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contemporary Mexican

I've been looking at the online menus for Toloache, Rocking Horse, Pampano & Maya.

Which would you choose? Are there any other contemporary Mexican restaurants I should consider?

Any location/price level would be fine, as long as the food is tasty & innovative.

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  1. My recommendation is Suenos

    311 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

    1. I love Rocking Horse, but I'm not familiar with the others you mentioned. I also like El Centro in Hell's Kitchen (54th & 9th), but it's on the small side.

        1. re: sea97horse

          Good call! Crema definitely outshines Toloache at a much more reasonable price point. From your list, I would also consider Pampano, though I don't know that I'd call it "contemporary."

          1. re: JungMann

            I would defnitely describe the style at Pampano as contemporary with, of course, an emphasis on fish and seafood.

            1. re: RGR

              I love Pampano. Toloache was ok but didn't like the ambiance or decor. and El Centro was just bad when i went...sorry!

          2. re: sea97horse

            Wow- the menus at Crema look amazing. Thanks for mentioning it.

            1. re: sea97horse

              One more vote for Crema. It is expensive, to be sure, but I had an excellent meal there.

              I've read complaints about the service and admittedly, our waiter was a little scatterbrained, but he was friendly and the food was good so I got over it.

            2. I would choose Maya.

                1. I agree with Kelea's sentiments re: Toloache, and I've found El Centro neither good nor contemporary.

                  What about Hell's Kitchen restaurant? I haven't been but it does pretty well on this board.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: D...DF

                    Ohh I do love Hell's Kitchen! The food there is nuevo mexican and definitely delicious. Atmosphere is intimate but not pretentious. Thanks for bringing that up!

                  2. Bumping this since I didn't get to go for contemporary Mexican on my last trip, but am hoping to try at least one on my upcoming trip.

                    I was leaning towards Hells Kitchen or Crema. Has anyone been to either lately? Or is there any other restaurant you'd suggest?

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: phoenikia

                      I've been to Crema half a dozen times this year -- obviously it remains one of my very favorites!

                      1. re: sea97horse

                        Thanks sea97horse- I'll keep it on my shortlist;) What are your favourite dishes that they serve?

                        1. re: phoenikia

                          The taquitos and the duck, definitely. A friend loves the pork loin and the flautas. The off-beat salad. The ceviches are a bit unusual, and come with a little sorbet to cool the palate. Excellent guacamole, of course. The pineapple-infused tequila!

                          1. re: sea97horse

                            Thanks for the recs;) They sound amazing.

                    2. I'm a huge fan of Centrico

                      La Esquina (the downstairs area) has the upscale / snob appeal. It's also a pretty cool place to take out of town guests for a New York-y experience.

                      The Mercadito's are good, but slightly overpriced.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: ExFlexitarian

                        Thanks for the tips, ExFlexitarian. Are there any specific dishes you'd recommend at Centrico or La Esquina's downstairs area?

                        1. re: phoenikia

                          You might also be interested in looking at Itzocan Bistro - the one in Harlem is really excellent - Mexican ingredients, some French techniques. It's not fancy, but I just love the food. Limited wine list, but you can bring your own - can't remember the charge, if any - cash only, I think.


                          I also like Pampano - particularly the lobster tacos. It's been ages since I've eaten at Maya, and haven't been to any of the other places, though my husband thought the food at La Esquina (downstairs) was pretty mediocre.

                          1. re: MMRuth

                            Thanks for the suggestion and comments, MMRuth. Itzocan Bistro sounds interesting.
                            Might end up trying Pampano, if we decide we're leaning towards seafood.