Zarela Restaurant

★★★☆☆
  • 953 2nd Ave

    New York, NY 10022

    Map & Directions
  • 212-644-6740

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.

Love this place. I've been going there for many years and don't get tired. best margaritas and salsas in town. got all her books too!!!!!

2
★★★★★

Love this place. I've been going there for many years and don't get tired. best margaritas and salsas in town. got all her books too!!!!!

Pros: Best margaritas and salsas in town.

Cons: can't think of anything.

.

I agree with the other reviewer. Decent somewhat upscale Mexican food but best as a place for drinks and appetizers.

3
★★★☆☆

I agree with the other reviewer. Decent somewhat upscale Mexican food but best as a place for drinks and appetizers.

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.

Don't expect your mother's food ( if you are Mexican). the Margaritas are very good, the salsas as usual are fresh not like some other places where they give you ketchup with Tabasco as a salsa. the problem here is that they are charging for everything, if you want rice or beans which usually come with your food in any other place, they charge you. the owner is old now and not there most of the time, therefore the place is going downhill. by the way she is not from Oaxaca as a lot of people think, she is from El Paso, Tex. that explains why the food is not as good as people expects from an authentic Mexican place. I would always go back for the margaritas and the salsas. I keep my jacket so I don't have to pay "coat check" Lol.

1
★★★☆☆

Don't expect your mother's food ( if you are Mexican). the Margaritas are very good, the salsas as usual are fresh not like some other places where they give you ketchup with Tabasco as a salsa. the problem here is that they are charging for everything, if you want rice or beans which usually come with your food in any other place, they charge you. the owner is old now and not there most of the time, therefore the place is going downhill. by the way she is not from Oaxaca as a lot of people think, she is from El Paso, Tex. that explains why the food is not as good as people expects from an authentic Mexican place. I would always go back for the margaritas and the salsas. I keep my jacket so I don't have to pay "coat check" Lol.

Pros: salsas are fresh, food ok.

Cons: Zarela is not there anymore, place going downhill.

.

Nice little eclectic place in midtown. A friend suggested I go here for the Margaritas so I went for dinner with my boyfriend. The food was okay but nothing fabulous, however the margaritas were delicious and they didn't skimp on the tequila. Would go back for drinks and appetizers - would skip dinner.

3
★★★☆☆

Nice little eclectic place in midtown. A friend suggested I go here for the Margaritas so I went for dinner with my boyfriend. The food was okay but nothing fabulous, however the margaritas were delicious and they didn't skimp on the tequila. Would go back for drinks and appetizers - would skip dinner.

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.

I went with my family a few days ago. Upon arriving we were asked to give our coats to coat check only to realize it costs $1 a piece!! C'mon!! We were seated, the waiter took our drinks and then informed us that the 2-1 special was for bar seating only- it was too late as by then the drinks had arrived. My mother is a vegetarian and there was literally NO entrees for vege's-only sides which was disappointing. I casually ordered Tabasco or any type of bottled hot sauce...the waiter brought habanero sauce whcih was awesome except he failed to tell me that it would cost $2. The food was mediocre at best. I've had better Mexican in Manhattan. All in all- we were disapponted with the service, food and nickle and diming. Our bill between 5 adults + 2 rounds of drinks was $115 + tip. needless to say- Zarella did a lousy job in convincing us to come back.

0
★☆☆☆☆

I went with my family a few days ago. Upon arriving we were asked to give our coats to coat check only to realize it costs $1 a piece!! C'mon!! We were seated, the waiter took our drinks and then informed us that the 2-1 special was for bar seating only- it was too late as by then the drinks had arrived. My mother is a vegetarian and there was literally NO entrees for vege's-only sides which was disappointing. I casually ordered Tabasco or any type of bottled hot sauce...the waiter brought habanero sauce whcih was awesome except he failed to tell me that it would cost $2. The food was mediocre at best. I've had better Mexican in Manhattan. All in all- we were disapponted with the service, food and nickle and diming. Our bill between 5 adults + 2 rounds of drinks was $115 + tip. needless to say- Zarella did a lousy job in convincing us to come back.

Pros: ATMOSPHERE

Cons: NICKEL & DIMING/ No Vegetarian Entree

.

A wonderful experience...fresh, delicious, and unique flavors combined with friendly, knowledgeable service made ours an excellent evening out. Pan-fried plantains with mole sauce, pork shoulder slow roasted in avocado leaves with sour oranges and habanero pepper relish. The desserts were outstanding--almond crepes with dulce de leche and amaretto ice cream, pecan-kahlua-chocolate pie. The manager came to suggest a Mexican wine that paired quite nicely with our dishes. Definitely a Turtle Bay highlight.

2
★★★★★

A wonderful experience...fresh, delicious, and unique flavors combined with friendly, knowledgeable service made ours an excellent evening out. Pan-fried plantains with mole sauce, pork shoulder slow roasted in avocado leaves with sour oranges and habanero pepper relish. The desserts were outstanding--almond crepes with dulce de leche and amaretto ice cream, pecan-kahlua-chocolate pie. The manager came to suggest a Mexican wine that paired quite nicely with our dishes. Definitely a Turtle Bay highlight.

Pros: Authentic flavors, amicable service

.

