Best Spot for Homesick Californians (2013)

Taqueria Lower East Side

Movie posters, Lakers paraphernalia, and Mexican kitsch dominate every square inch of wall space at Taqueria Lower East Side, a hallway-size Los Angeles-style taqueria on Orchard Street where the noise from the crowd can escalate into a brain-thumping din. But for those eaters missing the taco shacks of the West Coast, this spot will take the edge off, especially after you've sucked down a sweet-tart margarita and a Modelo or two. We start every meal with a dish of chunky guacamole, and then ask for a nopales (cactus) taco and something made with the carnitas. A carnitas taco, for instance, comes piled liberally with hot, peppery pig that's been slow-cooked into tender strands and crisped around the edges. Each bite renders a cascade of velvety pork juice, which blends with tart lime, the snap of piquant onions, and fresh cilantro in a soft corn tortilla. For more pork, opt for the tostada, which supplements the carnitas with ripe avocado, salty queso fresco, a drizzle of crema, and a pile of lettuce on a crunchy flat corn shell. We may not have the West's weather, but at least we can eat Mexican food that's every bit as good.

Location Details

198 Orchard St.
New York NY 10002
212-677-3910