with that). That said, you will still encounter typical Mexican fare that your family should enjoy (enchiladas, tacos, sopes, good tortillas). Also, I second Tulcingo del valle - it was delicious when I was there and was not Cal-Mex/Tex-Mex fare. I particularly loved their sopes, horchata, and tacos al pastor (pork). Do skip the guacamole though.

                  1. i may be biased because i live in east midtown but my favorite mexican in the city is zarala (second ave between 50 and 51). great margaritas, very good food, and a festive atmosphere where kids will feel comfortable.

                    pampano is in the area as well (49th between 2nd and 3rd) and has gotten very good reviews. i believe they focus more on seafood and it might not be the best for younger kids.

                    mama mexico (on the same block as pampano) is pretty good as well

                    1. in manhattan i love TULCINGO DEL VALLE and TEHUITZINGO both on 10th ave at 46th street. both are humble, but the former has comfortable seating and the latter has a few seats up against a counter in the back of a small bodega grocery. they are easy to navigate menu-wise and would be wonderful experiences for you and the kids. both even have breakfast items like tacos which would be a good way to start your day. the grocery has tasty mexican fruit popsicles in a cooler up front for you and esp yr children! i have traveled all along the border of the usa/mex and both of these places are as authentic as it gets.