I recently ate at Zarela's and while enjoying delicious food and yummy margaritas, my wallet was stolen out of my purse. I had it when it came time to pay the check, but we decided to stay for another round of drinks. When the second check came, my wallet was gone. Needless to say, this was a very upsetting situation and the staff at Zarela's couldn't care less. The extent of their help was looking around with a flashlight for about 5 seconds, never offering to call the police, comp a drink, question a staff member, or even an apology. Basically, if you decide to go here, watch out for your stuff! Who knows if this place is regularly targeted or if it was an inside job, but either way, dont expect any sympathy or even a decent human social skill from the staff at Zarela if it happens to you!

0
★☆☆☆☆

I recently ate at Zarela's and while enjoying delicious food and yummy margaritas, my wallet was stolen out of my purse. I had it when it came time to pay the check, but we decided to stay for another round of drinks. When the second check came, my wallet was gone. Needless to say, this was a very upsetting situation and the staff at Zarela's couldn't care less. The extent of their help was looking around with a flashlight for about 5 seconds, never offering to call the police, comp a drink, question a staff member, or even an apology. Basically, if you decide to go here, watch out for your stuff! Who knows if this place is regularly targeted or if it was an inside job, but either way, dont expect any sympathy or even a decent human social skill from the staff at Zarela if it happens to you!

.

A group of 5 went to Zarelas, the margaritas were good, the service was horrible. Empty plates were left on our table, we all ordered margartias, appetizers and some entrees. But still were forced to order more because of the minimum per person; which we weren't told about til after we all had settled and ordered drinks. My entree was forgotten, and the waiter reassured me it wasn't my fault. Who says that? I however, still had to order more food which I told them to put in a to go box. The waiter didnt seem to know the menu because when he was asked if one entree could be shared between two people he said "yes" when in fact it couldn't be. It was overall the worst mexican restaurant experience I have ever had.

0
★☆☆☆☆

A group of 5 went to Zarelas, the margaritas were good, the service was horrible. Empty plates were left on our table, we all ordered margartias, appetizers and some entrees. But still were forced to order more because of the minimum per person; which we weren't told about til after we all had settled and ordered drinks. My entree was forgotten, and the waiter reassured me it wasn't my fault. Who says that? I however, still had to order more food which I told them to put in a to go box. The waiter didnt seem to know the menu because when he was asked if one entree could be shared between two people he said "yes" when in fact it couldn't be. It was overall the worst mexican restaurant experience I have ever had.

Pros: Margaritas

Cons: EVERYTHING ELSE.

.

After hearing all the hype about this place, I went there with a group of six. I ordered a pork dish, and almost immediately bit into what turned out to be a piece of a broken plate. I obviously had to wait for a new dish to arrive, but the waiter/manager failed to comp us a drink, or even my new entree, simply saying that it was enough that we didn't have to pay for the dish with the broken plate in it.

0
★☆☆☆☆

After hearing all the hype about this place, I went there with a group of six. I ordered a pork dish, and almost immediately bit into what turned out to be a piece of a broken plate. I obviously had to wait for a new dish to arrive, but the waiter/manager failed to comp us a drink, or even my new entree, simply saying that it was enough that we didn't have to pay for the dish with the broken plate in it.

.

The margaritas are made right! The most I've ever heard anyone drink is 4 or 5!

And the tasty food will keep your blood-alchohol level below .2%

Call a cab!

2
★★★★☆

The margaritas are made right! The most I've ever heard anyone drink is 4 or 5!

And the tasty food will keep your blood-alchohol level below .2%

Call a cab!

.

I've been eating at Zarela for years and have always enjoyed the food and Margaritas. I find it to be one of the best mexican joints in the city, although the attitude at the door is a big turn-off for me. Regardless, its hard to find really good mexican food here, so we keep returning and once seated, and sitting in front of a nice margarita, its all OK, just don't expect 4 star service!

1
★★★☆☆

I've been eating at Zarela for years and have always enjoyed the food and Margaritas. I find it to be one of the best mexican joints in the city, although the attitude at the door is a big turn-off for me. Regardless, its hard to find really good mexican food here, so we keep returning and once seated, and sitting in front of a nice margarita, its all OK, just don't expect 4 star service!

Pros: food, margaritas, festive

Cons: attitude, service

.

Zarela's is one of my favorite Mexican restaurants in the city. The aptmosphere is festive and the food is nothing to sniff at. Don't come here expecting to have a civilized and quiet meal. It can get rowdy and loud. But if you are looking for good food, a fun environment, and a decent value, come to Zarela's.

2
★★★★☆

Zarela's is one of my favorite Mexican restaurants in the city. The aptmosphere is festive and the food is nothing to sniff at. Don't come here expecting to have a civilized and quiet meal. It can get rowdy and loud. But if you are looking for good food, a fun environment, and a decent value, come to Zarela's.

Pros: It's a Party Everyday, Good Drinks and Food, Won't Break the Bank

Cons: Can Be Rowdy

.

My husband and I are Mexican food fanatics. Our hotel was not far from Zarela and we thought we would try it out. Their happy hour must be a good time, as the bar was packed when we arrived at 7pm. We were taken upstairs to a very crowded dining room. Our table was positioned right in between two other couples and it felt like we were all dining together. The atmosphere was loud and it was difficult to have a conversation when competing with the music and the people sitting right beside you. The chips were fine and the salsa was quite good but I have had far better drinks elsewhere, and we upgraded our tequila. The menu was lacking and did not have many options. I had a shrimp dish that was delicious but I was already disappointed by the time I received my meal. When we ordered, the waiter asked what side dish we wanted. Thinking a side dish was included, we both ordered the cheese rice, which was not Mexican at all and after receiving our bill found out the side dish was not included with our meals. The waiter had "suckered" us into ordering side dishes by making us think they were included. He did not ask if we wanted to order a side, he asked what we wanted as our side. If you want a side, this isn't a problem but if your meal is large enough, you will want to be aware of this. The service was lack luster and it was very difficult to understand our waiter, especially with the noise. I left the evening feeling riped off instead of satisfied.

