The Mexican food scene in New York City has come into full swing in recent years. Many restaurants are headed by chefs whose passion for cooking can be traced back to helping out in grandma’s kitchen in their native country. As a result, menus use classic recipes and traditional ingredients from Mexico but with a modern-day flare. Get ready to eat – we rounded up some of the best Mexican restaurants in NYC.
La Contenta, 102 Norfolk St
Tucked away in the Lower East Side, La Contenta is a quaint, neighborhood spot owned and operated by a talented team whose members all hail from Mexico. Drawing from his Mexican roots and classical French culinary training, Chef Luis Arce Mota has created a dynamic menu to suit any mood. Favorites include ceviche de camaron, fish tacos, and spicy short-rib stew.
Cosme, 35 E 21 St
Established by world-class chef Enrique Olvera, Cosme ranks at the top of everyone’s list of best Mexican restaurants in NYC. Headed by chef Daniela Soto-Innes, the kitchen turns out inventive dishes celebrating the flavors of Mexico with a contemporary twist. Menu highlights include duck carnitas, the restaurant’s most raved about dish, made with duck fat and Mexican coke; Cobia al pastor with pineapple and cilantro; and herb guacamole.
Fonda, 434 7th Ave
Chef Roberto Santibañez brings the tastes of his native Mexico City to this Park Slope eatery. The vibe at Fonda is upbeat and welcoming thanks to a pleasant staff and first-rate cocktails (and all night long happy hour on Monday). Must-have dishes include the authentic Oaxacan enchiladas in black mole, cast iron-braised pork shoulder tacos, and achiote-marinated cod with plantain white rice and black bean sauce. Fonda has additional locations in the East Village and Chelsea.
Maya, 1191 1st Ave
From the cuisine to the drinks to the décor, Maya offers the quintessential Mexican dining experience. Originally from Acapulco, chef-owner Richard Sandoval has crafted a menu that mixes the flavors from home with an innovative cooking style. The lineup includes delectable dishes like the chicken tinga tacos, slow roasted pork carnitas, and Mexico City style corn on the cob. Look forward to homemade tortillas and margaritas, and over 100 tequilas to pair with your meal.
Toloache, 251 W 50th St
Tradition and modern sensibility collide at this Mexican bistro located in the Theater District. Under the direction of Mexico City native and Iron Chef alum, Julian Medina, Toloache’s offers a creative menu rich with seasonal ingredients and more than a dozen types of chiles. Standouts include the suckling pig carnitas with corn pudding, miso tequila-glazed black cod, and spicy lobster tacos.
Ofrenda, 113 7th Ave S
Ofrenda hits all the marks for one of the best Mexican restaurants in NYC. Paying homage to his Mexican heritage, Chef Mario Hernandez uses traditional ingredients and recipes to create inspired dishes like no other. Start with an order of guacamole and shrimp tacos to share, move onto the roasted chicken with mole poblano, and finish with the guava sorbet. Oh, and happy hour is seven days a week with specials on margaritas and small bites.
Casa Enrique, 5-48 49th Ave
Located in Long Island City, this Michelin-starred cantina serves up authentic recipes inspired by chef Cosme Aquilar’s roots in Chiapas, Mexico. The sleek, minimalist interior is balanced by Casa Enrique’s warm and friendly wait staff. Satisfy your Mexican craving with mouthwatering dishes that use the freshest, most flavorful ingredients like the crab tostadas, carne asada, and chicken mole enchilada.