In a city like New York, not commonly known for its Mexican food (which is total crap), finding the best nachos can be incredibly difficult... unless you read this story, which makes it incredibly easy.
Taco Chulo (address and info)
There are many nominees for most likely to need a napkin, but only one official winner, and it’s Taco Chulo’s Nachos Chulos. As a constituent of the cheese sauce community, Taco Chulo’s namesake ‘chos pour on the orange cheese generously along with crema, pico de gallo, and fresh guacamole.
Calexico (address and info)
Calexico flips the script by also having melted cheese on its nacho platter. Beyond the mounds of cheese, this plate is rounded out with fresh corn, beans, crema, cilantro, and a noteworthy guacamole. (The chilaquiles are also a work of art.)
Taqueria Diana (address and info)
When presented with a sheet tray filled with nachos, do not be alarmed. Instead, be proud of future you, who will have eaten these nachos. At Taqueria Diana they begin with great freshly fried homemade chips then pile on beans, white cheddar, jalapeños, carnitas, crema, and heaps of guacamole. Instead of forcing a spice level, salsa verde, salsa rosa, and a habanero salsa are waiting for you in bottles on the side.
Fresh vegetable nachos
El Maguey Y La Tuna (address and info)
This is the only nacho place around that somehow gets away with throwing broccoli and zucchini on chips (we’re gonna go ahead and say it probably has something to do with them also engulfing them with black beans, cheese, heaps of guacamole, and pico de gallo). Oh, and the menu boasts another five types of delicious nachos, in case you’re in a nacho takedown kinda mood.
Nachos with brisket
Javelina (address and info)
A buzz-worthy Tex-Mex restaurant, Javelina’s nachos feature an approachable mound of chips with refried beans and brisket covered with a blend of cheddar and Monterey Jack and hefty dollops of pico de gallo, sour cream, and chunky guacamole on top. Also, yep, the place has Shiner.
El Camion Cantina (address and info)
El Camion Cantina cheats on its melted three-cheese blend with sprinkles of cotija cheese (aka FOUR CHEESES!), then drizzles of crema, a scoop of guacamole, and pickled jalapeños.
Coppelia (address and info)
The secret to these nachos’ success is the layering: they put some of the cheese and beans as the base level and build upon it, assuring each chip gets some of the action. The, uh, other secret to these nachos’ success is that they’re super meaty, thanks to the untraditional short rib added atop a mix of Muenster and Gouda cheese, crema, and guacamole. One note on these, though: they’re probably the smallest plate of nachos on the list, which means you’ll need to get two. (OK, fine, three.)
The Commodore (address and info)
Not a misnomer, these super-sized nachos feature a deliciously spicy cheese sauce, three salsas (verde, roja, and chile de arbol), quality chips, and a hearty sprinkling of radish and cilantro.
El Vez (address and info)
Battery Park City
El Vez has a unique technique for keeping its nachos from getting soggy: instead of piling high, El Vez goes wide, serving an almost pizza-like nacho that’s served on a tray and pizza stand. Every part of the platter gets a handful of chorizo, Jack cheese, pickled red onion, and jalapeños.
Professor Thom's (address and info)
An absolutely prototypical bar-style nacho and easily the largest quantity of them probably allowed by law, Professor Thom’s serves its nach-es on a pizza tray on a cake stand. These will feed your team and the team you’re rooting for, but beware -- this is a Red Sox bar. Chips are piled high with ever-present cheese, healthy helpings of guacamole and pico de gallo, and a separate cup of mild salsa.
Nachos (with chorizo)
El Toro Blanco (address and info)
Only being available at happy hour makes these nachos the most mysterious of the bunch. Why not serve them all the time? Is this too much goodness for the regular menu? These nachos boast homemade chips, Oaxaca and queso blanco cheeses, and crema, plus you should definitely go for the chorizo.
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1. Taco Chulo318 Grand St, Brooklyn
2. Taqueria Diana129 2nd Ave, New York
3. El Maguey y La Tuna321 E Houston St, New York
4. Javelina Tex Mex119 E 18th St, New York
5. El Camion Cantina194 Avenue A, New York
6. Coppelia207 W 14th St, New York
7. The Commodore366 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn
8. El Vez259 Vesey St, New York
9. Professor Thom's219 2nd Ave, New York
10. El Toro Blanco257 6th Ave, New York
There is no shortage of options at Taco Chulo, and not just of tacos. They also serve burritos, large plates, and killer nachos that may be some of the cheesiest & messiest in the city.
The East Village location of this cheap Mexican food mecca is a bit of a misnomer: sure there are carne asada, al pastor, and pollo tacos, but the non-taco items are the true lure. Opened by Californians, Taqueria Diana makes a fat, guac-loaded burrito and show-stealing nachos, the latter of which are served in a foil pan instead of on a flimsy paper plate. The huge portion has 50 or so tortilla chips and a heap of white queso, beans, and hot poblanos -- but don't be afraid to add a giant dollop of guacamole and crema. You can load them with tender carnitas (you can actually see the pork spinning on a spit roaster when you walk in), but the cheese tastes great on its own.
This family-run East Village restaurant has a casual atmosphere with great, classic, Mexican dishes like burritos, fajitas, & nachos.
Boldy claiming to do the joys of actual Tex-Mex cuisine justice, this cantina -- complete with boar taxidermy! -- is offering tacos with all kinds of fillings (brisket, carnitas, lamb...), skirt steak nachos, the San Antonio puffy taco with marinated pork shoulder, and the "Bob Armstrong," which is either regular or white queso with guac, ground beef, pico de gallo, and sour cream.
This corner resto in the East Village brings fresh, local, ingredients together in classic Mexican preparations by Chef Juan Escobedo. They do dinner, lunch, brunch, and have a bar with over 100 types of tequila.
Named for a Havana ice cream shop, this 24/7 "traditional Cuban luncheonette" from the Yerba Buena chef is outfitted Caribbean-style, with a large marble bar sporting spinning stools, and a beautiful stained glass window near the kitchen. The eats are designed for the post-Meatpacking group, with Cuban classics like ceviche, fried cheese balls, and empanadas ready to satisfy even the most aggressive of 4am appetites.
The Commodore is a Southern/tropical-themed dive bar in Williamsburg. Open late, hipsters flock to its incredible fried chicken sandwiches, burgers, biscuits, and seriously dope grilled cheese. Its cocktails are also top-notch: get the eponymous Commodore, which is a Pina Colada gone buck-wild with an extra shot of amaretto thrown in there for good measure.
Any place named after the Mexican Elvis is worth a visit. Little tip: Order the salsa sampler, which lets you choose a variety ranging from a spicy tuna with pineapple to habaneros, tomatillo and melted manchego with sweet onions. A Philly original, celebrate Vez's descent on Manhattan this Spring by ordering everything on the menu.
Boston sports fans take refuge at this Hub-themed bar in the East Village, which, incidentally, sits next to one that's loyal to San Francisco, Finnerty's. Professor Thom's divey, unassuming storefront leads to an interior where tons of sports memorabilia (including a couple of Fenway seats) make the bar look as though it were plucked from Boylston Street. Standard pub fare like burgers, club sandwiches, and fish & chips are on offer, as are lobster night specials and of course, Harpoon brews all around.
El Toro Blanco is plating pan-Mexican eats in a modernish Southwestern vibe'd space, featuring cowhide barstools and plenty of made-to-order guac, Mexican corn, tacos, and 75+ tequilas/mezcals.