1
★★★☆☆

My husband and I are Mexican food fanatics. Our hotel was not far from Zarela and we thought we would try it out. Their happy hour must be a good time, as the bar was packed when we arrived at 7pm. We were taken upstairs to a very crowded dining room. Our table was positioned right in between two other couples and it felt like we were all dining together. The atmosphere was loud and it was difficult to have a conversation when competing with the music and the people sitting right beside you. The chips were fine and the salsa was quite good but I have had far better drinks elsewhere, and we upgraded our tequila. The menu was lacking and did not have many options. I had a shrimp dish that was delicious but I was already disappointed by the time I received my meal. When we ordered, the waiter asked what side dish we wanted. Thinking a side dish was included, we both ordered the cheese rice, which was not Mexican at all and after receiving our bill found out the side dish was not included with our meals. The waiter had "suckered" us into ordering side dishes by making us think they were included. He did not ask if we wanted to order a side, he asked what we wanted as our side. If you want a side, this isn't a problem but if your meal is large enough, you will want to be aware of this. The service was lack luster and it was very difficult to understand our waiter, especially with the noise. I left the evening feeling riped off instead of satisfied.

Pros: Good entree

Cons: Service, Ambience, Price

.

I had a feeling this place was going to be great when I heard the owner was from Oaxaca, Mexico. If you know anything about Mexican cuisine, you know that Oaxcans can cook! Zarela never dissapoints! As a pure bread Mexican woman, I dare say that she does it better than my grandma (please don't tell, it would send my beloved abuela to her grave if she heard me say these things). This is REAL Mexican, not the Tex-Mex so many of us are used to (but heah that stuff is still great for a hangover). The food is slightly pricey for my student budget, but it is certainly better than a trip across the border. It is the best I have had outside of Mexico and certainly the best in NYC!

2
★★★★★

I had a feeling this place was going to be great when I heard the owner was from Oaxaca, Mexico. If you know anything about Mexican cuisine, you know that Oaxcans can cook! Zarela never dissapoints! As a pure bread Mexican woman, I dare say that she does it better than my grandma (please don't tell, it would send my beloved abuela to her grave if she heard me say these things). This is REAL Mexican, not the Tex-Mex so many of us are used to (but heah that stuff is still great for a hangover). The food is slightly pricey for my student budget, but it is certainly better than a trip across the border. It is the best I have had outside of Mexico and certainly the best in NYC!

Pros: There is no better place for a party of 2-4!

Cons: It is a bit crowded and not good for a big group.

.

All those folks who wrote about the friendliness of the staff at this place must be patronizing the alternate universe Zarela. Can't possibly be the same place I know. After a visit, I often say to my wife, never again. But yes, we recently found ourselves shoe-horned into the packed upstairs dining room. The reason -- the wildly inconsistent food is sometimes head and shoulders above most other Mexican in the city. But man, what an attitude. Google the NY Times review/article on the place of a year or so ago. Says it all.

0
★☆☆☆☆

All those folks who wrote about the friendliness of the staff at this place must be patronizing the alternate universe Zarela. Can't possibly be the same place I know. After a visit, I often say to my wife, never again. But yes, we recently found ourselves shoe-horned into the packed upstairs dining room. The reason -- the wildly inconsistent food is sometimes head and shoulders above most other Mexican in the city. But man, what an attitude. Google the NY Times review/article on the place of a year or so ago. Says it all.

Pros: Inconsistent but sometimes exceptional food

Cons: Nasty tude

.

In town as tourists for the holidays. Very friendly staff and bartender. Cheerful atmosphere & above standard food. Generous servings and well priced. Birria was great. Highly recommended. A gem. I will seek it out on my return to NYC.

2
★★★★☆

In town as tourists for the holidays. Very friendly staff and bartender. Cheerful atmosphere & above standard food. Generous servings and well priced. Birria was great. Highly recommended. A gem. I will seek it out on my return to NYC.

.

My friends and I all went to Zarela the other night and I must sing it's praises. What a gem. Zarela is one of the most charming restaurants on the upper east side. The food was , in my opinion, the standard setter for mexican cuisine in the city. The ambience was fun and romantic. The service was very friendly as well. We all left very satisfied. If you are in the neighborhood stopping by to dine at this amazing restaurant is a must! Very highly recommended.

2
★★★★★

My friends and I all went to Zarela the other night and I must sing it's praises. What a gem. Zarela is one of the most charming restaurants on the upper east side. The food was , in my opinion, the standard setter for mexican cuisine in the city. The ambience was fun and romantic. The service was very friendly as well. We all left very satisfied. If you are in the neighborhood stopping by to dine at this amazing restaurant is a must! Very highly recommended.

Pros: Ambience, Food, Service

Cons: none

.

Went for dinner with a few work friends on a Wednesday to Zarela's and wasn't impressed. I LOVE Mexican food and have better in Queens. The place is very cute and out waitress was amazing. The service and drinks were great but the food left a lot to be desired.

1
★★★☆☆

Went for dinner with a few work friends on a Wednesday to Zarela's and wasn't impressed. I LOVE Mexican food and have better in Queens. The place is very cute and out waitress was amazing. The service and drinks were great but the food left a lot to be desired.

