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Good, Reasonable Mexican/ Spanish Food in EV

spr Aug 5, 2006 05:32 PM

I want to hang in the EV for my birthday and a group of friends want to take me to dinner. What is the best Mexican/ Spanish restaurant for dinner at a reasonable price. I do not want them spending a fortune on dinner. (a place with good drinks, too.)

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  1. n
    N_bodie RE: spr Aug 5, 2006 11:03 PM

    Itzocan Cafe...E. 9th between ave a and 1st ave. Tiny, but amazing.

    5 Replies
    1. re: N_bodie
      Jorel RE: N_bodie Aug 5, 2006 11:31 PM

      I'll second Itzocan. It is great. Hope it's big enough for your group.

      A completely different type of place would be Mercadito - much different take on food, not nearly as good, but festive and they have a big room in back.

      1. re: Jorel
        Peter Cherches RE: Jorel Aug 6, 2006 01:05 AM

        Itzocan holds about 14 people. The food is great, but I think it's tough for a group of more than 4. I'd recommend Esperanto, on 9th & C. Since you said Mexican/Spanish I'm taking that as including other Latin American. The food at Esperanto is Cuban & Brazilian, they make great Mojitos & Caipirinhas (Itzocan has wine, but no bar), the place has a real fun vibe, there is usually good live music, and the coconut flan is one of the greatest, richest desserts in NY. Prices are very reasonable.


        1. re: Peter Cherches
          spr RE: Peter Cherches Aug 6, 2006 05:00 PM

          Thanks for the responses. What about Yuca Bar on 7th and Ave. A? Someone told me it was very good and reasonably priced.

          1. re: spr
            Lucia RE: spr Aug 6, 2006 09:39 PM

            I've only been for brunch and thought it was pretty mediocre. Just went to Caracas Arepa today and thought it was great.

            1. re: spr
              Jorel RE: spr Aug 7, 2006 02:01 PM

              I'm not a big Yuca Bar fan either. If Itzocan is too small, and you're not in to Mercadito, maybe Sala, a Spanish tapas place on Bowery and E. 4th. It decent food and a fun place that's good for groups. Better than the other tapas places in the EV in my opinion.

      2. wleatherette RE: spr Aug 7, 2006 03:13 PM

        i highly recommend esperanto. when i lived around the corner, it was my favorite summer destination. the food is generally delicious, the cocktails are strong, prices are very reasonable, and the place attracts a great mix of people.

        3 Replies
        1. re: wleatherette
          Jorel RE: wleatherette Aug 7, 2006 03:44 PM

          Oh, I totally forgot about Esperanto. That's a great suggestion. Fun place, especially in the summer.

          1. re: Jorel
            psmalera RE: Jorel Aug 7, 2006 09:58 PM

            I worry about mentioning it, but the food is so good, I can't keep it my own secret. El Maguey y La Tuna on Houston, near Attorney St. It's basic-- checkered tablecloths, white tile walls, so don't go if you want atmosphere (although the rows of tables allow for easy seating of a large party and they take rez's). The food is authentic Mex and amazing. Suggestions: Mole Verde with dark meat chicken, Tacos Al Pastor, The Mole Rojo Enchiladas(family recipe). Chicken soup better than any Deli, and Pozole (hominy soup with fresh oregano.)

            Don't bother with Chi-Chi's/Chevy's type dishes-- they are good, but this place can do true authentic food so much better. Don't forget to get a house margarita or a brandy with real Mexican Coca Cola (made sugar cane, not corn syrup)

            Service is mixed. The women are always great-- the guys seem to have their heads elsewhere (maybe on the women).

            1. re: psmalera
              Jorel RE: psmalera Aug 8, 2006 06:13 PM

              That is another terrific suggestion.

        2. t
          Traz0r RE: spr Aug 8, 2006 06:18 PM

          itzocan is great. i really like the shrimp tacos at cafe el portal (in nolita).

          1 Reply
          1. re: Traz0r
            Jorel RE: Traz0r Aug 9, 2006 04:13 PM

            I live around the corner from El Portal. It's not in the East Village (as originally requested), but the shrimp tacos are, indeed, tasty. However, I haven't found much else on the menu that compared and think the maragritas are down right awful.

          2. e
            EVchickadee RE: spr Aug 9, 2006 10:08 PM

            I'd second Esperanto and recommend Maryann's for good Mexican (lots of options, including many vegetarian) and strong margaritas. Paquito's on 1st between St. Marks and 9th has yummy food and a really cute garden out back even though it doesn't look that nice from the storefront.
            Have been wanting to try El Maguey also though.

            2 Replies
            1. re: EVchickadee
              Pan RE: EVchickadee Aug 9, 2006 11:04 PM

              Which location(s) of Maryann's (is that the right spelling?) do you recommend? I haven't been to the East Village location after a friend of mine had a bad reaction twice to the crab meat they were using. I did go to the original Chelsea location several years ago and thought it was good at the time.

              1. re: Pan
                EVchickadee RE: Pan Aug 10, 2006 08:48 PM

                oh yikes! i've only had their chicken burritos, quesadillas, etc so i can't comment on their seafood!
                i usually go to the one on 2nd and 5th st. i'm partial to this location because i live nearby. i think it's also the only one with outdoor seating.

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