Best-of Guides New York

Best Mexican Restaurants in Manhattan

7 Restaurants
California and the Southwestern US may get top billing when it comes to Mexican food, but New York isn't too shabby.
Updated on 18 September 2023
Oso
1618 Amsterdam Ave., 10031 New York
$$ · Mexican

The street food of Mexico City inspires Chef Cassandra Rhodes’ concise, well-conceived menu. Authentic tacos and antojitos pepper the carte, alongside homey creations like braised chicken salsa verde enchiladas, smothered in melted queso Oaxaca; or braised octopus tostadas, paired with mandarin salsa. Save room for irresistible churros, served with chocolate- and cinnamon-caramel sauces.

Empellón
510 Madison Ave., 10022 New York
$$$ · Mexican

Sample the clever spins on salsa, like a wickedly good smoky cashew version that arrives along with the sampler starter; or the irresistible lamb sweetbread tacos with a flutter of white onion and bright cilantro. Stupak is also a serious pastry chef and his talent shows in desserts, like the "avocado."

Cosme
35 E. 21st St., 10010 New York
$$$$ · Mexican

Duck carnitas, though pricey, are impressive with their perfectly cooked and crisped duck and eye-catching cast iron skillet plating, but it's the flavorful sweet, spicy, and nutty cobia al pastor that is an utter delight. This cooking is clever, and, at times, surprisingly delicate. Husk meringue, filled with corn mousse, is a dessert staple. 

Atla
372 Lafayette St., 10012 New York
$$$ · Mexican

First things first: order a mezcal from the massive selection, then settle in to peruse the list of small plates. Arctic char tostada is a classic, but the scallop ceviche with cherry tomato is sure to garner a serious following. Other winners include meltingly tender birria, best with a side of warm tortillas. The handsome and none-too-sweet tres leches cake is a required finale.

Casa Enrique
5-48 49th Ave., 11101 New York
$$ · Mexican

Chiapas. Puebla. San Luis Potosí. One can literally taste the regions and cities that Chef Cosme Aguilar’s menu explores, and many dishes honor his mother’s memory with recipes from his childhood. Tender chicken enchiladas with mole de Piaxtla may induce swooning, thanks to a sauce that is unexpectedly sweet yet heady, with bitter chocolate, raisins, almonds, cloves, cinnamon, chilies, garlic and sesame. 

Bar Tulix
25 W. Houston St., 10012 New York
$$$ · Mexican

The seafood-leaning menu here is primed with dishes easy to enjoy on an average weeknight or a weekend celebration alike. Guacamole is far from ho-hum, enlivened with roughly mashed creamy avocado jacketed by dabs of smoky-spicy salsa verde, serrano peppers, cool crema and cotija cheese. The refreshing shrimp tostada growls under the weight of more than a dozen plump poached shrimp tossed in mayonnaise, Clamato and pico de gallo. 

Covacha
368 Columbus Ave., 10024 New York
$$ · Mexican

The tequila selection here is a perfect companion to the Jalisco cooking. It's not your typical Mexican menu: think of everything from delicious and messy shrimp ajillo with hollandaise to torta ahogadas with birote salado, pork and oregano-spiked tomato sauce. Every item offered here is an amalgam of smoky, sweet and unique flavors.