Saturday, April 15, 2006


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Arriba Arriba [1463 Third Ave. (bet. 82nd and 83rd Sts.) 212-249-1423]
Good food at pretty good prices. They also have good margaritas here. I tried the fajitas and was impressed, although a little more guacamole wouldn't have hurt (it never could). I would also recommend the create your own platter. You can get a lot of food for not that much money.

Burrito Loco [116 W. 4th St. (bet. 6th and 7th Aves.) 212-675-1977]
They make the guacamole in stone bowls right in front of you! Dan is sometimes obsessed with this place and the guacamole is certainly excellent. The rest of the food is pretty good as well, but nothing out of the ordinary. Burritos, quesadillas, chimichangas, take your pick.

Chipotle [19 St. Mark's Place (bet. 2nd and 3rd Aves.) 212-529-4502 (See for more locations)]
This Mexican fast-food chain has hit the Big Apple and us New Yorkers are better off for it. Offering cheap, tasty, and enormous burritos, along with other Mexican favorites, Chipotle is a splendid place for lunch.

Del Valle [665 10th Ave. (bet. 46th and 47th Sts.) 212-262-5510]
Very cheap and very authentic Mexican food is on offer at Del Valle (and at a number of other restaurants on 10th avenue apparently). Oh, and if that's not enough for you, the portions are huge! I ordered 3 soft tacos (1 fried pork, 1 grilled beef, 1 grilled chicken) and I could barely finish my meal. Throw in a Jarritos soda and you'll feel like you're in Mexico, although the food is simply good, not spectacular.

Dos Caminos [825 Third Ave. (at 50th St.) 212-336-5400]
This is a chain of expensive Mexican restaurants around the city. The food is good, but the prices are simply too high for what you get. The $12 guacamole for two comes closer to feeding one person and the Asada tacos, while excellent, should really fill you up if they cost $14. The setting is trendy, but if you care about value, you should probably go somewhere else.

El Paso Taqueria [1642 Lexington Ave. (at 104th St.) 212-831-9831]
Head to the Upper Upper East Side for some delicious guacamole and tacos at reasonable prices. Throw in a mango margarita and you'll have the full experience. I had three tacos, one each of chicken, beef, and pork and was pretty full afterwards for just $8. Although I normally prefer pork tacos, I would say that the beef (Bistec) was my favorite one here. Of course, El Paso also offers all the other classic Mexican dishes and the Burrito de Hongos (mushrooms) is a solid vegetarian option.

La Cocina [217 W. 85th St. (bet. Broadway and Amsterdam Aves.) 212-874-0770]
You will not walk away from here hungry. The burritos are even bigger than those at Chipotle. And they are available at a reasonable price. But on the whole, the food here is pretty standard Mexican fare. The big deal here is the 2 for 1 margarita special every night from Monday to Thursday. Good for large groups.

La Palapa [77 St. Mark's Pl. (bet. 1st and 2nd Aves.) 212-777-2537]
After walking past this place countless times, I finally went in to eat here. It turns out that the food is pretty good, although not spectacular. Make sure to start off with some Guacamole which is excellent, but you might need two portions because each one is not that big. I tried both tacos and quesadillas. I preferred the quesadillas and would recommend the Bistec, which was noticeably better than my other dishes. It is also worth noting that the margaritas are very tasty and the food is generally spicier than most Mexican places I have been to.

Maya [1191 First Avenue (bet. 64th and 65th Sts.) 212-585-1818]
You may not have realized it, but there is such a thing as upscale Mexican food. And Maya serves it up with aplomb. The guacamole is a must-have appetizer and the Tacos de Punta de Filete (basically Filet Mignon tacos) are very good as well. For main dishes, I would recommend the fish, either the Pescado a la Talla (Red Snapper) or Robala con Hongos (Striped Bass). Make sure to wash your food down with a margarita (I like mango the best).

Maz Mezcal [316 E. 86th St. (bet. 1st and 2nd Aves.) 212-472-1599]
As mentioned, there is a general dearth of high-quality Mexican food, but Maz Mezcal provides some. The good food, along with tasty drinks, mean that this place is certainly worth a visit.

Rosa Mexicano [1063 First Ave. (at 58th St.) 212-753-7407]
The guacamole is to die for at this trendy, upscale Mexican eatery. The rest of the food is delicious as well (and I recommend the trademark frozen pomegranate margarita as a drink). For main dishes, I was especially fond of the Enchiladas de Jaiba and Mixiote de Cordero (lamb shank presented in parchment paper). Let me warn you that this place is only open for dinner and is ALWAYS crowded (there are other locations on the Upper West Side and in the Union Square area).

Taco Taco [1726 Second Ave. (bet. 89th and 90th Sts.) 212-289-8226]
It's another solid Mexican restaurant on the Upper East Side. I especially liked that they made the guacamole tableside. It had nice chunks of avocado and was spiced to your liking. Not surprisingly, tacos were the choice for a main course. The Carnitas were my personal favorite, but the Carne Asada was of similar, solid quality. For drinks, the mango margarita was very good, albeit somewhat overpriced. Overall, this is a reliable neighborhood Mexican restaurant, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it.

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