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Authentic Mexican Food in NYC?

  • s

I just moved to NYC from Southern California and have been so disappointed with the Mexican food in NYC?

I need suggestions!!!!

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  1. there is a place on 8th avenue in chelsea called kitchen market that sells takeout and ingredients...kitchenmarket.com

    1. j
      Jonathan Saw

      Ah yes. I remember that feeling when I moved here too. If you're looking for something that's as good as your friendly neighborhood place in So Cal you're pretty much out of luck. However, there are some good places around

      The favorites in general are:

      Mi Cocina (on Hudson)
      Mexicana Mama (also on Hudson)
      Suenos (on 18th)
      Rocking Horse (on 8th Ave)
      Rosa Mexicana (on 59th Street or at Columbus Circle)
      Zarela (in the 50s)

      These are all rather higher end than your usual Mexican places in California but all very good.

      Also on 9th Avenue in Hell's Kitchen as well as in Chelsea, a number of Mexican groceries have opened that also sell tacos in the back. The NY Times did an article on these a while back.

      Good luck. Unfortunately, I've found that sometimes nothing is eases the craving except for a flight back to L.A.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Jonathan Saw

        You also might have luck looking for Mexican food in neighborhoods where Mexican people actually live. Eric Eto's incredibly through Chowhound post is a good start

        Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

        1. re: Jonathan Saw

          Ah yes, I also remember that feeling when I moved here. But that was almost 15 years ago, and now it's a totally different story. There are several Mexican neighborhoods in NYC now, and I'm not sure what the orginal poster means by "authentic", but the people who run many of these restaurants are straight from Mexico, so I would think that qualifies. Here are a few threads I culled together. Time to do some homework.

          http://www.chowhound.com/boards/outer...

          http://www.chowhound.com/boards/outer...

          http://www.chowhound.com/boards/outer...

          http://www.chowhound.com/boards/manha...

          http://www.chowhound.com/boards/manha...

          http://www.chowhound.com/boards/manha...

          http://www.chowhound.com/boards/outer...

          http://www.chowhound.com/boards/thebe...

          http://www.chowhound.com/boards/outer...

          http://www.chowhound.com/boards/outer...

          http://www.chowhound.com/boards/outer...

          http://www.chowhound.com/boards/outer...

          http://www.chowhound.com/boards/manha...

          Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

          1. re: Eric Eto

            If you really want authentic cheap Mexican, head for the outerboroughs, and most of the threads above suggest. A simple ride on an N, R or W train will get you to areas in and near Astoria that should have what you seek. My faovrite closed about a year ago, but there are plenty.

          2. re: Jonathan Saw

            There was an article in the Times last week about how Mexicans have grown to one of, if not the biggest, immigrant groups in NYC in the last decade. It's pretty obvious if you head to Sunset Park, Brooklyn. There are tons of authentic places, probably 40 in a 15 block span.

          3. for what it's worth, i really love these 2 places for authentic mexican food:

            Lower East Side: El Sombrero/The Hat, Ludlow&Stanton
            East Village: La Palapa, a bit upscale but excellent quality, St. Marks& 1st Ave.

            buen provecho!

            4 Replies
            1. re: EVillGirl

              I followed your recommendation and i sure am glad!

              Real authentic mexican place and food....the chulupa and sombrero burrito are tremendous...great guacamole also

              1. re: Scottzooo

                you really liked that place? i had one of the worst meals of my life there about two years ago. maybe they were having an off night, but if so, it was really, really off.

              2. re: EVillGirl

                The Hat is good for takeout margaritas, but everytime I've ordered food there it's been borderline inedible.

                1. re: EVillGirl

                  I haven't been to the La Palapa in the East Village, but I have been to the one on 6th Ave and 4th St. I really enjoyed chile relleno and tinga de pollo tacos.

                  It's been a while since I've been to El Sombrero, but I remember not enjoying the food that much. The portions are big, but nothing to write home about.

                  Rosa Mexicano was okay, but again, the last time I went, the food was mediocre at best and so overpriced for the quality. Definitely not authentic.

                  I grew up in San Jose, CA and lived in SF before coming to NY. I've had Mexican food up and down the state, from Sacramento down to San Diego. After two years, I'm still searching for Mexican food in NY that reminds me of what I can get in CA. Good luck in your search!

                2. h
                  hungryastorian

                  Take the 6 to 103rd st. Walk 1 block north and eat at El Paso. Order the sopes. You will be happy. While you're in the neighborhood you might want to check out some other places but that's my favorite.

