El Cantinero

86 University Place
New York, NY 10003
Critics' Pick


  • Sun-Wed 11:30pm-12am, Thu 11:30am-1am, Fri-Sat 11:30pm-4am
  • $$
  • Catering, Delivery, Patio/Sidewalk Dining, Prix Fixe, Takeout
  • Dinner, Late Night, Lunch
  • Full bar
  • No Parking
  • Reservations Accepted, Reservations Not Accepted
El Cantinero ("The Barkeep") is one of the few remaining restaurants in town slinging authentic Tex-Mex food, a cuisine developed mainly during the mid-20th century by Mexican immigrants to Texas, who found a dearth of ingredients they were familiar with, and made substitutions. One of the cuisine"s greatest inventions, the fajitas at the restaurant are a sizzling heap of smoky steak strips entangled with onions and peppers, served with condiments like pico de gallo and guacamole to make do-it-yourself tacos with flour tortillas. The combo platter is another of El Cantinero"s glories, but it"s the discount pitchers of frozen margaritas that have kept this place thronged for 20 years. Sit in the sky-lit terrace on the second floor.

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