Pros: Great waitress, Nice Atmosphere

Cons: Appetizers, Food in General

.

Once you go to Zarela, you will never want to head to another Mexican dining spot again and it may become one of your top destinations for frozen drinks too. Reasonably priced, very personable staff and casual atmosphere make this one of my favorite spots to return in NYC.

2
★★★★★

Once you go to Zarela, you will never want to head to another Mexican dining spot again and it may become one of your top destinations for frozen drinks too. Reasonably priced, very personable staff and casual atmosphere make this one of my favorite spots to return in NYC.

Pros: Service, cold drinks and fajitas (do not forget the guacamole!)

Cons: Small space...make reservations if possible.

.

This restaurant is not an ordinary chain Tex-Mex or taco joint. This fare is from Oaxaca, a southern region of Mexico, if I remember correctly. The entrees were unique and delicious. The last time I was there my husband and I chose the three course fixed price menu. The price was around $20 per person and included dessert, which was also scrumptious - and a fabulous deal! The atmosphere and staff are both charming. Try Zarela's if you want a unique and different experience at a very reasonable price.

2
★★★★★

This restaurant is not an ordinary chain Tex-Mex or taco joint. This fare is from Oaxaca, a southern region of Mexico, if I remember correctly. The entrees were unique and delicious. The last time I was there my husband and I chose the three course fixed price menu. The price was around $20 per person and included dessert, which was also scrumptious - and a fabulous deal! The atmosphere and staff are both charming. Try Zarela's if you want a unique and different experience at a very reasonable price.

Pros: cool decorations, yummy rice

Cons: none

.

I went here a couple weekends ago with two friends. I'm a vegetarian and not very familiar with Mexican food, so went out of my way to ask the waiter that what I was ordering was vegetarian. The server, however, did NOT understand English and sent a dish with chicken. The restaurant was dark and the chicken combined with other ingredients so I did not realize his mistaken until after a couple of bites. I have been a vegetarian for 14 years so obviously this was deeply disturbing. Our table was clearly very upset and he was completely incompetent and unsympathetic to our situation. I do NOT recommend this place at all. I don't understand how a server can make such an important and fundamental mistake, especially when a patron goes out of her way to confirm that she is getting a vegetarian dish. Worst customer service Ever!!

0
★☆☆☆☆

I went here a couple weekends ago with two friends. I'm a vegetarian and not very familiar with Mexican food, so went out of my way to ask the waiter that what I was ordering was vegetarian. The server, however, did NOT understand English and sent a dish with chicken. The restaurant was dark and the chicken combined with other ingredients so I did not realize his mistaken until after a couple of bites. I have been a vegetarian for 14 years so obviously this was deeply disturbing. Our table was clearly very upset and he was completely incompetent and unsympathetic to our situation. I do NOT recommend this place at all. I don't understand how a server can make such an important and fundamental mistake, especially when a patron goes out of her way to confirm that she is getting a vegetarian dish. Worst customer service Ever!!

Pros: NONE

Cons: Waiters don't understand English, Don't care about Vegetarians, Completely Incompetent Service

.

I'm a huge fan of mexican food, and any other latin cuisine due to the fact that I'm hispanic myself and come from a huge family that loves to cook. My boyfriend and I have been on a quest to find a truly authentic Mexiacn restaurant in the city. No luck yet. My two favorite spots are in Forest Hills and Sunnyside Queens. I've read about Zarela and was looking forward to going. Margaritas, service, and chips and salsa were the only good things. Highly dispointing menu selction ,small portions , and you had to pay additonal for your sides which btw, were nothing exciting and far from mexican. We walked out of there so disappointed and will never go back. Better places in the city to choose from.

1
★★★☆☆

I'm a huge fan of mexican food, and any other latin cuisine due to the fact that I'm hispanic myself and come from a huge family that loves to cook. My boyfriend and I have been on a quest to find a truly authentic Mexiacn restaurant in the city. No luck yet. My two favorite spots are in Forest Hills and Sunnyside Queens. I've read about Zarela and was looking forward to going. Margaritas, service, and chips and salsa were the only good things. Highly dispointing menu selction ,small portions , and you had to pay additonal for your sides which btw, were nothing exciting and far from mexican. We walked out of there so disappointed and will never go back. Better places in the city to choose from.

Pros: Margaritas, service

Cons: menu selction, portions, expensive

.

Zalera and Vong are probably my top favorite restaurants in NY. I have been repeatedly going to Zarela for the past 5 years simply because everyone I have taken loves this place, including Sushi snobs from Tokyo and a French friend who owns a bistro in Paris. The menu at Zarela pleasantly surprises the average New Yorker's conception of Mexican cuisine. I usually seek recommendations from waiters who are very friendly and professional. Moderate pricing and killer margarita makes this place perfect especially for parties :-)

2
★★★★★

Zalera and Vong are probably my top favorite restaurants in NY. I have been repeatedly going to Zarela for the past 5 years simply because everyone I have taken loves this place, including Sushi snobs from Tokyo and a French friend who owns a bistro in Paris. The menu at Zarela pleasantly surprises the average New Yorker's conception of Mexican cuisine. I usually seek recommendations from waiters who are very friendly and professional. Moderate pricing and killer margarita makes this place perfect especially for parties :-)

.

