From a breakfast burrito to a happy hour margarita to a late night taco, here are places the pros recommend for a full day of eating Mexican food and drinking tequila and mezcal in Manhattan.
Recommended by chef Hadley Schmitt (formerly Northern Spy Co) and they have two locations where you can jump start your day with huevos rancheros, chilaquiles or a breakfast burrito. One of their locations is hidden in the back of a Mexican bodega and the other is a sit-down restaurant.
Opens at 8am
695 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10036 | T: 212.397.5956
578 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10036 | T: 646.707.3916
The food is a modern interpretation of traditional Mexican dishes. The signature Cascabel tacos are made from nixtamal corn (dried corn treated and softened in lime water), not unlike the Aztecs used centuries ago. Chef Gavin Kaysen (formerly Cafe Boulud, now Spoon and Stable) is very emphatic about this restaurant, "It's banging!" It's insane! Get the gorditas and you'll know what I mean. They are like a version of the pork bun. They are awesome and I'm addicted to them."
1556 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10075 | T: 212.717.TACO
2799 Broadway, New York, NY 10025 | T: 212.665.1500
Los Tacos No. 1
Located inside of Chelsea Market, this is an indoor taco stand recommended by chef Julian Medina (Toloache, Yerba Buena, Coppelia, and Tacuba), "I love to order the Adobada (marinated pork) or the Quesadilla de Asada." Chef Esther Choi, has her restaurant across from Los Tacos, "We're very proud to be next to them. It's my favorite taco spot. I always get the chicken and the al pastor tacos which has grilled pineapple on top. They are delicious."
Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Avenue, New York, NY 10011
T: 212.256.0343 | www.lostacos1.com
For your late afternoon drinking, chef Julian Medina recommends coming to this Mayan restaurant in Soho with over 40 different tequilas and mezcals to pick from. From 5pm to 8pm, they have $5 sangria and tap beers, and $6 margaritas.
55 Grand Street, New York, NY 10013
T: 212.274.8225 | papatzul.com
Hecho en Dumbo
Chef Julian Medina also recommends this Noho restaurant for your happy hour drinking. Chef Danny Mena's menu showcases contemporary Mexican City cuisine, as well as rustic Mexican dishes. For happy hour, they serve margaritas and micheladas, as well as tostadas, taquitos, ceviche, tacos and queso fundido.
354 Bowery, New York, NY 10012
T: 212.937.4245 | www.hechoendumbo.com
MODERN STYLE | Cosme
Chef Enrique Olvera is creating modern Mexican-inspired cuisine at this James Beard award-wining restaurant. His dishes are rooted in Mexican flavors and traditions using local and seasonal ingredients. Beyond the food, don't ignore the beverage program with a long list of agave spirits, cocktails, and wine. Chef Julian Medina likes their Carnitas de Pato (delicious braised duck tacos) and chef Oscar Hernandez (Tacombi) says, "If I want to go fancy, I come here. I was very pleased and amazed at the work they are doing. I really believe that at that level of food this is the best Mexican restaurant."
35 East 21st Street, New York, NY 10010
T: 212.913.9659 | www.cosmenyc.com
CLASSIC STYLE | Toloache
Pronounced toh-lo-AH-tchay, this is Mexican-born chef Julian Medina’s contemporary take on Mexican cuisine. The broad selection of tequilas are worth a try too and recommended by barman Xavier Herit (Wallflower), who compliments their use of great ingredients and nice presentation with their food.
251 West 50th Street, New York, NY 10019 | T: 212.581.1818
166 East 82nd Street, New York, NY 10028 | T: 212.861.4505
205 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012 | 212.420.0600
Mayahuel, named after the Aztec goddess of the maguey plant, has become one of the premiere cocktail destinations for tequila and mezcal. Plus, you can order Oaxacan food to pair with your drinks. Bartender Troy Sidle of Pouring Ribbons says, "Mayahuel has a grasp on the classic cocktails, but a full expression of a single type of spirit, that being agave spirits. Whether it's tequila or mezcal, they have a lock down on that entire spectrum of the one type of distillate. I just love the feel and vibe here." Mezcal producer Ron Copper of Del Maguey and bartenders Dan Greenbaum (Attaboy) and Xavier Herit (Wallflower) also recommend this bar for their mezcal, beer, and cocktails.
304 East 6th Street, New York, NY 10003
T: 212.253.5888 | www.mayahuelny.com
"Traditional Mexican food and, of course, mezcal." says Hemant Pathak (Junoon). "Artists from all corners of the world are showcased, including writers and poets, the independent cinema, and international music. I love to have Mexican tapas with a shot of mezcal here." Master sommelier / Sombra mezcal producer / Astral tequila producer Richard Betts also puts this Lower East Side bar and restaurant on his NYC drinking list.
86 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002
T: 212.777.2661 | www.casamezcalny.com
Zaragoza Mexican Deli & Grocery
Come here to this tiny bodega late at night and you'll find some of the best chefs in the city. Chef Nick Anderer (Marta) says, "Their corned tortillas are amazing, which they cook here. I like that they make pico de gallo the right way -- it's equal parts onion, tomato, and jalapeno. I buy dried chilis, the chipotles, tortillas, queso fresco, and then to eat I usually get a couple of tacos with whatever they recommend for the day. Usually, they have one or two different kinds of meat and then I always ask for extra pico de gallo." Chef Brendan McHale (The Eddy) is also a fan, "It's pretty awesome for Mexican food. Ruben, the owner, and his mom cook everything in-house and everything is different. She makes her own little salsa. Her salsa verde is pretty amazing, but her tostada, the goat tostadas, are mind-blowing at 2:30 am."
Open until Midnight, 4am on weekends
215 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009
Recommended by former Rocky Slims chef Angelo Romano for being "an authentic taco restaurant." Their all-day and night menu includes tacos, tortas, burritos, enchiladas, huaraches, tostadas, sopes and tiacoyos.
Open until midnight, 1:30am on weekends
438 East 9th Street, New York, NY 10001
T: 646.861.1813 | www.tacosmorelosnyc.com
Taqueria St. Marks Place
Chef Richard Kuo (formerly of Pearl & Ash) picks this East Village taqueria with inexpensive homestyle Mexican food, "it is super casual, fun, and the food is consistently great."
Open until midnight
79 St Marks Place, New York, NY 10003
Executive chef and owner of Toloache, Yerba Buena, Coppelia, and Tacuba in NY.
Chef and partner in Tacombi in NY and Montauk.
Executive chef and partner of Marta in New York.
Executive Chef of The Eddy in New York.
Chef and owner of Mokbar in New York.
Former executive chef of Pearl & Ash in New York.
Former executive chef of Northern Spy Co in New York.
Former executive chef for Cafe Boulud. Now chef/owner of Spoon and Stable Restaurant in Minneapolis.
Former executive chef of Rocky Sullivans in New York.
Owner of Del Maguey mezcals.
Master Sommelier, wine maker and mezcal producer. Owner of Sombra Mezcal.
Bartender and partner of Pouring Ribbons in New York.
Bartender at Attaboy in New York.
Head bartender and partner of Wallflower in New York.
Head bartender at Junoon in New York.
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