The Bronx's Mott Haven neighborhood, which can be easily accessed by subway from every corner of the city, has become a hotbed of Mexican restaurants in the last decade and not just the Oaxacan jewel La Morada, which is also on this list. Santa Clarita was founded in 1971 as a Puerto Rican and Dominican restaurant, but it was transformed into a Mexican one with a charming taco window, a more formal indoor dining room and a relaxing porch that connected them. The shepherd cylinder that turns in the window is particularly good, but tacos dorados (tacos rollados), enchiladas, or anything with shrimp are also recommended. El Mitote, which is named after an Aztec dance, focuses partly on street food in Guadalajara, the hometown of owner Cristina Castaneda, but it also offers classic Mexican food from around the country.
An early afternoon brunch that is served every day can include tinga tacos with wild mushrooms, Ranchero eggs or chilaquiles, and an impressive bowl of red chicken pozole, as spicy as it sounds, served with cream-painted toast as a side dish. Casa Carmen is the only place outside of Mexico where you can try some exclusive dishes from chef Carmen Ramírez Degollado's El Bajío restaurant empire. This exclusive place in Tribeca focuses on the traditional Mexican food that can be found in Veracruz, Puebla and Oaxaca, and all of which is served in a room with an earthy decor that makes you think you're in a hacienda-type resort. Order the refreshing ceviche with just the right amount of acid, the toast topped with shredded duck and the chicken dipped in a pleasant and sweet mole de Xico that is made with only 37 ingredients.
As you leave, you'll see a large common table that seems to host a council of supervillains (or, you know, a birthday party), so think about this place the next time you need to host a large group dinner. Mariscos El Submarino has several great raw seafood options, but a meal at this Jackson Heights Mexican restaurant isn't complete without an order of mixed ceviche. This huge bowl of prawns covered with jalapeño, fresh whitefish, and tender octopus is marinated in a creamy homemade sauce and then topped with several perfect slices of avocado. And it will transport you to a quiet seafood cabin next to the beach in Puerto Escondido.
While you're here, don't miss its black aguachile. This smoked seafood dish gets its color (and name) from a mix of charred green and red chilies that you'll see speckled in a loose sauce based on water and lime. Both dishes are accompanied by flat and crunchy tortillas so you can prepare your own toast with sour tilapia, shrimp, octopus and creamy slices of avocado. This small bar in the basement of Williamsburg serves glasses full of sweet and smoked mezcal and has a food menu with grilled shrimp, crispy tacos filled with smoked tuna and refried beans, chunky guacamole topped with macha sauce and other dishes that make us feel closer to Mexico City than geographically.
Come here for a drink or Happy Hour as soon as possible. It's not exactly a bar, not a full restaurant, but Aldama is worth it. Especially for a sensual date night or a meeting with friends where you both look handsome (and you know it). Customers come to Oxomoco at Greenpoint for its modern aesthetic, a huge skylight, a cascade of hanging plants and a decorative bar, but it's Oxomoco's exclusive menu offerings that keep them coming back time and time again.
This Michelin star restaurant, specializing in various regional cuisines from all over Mexico, is perhaps best known for its tacos, which can be filled with all kinds of dishes, from beetroot sausage to soft-shell crab and lamb barbecue. However, make sure you don't overlook their other colorful offerings, such as trout aguachile and shrimp ceviche toast, all made in their signature wood-burning oven. With its elegant interior and intense pink awning, Ruta Oaxaca del Astoria may take a playful approach to its dining experience, but its authentic Oaxacan food is, without a doubt, delicious. The restaurant is especially known for its drinks (its offer of 2-for-1 brunch cocktails is unbeatable) and for spreading its dishes with delicious mole.
Be sure to try their shrimp side dishes, which are served in half a sliced pineapple, as well as their chicken fritters. Unlike some of the fanciest restaurants in Manhattan, the serving sizes here are generous and you're sure to leave satisfied. New York City is now home to an incredible variety of Mexican establishments, from small taqueria shops to full-fledged restaurants, offering regional food from Yucatán to Sinaloa, as well as high-end places where exciting culinary inventions are being produced. The following is his guide to some of the best Mexican dishes on Roosevelt Avenue, with a little information about taco literacy, so that you too can delve into this immigrant cuisine that conquered a country.
It's exactly the type of establishment you'd easily find in the capital of Mexico (the owner, José Luiz Díaz, is from Mexico City) or, sometimes, in Los Angeles, but not in New York. But what makes this rather large part of Queens especially dear to him is the sense of community and Mexican pride that has taken root ever since immigrants from Oaxaca, Guerrero, the indigenous region of Mixteco and, above all, Puebla, began flocking to New York in the mid-90s. For Angelenos and San Franciscans who long for home, New York has a couple of Cal-Mex locations, the most important of which is Lupe's East L. Part of a group of three restaurants on the same block owned by a pair of Guatemalan sisters, Brenda Castellanos and Ana Prince, Antojitos del Patron is a cozy café that offers homemade corn-based Mexican food.
The Mexican food scene in Los Angeles is a force in and of itself, and you can try it right here in New York, thanks to Lupe's East L. El Mitote, on the Upper West Side, focuses on food influenced by street food native to the Mexican city of Guadalajara. Fans of Mexican food are faced with the eternal question of where to find a good barbecue on the weekends; La Estancia de la Espiga is the best answer. It's a hot, sticky August day in Corona, Queens, and a taco teacher, a chef from Puebla and a food expert from Queens are looking inside the Tortas Neza food truck, analyzing owner Galdino Molinero's every move.