El Parador

4.7
1053 reviews
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$30 and under
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Mexican
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.
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Mexican, Traditional Mexican, Tex-Mex
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Hours of operation
Lunch: Monday thru Saturday Noon to 3 PM

Tasting Menu at the bar, Monday-Saturday 3:00PM-7:00 PM ($6 Margaritas, Sangria and Beer; Special selection of appetizers)

Dinner: Monday 3 PM to 10 PM
Tuesday Thru Saturday 3 PM to 11 PM
Closed on Sundays and mayor holidays
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Phone number
(212) 679-6812
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Bonifacio Junior
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Between 1st and 2nd Avenues
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Parking details
There are public lots located on 34th Street and street parking available on 33rd, 34th, and 35th Streets and 2nd Avenue.
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Public transit
6 train to Park Avenue/33rd Street, the M34 & M16 1st Avenue buses, and the 3rd Avenue bus.
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Special events & promotions
The restaurant can accommodate parties up to 120 people for special events. The downstairs lounge, La Cueva, is a rare find in Midtown East.
Additional
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cafe, Corkage Fee, Delivery, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Private Room, Takeout, Wine

Specials

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Mon 9:00PM - 10:00PM
Tue - Thu 9:00PM - 11:00PM

What 1053 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.6
food
4.5
service
4.5
ambience
4.4
value
Noise · Moderate
95% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
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MM
New York Area
7 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

I don't dine here often enough. But when I do, I'm never disappointed. Good food and great service. A very friendly place. And not trendy....

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JL
New York Area
14 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Have the Christmas Nachos and their homemade pineapple-infused tequila

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V
New York Area
29 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

We've been going regularly for more than 30 years. We love Parador. But there are time including the other night when it really disappoints.
Watery saucing in the combination plate, poor fish in the tacos.

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G
New York Area
1 review
Dined on December 9, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

Go for the tasty food and drinks in this old-school charmer with a fun vibe. The booths for four are a bit of a squeeze, but a good time is assured nonetheless

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on December 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Annual el p dinner!

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f
Vancouver
49 reviews
Dined on December 4, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Probably one of the best and most authentic Mexican restaurants in New York, which is why it's been there for about sixty years. Three of us for lunch. One of us had the three course prix fixe for $40. A goodly number of choices. I started with a rich, hearty soup (don't remember exactly what), followed by ropa vieja, then a dessert of arroz con leche--all excellent. Worth a trip.

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L
New York Area
9 reviews
Dined on November 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The best Mexican restaurant I've ever been to. We travel from Long Island to eat there.

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RS
Savannah
1 review
Dined on November 18, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

love the casual atmosphere, special salsa, and their most flavorful dishes. All are great ! ! Do not forget the margaritas too.................

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Anniversary

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f
New York Area
34 reviews
Dined on November 12, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 5

Always been a fan...wonderful service and food tho this time I was a bit disappointed with the fish tacos which I had never ordered previously. The tortilla was so soggy that when I picked it up all the fish fell out so I ended up eating the whole thing with a knife and fork. As this was the only disappointment in a dozen or more visits over the years I'm willing to overlook this misstep. Service is always prompt and gracious. Cozy and warm restaurant.

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OT
1 review
Dined on November 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

This place is great every time. No wonder it’s been around 75+ years. Best margs in the city.

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b
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 3

Used to be wonderful, great food, etc. For many years loved the restaurant.
Not great anymore. Hate to say this. Food cold and tasteless. Hope it gets
better again.

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GP
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

We arrived late for our reservation and they still sat us. Food was delish and drinks amazing. Our waitress was meh, she did not engage with us check in with us. She dropped ofnthr check without even making eye contact! However, food is totally worth it so is the ambience!

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TO
New York Area
7 reviews
Dined on October 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Been going here since 1971. Getting better all the time.
Chicken El Parador, genius.

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M
Houston
1 review
Dined on October 30, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 4

Service was excruciatingly slow. Everything from finding someone to have us seated, to askingseveral times for drinks...

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AR
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined on October 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Manuel, our waiter, has clearly been here for a few years and seemed to know that we would be becoming regulars. The plaques around our booth which proclaimed special events like anniversaries, proposals, and babies really lend a neighborhood vibe. The food is excellent every time we’ve been here, and the chips and salsa are truly addictive. The tres leches cake brought out for my husband’s birthday was absolutely delicious and a very nice gesture. We will absolutely be returning.