I am an avid restaurant goer and Zarela has been one of my favorites for years. After a years absense I went back last week with a group of friends to find that nothing much had changed there. The cochinita pibil (pork) and arroz con crema were amazing. I tried a little of everyone's dish and found that everything was delightful, especially the inventive specials. We had an assortment of desserts which were orgasmic. The servers were excellent. They were quick, attentive and accomadating even though the place was full. They were friendly and even charismatic. We were treated very well. Zarela herself strides through the dining room stopping at every table to converse with customers. Nowhere else in NYC can you find such a welcoming, unpretensious restaurant with such wonderful, authentic food. And don't forget to have one of their famous margharitas!

2
★★★★★

I am an avid restaurant goer and Zarela has been one of my favorites for years. After a years absense I went back last week with a group of friends to find that nothing much had changed there. The cochinita pibil (pork) and arroz con crema were amazing. I tried a little of everyone's dish and found that everything was delightful, especially the inventive specials. We had an assortment of desserts which were orgasmic. The servers were excellent. They were quick, attentive and accomadating even though the place was full. They were friendly and even charismatic. We were treated very well. Zarela herself strides through the dining room stopping at every table to converse with customers. Nowhere else in NYC can you find such a welcoming, unpretensious restaurant with such wonderful, authentic food. And don't forget to have one of their famous margharitas!

Pros: Excellent service, Amazing food/dessert, margharitas

.

I love this place! Mexico, I have recently learned, has one of the most complicated and surprisingly varied cuisines in the world. Zarela is certainly a great place to sample extraordinary and surprising dishes like red snapper hash spiced with clove, an amazing pork shoulder dish and (a sometimes special) chile rellenos filled with beef picadillo topped with a nutty cream sauce and fresh pomegranate seeds--my favorite. For those more conventional fans, Zarela has juicy steak fajitas and the best enchiladas with Oaxacan mole ever! Unlike some of its pricier competitors, Zarela offers large portions and encourages family-style sharing. I recently recommended that we go there for our office holiday party and it was a big hit. An added plus are their margaritas--hands down the best in the city. My favorite is the frozen passion fruit-made with fresh lime juice!

2
★★★★★

I love this place! Mexico, I have recently learned, has one of the most complicated and surprisingly varied cuisines in the world. Zarela is certainly a great place to sample extraordinary and surprising dishes like red snapper hash spiced with clove, an amazing pork shoulder dish and (a sometimes special) chile rellenos filled with beef picadillo topped with a nutty cream sauce and fresh pomegranate seeds--my favorite. For those more conventional fans, Zarela has juicy steak fajitas and the best enchiladas with Oaxacan mole ever! Unlike some of its pricier competitors, Zarela offers large portions and encourages family-style sharing. I recently recommended that we go there for our office holiday party and it was a big hit. An added plus are their margaritas--hands down the best in the city. My favorite is the frozen passion fruit-made with fresh lime juice!

Pros: amazing margaritas, knowlegeable staff, varied menu

.

A friend recommended Zarela's for a get together. Like any smart New Yorkers those of us who had not yet been hit City Search. There were some worries. The reviews are, after all, decidedly hit or miss. Our evening went well. While there was the occasional, "For the love of God, where is our waiter?" we didn't complain because he was playful and friendly.
I have to agree that the margarita's do cause quite a hangover. It's worth it, though. I was thrilled to find they even had mango flavored, a particular favorite of mine.
We weren't given a hard time about the minimum so I suspect that this rule is only seriously enforced on certain nights of the week.

2
★★★★☆

A friend recommended Zarela's for a get together. Like any smart New Yorkers those of us who had not yet been hit City Search. There were some worries. The reviews are, after all, decidedly hit or miss. Our evening went well. While there was the occasional, "For the love of God, where is our waiter?" we didn't complain because he was playful and friendly.
I have to agree that the margarita's do cause quite a hangover. It's worth it, though. I was thrilled to find they even had mango flavored, a particular favorite of mine.
We weren't given a hard time about the minimum so I suspect that this rule is only seriously enforced on certain nights of the week.

.

It's in my top 5 favorite restaurants, and I am know my Mexican food.
I spent a mint at Rosa Mexicano and I genuinely believe Zarela's is BETTER. GO!

2
★★★★★

It's in my top 5 favorite restaurants, and I am know my Mexican food.
I spent a mint at Rosa Mexicano and I genuinely believe Zarela's is BETTER. GO!

.

I waited tables for years, so I know good service, and the service is excellent at Zarela's. The waitstaff is not only attractive, but attentive-despite the business of it all! The Margaritas are fantastic, and the food is great. You won't find any Tex-Mex on the menu, because at Zarela you will find TRADITIONAL Oaxacan Mexican cuisine.

2
★★★★★

I waited tables for years, so I know good service, and the service is excellent at Zarela's. The waitstaff is not only attractive, but attentive-despite the business of it all! The Margaritas are fantastic, and the food is great. You won't find any Tex-Mex on the menu, because at Zarela you will find TRADITIONAL Oaxacan Mexican cuisine.

Pros: reasonable prices, friendly waitstaff, traditional

.

Zarela Martinez introduced (and I use that term advisedly) authentic regional Mexican cuisines to the New York restaurant scene more than 15 years ago and, although imitated (but, unfortunately, not often enough), she has never been duplicated. If she can't get the true ingredients, the dish goes off the menu. Among the appetizers, the snapper hash is probably my favorite as is the Pollo Escabeche among the mains, but there are so many wonderful dishes that it would be fatuous to begin naming them. I was astounded that "goodtipper" complained about the service; I've always found it delightful. The Margaritas are other worldly. Zarela is a fun, buzzing culinary delight.

