New York

Best Mexican Restaurants in Manhattan

6 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 25 February 2022
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Oso
1618 Amsterdam Ave., 10031 New York
Mexican
49 - 57 USD

The lighting is warm and flattering at this Hamilton Heights Mexican restaurant. A small bar faces the white-tiled open kitchen, where cooks work the grill and press house-made corn tortillas at a steady clip. 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.

Maya
1191 First Ave., 10065 New York
Mexican
50 USD

The drinks menu here is a tome of agave-based spirits. Peruse the many, many on offer before diving in to antojitos, such as squash blossom quesadillas and their trio of salsas. Tasty tacos are stuffed with smoked brisket and creamy chili slaw. Heartier dishes feature huitlacoche and wild mushroom enchiladas swathed in a creamy, fire-roasted poblano chile sauce. 

Empellón
510 Madison Ave., 10022 New York
Mexican
39 - 80 USD

Buttoned-up midtown gets a much-needed shot in the arm compliments of chef Alex Stupak. The menu bears the chef’s signature creative flair, offering a range of small bites, tacos and shareable large plates. 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

One glance at the menu will also tell you why this Flatiron district kitchen is so beloved. 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. 

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Atla
372 Lafayette St., 10012 New York
Mexican
50 USD

The delightful little sibling of Cosme stands proudly on its own two feet. The dazzling design—defined by black-and-white tiles, tiny wood tables, and a bustling scene—makes it feel like a contemporary Mexican terrace. 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.

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Casa Enrique
5-48 49th Ave., 11101 New York
Mexican
60 USD

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. Start your meal with hearty rajas con crema, combining none-too-spicy poblanos with sweet, fresh corn, Mexican sour cream and cheese served alongside a stack of tortillas. 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. Its seductive texture has a mesmerizing depth of flavor and no matter what it's paired with, it's always a winner.