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Authentic Mexican in NYC?

After a short trip to Mexico I discovered how incredibly fresh and delicious real Mexican food is. Does anyone know where to find real, authentic Mexican food in Manhattan?

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  1. Mexico's cuisines are extremely diverse... can you share what part of the country you visited and where you ate? The will folks an idea if there is anything comparable.

    1. I was doing volunteer work at a school uptown and stopped it for coffee at a place on 104th and Lex called El Paso Taqueria. I ended up having an entire breakfast because it smelled so good and it was phenomenal Go there! Best Mex I've had in the city and I truly stumbled upon it.

      1. Taqueria y Fonda La Mexicana has great Mexican food.
        Between 107 and 108 on Amsterdam

        Taqueria y Fonda La Mexicana
        968 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025

        1 Reply
        1. re: UWSAnn

          Put me down as someone who hates Taqueria Y Fonda.. It's basically a mixture of dry meat and too many peppers and onions..

          El Paso Taqueria is a good spot..

        2. I would recommend Mole, excellent Mexico City-style fare. Their burrito enchilado with carnitas is superb, my favorite burrito in the city. their enchiladas suizas also quite tasty. it's a small place and it can get a little busy, particularly on weekends.

          205 Allen St, New York, NY 10002

          2 Replies
            1. re: silencespeak

              Just went to Mole again recently. BTW they just celebrated 2 years and they have a great bartender (a SF transplant).

            2. try el maguey y la tuna on e. houston @ attorney. family run. very friendly and no frills. cheap. the americano fare is not too exciting, but if you stick with the more traditional specialties of the house... you'll be in vague-hints-of-chocolate-mole heaven.

              also, a major hole in the wall that is easily overlooked given it's name, 'great burrito' and the fact that it also sells pizza, has excellent al pastor tacos at a proper price. 23st str @ 6th ave... just for take out.

              otherwise head out to the red hook ball fields on weekends.

              9 Replies
              1. re: thievery

                I live right near El Maguey and I order in from there often. Everything is good. BUT...what NYC is truly missing is a California style Mexican Place. I was just in Santa Barbara over the weekend and had the most delicious lunch at a place called Los Arroyos. Amazingly fresh salsas, fantastic fish tacos etc. etc. NOT greasy...not even the chips. Is there any place like this in Manhattan? If there is, I don't know it.

                1. re: Holiday Park

                  That is why the OP needs to let us know where she ate in Mexico. Most of the food there is hearty but greaseless... (and here is a secret people in Mexico rarely eat Tortilla chips... the per capita consumption in the U.S. has to be like 1,000 times higher than in Mexico).

                  1. re: Eat_Nopal

                    Tulcingo on 10th between 46th and 47th is worth the trip- the chalupa and torta are very good. Spanish Harlem has some spots- la casa de los tacos on 117th and 1st ave and la puebla chula on 106th off 3rd- fresh and enjoyable. Other uptown spots have closed over the last several years- namely Ciela Azteca on 103rd and Lex, but I'd probably give most spots up there a try.

                    1. re: HowfreshEats

                      But what if the OP visited the Yucatan and fell in love with those regional dishes that are very different than the Pueblan specialties at Tulcingo. I am not saying the OP might not like Tulcingo but it might not be what she is looking for.

                      1. re: Eat_Nopal

                        Are there any restaurants specializing in Yucatan cooking? I fell in love with the food there years ago and have yet to find a pibil in the NY/NJ area.

                      2. re: HowfreshEats

                        I'll second Tulcingo del Valle. I enjoyed it much more than El Maguey. As far as authentic Mexican, it's pretty much going to be Poblano, because most Mexicans in NY are from Puebla. There are also the upscale multiregional places like Zarela (which I think is better than people here tend to give it credit for) and her son's Centrico (which I haven't tried yet). For inexpensive Mexican food in New York, it's either the simple Poblano places or the watered-down Mexican food we lived with for years before the recent wave of immigration.


                        1. re: Peter Cherches

                          Adding to it... its not just that NYC immigrants are Pueblan.... they are specifically of the Mixtec region in Puebla... which has its own cuisine that is very different than the other regions within Puebla.