2
★★★★★

Zarela Martinez introduced (and I use that term advisedly) authentic regional Mexican cuisines to the New York restaurant scene more than 15 years ago and, although imitated (but, unfortunately, not often enough), she has never been duplicated. If she can't get the true ingredients, the dish goes off the menu. Among the appetizers, the snapper hash is probably my favorite as is the Pollo Escabeche among the mains, but there are so many wonderful dishes that it would be fatuous to begin naming them. I was astounded that "goodtipper" complained about the service; I've always found it delightful. The Margaritas are other worldly. Zarela is a fun, buzzing culinary delight.

Pros: The Dishes, The Drinks, The Buzz

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The waitress was unbelievably rude to my friend and myself when she realized that we were ordering appetizers as our entrees. She even had the nerve to make a nasty comment in my ear when she grabbed our menus from us. Whats more is that manager was anything but apologetic for the disturbing antics of his waitress and seemed to like he couldn't care less if we ever returned. The irony is that had we not lost our appetites as result of the disgusting service we received, we would have ordered--and SPENT--more since we went there in the mood to run up a sizeable bar tab! All they care about is turning over tables.

0
★☆☆☆☆

The waitress was unbelievably rude to my friend and myself when she realized that we were ordering appetizers as our entrees. She even had the nerve to make a nasty comment in my ear when she grabbed our menus from us. Whats more is that manager was anything but apologetic for the disturbing antics of his waitress and seemed to like he couldn't care less if we ever returned. The irony is that had we not lost our appetites as result of the disgusting service we received, we would have ordered--and SPENT--more since we went there in the mood to run up a sizeable bar tab! All they care about is turning over tables.

Cons: , Rude, Rude

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Zarela has been my favourite for 10-12 years but it just doesn't cut it anymore. It's not I that have changed, it's Zarela that hasn't developed. The food is mediocre and the service is annoyingly bad. Last night the head waitress showed some irritation when we did not know what to eat. "Suggest something i sad". "But I thought you were ready" she responded negatively. "We are as ready we'll ever get - so suggest something" I said. She continued then in a moaning irritated way "But I don't know what you like - spicy or what". "Listen", I said "I guess nothing on the menu is dangerous, poiseneous or untasty - so suggest something". She did. But one shouldn't have to be succumbed to such treatment. And the chips are not that good either.

1
★★★☆☆

Zarela has been my favourite for 10-12 years but it just doesn't cut it anymore. It's not I that have changed, it's Zarela that hasn't developed. The food is mediocre and the service is annoyingly bad. Last night the head waitress showed some irritation when we did not know what to eat. "Suggest something i sad". "But I thought you were ready" she responded negatively. "We are as ready we'll ever get - so suggest something" I said. She continued then in a moaning irritated way "But I don't know what you like - spicy or what". "Listen", I said "I guess nothing on the menu is dangerous, poiseneous or untasty - so suggest something". She did. But one shouldn't have to be succumbed to such treatment. And the chips are not that good either.

Pros: OK Margeruitas, Nice Maitre D

Cons: , So so Chips, Bad bad waiters

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On our last visit to NY we ventured into our dining experience at Zarela's. the mexican culture surrounded us. Every dish was filled with fragrant ingredients. The strawberry margarita stayed cold, slushy through the whole meal. The food servers were excellent, however, lacked the mexican culture. Their pronounciation of various dishes needed some improvement. Overall and excellent meal and we will dining there again next month.

2
★★★★★

On our last visit to NY we ventured into our dining experience at Zarela's. the mexican culture surrounded us. Every dish was filled with fragrant ingredients. The strawberry margarita stayed cold, slushy through the whole meal. The food servers were excellent, however, lacked the mexican culture. Their pronounciation of various dishes needed some improvement. Overall and excellent meal and we will dining there again next month.

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If you're looking for Taco Bell kind of Mexican, this is not the place to go. They don't have much in the way of your standard burritos and chimichangas, but they do have great fish, meat, fresh salsa and guac. The trout (recommended by our super friendly waiter) was great even though it's not my usual favorite fish, and the duck was amazing. We had immediate seating for our party of 6 even though we were missing 1 for 20 min and plenty of refills of the chips with fresh salsa. Go for the margaritas over the sangria and you'll have a great time!

2
★★★★☆

If you're looking for Taco Bell kind of Mexican, this is not the place to go. They don't have much in the way of your standard burritos and chimichangas, but they do have great fish, meat, fresh salsa and guac. The trout (recommended by our super friendly waiter) was great even though it's not my usual favorite fish, and the duck was amazing. We had immediate seating for our party of 6 even though we were missing 1 for 20 min and plenty of refills of the chips with fresh salsa. Go for the margaritas over the sangria and you'll have a great time!

Pros: Friendly Staff, Fresh food, Live musicians

Cons: It gets really loud, Hefty bill

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The margaritas at Zarela will make your night more fun than you will even remember--don't ruin that buzz with their mediocre Mex. The only thing almost edible is the steak appetizer but its not enough food to satisfy a Mexican craving. The red snapper hash is a gloppy mess that is strong on the salt and not much else and the entree options leave much to be desired. You could look at this menu for days and still not find something that even sounds appetizing. Do yourself a favor and start your night there with a few drinks--but leave when its time for dinner.

1
★★★☆☆

The margaritas at Zarela will make your night more fun than you will even remember--don't ruin that buzz with their mediocre Mex. The only thing almost edible is the steak appetizer but its not enough food to satisfy a Mexican craving. The red snapper hash is a gloppy mess that is strong on the salt and not much else and the entree options leave much to be desired. You could look at this menu for days and still not find something that even sounds appetizing. Do yourself a favor and start your night there with a few drinks--but leave when its time for dinner.

