El Parador

4.7
1001 reviews
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$30 and under
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Mexican
Top Tags:
  • Authentic
  • Neighborhood Gem
  • Good for a Date
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.
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Gift Card
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 1001 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
91% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
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OT
New York Area
15 reviews
5.0Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was a good dinner

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OT
New York Area
35 reviews
5.0Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Paella was so delicious. Even tacos were standout. Bean soup superb.

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R
New York Area
60 reviews
2.0Dined on July 5, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 2

How the mighty have fallen. Used to be a wonderful experience - great food, warm and attentive service. Food ranged from terrible to barely ok, service mediocre, and all in all, a very disappointing July 4 birthday dinner.

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n
Atlanta
8 reviews
4.0Dined on July 4, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

The best ceviche i have ever had! The salaa was a nice surprise...served warm. The menu had inventive ways ro do old Mexican favorites. I would definately return my next visit to NYC

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OT
New Orleans
1 review
4.0Dined on July 1, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Very good meal! 3 apps (guac, meatballs & elote), 3 entrees (ropa Viejo, shrimp mojo, and chef's special), and a pitcher of sangria = $150, but the quality of food was great. Everything had great flavor and heat levels. Wait staff was very attentive and helpful.

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TP
New York Area
5 reviews
4.0Dined on June 30, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Good choices on the menu, food cooked feeding, attentive waiters and a cool vibe.

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PM
New York Area
1 review
4.0Dined on June 30, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

Nice spot great for groups
Cocktails are nice
Nice spot if you go for a Friday night out and then movie time

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OT
London
5 reviews
5.0Dined on June 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Visiting NY for a few days this was the best food of the holiday. Thank you.

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DP
New York Area
2 reviews
3.0Dined on June 21, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

The lunch portions are TINY!!! Grilled mahi mahi tacos were literally two bites each, and with only two of them, wholly insufficient for a meal. Three forkfuls of rice and beans. We had to order more food after - a first at a Mexican/Spanish restaurant.

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CP
New York Area
1 review
5.0Dined on June 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great for a date night. Has really nice 2 person booths. Excellent food and service as well.

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K
New York Area
1 review
5.0Dined on June 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We went for a friend's birthday with a reservation for four. One of the party was running late, but were seated without a problem and were very accommodating, managing to get the four entrees out at the same time. The waiters were considerate and sweet, sang happy birthday for our friend. Jalepenos rellenos with peanut butter were worth trying. Tacos were excellent, as was the enchiladas and tres leches cake to round it all out!

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DL
New York Area
1 review
5.0Dined on June 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food and service was exceptional on our last visit. The meals were fantastic and the service was so great!

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LZ
New York Area
1 review
5.0Dined on June 2, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Best Romantic table in the corner I ever had!!!
Great professional service, friendly and allert.
The food we ordered was excelent.
Thanx El Parador! For a perfect, lovely evening!
Monique&Luut

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DK
1 review
5.0Dined on June 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I have been dining at El Parador since I was introduced to it in 1993. The quality of food and service has remained perfectly consistent during these past 25 years.

You walk inside and immediately forget you're in New York City.

The brown salsa, or mole sauce, which comes with the tortilla chips might be the best ever made.

I am not a drinker, yet will always have a frozen strawberry Margarita - the best I've ever had.

I've brought countless people to El Parador over the years, and never has one person been disappointed in the food, service, or ambiance.

Don't think you would either.

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e
New York Area
2 reviews
5.0Dined on May 26, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Nice local will return 6 of us

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AG
1 review
5.0Dined on May 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Energetic, upbeat, great and fast service team. Hosted a 6 person dinner and everyone had a great time.

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n
New York Area
68 reviews
5.0Dined on May 21, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My wife and I haven't been to El Parador in at least 15 years and the first time we went to El Parador was in 1971. Our favorable memories of the restaurant were reaffirmed on our recent visit. Just wish we lived closer to the restaurant.

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K
New York Area
68 reviews
3.0Dined on May 19, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Very nice atmosphere and decor. Food was good not great. We had fajitas and the steak was not as tender as it should be. Also the grilled octopus was a little tough and maybe overlooked. The drinks were excellent and our waiter was very attentive.

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OT
3 reviews
3.0Dined on May 15, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Good Mexican food, service a bit chaotic but they are nice people. Sangria very watery (too much ice) so not as good as expected.

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MS
1 review
3.0Dined on May 14, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 5ambience 4

The food was very different. I am a vegetarian. They had a lot of variety. Need to spice up the food and have some hot sauces.

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E
New York Area
12 reviews
4.0Dined on May 13, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 3ambience 3

I was looking for a different dinning experience. This place was top rated on Open Table. I decided to try it as we were celebrating a friends Birthday. I felt the prices were a bit to high for a place like this. The Lamb was under cooked. Overall it was okay.

