Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mexican food in NYC: Myth or Real?

This is a Public Service Announcement: Where can I find real Mexican food in NYC?? With 4 days left in the city (which is something I am still having a hard time believing) I am still on a mission to find authentic Mexican food. It is hard for me to believe that that most diverse city in the United States does not have respectable Mexican food. At the same time, I understand that no place out here can compare to the Mexican places back home (LA, more specifically my moms kitchen), but I am not giving up hope. I also understand that NYC's hispanic population is heavily dominated by Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, so the lack of mexican food is due to the small Mexican community in the city. Over the 4 years I have been here I have eaten at a few spots; some bad, some good. Lets just get this out of the way: If you think Chipotle is reasonable Mexican food than we probably can't be friends. That is different then saying that Chipotle is not good, because I even think its pretty tasty. But I do not classify Chipotle as Mexican food. Anyway, the few places I have been too are Taqueria y Fonda (located on 108th and Amsterdam), Mama Mexico which I think changed its name to Mama Maria (102nd and Broadway) Mexican Radio (Cleveland Place and Kenmare St.) and Mad Dog and Beans (Pearl St. in the Financial District). 

My favorite place was Mad Dog and Beans. The guacamole was fresh and zesty, really good drinks and quality of the meat was exceptionable. It is a little bit pricey, but that is due to the location of the restaurant, but other than that the portions were fair and I had no complaints. I would definitely recommend it to people visiting the city. My least favorite places are Taqueria y Fonda and Mama Mexico. Taqueria is a little hole in the wall place which reminds me of the places back home. I appreciated the open kitchen and grill, and when I stepped into the restaurant I finally thought I found my spot until I ate the food. The meat was dry and bland. My burrito was more rice and beans, which I hate. It was just a disappointing burrito, thus I have only eaten there twice. The horchato drink tasted like water, rather than milk and cinnamon. Mama Mexico had some high points and low points. The rice and guacamole was really good, but my fajita was over cooked and dry. Mexican Radio had the best carne asada out of all these locations. It was very tender and you can taste the different spices rubbed on the meat. The drinks were also good and the rest of side dishes were prepared really well.

I will not claim Mexican food doesn't exist at all in the city but it is hard to come by. I will admit, I have  not been exactly searching far and wide to discover an authentic spot, but what I hear from New Yorker's are that it really doesn't exist. According to some people, Queens and Brooklyn have some authentic spots. So I might have to make it a mission to explore these neighborhoods. But with 4 days left I do not have much time. So if my blog readers can be so kind and help me out I will really appreciate it! 

p.s.- Can't wait to go home and eat some real mexican food! aka I miss my moms home cooking!!

Here are some links to recommended locations across the city:

My friend Greg Lamb recommended me this restaurant in the Bronx called Mexicosina. Unfortunately I already moved to LA, but if you are in the New York area, Greg highly recommends this place. If any of you guys check it out, let me know!!


  1. Why did I think your mother was from Costa Rica? Somehow, when I'm in NYC, Mexican food is the last thing I'm thinking of...but maybe it is because I'm only there for relatively short periods of time.

  2. my mother is from Costa Rica, but when she married my dad she had to learn how to make mexican food. Now i think she makes some of the best mexican food ever; along with my aunts and some of my uncles!

  3. There is a traditional Mexican restaurants in New York Cascabel Taqueria serving traditional Mexican dishes and best Tacos. I read review from may try Mexican traditional dishes from there.