Pros: Margaritas, Cocktails, Location

Cons: Dinner

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The food is at Zarela is spectacular. incredible snapper hash appetizer. everything is excellent from the salsa to the dessert. i go there anytime i get the chance. all of the reviews about the cramped space seem to be from bar patrons and not diners. there is an upstairs that is not cramped and is decorated in a very colorful, festive (and authentic) way.

2
★★★★★

The food is at Zarela is spectacular. incredible snapper hash appetizer. everything is excellent from the salsa to the dessert. i go there anytime i get the chance. all of the reviews about the cramped space seem to be from bar patrons and not diners. there is an upstairs that is not cramped and is decorated in a very colorful, festive (and authentic) way.

Pros: yummy food

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I can't believe how bad the service was at this place, it was truly unbelievable. BOTH bartenders were basically ignoring my friends and I when the place was not crowded at all. I am not asking for a chatty barman just some decent service, I get much better service at Rosa Mexicano and Maya, where the Margaritas are actually FABULOUS! I am never going back and am going to tell all my friends never to go back as well. I am from Mexico and it's an embarrasment that this place claims to be an "aunthentic" Mexican rest.

0
★☆☆☆☆

I can't believe how bad the service was at this place, it was truly unbelievable. BOTH bartenders were basically ignoring my friends and I when the place was not crowded at all. I am not asking for a chatty barman just some decent service, I get much better service at Rosa Mexicano and Maya, where the Margaritas are actually FABULOUS! I am never going back and am going to tell all my friends never to go back as well. I am from Mexico and it's an embarrasment that this place claims to be an "aunthentic" Mexican rest.

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If you like strong drinks this is the place to go. The $8.50 margaritas have more than twice the alcohol of margaritas somewhere else and still tastes great. It's a very good first drink place. Can't say much about the lack of space though. It seems silly to have the $15 food minimum because everyone is crowded at the front of the restaurant and all the tables are empty.

2
★★★★☆

If you like strong drinks this is the place to go. The $8.50 margaritas have more than twice the alcohol of margaritas somewhere else and still tastes great. It's a very good first drink place. Can't say much about the lack of space though. It seems silly to have the $15 food minimum because everyone is crowded at the front of the restaurant and all the tables are empty.

Pros: margaritas, festive

Cons: cramped, food minimum

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I visited Zarela's with co-workers. We wanted to sit down and enjoy some appetizers, but Zarela's wouldn't let us sit down at a table unless we ordered DINNER which had to be a minimum $15/person. This is ridiculous! What kind of place mandates to customers that they HAVE to order dinner? Why do you have appetizers if we can't order them and sit down at the same time?
We ended up having to stand at the bar with appetizers all over the place and it was very inconvenient. Our bill was actually more expensive with appetizers and drinks than it would have been with just dinner. Whatever happened to relaxing with some friends?
I would never go back to this place. The margaritas were good, but the customer service was terrible. They lost 8 customers including all of their friends, just because we couldn't sit down and enjoy appetizers!

0
★☆☆☆☆

I visited Zarela's with co-workers. We wanted to sit down and enjoy some appetizers, but Zarela's wouldn't let us sit down at a table unless we ordered DINNER which had to be a minimum $15/person. This is ridiculous! What kind of place mandates to customers that they HAVE to order dinner? Why do you have appetizers if we can't order them and sit down at the same time?
We ended up having to stand at the bar with appetizers all over the place and it was very inconvenient. Our bill was actually more expensive with appetizers and drinks than it would have been with just dinner. Whatever happened to relaxing with some friends?
I would never go back to this place. The margaritas were good, but the customer service was terrible. They lost 8 customers including all of their friends, just because we couldn't sit down and enjoy appetizers!

Pros: Good appetizers, Good Margaritas

Cons: Customer Service, Space at the bar, Stingy Workers

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decent food and great margaritas, which give you a hangover for days...though the service was ok, our reception was very poor. the host (zarela, i assume) was rude, especially after she reminded us for the 3rd time we had to consume $15 dollars worth of food in order to get a table...eventhough the place was empty.

1
★★☆☆☆

decent food and great margaritas, which give you a hangover for days...though the service was ok, our reception was very poor. the host (zarela, i assume) was rude, especially after she reminded us for the 3rd time we had to consume $15 dollars worth of food in order to get a table...eventhough the place was empty.

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My girlfriend and I were really disappointed with the food, price and service. There is absolutely no reason to wait on line for this dump. We felt like fools walking out because we had waited about 20 minutes to be seated. The service was slow and I got the impression that the waiters wanted us out of there as soon as possible. They are slow to serve you the food, but they are damn fast to give you the check!

0
★☆☆☆☆

My girlfriend and I were really disappointed with the food, price and service. There is absolutely no reason to wait on line for this dump. We felt like fools walking out because we had waited about 20 minutes to be seated. The service was slow and I got the impression that the waiters wanted us out of there as soon as possible. They are slow to serve you the food, but they are damn fast to give you the check!

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Took a LONG time to get a table (at 8:30 on a Wednesday!) but the phenomenal margaritas made the time fly. The food's ok, but the surprisingly strong margaritas made it much better. Don't go if you're in a rush, and don't have more than two margaritas, but definitely check this place out some time.

