El Parador
El Parador

El Parador

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.elparadorcafe.com/
  • Phone: (212) 679-6812
  • Hours of Operation:
    Lunch: Monday thru Saturday Noon to 3 PM
    Tasting Menu at the bar, Monday-Saturday 3:00PM-6:00 PM ($6 Margaritas, Sangria and Beer; Special selection of appetizers)

    Dinner: Sunday 2PM to 10 PM
    Monday 3 PM to 10 PM
    Tuesday Thru Saturday 3 PM to 11 PM
  • Payment Options: AMEX,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Latin American, Traditional Mexican, Mexican / Southwestern
  • Executive Chef: Bonifacio Junior
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cafe, Delivery, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Takeout, Wine
  • Private Party Facilities: Since 1959, El Parador Café has been a fixture on the NY dining circuit. Named NYC’s #1 Mexican Restaurant by Open Table diners and NBC-TV, our classic dining and ambience is unrivaled. The restaurant is a perfect location for business events and private parties.

  • Private Party Contact: Alex 2126796812x
  • Special Events: The restaurant can accommodate both large and small groups for special events. The downstairs lounge, La Cueva, is a rare find in Midtown East. It is equipped with a large flat screen TV and on-site connectivity for business meetings and presentations.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Between 1st and 2nd Avenues
  • Public Transit: 6 train to Park Avenue/33rd Street, the M34 & M16 1st Avenue buses, and the 3rd Avenue bus.
  • Parking: Public Lot
  • Parking Details: There are public lots located on 34th Street and street parking available on 33rd, 34th, and 35th Streets and 2nd Avenue.
A word from El Parador
El Parador Café was founded in 1959; it is the oldest and most authentic Mexican restaurant in New York, celebrating its 50th year in business. Carlos Jacott launched the original establishment, first located on 2nd Avenue and 31st Street. The restaurant has been lauded for having the best Margaritas by The New York Press and the best Ceviche by The New York Times.

The torch has now been passed onto Jose "Alex" Alejandro, a 1994 graduate of The French Culinary Institute, who continues to grow the restaurant’s following by offering an excellent menu, world class bar & lounge and warm atmosphere.

El Parador is dedicated to culture and hospitality. Many of the customers, dubbed “El Paradorians,” first met each other at the restaurant.