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PE
Boise
5 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 5

Wonderful!

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OT
New York Area
14 reviews
Dined on October 26, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had a good time great food great staff

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J
New York Area
1 review
Dined on October 25, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

friends birthday

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s
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on October 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious authentic Mexican food
And the service is very nice and friendly
Will be back thank you!!!!

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a
Miami
3 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Been returning for years. First rate. Fun menu. Mole chicken is a treat, as is their mole liver dish. Service always tremendous.

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CB
1 review
Dined on October 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

That is my second time going and my experience was outstanding. I highly suggest ordering the scallops and peanut butter stuffed jalepenos!

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f
Vancouver
49 reviews
Dined on October 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My wife and I met a friend for lunch. The restaurant was very quiet. (It was a Monday afternoon). We ordered the fixed-price three course meal. To begin with, the wine list had many bottles priced in the mid thirties; almost unheard of nowadays. The two women had fish dishes--both beautifully presented and delicious. When you think of Mexican food you have a picture of the typical dishes--refried beans, some salad greens, rice, tortillas, and so on, all on one plate. The dishes here don't look like the usual Mexican. They are more artfully presented, and good to the taste. Service was just right--timely, personal (but not overly), and efficient. Deserts were typical Mexican, and very good. All in all, a very enjoyable lunch.

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SD
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on October 5, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Very good food and drinks. Great prix fixe. Had a cute, traditional environment.

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RW
Minneapolis
7 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

My September 2018 visit to El Parador was my first in over 40 years. It met my expectations. The food was outstanding and well presented. We had Tex-Mex dishes and paella, which I heartily recommend. The bar service was super. The service overall was good, though not great, as there were long periods of inattention that seemed odd on a weeknight presumably no more or less crowded than other weeknights. This did not detract from what generally was an excellent dining experience.

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HM
New York Area
29 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 3ambience 4

Everything was good

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LS
New York Area
17 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always fabulous

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OT
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on September 26, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

El Parador is — hands down — my favorite

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OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on September 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Have never been here before but I have to say I would say I’d recommend it whole heartedly. Marino is very friendly behind the bar.

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OT
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined on September 11, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Delicious Mexican cuisine. Halibut was extraordinary.

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R
New York Area
37 reviews
Dined on September 10, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 4

Our server was really great. He not only took our orders properly he had a terrific way about him. He made my wife and granddaughter feel happy to be there
The food was the problem. My ribs came warm at best with little or no taste Our other meals were pedestrian and forgettable
Will return if back in that neck of the city but would not go out of my way to visit

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HM
New York Area
29 reviews
Dined on September 1, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 3

It was good

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h
New York Area
27 reviews
Dined on September 1, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

El Parador is a long-standing restaurant that serves authentic Mexican cuisine. I've never been disappointed in any of the dishes I've ordered. Great margaritas and excellent seafood dishes and paella. There is a fun, relaxed environment.

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R
New York Area
16 reviews
Dined on September 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

This place is always consistent, with excellent food and drinks. Probably one of the best Mexican restaurants in NYC, as evidenced by it's long history.

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R
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on August 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our go to place for special occasions as well as Saturday nights

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L
New York Area
12 reviews
Dined on August 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Been going here for years. It’s our favorite place. Never disappoints. The ambiance is good, service top notch and the food even better.
Recommend the margaritas, sangria, nachos royale, guacamole, and parador chicken. My kids love the enchiladas and the shrimp.
You gotta go here!

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OT
New York Area
24 reviews
Dined on August 20, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Our food order was never put in and when I inquired I was told it takes long. I ordered a Taco platter, the chicken was cold and very poorly put together. They forgot to put the order in and when it arrived 45min later, it was cold.

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ST
New Orleans
33 reviews
Dined on August 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

I have been eating here, on and off, for the last 40 years. It never disappoints. The food is excellant, the service is very accomodating and the prices are very reasonable considering the quality.

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BG
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on August 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My friends and I have been coming here for years. We were marking the 15 year anniversary of the 2003 Blackout which occurred the day after I came to New York for the first time. El Parador was the first restaurant my new found friends took me to when the power returned. It was fabulous then and is just as fabulous now. We always celebrate here. It is also our go to place for good food and good service for bringing our visitors to. It is reliably authentic and has the best frozen margaritas around. I look forward to having many more celebratory meals here.

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BT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on August 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

Outstanding food. Seevice was a little spotty but then the place was full! Can’t wait to go again.

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