                          The Pueblan Mixteca.. which includes the Tehuacan valley is most notable as the cradle of Corn... its a highland fairly arid & mountainous region with a great variety of cactus & desert plants... also famous for its Goat dishes and the Matanza (wild goat round up & slaughters).

                          If you shall ever visit this part of Mexico.. the names of towns will be immediately familiar from the restaurant names in NYC... Tulcingo del Valle, Izucar de Matamoros etc.,

                          As a result of this... lots of places may carry Mole Poblano and other more well known dishes from Puebla... but what you will find if you visit those locales in the Mixteca is that they have their own unique specialties that have very little to do with the rest of Pueblan cuisine... in fact I bet you would be hard pressed to find people in Tulcingo & the other mountain side villages who prepare Mole Poblano.

                          1. re: Eat_Nopal

                            I don't know if it's a specialty of that part of Puebla, but I must say the adobo de puerco was excellent at both Tulcingo & Matamoros.

                            Add Coatzingo to Puebla towns that have loaned their names to NYC restaurants.

                            1. re: Eat_Nopal



                              If you want to eat well... take note of the names of the dishes in the CONACULTA's cookbook on the Pueblan Mixtec... and then ask the local restaurants in NYC for those dishes... I bet you would be treated extremely well & delighted to dishes you've never heard of:


                  2. Because the subject says NYC, let me suggest that you go to Sunset Park in Brooklyn. There are dozens of good mexican restaurants there. Also, let me add, that there is not a single decent Tex Mex place (that I have been to) in NYC.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: demigodh

                      There was a recent thread on Tacos Matamoros that got me there, and it was quite good.

                    2. Mexicana Mama (West Willage) Crema (Chelsea) or Barrio Chino (LES)
                      The best food and even better margaritas.

                      1. La Esquina!!!! Best Mexican in City

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: hptr

                          Love La Esquina as well - particularly just the taco stand where you can get it to go. No need for the underground version. The small restaurant next door is nice if you want a sit down - but it's small so you take your chances on the wait.

                        2. I've hunted and posted for this before, and never been satisfied (though never traveled deep into Queens or Brooklyn for Mexican). The closest I could find was some of the things at Zarela's as Peter mentions, particularly tamales, but you must be able to bear the mid-town crowds who come for the strong (yet tasty) margaritas.

                          1. Mexican food in the capital of the world? Why yes. The Mexican population is the largest group of Latino's/Hispanic's after Dominicans and Puertoricans in this city. I am talking a population of over 250,000 people. I may not know exact restaurants but I do know key neighborhoods that one should go to when in search of restaurants that serve great and authentic Mexican food, authentic products that are used in Mexican Cuisine, or Mexican Bakeries and more. They are the following: East Harlem (Spanish Harlem)* in Manhattan, Bushwick and Sunset Park in Brooklyn, Corona and Elmhurst in Queens, Mott Haven and Fordham in the Bronx, as for Staten Island well I do not know where. These are neighborhoods that have high concentrations of people of Mexican descent. Most of the restaurants that you find here are family-owned establishments that cater to low-income workers but most of the time the food is almost what you will find south of the border. Most of the Mexican population here in NYC and the tri-state area come from central states of Mexico. States such as Puebla**, Morelos, Guerrero, and Oaxaca, so you will see a great deal of Mole since the Mole sauces are popular in these states and legend has it that Mole comes from the state of Puebla. There is a great usage of Mexican herbs, vegetables and fruits that are sometimes only known in Mexico and more commonly known vegetables and fruits, and overall a bigger emphasis on fresher ingredients, qualities that are known in the foods that come from this region in Mexico.

                            * Spanish Harlem is sometimes referred to as the epicenter of Mexico in New York, kind of like a Mexican version of a Chinatown.
                            ** Most of the Mexican population in NYC is from Puebla, to the point that sometimes NYC is referred to as Puebla York, a nickname given to the city by people in Mexico and in NY since most Poblanos (people from Puebla) who immigrate to USA end up in NYC.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: capeva

                              >as for Staten Island well I do not know where.

                              Port Richmond would be the place to start.