The wonderful ambiance and cuisine has made El Parador Cafe NYC's favorite Mexican Restaurant, voted #1 by Open table and, once again, named a Bib Gourmand winner by the Michelin Guide for great value.
Continued
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El Parador reviews from OpenTable diners
63 reviews since July 30, 2014
Overall Rating4.5
  • Food4.6
    Service4.2
  • Ambiance4.3
    Noise LevelModerate
94% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (45)fit for foodies (29)romantic (22)good for groups (20)special occasion (16)vibrant bar scene (14)hot spot (12)kid-friendly (5)great for lunch (5)late-night find (4)great for brunch (2)notable wine list (1)Show More
  • Solid Mexican in an unlikely neighborhood
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 11/15/2014
    There's not much along this stretch of E. 34th St., but we were pleasantly surprised to find El Parador. This place would probably never make anyone's list of trendy NY places, but it's been around for decades and is still good. Most diners seemed to be local folk; service was friendly and efficient, and margaritas were excellent. We enjoyed our meals--a scallop appetizer, lamb shank entree and combination plate of enchiladas and chiles rellenos were all well executed and tasty. We'd definitely recommend and return to El Parador.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • great east side dining
    reganomis
    Dined on 11/14/2014
    This was recommended by a friend prior to our visit to NY and it didn't disappoint in any way. From the 1st step inside, always a good sign when full at 7pm, it was a fantastic evening. Food was excellent and well priced.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2011VIP
    Dined on 11/9/2014
    The best Mexican food in the city. Great food, great service and an overall enjoyable evening!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • AnonymousVIP
    Dined on 11/5/2014
    Positive - Meal was absolutely delicious! Server was polite. Negative-Service was very slow. Had a 7:30 reservation. Food order was not taken until 8:15. Appetizers arrived 25 minutes later. Entrees arrived 20 minutes after finishing appetizers. Not looking for a 2 1/2 hour meal during the work week.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Really good!
    BouncerBell
    Dined on 11/3/2014
    I've been going to El Parador for years, but since moving out of the neighborhood, not as frequently. It's only gotten better and better. Food very well prepared and full of interesting flavors. I was there with two friends and they were extremely complimentary. It does get a bit noisy, the décor a bit underlit (although tastefully done), and it's on a no-mans-land block on E. 34th St. The current owner, Alex (son of Carlos the founder) is very friendly and walks around to each table (not in an intrusive way) to insure that everyone is enjoying the meal. Nice!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Delicious and big portions!
    Tifflin194VIP
    Dined on 10/30/2014
    From what I can tell, El Parador serves delicious and authentic Mexican cuisine. Everything we ordered was great--taco plate, off-the-menu queso dip, sweet potato with honey and lime, and chilaquiles. Can't say it felt very healthy and the portions were huge, but it's a worthwhile indulgence!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Best Mexican in NYC!!!
    MiriamC
    Dined on 10/30/2014
    We have been coming here for years and always leave saying that it was the best Mexican food we ever had. And don't mess the delicious drinks!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Excellent
    gregVIP
    Dined on 10/30/2014
    Still the best Mexican restaurant in town after 40 years. Nice combination of Mexican and Tex Mex dishes from which to choose.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wayne's Birthday
    CSManhattanVIP
    Dined on 10/29/2014
    We dined on a raining Wednesday evening when the restaurant was much calmer than usual which meant a lovely, romantic, atmosphere without the usual noise/bar scene. The food was excellent, guacamole, steak fahitas and sangria what more could one want!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Love this place
    Luvgoodeats
    Dined on 10/26/2014
    I took my wife hear for her bday she loved it the service was excellent the drinks delicious the staff was very friendly the food was perfect
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • CJ
    CSManhattanVIP
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    Great atmosphere, consistently good food, good service. Noisy but they put us at a corner table near the back which was fine.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • A Rare Gem
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 10/15/2014
    El Parador has the charm and appeal of another era and a menu that will satisfy today's demanding palates. I have been dining at El Parador for years and have always had an exceptional experience. It is a restaurant that I am excited to introduce newbies to. The guacamole and the Chicken Parador are two items on the menu I dream about.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • StefaneVIP
    Dined on 10/13/2014
    Been going here for years. Never disappoints. Great food ambiance and service. Simply the best
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2010VIP
    Dined on 10/6/2014
    Our favorite Mexican restaurant for many years. A delight!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Wonderful Hidden Gem
    MissFoodieVIP
    Dined on 10/5/2014
    The food was amazing and I really loved how small and cute this place as well as the feel. The service was a bit slow and not very tentative but that has no overall view of this place. Everything about it was different and not your normal restaurant!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • overpriced, cold food
    bos2nyc
    Dined on 9/29/2014
    I took a friend there for her birthday because u had heard that it was a great place for high quality Mexican food. I was okay with paying $25 for a Mexican dish so long as the food was good. Instead, the food was cold, had no flavor and was served as a very small serving. Will never return.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • El Parador
    larklavan
    Dined on 9/9/2014
    Good food, slow service. This seems to be the norm here lately.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good food and friendly staff
    Meigu
    Dined on 8/28/2014
    As we were not very hungry, we shared the California fish taco and the lobster bouillabaisse with some corn bread between the three of us. We thoroughly enjoyed the meal and the soup was superb with good quality seafood. The staff were friendly. The chocolate cake was very very good also.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Gourmet Mexican
    br5429VIP
    Dined on 8/27/2014
    This place has obviously been in business for decades for good reason. It's fantastic. If you want mexican fast food, this IS NOT the place. Everything about El Parador makes it a gourmet restaurant. A lot of interesting things on the menu . . . . and everything we had was very fresh and well prepared.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2010VIP
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    Our favorite Mexican restaurant with the best margarita's and absolutely fabulous Mole Pablano!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good but noisy
    butterflies01
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    Good spot for having some decent mex food in a nice ambience. Reservation is recommended, the place fills up fast. Not a romantic spot as most guests are rather noisy (loud talking, laughter etc). Vibrant amosphere. Good spot for groups. If you love tequila, you need to try their pineapple teq...a "wooow"-experience
