Apartment Living BlogFood & Entertaining › ¡Que Rico! The Best Latin American Food in NYC

Tacos and burritos and margaritas, oh my! All the best foods come from south of the border.

Lucky for us, New York City is stuffed full of authentic Latin American food of every flavor. You can travel from Mexico to Cuba down to Colombia and Argentina on foot just by hopping around the city’s vibrant barrios, but don’t expect to fit into your clothes when you get home.

Whether you’re looking to relax with a glass of rum and a Cuban cigar, get wild with some bottomless sangria, or grab some delicious street tacos to go, there’s something for everyone.

 

Calle Ocho: Pan-Latin and Bottomless Brunch (Upper West Side)

Calle Ocho, located inside the Excelsior Hotel, serves “nuevo latino” food —plates that are styled and influenced by all the different countries that make up Latin America. They’re open all day, but you have to go for the brunch. Think-all-you-can-drink sangria (and there are 8 flavors to choose from) and heaping platter of chorizo breakfast tacos. It’s one of the most affordable bottomless brunches in the city.

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Los Tacos No. 1: Mexican Street Food (Chelsea)

Located in a small stall at the Chelsea Market, Los Tacos No. 1 is about as legit as it gets when it comes to Mexican street tacos in New York. It was founded by a few guys from Tijuana who wanted to show the east coast how it’s done, and I couldn’t be more grateful. These no frills, all flavor tacos feature juicy meats and herbs, onions, fresh tortillas, grilled cactus, and more. Order a side of homemade tortilla chips with guac and salsa and a class of the horchata, a cinnamon milk drink, if you’re extra hungry.

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Surfish Bistro: Peruvian Seafood (Brooklyn)

Owned by chef Miguel Aguilar, who trained with Bobby Flay before going back to his Peruvian roots, Surfish Bistro serves up cuisine from coastal Peru in the form of fancy small plates. If you’re a seafood lover, this is your spot. Sample pineapple-ginger tuna, grilled octopus, paella, and some of the city’s best ceviche.

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Black Ant: Contemporary Mexican (East Village)

Don’t expect your stereotypical rice, beans, and enchilada plate here. Black Ant brings Mexican flavor to NYC’s creative, funky dining scene, putting a unique spin on traditional Mexican dishes; they even use ground insects as a flavoring agent. Wash it all down with a house-infused margarita featuring a huge range of tequilas and mezcal as well as rare Mexican herbs. Their smoky jalapeño margarita is one of the best in the city.

Fonda: Classic Mexican (Multiple Locations)

Speaking of margaritas, the Rosalita at Fonda steals the show. It’s a hibiscus lime margarita, rimmed with hibiscus and chile flecked salt. The menu offers classic Mexican cooking done right, and they’ve got a few locations around Manhattan.

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Caracas Arepa Bar: Venezuelan Takeout (East Village)

If you’ve never had an arepa, stop reading now and head immediately to Caracas Arepa Bar to try one. It will change your life. Arepas are like Venezuela’s answer to the burrito, and they are a beloved staple. A soft, warm, doughy ground corn cake is stuffed to the brim with everything from home-cooked black beans and caramelized plantains to slow-cooked pork, salty cheese, avocado, and artisan hot sauce.

 

 

Cuba: Havana in Manhattan (Greenwich Village)

Americans can visit Cuba now, but if you don’t have the time and money to hop on a flight quite yet, spending the evening at Cuba in Greenwich Village is almost as good. This lively, loud restaurant features live Latin jazz, perfectly concocted and freshly muddled mojitos, melt-in-your-mouth pork dishes, and even an in-house roller that gives out complimentary hand-rolled Cuban cigars to patrons.

Casa Adela: Puerto Rican Home Cooking (East Village)

This East Village eatery has been around since the 70s cooking up a specialty for which they’re known far and wide: rich, flavorful rotisserie chicken. Their staples are like Puerto Rican comfort food: simple but supremely satisfying and cooked to perfection. Casa Adela was even featured on the Food Network’s Best Thing I Ever Ate for their holiday dinners.

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La New Yorkina: Mexican Sweets (Greenwich Village)

La New Yorkina, a popular food cart gone brick and mortar, serves up everything from Oaxacan chocolate hot fudge to Mexican cinnamon-sugar cookies to chamoyada, a frozen spicy mango drink that’s a Mexican summer staple. The real gem here is their authentic nieve de garrafa, a rich, custard-like Mexican style ice cream. Everything about this ice cream is authentic and handmade: the owner stirs them by hand in a wooden barrel with a wood paddle, and the flavors are puro mexicano, from chocolate mole, margarita, and horchata to tres leches.

 

Want to give it a go yourself and cook up some of these Latino favorites at in your next NYC apartment? Try out our recipe for a hearty crock pot chicken tortilla soup.

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About :

Elizabeth writes on arts and entertainment, travel and lifestyle, and finance and business. She has a knack (read: obsession) for finding the best deals, travel hacks, and hidden gems everywhere she goes, which she blogs about at Temporary Provisions. You can find her playing the urban romantic in NYC, downing Stumptown coffee in her hometown of Portland, OR, or retreating from the madness in the rain forests of Costa Rica. To see more of her work, visit her personal website.

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