The 8 Best Mexican Restaurants in Brooklyn (2024)

Dining Out 3 minutes 21 May 2018

Tacos, taquitos and tamales—these superb eateries offer some of the best in the city.

Mexican cuisine New York City

Where to find the tastiest tacos, tortas, tamales, and more in Brooklyn.

The 8 Best Mexican Restaurants in Brooklyn (1)

(Photo courtesy of Liz Clayman/Alta Calidad.)

Alta Calidad

“What’s in a name? Well, at Akhtar Nawab’s contemporary Mexican restaurant, it’s 'high quality.' Literally. This supremely talented chef takes thoroughly Mexican dishes and shakes them up just enough for a satisfying surprise. His creativity is boundless but never veers out of focus. Case in point? Crispy skate tacos smothered with smoky salsa and pickled ramps or the pumpkin blossom quesadilla. Other standouts include the oh-so-tender lamb ribs, shellacked in Coca-Cola for that glorious hint of caramel, as well as the meaty fluke ceviche enhanced by habanero and mandarin. Like Nawab's creativity at the burner, the menu is seemingly limitless, offering an array of plates you'll want to sample. Bring a friend, or three, to justify ordering more.”

Amaranto

“Named for the staple grain of the Aztecs and emblazoned with a mural of Quetzalcoatl, this tidy but truly caliente restaurant makes its love of its homeland clear from first glance. Adding to the lure, the father-son duo delivers their own unique take on Mexican cuisine, which is irresistible at best. Most dishes here, from enchiladas to tamales, are sure to incorporate their excellent masa. Memelitas may begin with griddled dough layered with crispy chorizo, vegetables, pinto beans and more. Then, superb tortillas are folded with shredded chicken and draped with dark and luscious mole poblano enriched with cacao, almonds and spices. A range of other moles include pipian verde that dresses deliciously tender short ribs in a pool of nutty richness.”

Casa Pública

“This breezy Williamsburg restaurant will transport you to sunny Mexico in a flash. Tucked into a multi-room space boasting floor-to-ceiling windows, an ample bar and gorgeous imported floor tiles, Casa Pública is like a modern-day hacienda filled with well-crafted small plates and dreamy co*cktails. Here, tequila is a food group of its own. Everything on Casa Pública's menu is executed with care, but this kitchen is so talented you should try venturing outside your comfort zone. Aguachile ceviche arrives wildly fresh, chockablock with tender sea scallops, serrano chiles, and crunchy jicama. For dinner, try the carne encebollada, a sizzling platter of Creekstone ribeye topped with sweet, melted ramps, meco chiles and smoky bone marrow.”

The 8 Best Mexican Restaurants in Brooklyn (2)

Tacos at Chavela’s. (Photo courtesy of Chavela’s.)

Chavela’s

“Look for the light blue dome and wrought-iron doors to enter Chavela's and discover an absolute riot of color inside. From the bar's Mexican tiles to the wall of ceramic butterflies, this room is an explosion of artistic sensibilities. Mexico City native, chef Arturo Leonar, is the man behind this menu and his guacamole—traditional or creative with smoked trout, pico de gallo, and morita chile salsa—is just as pleasing as the setting. Crisp taquitos de cangrego filled with the perfect balance of sweet crabmeat, salsa verde and crema Mexicana are irresistible; while a thick, deliciously tender pork short rib stew named costilla en salsa verde is studded with nopales and served with a mountain of yellow rice and refried black beans for a wonderful finale.”

Maria’s Bistro Mexicano

“In a vibrant pocket of Brooklyn, locals flock to this timeworn façade for generous portions of fresh, well-priced, and tasty Mexican cuisine. Complete with a backyard, the décor of this quirky neighborhood staple is distinctly Mexican, from its bright woven textiles and vibrant pink walls, to lava rock molcajetes that top each table. Start your meal with a delicious and filling chorizo taco topped with onion, tomato and cilantro. Crepas de elote are stuffed with bits of tender onion, juicy corn and poblano peppers. The chile poblano is a house specialty that satisfies with its one-two punch: the first is plumped with a savory combination of cheeses, while the other is stuffed with a beguiling mixture of chicken, almonds, diced plantain and crunchy apple.”

Xixa

“Thanks to the trademark style of chef Jason Marcus, this lovely Mexican favorite draws those chill, relaxed Williamsburg crowds into its slender space. Everything seems to glow beneath etched brass ceiling pendants, as servers carefully place course after well-paced course on those tiny tables. A delicious alchemy is at work here, as evidenced in the remarkably delicate corn flan tamal, topped with buttery roasted corn, set over garlic-poblano cream and tucked with pickled trumpet mushrooms. Tacos are also absolute standouts, thanks to soft, warm tortillas folded with roasted bone marrow, chorizo marmalade and charred lime. Like the menu, the beverage listing is loads of fun, with wines whimsically arranged under headings of iconic women.”

The 8 Best Mexican Restaurants in Brooklyn (3)

A variety of margaritas—including this one featuring red beet juice—is available on the co*cktail list at Gran Eléctrica. (Photo courtesy of Noah f*cks/Gran Eléctrica.)

Gran Eléctrica

“Looking to market ingredients and a California-style approach to Mexican cuisine, this chic yet comfortable restaurant impresses with its lovely décor and lively vibe. Servers are engaged and enthusiastic about the menu's pleasures. An ideal visit starts with a margarita at the bar and moves to the garden as strings of lights flicker to life. Mexico and Brooklyn are in balance on a menu that includes small plates such as memelitas de frijoles, a masa disc topped with mashed black beans, spicy salsa verde, queso fresco and crema. Flavor is bright in the deliciously untraditional poblano chile relleno stuffed with Havarti, roasted tomato-jalapeño salsa and tortillas. Try the frijoles de la olla (black beans topped with avocado) on the side.”

Mesa Coyoacán

“Mexico City native, chef Ivan Garcia is at the helm of this Brooklyn hot spot, where wolfish appetites are sated with richly flavored cooking. Fronted by windows that open up on to bustling Graham Avenue, the long space is outfitted with patterned wallpaper, snug banquettes and communal tables. The kitchen's spirited presentations are simply a joy. Partake in tacos featuring hand-crafted tortillas, like the suadero for instance, stuffed with beef brisket and avocado salsa; or torta tinga de pollo, packed with shredded chipotle-braised chicken, mashed black beans, pickled jalapeños and a toasted roll to sop up that delish sauce. Reposado and diced mango enhances the pastel tres leches—and to keep the tequila flowing, hit up nearby Zona Rosa.”

Hero image courtesy of Liz Clayman/Alta Calidad.

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The 8 Best Mexican Restaurants in Brooklyn (4)

Written by The MICHELIN Guide

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