by Mario Vergara, Remezcla.com contributor, 10/13/2010
- more in dining/
Once upon a time, finding a decent taco in New York City was next to impossible. Transplants from California and the southwest would often lament the lack of places that serve good carnitas or fish tacos. Fortunately, those days are over. As New York's Mexican community has grown in the past few decades, so has the number of authentic Mexican eateries, making the once-elusive holy grail of good tacos a reality. Seeing as Remezcla is still in the throes of a Mexican food phase after a monthlong celebration of Mexico’s bicentennial, we bring you our picks for the best taco restaurants (and trucks!) in New York City.
Super Tacos Truck
Broadway and West 96th Street, 917-837-0866, Upper West Side, Manhattan
There are many taco trucks in Manhattan, but there are few as good as this Upper West Side landmark, which has been parked there for 15 years. Super Tacos is a favorite among uptown residents and has even been featured in the New York Times. The taco al pastor is the must-have item on the menu; the flavorful taco can be topped with almost a dozen fillings, which is a pretty big selection for a food truck. Best of all, prices range from $2–$6, so you can be adventurous and try as many as you like without burning a hole in your pocket.
100 Seventh Ave. South, 212-647-0830, West Village, Manhattan
This West Village restaurant is not exactly cheap (individual dishes here skew on the pricey side compared to the other places on our list), but all day Sundays and Mondays and after 10:30pm the rest of the week, tuck your napkin into your shirt collar and scarf down as many of their delicious tacos as you can. That’s right—for $23 per person, guests choose from an all-you-can-eat specialty menu of tacos rolled with handmade tortillas. They also serve some incredible (and incredibly strong) margaritas, along with Micheladas. Mercadito Grove might not be the best deal for a taco joint in the City, but if you love good tacos and have a big appetite, then welcome to heaven.
227 Mott St., 212-625-0090, NoLIta, Manhattan
Pinche Taqueria has a very small dining area, uncomfortable seating and doesn't serve alcohol, so why do we still go to this miniscule NoLIta establishment? Because they serve quite simply the best fish tacos in New York, worthy of impressing even the most jaded Southern Californian. (The shrimp tacos aren't bad, either!) Open until 4am on Fridays and Saturdays, Pinche is the prime spot for a late-night, post-bar meal.
Tehuitzingo Deli Grocery
695 Tenth Ave., 212-397-5956, Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan
It's extremely hard to find authentic Mexican food in Midtown—especially on the cheap—with the exception off this hole-in-the-wall grocery store on Tenth Avenue. Walk to the back and order from the menu on the wall—which includes goat, beef tongue and chicharron—to enjoy some gratifying tacos at recession-era prices. The grocery store also sells an array of imported Mexican goods. Don't forget to try their slammin' sopes (corn tortillas topped with fixings like vegetables and meat) as well!
Roosevelt Avenue and Gleane Street, Jackson Heights, Queens
If you want to immerse yourself in Latin culture in New York, there is no better place to go to than Jackson Heights in Queens. The neighborhood is home to Colombians, Mexicans, Ecuadorians and Central Americans, among many other ethnicities, so naturally it’s home to another of the City's great taco trucks: Tacos Guicho, located one block up from the 82nd street stop on the 7 train. It's tough to find NYC spots where you can get a delicious carnitas and lenguas taco for $2. That's why, even at 3am, you’re likely to find this truck surrounded by hungry locals.
Tortilleria Mexicana Los Hermanos
271 Starr St., 718-456-3422, Bushwick, Brooklyn
Some Mexican restaurants boast about their handmade or imported tortillas, but how many can actually lay claim to tortillas handmade on-site? From the outside, Tortilleria Mexicana Los Hermanos doesn't appear to be anything special. In fact, it doesn't even look like anything more than a warehouse. However, the moment you walk in and sample one of their exquisite chorizo tacos topped with hot sauce, you'll quickly realize why you made the trek out to this remote corner of Bushwick in Brooklyn. The downside is that service takes unusually long (patrons write their name and orders down on a card and hand them off ), but the crispy and flavorful chorizo tacos at this hidden gem are well worth the wait.
For more on Latin dining in the City, visit Remezcla.com.