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OT
Greensboro
1 review
4.0Dined on May 10, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Long wait with a reservation.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
5.0Dined on May 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very tasty with great service!

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RM
1 review
4.0Dined on May 2, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

A very cozy restaurant that has a wonderful atmosphere. The waiter was very attentive and the food was good. We shared the chicken fajitas and there was definitely enough for the two of us.

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JS
1 review
4.0Dined on May 1, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Lovely Mexican food, yummy frozen margaritas! It was great receiving corn chips & salsa shortly after sitting down

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CP
London
3 reviews
5.0Dined on April 28, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Visited NYC from London to meet friends who live in New Hampshire. Really busy, energetic place with great food, best Margaritas (outside of my own and my own are spectacular!!). Really good
Fun and deserves its special local reputation fully. If you like Mexican you must go!!

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M
Birmingham
8 reviews
4.0Dined on April 28, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Love this place.

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G
New York Area
27 reviews
5.0Dined on April 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Fun evening. The food is always consistent. This is a neighborhood gem.

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EB
New York Area
1 review
2.0Dined on April 27, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 2ambience 3

The food had hardly any flavor. Not what we would expect from a Mexican inspired restaurant. The wait staff were pleasant but not as attentive as they could've been. The manager walked right passed us numerous times and only welcomed his usual clientele. We could've become usuals if given the opportunity to feel welcome. He did say goodbye as we walked out...again, felt more like a thank you for leaving. I guess we didn't fit the restaurant's "type." So sad, too bad.

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e
New York Area
21 reviews
5.0Dined on April 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

El Parador has been a mainstay forever....and that's how long I've been going there. Traditional Mexican dishes and some new additions. Mole, lobster tacos, ropa vieja, paella, taco tray.... I've never had a bad meal there. Also, their margaritas and sangria will cure what ails you. I'm picky about my margeritas but, they make them to my specifications.

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GT
New York Area
134 reviews
2.0Dined on April 13, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 4

Had high expectations- service and food were ok. Disappointed with the food mostly. Bland Mexican is not what we expected. Skip the mole and cheese enchiladas.

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E
New York Area
27 reviews
4.0Dined on April 13, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

4 of us had dinner. Each first course was just OK. The steak fajitas as a main course was disappointing-very few vegetables and tough cut of steak. Servers were nice and professional.

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AF
New York Area
1 review
5.0Dined on April 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food, ambiance and service. Highly recommend for get together with friends, romantic dinner and/or a date. Also great straight up margaritas - strong and not to sweet.

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MI
New York Area
1 review
3.0Dined on April 10, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 5

The food was excellent, if you are vegetarian they have many options. I have the lunch special for $23. I choose the mushroom quesadilla which was excellent, very tasty. Next I had the pork tacos, they were tasty but nothing special. For dessert I had flan but it was just mediocre. It was more sweet than creamy, not what I'm used to. As much as I enjoyed the food I found the margaritas small but pricey, they were $11 each in a short glass. My friend is vegetarian and they make their salsa with chicken broth, but they do have a vegetarian option, just ask. All in all I would eat here again but will go during happy hour when the drinks are more reasonable.

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CS
Melbourne / VIC
1 review
5.0Dined on April 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

I am never disappointed whenever I come here for a meal. The Tamarind Margarita's are the best and food is always delicious. Highly recommend for delicious Mexican with a nice ambience.

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BC
Philadelphia
11 reviews
5.0Dined on April 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We've been going to El Parador for 50 year. Consistent and excellent as always

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c
New York Area
13 reviews
4.0Dined on April 7, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

After living in the neighborhood for many years finally decided to pay this place a visit. Definitely one of the nicer Mexican spots in the area. The food was very good and prices reasonable. The service was pretty slow and I was underwhelmed by my cocktail but would definitely return.

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Z
1 review
5.0Dined on April 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Probably one of the best Mexican spots I've been to! Loved it!

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CV
1 review
5.0Dined on April 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful experience. Double cut pork chops were top-notch. Great food, service, and ambience.

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J
New York Area
65 reviews
5.0Dined on April 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

If you want to have superb traditional and contemporary Mexican/Spanish food, in one of New York's most authentic "off the beaten path" restaurants, go to El Parador. The food is amazing, the margaritas the best, and the atmosphere is warm, cozy and the service is incredible. It's low key and fun at the same time. People have been coming here for over 60 years and when the newest New Yorkers find it, they think that it's "their secret discovery." New York has some of the best dining experiences in the world and there are some new gems that open every month, but they don't stay with you like El Parador.

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