1643 Lexington Ave, New York, NY | Directions 1002940.790667 -73.947079
Neighborhoods: East Harlem (El Barrio), East Harlem, Uptown
Editorial Review – Spanish Harlem favorite for tacos, tamales and a large selection of traditional Mexican entrees.
Great tacos-- most everything else average. – We've been going to El Paso for years, and we've been watching the prices creep up and more "barrio tourists" drift in. Here's the skinny: the tacos are really fresh and flavorful, the tamales are tasty, the huaraches are substantial, the salsas are terrific and the soups are great. The guacamole is excellent but expensive (I think it's up to $7.99 now-- used to be $5). If you stray from those basics, you're doing it at your own risk.
Santa Clarita (around the corner on 103 and Lex) is less "gringificado" (they use dark meat chicken not just breast meat for example) and pretty damn good. They just raised their prices too but are still less expensive than El Paso.
Home to the $50 margarita pitcher. Bring a flask – Ah, El Paso Taqueria. That bastion of "authentic" Mexican food in Spanish Harlem that earned raves by white reviewers, leading other gringos to nervously venture to Spanish Harlem and pretend they're trendy to pay too much for food that is only marginally better than the place around the corner. But really, El Paso is the home to the $50 pitcher of margaritas. At least tonight. Maybe tomorrow it will be the $48 pitcher. Maybe the $60 pitcher. You see, when they cross out the price a few times on your bill and write new numbers, it's pretty clear they're making it up as they go along. Sure, you can try to dispute the bill, but even cries of locals are unsuccessful. Don't blame the waiter -- he didn't make up the price (allegedly) nor does he see the profit on what was $5 of tequila he sighs. Instead, just pay your bill, start a fight and storm out, vowing to return to order the reasonably priced appetizers that are a meal in themselves and to avoid the overpriced entrees that are a sure sign that this place has not only jumped the shark, but that it will charge you $50 for a small piece of that shark that would cost you $2 at the bodega across the street.
Authentic Mexican Food – I love this restaurant. I've been eating here for years. Try the Enchiladas Poblanas, they are delicious. Great place to watch the World Cup, too.
Great food at great prices – I live around the corner from this place and this it is a great value for a great price. The food is authentic traditional mexican, and tastes great. The service is fast. The only this I don't like about this place is how tiny it is. Girls do not bring a large pocketbook if you are going to be dining here.
No longer authentic... – This was a great place... true Mexican food in NYC... I had been longing for it since I left my home state of New Mexico. I not only enjoyed the affordable good food, but the atmosphere reminded me of home... I went there a few weeks ago and was sorely disappointed. The food was not as good (still more authentic than 95% of "Mexican" places in NYC), the menu had been revamped for non-native eaters and prices had gone up accordingly. The biggest disappointment... the atmosphere that reminded me of home no longer existed. The restaurant was filled with people who knew little or nothing aobut Mexican food - I heard many of them pestering the waitresses for mild dishes (why eat it if you don't really appreciate it's). Luckily, I now know of other real Mexican places... that's where you'll find me eating nopalitos and drinking horchata...
Good food, odd recurring bill discrepancies – I live down the street, and I love coming here after work for the excellent tacos and a few cervezas. Last night, though, me and a friend were charged for ten beers when we only had six. We pointed it out, and the two waiters that had been serving us looked puzzled and made a big to-do of taking off the extra beers. Normally I'd chalk that up to an accident, but it was the fourth time something like that has happened to me at El Paso.
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