Not only does traditional (and tasty) Mexican food exist on the East Coast, but for Brooklyn-based New Yorkers it can even be enjoyed in your own backyard. From addictive elote to the city’s freshest tortillas to Mexican Korean chicken soup (you read that right), here are our favorite places to enjoy Mexican meals in Brooklyn.
Restaurant, Mexican, $$$
Think beyond basic burritos at El Atoradero, a Prospect Heights haunt redefining Mexican cuisine for many New Yorkers. Here, meaty taco salad, salsa-soaked salmon, and lengua, or tongue, quesadillas provide a refreshing reprieve from tired tacos. Also offering an enticing selection of Mexican beers and beverages, El Atoradero delivers a taste of Mexico to Brooklyn.
The Brooklyn outpost of this Manhattan mainstay (the restaurant also operates locations in Chelsea and the East Village) packs Park Slope full of flavor. Among an extensive selection of mezcals and signature margaritas, Fonda serves food that’s as good to look at as it is to eat. Fiery lump crab croquettes, chili-braised short ribs, and pork belly with avocado mayo round out the menu at this local hotspot.
If it’s good enough for the Michelin Guide, it’s good enough for New Yorkers. Far-reaching flavors with a local focus is what’s on the menu at Gran Electrica, a DUMBO restaurant racking up accolades from the Michelin Guide, Time Out, and more. Housemade Berkshire chorizo, Oaxacan granola, and Mexican-style fried Amish chicken are just a sampling of Electrica’s cultures-combining cuisine.
Enjoy a mouthful of Mexico City at Chavela’s, a Crown Heights restaurant led by accomplished chef (and Mexico City native) Arturo Leonar. Classic cultural dishes, like breaded chicken and refried bean tortas, chicken in mole sauce, and tacos with steak, smoked onions, and sizzling salsa, make for a transporting eating experience. Tip: plant-based Brooklynites flock to this spot for its tasty veggie-friendly finds.
Habana Outpost, Brooklyn | Image courtesy of Café Habana
For a taste of summer all year round, look no further than Habana Outpost, a Fort Greene eatery boasting a gorgeous outdoor dining space, colorful décor, and a sizzling selection of Cuban-Mexican meals. Cheesy mayo-slathered corn, tacos stuffed with citrusy grilled shrimp, and a punishing beverage known as the Mexican Firing Squad make every mealtime feel like a vacation.
Expect no frills, just flavor at laid-back Bushwick establishment Tortilleria Mexicana Los Hermanos. Here, a humble façade hides a huge surprise: this casual taco joint doubles as a tortilla factory, whose fresh wraps move from machine to kitchen right before your eyes. Plenty of seating, a BYOB policy, and front row views of the process behind your plate make this tortilleria a foodie favorite.
As any Mexican will tell you, the most authentic (and most delicious) cultural foods are often found in the home. Luckily for Brooklyn-based diners, Mesa Coyoacan cooks up traditional Mexican family recipes for all. Juicy shrimp in Mexican beer-based salsa, mole chicken enchiladas, and adobo-marinated pork ribs are just a sampling of Mesa’s down-to-earth menu offerings.
Taste your way around the world at Xixa, a Williamsburg tapas joint specializing in Mexican fare with a global flair. Drawing inspiration from Jewish, Japanese, and more world cuisines, the spot serves genre-defying dishes like foie gras al pastor, grilled carrots ‘elote,’ and smoked trout and masa blini ‘fish tacos.’ Tip: don’t miss Xixa’s 200+ wine selection, a beverage program you’ll find refreshing in more ways than one.
Food fanatics, rejoice: you can now enjoy your fusion favorites from Kimchi Taco Truck at its brick-and-mortar location, Kimchi Grill. Combining Korean and Latin flavors, this local chain (the grill boasts two Brooklyn locations) is a must-visit for adventurous appetites. Korean fried chicken tacos, kimchi goat cheese quesadillas, and Mexican Korean chicken soup are sure to satisfy your cosmopolitan cravings.