El Parador
El Parador

El Parador

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.elparadorcafe.com/
  • Phone: 2126796812
  • Hours of Operation:
    Lunch: Daily: 12:00pm - 3:00pm Tasting Menu at the bar, Monday-Friday 3:00PM-6:00 PM (half price beer, Sangria and Margaritas; half price select appetizers) Dinner: Daily: 3:00pm - 11:00pm
  • 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 (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 2126796812
  • 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
71 reviews since May 2, 2014
Overall Rating4.2
  • Food4.3
    Service4.1
  • Ambiance4
    Noise LevelModerate
84% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (46)fit for foodies (29)good for groups (21)special occasion (18)romantic (17)vibrant bar scene (15)hot spot (13)great for lunch (11)kid-friendly (8)late-night find (6)great for brunch (4)notable wine list (3)Show More
  • 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 2010
    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.
  • Eatwell
    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
  • 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
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    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 2009
    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
  • Still lovely after all these years!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 5/12/2014
    I discovered El Parador when I moved to Murray Hill in 1980. It was always a neighborhood favorite. Long after I left for suburbia, I still come in especially for the food and dining experience here on East 34th Street. One of the best authentic Mexican restaurants in all of New York, and dare I suggest, in the northeast.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Loved It!
    smithduke
    Dined on 5/10/2014
    The service and food was outstanding! The atmosphere is a bit dark but we got used to it. I recommend the fajitas and ribs. At first I was hesitant about the non-vegetarian salsa (you can get vegetarian upon request) but it was unique, delicious and served warm. Nachos were yummy and the waiter even offered to make chili con queso if we preferred, which was not on the menu. We will be back again!
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Never disappointed!
    tnyc67VIP
    Dined on 5/9/2014
    Found this one rainy night in 1994 and have been coming here regularly ever since. Absolutely one of my favorite restaurants in the City. Food is consistently delicious and the service is great. Alex and his staff get to know you quickly and really make you feel welcomed. Try this place, you will not be disappointed!
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • I always forget why I hate it
    Pipermaruu9VIP
    Dined on 5/5/2014
    We live across the street from el p and always forget why we never go until the next time we go. The food is very ok. The menu is boring. But what stands out is the absolute worst service I've had in NYC.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Worst Service Ever
    NYCDinerVIP
    Dined on 5/5/2014
    We arrived and our table wasn't ready at our reservation time. We had to ask multiple waiters to order drinks and it still took forever before someone took our drinks order. No one brought us menus either. It was probably 45 minutes after we arrived before we had both drinks and menus. Then, about 10 minutes after we got the menus a waiter asked for our order. We weren't ready and told them we would order in a few minutes. Then all of a sudden the owner of the restaurant told us we were taking too long ordering and that they needed to turn around the table. This was after we had to wait for drinks, and they hadn't even given us menus for the longest time. The owner was incredibly rude. I have never been more shocked.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Favorite Mexican in the city
    DomingoVIP
    Dined on 5/4/2014
    El Parador never fails to deliver good food and friendly service in a quaint and warm ambiance. We love it as one of our neighborhood favorites
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A great dining experience!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 5/3/2014
    My husband and I stopped into El Parador for an early pre show dinner, and had a wonderful experience. Perfectly prepared, authentic Mexican food with very friendly and attentive service. We would definitely return!
    Special Features:
    Kid-Friendly, Good for Groups, Great for Lunch, Vibrant Bar Scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 42 ratings-only reviews submitted since May 2, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.4
    • Food4.4
    • Ambiance4.1
    • Service4.2
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 544 reviews are from the El Parador reviews archive.
  • Very fun and delicious
    LizaNP
    Dined on 4/23/2014
    We have been coming to El Parador for many years and have celebrated engagements, graduations and many birthdays here. Alex, the owner, is always gracious and welcoming. The wait staff is very professional and friendly. And the food is consistently very good. This is NOT a taco joint; it's more of a gourmet Mexican restaurant, though the atmosphere is quite lively.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, Scenic View
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good service....worth booking
    LB5614
    Dined on 4/17/2014
    We chose this restaurant because it was walking distance from our hotel and offered a separate veggie menu. Good veggie selection, as well as meat options. Complimentary nachos and (non veggie) salsa served whilst we chose from menu. Drinks served promptly. Good service and nice atmosphere. Quite noisy, but not to the point that conversation was not possible. Worth booking (we were there on a Thursday evening -- all tables full with guests waiting). Food good for quality and quantity. Bill for 4 was c $90 incl drinks.
    Special Features:
    Kid-Friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • My family's Go-To
    OneGalsOpinion
    Dined on 4/15/2014
    This place has always been special to my family, and many milestones have been celebrated here. Love it! Great staff, great food and brilliant drinks. More than any other restaurant, El Parador is New York City to me.
    Special Features:
    Good for Groups, Romantic, special occasion, Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Local favourite
    OrlaVIP
    Dined on 4/12/2014
    My boyfriend and I come here circa 4 times a month, both together and to entertain friends. Why? Great guac and chips, perfect simple margaritas (and frozen margaritas!) and the best value lobster salad you'll find in Mahattan. It has a wonderful, local restaurant atmostphere and laid back style. I love it. Pedro served our group of four on Saturday and he was by far our favourite waiter so far: very attentive and entertaining, thanks Pedro!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great set of flavours
    FuzzyBeaverVIP
    Dined on 3/28/2014
    We had a delightful dinner. They gave us a corner booth which was very romantic. We had fish and shrimp. Excellent salsa and warm chips to start. The flavours of each dish were amazing. Everything was cooked perfectly. I tried two of their premium tequilas after dinner. I was amazed at the complexity and layers. The service was very good as well. Good wine list with modest prices. We had a truly outstanding Argentinian chardonnay. The restaurant was packed and I can see why. Highly recommended.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • I've been enjoying El Parador
    gigs
    Dined on 3/26/2014
    I've been enjoying El Parador for 15+ years and always have never had anything but a fantastic experience.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great surprise!
    travl2eat
    Dined on 3/25/2014
    Very good restaurant! Much better than expected. The portions are large. With an appetizer, we could have easily shared! It is not your average Mexican restaurants. Favors deliciously different, pleasing presentation.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • I had eaten at the restaurant
    TuttidogVIP
    Dined on 3/22/2014
    I had eaten at the restaurant on a less busy day but came there on Saturday night. Very packed. Waiter took a year for food and never came back to the table. Probably just a bad night. Liked it before.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Our favorite Mexican restauratnt.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 3/15/2014
    Our favorite Mexican restauratnt. It sets the standard for superb pollo mole poblano!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Disappointed
    Disappointed
    Dined on 3/6/2014
    After reading the review in the Zagart for this restaurant, I travelled all the way from Connecticut to enjoy their food. It was a wasted evening, since the food was nothing special.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Staple in Murray Hill, always
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008VIP
    Dined on 3/3/2014
    Staple in Murray Hill, always good food and service.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate