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Eat and Drink

The best Mexican restaurant in each borough

Cinco de Mayo is a day of Mexican pride, so there's no better time to enjoy some traditional South-of-the-Border food. And to help you better celebrate the Mexican victory at the Battle of Puebla some 150-plus years ago, here are some of the best authentic Mexican restaurants around the Big Apple -- one in each borough. Few frills (if any), just awesome Mexican munchies.

Manhattan: Tacombi at Fonda Nolita

Since launching in 2005 out of a VW
Photo Credit: Tacombi

Since launching in 2005 out of a VW Kombi bus in Playa del Carmen, Tacombi has grown to include four locations in Manhattan serving its authentic Mexican tacos. Its flagship taqueria at Fonda Nolita in particular boasts fantastic food and a summer vibe year-round. Menu standouts include the savory pork belly taco with chicarrón, sliced radishes, diced cucumbers and salsa verde, served on two traditionally-made corn tortillas. 267 Elizabeth St., 917-727-0179, tacombi.com

Brooklyn: Tortilleria Mexicana Los Hermanos

This Bushwick hole-in-the-wall was originally founded in 2006
Photo Credit: FLICKR/roboppy

This Bushwick hole-in-the-wall was originally founded in 2006 as a factory workers’ cantina and embodies all that is held dear about the “taco joint.” It’s hard to go wrong with anything on the menu, but your taste buds will thank you for digging in to the chorizo taquitos or opting for the crispy pork tostados. Pro tip: it’s BYOB, so you can wash all that spice down with the drink of your choice. As you eat, you can watch the tortilla factory in action through glass windows. 271 Starr St., Bushwick, 718-456-3422

Bronx: Estrellita Poblana III

With an extensive menu and crowd-pleasing sangria, it’s
Photo Credit: Estrellita Poblana III

With an extensive menu and crowd-pleasing sangria, it’s no surprise that this Mexican neighborhood oasis has been a success for 16 years. Specialties here include the indulgent queso fundido, tacos al pastor made with spicy pork and pineapple and enchiladas de mole poblano, topped with all the fixins’. Every Friday night, from 7-9 p.m., a live mariachi band is on hand to add to the atmosphere. 2328 Arthur Ave., Bronx, 718-220-7641, estrellitapoblanaiii.com

Queens: Tortilleria Nixtamal

Founded by a New York City firefighter, this
Photo Credit: Tortilleria Nixtamal

Founded by a New York City firefighter, this small Queens eatery is so committed to staying true to its Mexican roots that the owners imported machinery across the border to properly make masa (corn flour). Using fresh-ground nixtamal made from dried corn and slaked lime, the small restaurant has become its own tortilla shop, just like those you’d find on a vacation excursion in Mexico. The team has since opened a Financial District outpost, Nixtamalito, but the original is certainly worth an outer-borough journey. Be sure to try the chipotle chicken and pork tamale. 104-05 47th Ave., Corona, 718-699-2434, tortillerianixtamal.com

Staten Island: Maizal

This fine Mexican restaurant is decorated with bright
Photo Credit: Maizal

This fine Mexican restaurant is decorated with bright colors and has a lively atmosphere to match. Diners can choose from the cozy dining room or airy back patio and delight in favorites like sweet plantain with garlic shrimp and avocado and fish tacos with lime-jalapeno mayonnaise. The excellent desserts include tres leches cake and churros with caramel and ice cream. Billed not only as an authentic Mexican eatery but also a tequila bar, Maizel has an impressive selection of tequila offerings alongside classic cocktails such as margaritas. 990 Bay St., 347-825-3776, maizalrestaurant.com

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