By: Kimberly Lew
In our next installment of If You’re Feeling Like… where we pair two New York City soul foods that go together like PB&J (or you and your love), we’re featuring tacos and tequila.
There’s a reason that Taco Tuesdays are a staple of the work week—what’s not to love? They’re handheld, bursting with flavor, and full of filling possibilities. And especially in the summer, what’s better than sharing a bunch of tasty tacos with an icy margarita? Give you and the one you love an excuse to chow down and enjoy the perfect combo that comes with Mexican food and tequila. Here are some options for a perfect night out.
If you and yours are ever “feeling” like anything else, tag us on Twitter or Instagram @idktonight, and we’ll create a guide inspired by you.
The Best Tacos & Tequila Combos in NYC
Upscale with a deep color palette, The Black Ant in the East Village is known for delicious cocktails with friendly service. Order margaritas by the pitcher or have an innovative cocktail made with tequila or mezcal, like a Smoky Jalapeño Margarita or Oaxacan Sunset. Tortillas are handmade and tacos run the gamut of a baja-style fish taco to the more unexpected grasshopper-crusted shrimp.
Enjoy the sleek design and meticulously plated dishes of Cosme in the Flatiron area, whose lamb belly tacos and duck carnitas boast expertly prepared meat on handmade tortillas. While the vibe is upscale with a large, dark, and sexy dining room, the flavors are approachable and familiar. Margaritas and palomas are staples on the cocktail menu, making this the perfect spot for a high-end date.
Ghost Donkey x Rosie's
The first thing you’ll notice when you enter Ghost Donkey in the East Village is the way it glows. With the selections of tequila and mezcal outlined in neon and twinkle lights hanging from the ceiling, you’ll know that you’re in for a fun and irreverent time. Try their Stealth Margarita with cucumber and chili or something less traditional like a Horchata Bachata with coffee liquor and pandam.
Continue your colorful adventure at the homey spot Rosie’s, which was started by the same restaurant veterans behind Cookshop. Offering bright, straightforward dishes prepared authentically, you can indulge in tacos al pastor, with guajillo braised chicken, or with charred cactus in the airy dining room or seating out front.
If you’re looking for a twist on the taco/tequila experience, Reunion offers a fun, surf bar vibe, not far from the hustle and bustle of Times Square The tacos are not traditional with fillings like veggie tempura, mahi mahi, and buffalo chicken, but they pair well with other snacks like totchos, tater tots with nacho toppings, and esquites. While the drinks tend towards rum, there are tequila and mezcal-based frozen and special cocktails, and if you’re doing a group date, you can do a pitcher of their Oaxaca Summer punch, which serves up to six.
Empellón in Midtown East boasts a large, two-story dining room where you are sure to be delighted by inventive plays on traditional Mexican dishes. Imagine tacos filled with tender pastrami and mustard seed salsa or a lobster taco with romesco and pasilla chile. The creativity extends to the menu, which includes a selection of innovative margaritas, including Mother of Dragons with smoked salt. Tacos and tequila even can be found in the dessert menu with a corn ice cream taco and tequila ice cream with a tequila caramel.
Añejo x Los Tacos No. 1
Sidle up at the bar at Añejo in Hell’s Kitchen for some delicious cocktails. Let the darker, romantic atmosphere set the scene as you order off their menu of margaritas or try one of the cocteles de casa like Violet Chachki with violet liquer and Marachino Luxurado. If you are in a tasting mood, you can do one of their tequila or mezcal flights.
While Añejo offers a great menu, this list would be remiss if it didn’t recommend a stop at Los Tacos No. 1, often referred to as one of the best tacos in the city. The menu is simple and the place has no seats, but it’s all about the simple but authentic taco options: grilled steak, grilled chicken, marinated pork, and grilled cactus.
From the same team that created The Black Ant comes their take on Mexican street food at Temerario in Chelsea. All tortillas, moles, and salsas are made in-house and have bold fillings like steak and bacon and roasted poblanos and cheese. When it comes to tequila, the countless bottles behind the bar say it all. There is a long list of brands with blanco, reposado, and añejo options, along with a selection of tequilas supremos if you’re looking to splurge.
Gitano Jungle Room
If you’re looking for ambiance, Gitano Jungle Room in The James Soho has you covered with its lush greenery and wood accents that evoke the natural beauty of Tulum, Mexico. Immerse yourself even more with a tequila cocktail like The Garden Rose with St. Germain, rose, lemon, strawberry, and rose prosecco or the Total Tropicalism with ginger, lemon, and honey. Order their large plates to share like pot roasted cauliflower or brook trout in banana leaf along with the taco add on, which provides the tortillas and salsas you’ll need to create your own tacos.