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good surprise
    Kpuce
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    Went with friends in the mood for Mexican food. Despite booking a table for 9:30, we had to wait at the bar for another half hour. Yet they offered us guacamole on the house while we were waiting. Waiter was very attentive. Everything looked good on the menu to choosing was a bit difficult! Food was delicious, with fajitas melting in the mouth... Great decor, place not too noisy. Will definitely go back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • total package
    elladc
    Dined on 7/31/2014
    This place has it all. Great menu. Sardine and stuffed pepper appetizers delicious. Ribs and lamb chops out of this world. The rooms sre decorated very pleasingly. Service was wonderful. Only when needed. Not one time wetre we unneccesdarily bothered . Definitely will go back.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • EatwellVIP
    Dined on 7/30/2014
    Excellent food at this long time favorite place. It is a great place to eat before theater or later in the evening.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 39 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 30, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.6
    • Food4.6
    • Ambiance4.3
    • Service4.3
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 567 reviews are from the El Parador reviews archive.
  • An ethnic delight
    MMMMKVIP
    Dined on 7/29/2014
    You could not find a more energetic Spanish restaurant with a cuisine that is authentic and fabulous. The portions are generous. The place is busy and popular so it did take a bit long for the food to come out...but we put up with it while sipping a great sangria served in a pitcher for the group.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2003VIP
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    Old faded place for the "regulars" nothing worth going for if you want good mexican food.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • not your ordinary Mexican
    BzaitaVIP
    Dined on 7/24/2014
    This may not seem like much from the outside but you can't judge a book by its cover. Friendly and attentive staff will treat you like family. The chef does a great job with fish and I especially enjoy the chicken enchiladas. Great house margaritas and an unexpectedly good wine list.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Best Mexican Around
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 7/23/2014
    The food is so good I could dream about it. Great service and warm environment. Definitely would recommend to anyone who loves Mexican. Now a go-to place on my list.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Same as Carlos
    oldguy
    Dined on 7/19/2014
    El Parador is as enjoyable as it was in the early 80's when I first I first visited. As Gourmet magazine said "Carlos is gone but El Parador is still here" Best Mexican in the city and I will continue to come back regularly. Can't miss
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Old Time's Sake - Has Fallen Down
    LifetimeNewYorkerVIP
    Dined on 7/15/2014
    El Parador is certainly an oldie but food and service are not up to anywhere near the standards of Carlos' day. Disappointing. High energy level, which can be a positive, if that's what you're looking for. But noise level is deafening, to the point of actual discomfort -- you cannot hear each other speak. They need to invest in some sound-proofing. And the neighborhood is pretty strange for dining out. Will only return once every 20 years.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Best Mexican Food. Ever
    MartinG
    Dined on 7/13/2014
    My family and I had a great meal at El Parador. The food was amazing, the service great. Thank you for a great experience.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Best and Oldest Mexican in NYC
    Foodie
    Dined on 6/29/2014
    A classic. My wife and I have been regulars for nearly 50 years. Hands down, the best Mexican restaurant in NYC.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good not Great
    CordyVIP
    Dined on 6/29/2014
    Food was very good, especially the guacamole, and the peanut butter stuffed grilled jalapeños. I was delighted to discover they had a vegetarian menu (I'm vegan) and there were many options for me. I got the bean and spinach enchiladas, and they were excellent. Service was good to very good. The reason I'm not rating it more highly is that we all had to go down the stairs and through a private party to get to the restrooms. The restaurant space as a whole felt dark and dingy--I would recommend they add more ambient lighting to brighten it up and create more of a feeling of "areas" within the space. They need to spruce it up a bit to draw a broader range of people. I would come back to this place, but I probably wouldn't seek it out.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Never Disappoints
    PerfectVIP
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    If you enjoy a very good margarita, with plenty of choices of tequilas, attentive service and food that always hits the mark, El Parador is a place that you will truly enjoy. Additionally, they always have you seated within a few minutes of your reservation which is appreciated. Try the Happy Hour for a taste of what they can do at bargain prices.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Festive and filling
    BzaitaVIP
    Dined on 6/19/2014
    we love coming here on friday nights and having dinner with their delicious frozen margaritas and vast selection of tequilas. The chef does a great job with the fish specials of the day, the taco tray is enough for 2-4 people and I love the enchiladas suizas with salsa verde
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 6/13/2014
    I have been dining at this restaurant for over thirty years it's now my children's favorite also. Authentic Mexican...gets an A plus....
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • coco
    Dined on 5/28/2014
    While the food was excellent, the noise level was not energetic but intolerable. I will think twice in future, at least at that hour, 7 p.m.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointing
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009VIP
    Dined on 5/24/2014
    I had high hopes for this place but it was very disappointing.the service was slow and not particularly attentive to any of our needs. We had to ask for refills on our water. Also, when we asked for recommendations the waiter made us feel like we were a nuisance. The food was okay but nothing to recommend to others. Overall, this was a poor experience.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Best Lunch Around
    IntrepidVIP
    Dined on 5/19/2014
    Prix-Fixe is a great value. Guacamole and all food items wonderful.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointed
    dmkbVIP
    Dined on 5/14/2014
    I have lived in NYC for 25 years and have always wanted to try El Parador. Finally made a plan and went last night with a friend that was also game to try it. We had a reservation and were seated immediately at a nice table for 4. Menus came 10 minutes later, had to ask for water twice before getting it. Once we got our waiters attention we felt like we better get the whole order in before we lost him. So what should have been a moment just to order a drink to start, we bombarded him with our full order at risk of never seeing him again. Not the most calm and relaxing atmosphere to dine in. Food was just so so. The salsa that is based on beef was bizarre and smelled. I wanted it removed from the table.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic