Café Maya and Maya Café
Wappingers Falls and Fishkill
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Chances are you’ve driven past the unassuming parking lots of these sister restaurants. But we urge you to step inside: the interiors are festive with colorful murals and mariachi bands on select days. Aside from the fun vibes, the cafés serve up some of the best Mexico City-style tacos around.
For starters Try the sopa de tortilla. This classic soup has a zesty broth made with tomatoes, onion, and garlic, and is topped with chicken, avocado, and, of course, fried tortilla. Or go the fiery route with uber-popular diablitos—crunchy cheese-stuffed jalapeños.
Main ideas We’re partial to the tacos de camaron: three lightly fried tortillas filled with grilled shrimp, fresh slaw, and pico de gallo. The chile de arbol sauce is excellent.
Drink up Both spots whip up mean frozen margaritas.
A self-proclaimed “neighborhood meeting place,” El Azteca is beloved by transplants from Mexico and local foodies alike. Check the front door for a list of daily specials. And vegans take note: they’re using more plant-based ingredients—like soy chorizo—in dishes.
For starters Creamy guacamole with diced tomatoes and onions served in a molcajete. El Azteca admits, “our authentic guacamole is a hit!”
Main ideas Choose from one of two best-sellers: the enchiladas verdes (chicken, beef, or cheese in corn tortillas with tomatillo sauce) or torta de milanesa (breaded chicken, black bean spread, guacamole, lettuce, and mayo piled on telera, a Mexican wheat bread).
Drink up While there’s no hard liquor, there are aguas frescas—horchata (rice milk and cinnamon), jamaica (hibiscus), and cucumber lime are the most popular.
This is one fun spot. The staff is lively, sombreros line the jewel-toned walls, the bar is never not stocked, and it’s always popping during Cinco de Mayo. (Hint: make your reservations now.) They’ve introduced several street food items like tacos de birria—fried, cheesy beef tacos that you dunk in rich consommé—and addictive churros stuffed with caramel and paired with ice cream.
For starters Regulars rave about the aguacate relleno—an avocado filled with fresh ceviche. It’s light and an ideal choice for those who want to save room for entrées.
Main ideas There are plenty of excellent options, but if you’re really hungry go all out and order the molcajete charro: steak, grilled chicken, chorizo, shrimp, fried cheese sticks, and grilled cactus topped with tomato sauce, caramelized onions, pico de gallo, avocado, and cheese with a side of rice and beans.
Drink up Margaritas are a must—there are over 20 varieties. But if you have a yen for something different, the Torito is a combo of frozen classic margarita, red sangria, and Corona.
El Paso Los Contreras
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As most foodies know, the best spots tend to be off the beaten track. The New Windsor-Newburgh area is a mecca for Mexican food—and El Paso Los Contreras is a winner. You’ll find authentic ingredients (like tongue) and every tortilla is made by hand. The carnitas are fresh until El Paso’s closing time at 6 p.m.
For starters The salsa roja is simple but delicious and served with house-made tortilla chips. If you’re looking for something heartier, split a savory steak milanesa torta with a friend—or save half for later (a win-win scenario).
Main ideas Rumor has it, locals flock here at lunchtime two or three times a week for burritos that burst with flavor. The bistec burrito, complete with crema, lettuce, and guac, is a favorite.
Drink up Horchata, a dairy-free agua fresca made with semi-creamy rice milk and cinnamon, is a good choice.
Tucked along Hudson Highlands State Park and slightly north of Cold Spring, Juanita’s prides itself in generational cooking. From tortas to tamales to molletes (an open-faced beans and cheese sandwich), each dish from their rotating menu embraces traditional roots. “For customers, new and returning, we make it a point to introduce them to authentic Mexican food—from all states of Mexico,” says owner Juanita Rincon.
For starters Order guac and pico de gallo for the table. Then sample crispy empanadas. Juanita’s cranks out multiple styles, such as cheese, beef and cheese, chicken, chicken and cheese, and chorizo con papas.
Main ideas Tacos suave, or soft tacos, are perfect and always on the menu. Chicken, steak, chorizo, or roasted veggies are tucked into warm corn tortillas and topped with lettuce, onions, cilantro, radishes, and either salsa verde or salsa roja.
Drink up There’s no bar (yet), but the seasonal agua frescas are made fresh and in-house. Hibiscus, watermelon, and pineapple are a few can’t-miss flavors.
First and foremost, La Cabañita stocks some of the best varieties of Mezcal and tequila. But don’t visit just for the bar. The Pinelo-Cardenas family has served up amazing eats from Mexico’s food capital for two decades. All the meat is slow-roasted and melts in your mouth, thanks to techniques passed down over generations. Stop by on weekdays from 4–6 p.m., for two-buck tacos.
For starters Order a Tour of Oaxaca. The delicious platter combines the best of Oaxacan street food—flautas, savory sopes, quesadillas, molotes (corn pastry), and paste de frijoles (black bean dip).
Main ideas Pozole will warm you right up. La Cabañita’s version of the traditional stew is made with a punchy chile guajillo broth, white hominy corn, cabbage, and served with a lime wedge and tostadas. You can add chicken or pork. (We suggest the latter.)