2
★★★★☆

Took a LONG time to get a table (at 8:30 on a Wednesday!) but the phenomenal margaritas made the time fly. The food's ok, but the surprisingly strong margaritas made it much better. Don't go if you're in a rush, and don't have more than two margaritas, but definitely check this place out some time.

Pros: margaritas, steak fajitas, atmosphere

Cons: long wait, crowded bar, a bit pricey

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I came here for dinner last night with a few friends and was thoroughly disguisted with the quality of the service over there and also was not impressed with the food. This place is definitely over rated ! Not only were the waitors rude to us, but they also had the audacity to tell us that they were doing us a favor by giving us a table. I would definitely not recommend this place to anybody.

1
★★☆☆☆

I came here for dinner last night with a few friends and was thoroughly disguisted with the quality of the service over there and also was not impressed with the food. This place is definitely over rated ! Not only were the waitors rude to us, but they also had the audacity to tell us that they were doing us a favor by giving us a table. I would definitely not recommend this place to anybody.

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This was a disaster from the moment we walked in!! We had to wait 10 minutes just to order drinks. Our waiter would disappear for long stretches of time and the table wasn't cleared after each course; we sat there staring at 1/2 empty plates. The space was EXTREMELY limited!! Conversation was out of the question, you had to scream to be heard. The food was below average, go there for drinks ONLY, definitely NOT to eat. If you want great Mexican food, great service, and a good atmosphere, GO TO MAYA., we'll never stray again!

0
★☆☆☆☆

This was a disaster from the moment we walked in!! We had to wait 10 minutes just to order drinks. Our waiter would disappear for long stretches of time and the table wasn't cleared after each course; we sat there staring at 1/2 empty plates. The space was EXTREMELY limited!! Conversation was out of the question, you had to scream to be heard. The food was below average, go there for drinks ONLY, definitely NOT to eat. If you want great Mexican food, great service, and a good atmosphere, GO TO MAYA., we'll never stray again!

Pros: NONE

Cons: HORRENDOUS SERVICE, TIGHT SPACE, NOISY

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Closest to "real" Mexican of the various "upscale" spots now in NYC. While the menu hasn't changed much in years, there is a reason for that - the dishes are consistently good. Great queso fundido, calamari, tamales, lamb and pork dishes. The mango margaritas are ridiculous and the place is generally kid friendly (not that the two necessarily go together).

2
★★★★☆

Closest to "real" Mexican of the various "upscale" spots now in NYC. While the menu hasn't changed much in years, there is a reason for that - the dishes are consistently good. Great queso fundido, calamari, tamales, lamb and pork dishes. The mango margaritas are ridiculous and the place is generally kid friendly (not that the two necessarily go together).

Pros: food

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This is a great place to go on Sunday nights with a group of friends - best i've found in the city for AUTHENTIC mexican food - Margharittas are nice and strong!

2
★★★★★

This is a great place to go on Sunday nights with a group of friends - best i've found in the city for AUTHENTIC mexican food - Margharittas are nice and strong!

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Been here many times and have always had a good meal. It gets noisy and crowded downstairs so if you want a quiet meal, make sure you get a table upstairs. Quality, authentic food.

2
★★★★☆

Been here many times and have always had a good meal. It gets noisy and crowded downstairs so if you want a quiet meal, make sure you get a table upstairs. Quality, authentic food.

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Authentic mexican fare, killer margaritas, and a festive atmosphere make this a place to return to over and over. Zarela Martinez makes you feel like she is entertaining you in her own home. Chilaquiles are a must to start with. Ditto the Arroz con Crema as a side. And I have yet to find an entree I didn't like. Favorites include the duck, shrimp with chipotle, pork in banana leaf, chicken wiht habanero and fajitas.

2
★★★★☆

Authentic mexican fare, killer margaritas, and a festive atmosphere make this a place to return to over and over. Zarela Martinez makes you feel like she is entertaining you in her own home. Chilaquiles are a must to start with. Ditto the Arroz con Crema as a side. And I have yet to find an entree I didn't like. Favorites include the duck, shrimp with chipotle, pork in banana leaf, chicken wiht habanero and fajitas.

Pros: Authentic, Festive

Cons: Crowded Bar

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My husband and I love Zarela's and have never been disappointed! We've celebrated many wonderful events here and have brought many friends! We hope the restaurant continues to make the wonderful food it has in the past.

2
★★★★☆

My husband and I love Zarela's and have never been disappointed! We've celebrated many wonderful events here and have brought many friends! We hope the restaurant continues to make the wonderful food it has in the past.

Pros: excellent food, good music

Cons: small restaurant

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I went to this restaraunt because the owner is from my home town of El Paso TX. I didnt get anything I expected the food was bad and she was so rude that I have never forgotten it. It is a terrible representation of Mexican cuisine and service.

0
★☆☆☆☆

I went to this restaraunt because the owner is from my home town of El Paso TX. I didnt get anything I expected the food was bad and she was so rude that I have never forgotten it. It is a terrible representation of Mexican cuisine and service.

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This place was way too crowded. Me and my friends had to yell at each other to talk. They hated me after i went here, so ill make it up by taking them to serendipity 3.

1
★★☆☆☆

This place was way too crowded. Me and my friends had to yell at each other to talk. They hated me after i went here, so ill make it up by taking them to serendipity 3.

Pros: good food

Cons: noisy, expensive, crowded

Editorial from

The Scene
Zarela is definitely a good-time place, in no small part because of its eponymous and amicable owner. That the nightly fiesta revolves around some of the best Mexican food in the city makes a visit even more gratifying.…

 

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