                  1. My family's from Michoacan and so my tastes are drawn to food from that particular region (big on red chile sauces, meat oriented). Mom always cooked for the huge household, so I was pretty blessed and, therefore, snooty when it comes to the question of quality Mexican food, the one cuisine truly underrepresented in NYC's culinary cornucopia. Blah, blah, blah. I really dig and hope to throw business in the direction of Taqueria y Fonda La Mexicana, a humble food shop & grill on Amsterdam and 108th. Expect no frills, but really solid, "homemade" Mexican food and drink, Guerrero-style, is served there. Sooooo happy it's just a stone's throw from my local on 110th. They're really cool folks, too.

                    Nota bene: their meaty and bountiful "pozole blanco" (a hominy and pork stew in a "white", as opposed to red, soup) is excellent and only offered on Sundays. Hangover and cold weather elixir extraordinaire!

                    Link: http://newyork.citysearch.com/profile...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Alex

                      YES!!!! I was just reading through these posts so I could get to the bottom and throw in my two cents for this place. I grew up in New Mexico and a lot of my childhood friends were Mexican, so I grew up with Mex-Mex rather than Cal-Mex, and this place is the tops in NYC in my book. I love their tacos, the tortas, the homemade salsas and their tamales, my favorite is the taco al pastor. Stick to the street food and stay away from American interpretations of Mexican food (aka the burrito, which I suspect they have on the menu because the college crowd expects it). I order a bunch of cold pork tamales to go, a couple of tacos to eat at the restaurant and grab a Mexican coffee to go and I'm a happy camper. Their tomatillo salsa is one of the best things I have ever tasted (not the blow your mind hot one with little chunks of avocado, though that is really good too), they gave me the recipe and I can't get it right at home.

                      If you're a drinker and you like to eat while you drink, I suggest stopping at the Ding Dong Lounge (a lot of SoCal punk scene people hang out here, actually) on 106th and Columbus, ask them for a copy of the menu from Taqueria (I gave them their first copy many years ago) and ask them to deliver to the Ding Dong. They'll happily oblige and they don't need directions, but you don't get the neverending supply of salsa that makes going to the place itself worthwhile.

                    2. Go to Maya on 64th and First. For real mexican tacos go to 103rd and Lexington.

                      1. this place is def NOT authentic mexican, but they do make quality san francisco-style mexican food: Burritoville on 2nd ave! only that one, keep in mind. theire burritos, etc. are entirely reminiscent of SF's best. again, i do not know or care if it is authentic MEXICAN, but it is a good substitute for the stuff that is widely available in san fran.

                        1. Taqueria El Paso on 104th and Lexington, mentioned above, is excellent. Great table sauces, among other things. I think the people who run it are from the Mexican state of Puebla, but I'm not 100% on that. They also run a branch of the place, same name, on 97th St. between Madison and Park.
                          In Westchester, New Rochelle has a string of authentic Mexican places (i.e. run by Mexicans, mostly from Michoacan it appears). I went to one of them `La Michoacana' .... pretty good.

                          1. Come to Sunnyside for everything Pueblan. Including the famous late night Taco Truck.

                            1. Oh honey, I feel your pain. I'm from El Paso, Texas and have lived in NYC for 3 years. I've made it a point to find good and authentic Mex, and I've found a few. Please note...most of these aren't glamorous and hip places...just damn good, real Mexican food:
                              El Maguey Y La Tuna (Lower Eastside) http://www.menupages.com/restaurantde...

                              Del Valle (Hell's Kitchen) http://www.menupages.com/restaurantde...

                              Barrio Chino (Lower Eastside) http://www.menupages.com/restaurantde...

                              Mama Mexico (Uptown location) http://www.menupages.com/restaurantde...

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: LFeinberg

                                I'm so glad I'm not the only one who doesn't hate Mama Mexico! I have really fond memories of that place, even if the food can sometimes be touch and go, there are certain things that are always just the way they should be. And who doesn't love a live Mariachi band!?

                                1. My roommate is mexican and she loves Mole on Allen Street. She was even reluctant to say that their carnitas taco was better than her mothers. On the upper east side the owners also own a joint called Taco Taco. I highly recommend both

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: banjolinana

                                    After much searching, Mole and its cousin restaurant Taco Taco are my favorite in the city. Definitely worth going to.

                                  2. There's a taco truck on Roosevelt Ave. and 91st in Queens (take the 7 train to 90th St. or the 7 express to Junction Blvd.) that's pretty amazing if you're brave enough for street food. Best tacos I've ever had in NY.

                                    For dessert, go to the Buenos Aires bakery one block down Roosevelt on 90th St. and get dulce de leche-filled donuts.

                                    1. seconding sunnyside! just had a life-changing run-in with el vagabundo taco truck (41st and queens blvd), which the post says is one of the best in nyc, and de mole always uses quality ingredients and has a cute dine-in area. definitely worth exploring queens... see Shauna Eats Sunnyside for write-ups about the mexican eats from el vagabundo and de mole!