Drink up Ever heard of a mezcalita? It’s a margarita with a Mexican twist (mezcal instead of tequila). Popular flavors include tamarind, passionfruit, and mango. They also serve michelada (Oaxacan mezcal mules) and stock plenty of Mexican beer.
You can’t miss this stuccoed tower and its puertas azul (blue doors) along Route 44. Inside is a bustling, hacienda-style eatery serving authentic Mexican with a modern twist. Some standouts include apple and mango quesadillas, blackened mahi-mahi tacos, and slow-roasted pork and corn tortilla enchiladas.
For starters Check out the appetizer crossover you never knew you needed: Camarones a la parilla—grilled tiger shrimp nestled on a crispy onion ring topped with guac, pico de gallo, and chipotle aioli.
Main ideas The burritos are amazing—especially the carnitas or grilled veg. Here’s a hint: Order it chimichanga-style (super crunchy) and ask for a side of house-made habanero sauce.
Drink up Though margaritas are always tempting, switch things up with a piña picante (you can thank us later). Tequila, triple sec, muddled jalapeño, pineapple, and fresh lime—so good! (The fruit-infused mojitos are a close second.)
This Putnam gem is TikTok famous: head over to @thedrinkrunner and you’ll discover over 330,000 people follow Victor Mejia, a waiter who sprints tall stacks of plates and drinks across the restaurant. Called “Las Man” by Brewsterites, the restaurant overlooks the East Branch reservoir and has a sweeping yard that’s perfect for hosting families and fun celebrations. But during winter, the interior with its vaulted ceiling and stone fireplace is warm and cozy.
For starters Las Mañanitas labels their guac “legendary,” so you know you have to try it—it’s mixed up right at your table. Or go with el aguacate: a whole avocado stuffed with crab meat and shrimp.
Main ideas Once you hear (and smell) the sizzling fajitas at surrounding tables, you’ll definitely want one. If you’re in the mood for steak, get the mucho macho—grilled skirt steak with chipotle sauce.
Drink up This spot has enough cocktail options to fill the entire magazine. But if we had to pick one, it’s the dirty margarita: half frozen marg and half red sangria. It’s the best of both worlds—and it’s gigantic.
Sister-owned, farm-to-table Tex-Mex? We’ll be right there. Mariachi Mexico’s seasonal menu highlights the bounty of local farmers markets and incorporates plenty of fresh vegetables. Make sure to order the delicious guac with house-made tortilla chips.
For starters Any of their antojitos (i.e. “little cravings”) are super satisfying. We especially like the frito (off-the-cob elote—grilled and seasoned corn—with mayo and cotija cheese) and tetelas (stuffed, triangle-shaped corn masa).
Main ideas Tacos, tacos, tacos! Tacos de bistec—grilled skirt steak, caramelized onions, and queso fresco—and de pollo en chipotle—marinated chicken, pickled onion, and cilantro—are incredible. Vegetarians will love enchiladas de queso y vegetal: Monterrey and goat cheeses with farm-fresh veggies, tomatillo salsa, greens, radish, and queso fresco garnish.
Drink up Fresh-picked mint makes the mojitos special. They also serve Mexican-style beer from Baja Brewing Company, a microbrewery in Los Cabos and Baja California Sur.
If people flock from all over to this little gem in the Capital Region—you know it must be good. The small kitchen serves up big flavors (and portions) thanks to the passionate local Mexican family that runs it. There’s a tiny grocery in the back where you can pick up drink mixes, beans, and sauces. Make sure to follow their Facebook page—daily lunch and dinner specials and new dishes are posted often.
For starters Go for sopes—a classic street snack consisting of a fried masa base layered with savory toppings like tinga (shredded chicken in a tomato, chipotle chile, and adobo sauce), chorizo, cecina (dry-cured beef), and campechanos (braised flank steak).
Main ideas Order the tlayuda—trust us. A thin, house-made tortilla is fried, layered with a variety of savory ingredients (beans, chorizo, marinated pork, and cecina), and topped with shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, avocado, and Oaxaca cheese.
Drink up For a light and creamy sip, get the horchata. There’s also fresh mango juice and plenty of Jarritos (fruity Mexican soft drinks) to choose from.
New City, Piermont, and Suffern
Rockland County locals couldn’t get enough of Tequila Sal y Limon in Suffern—so then there were three! An insider tip: the crab dishes are fantastic here. Some fan favorites include the mariscada (see below), crabmeat tostadas, and an excellent guacamole and crabmeat dip in a crispy corn tortilla shell. Bonus: During weekday lunch, select specials are under $10.
For starters Tamales are a Mesoamerican dish of cornmeal and a protein, which is then wrapped in corn husks and steamed. Here, there’s juicy chicken or beef topped with tomato sauce, cheese, and your choice of red, green, or house-made mole.
Main ideas Seafood reigns supreme. The mariscada (a hybrid of paella and stew) shows off the restaurant’s shellfish mastery: plenty of clams, octopus, shrimp, and crab are sautéed with mushrooms and onions. Enjoy it with the creamy poblano pepper sauce.
Drink up Most of the margaritas on the menu are decorated with a Mexican flag-colored salt rim—how fun! Two popular versions: strawberry jalapeño and the Cadillac (top-shelf tequila and Grand Marnier).