Samalitas

★★★★☆
Old-fashion fiesta joint serves traditional Mexican dishes prepared from past generation family recipes.
  • 1681 1st Ave

    New York, NY 10128

    Map & Directions
  • 212-289-7322

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Went for brunch at Samalitas on the Upper East Side and was really looking forward to it, as I had been there awhile back when it had first opened and had a great experience. So I knew it would be great- or so I thought. We got there and sat at a table right next to the side walk, there were 2 musicians playing and the weather was great. Very nice ambiance!

We ordered and I chose the Beverly Hills Salad. It had avocado, greens, beets, cheese and turkey with other healthy yummy ingredients. My date got the steak and eggs and was excited b/c it was so well priced. I ordered a tea and it came in a small tea cup with no refills. They used to give you a small tea pot that poured at least 2 1/2 cups of tea. If you're a tea drinker like me, you know that one small cup is not enough!

The food took forever to come and the server was nowhere to be found. When the food came I was SO shocked and disappointed. All the ingredients listed were in the salad, but it was processed, cubed turkey and looked gross! And totally killed the idea of having fresh, healthy and tasty salad- California style it was not. The steak and eggs were disappointing as well- although it tasted good the portion was ridiculously small! The steak was so small, like the size of small, skinny candy bar. And the eggs were over easy and basically just the yolks!

The waiter did not check on us once and we had to look for him several times and signal for him to finally come over and give the check. Although he was very friendly, it was annoying that he wasn't more attentive.

It was really disappointing, especially b/c i had been there a year or two earlier and their portions were much bigger and the server was pleasant and attentive.

1
★★☆☆☆

Went for brunch at Samalitas on the Upper East Side and was really looking forward to it, as I had been there awhile back when it had first opened and had a great experience. So I knew it would be great- or so I thought. We got there and sat at a table right next to the side walk, there were 2 musicians playing and the weather was great. Very nice ambiance!

We ordered and I chose the Beverly Hills Salad. It had avocado, greens, beets, cheese and turkey with other healthy yummy ingredients. My date got the steak and eggs and was excited b/c it was so well priced. I ordered a tea and it came in a small tea cup with no refills. They used to give you a small tea pot that poured at least 2 1/2 cups of tea. If you're a tea drinker like me, you know that one small cup is not enough!

The food took forever to come and the server was nowhere to be found. When the food came I was SO shocked and disappointed. All the ingredients listed were in the salad, but it was processed, cubed turkey and looked gross! And totally killed the idea of having fresh, healthy and tasty salad- California style it was not. The steak and eggs were disappointing as well- although it tasted good the portion was ridiculously small! The steak was so small, like the size of small, skinny candy bar. And the eggs were over easy and basically just the yolks!

The waiter did not check on us once and we had to look for him several times and signal for him to finally come over and give the check. Although he was very friendly, it was annoying that he wasn't more attentive.

It was really disappointing, especially b/c i had been there a year or two earlier and their portions were much bigger and the server was pleasant and attentive.

Pros: nice outside seating, live music

Cons: small portions, processed food, inattentive staff

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As a fellow restaurant owner, i tend to be overly critical when I go out for dinner..I have walked by Samalita's several times and even though it looks very cute from the outside - it usually isnt crowded- which I had used as an excuse not to try the place

What a mistake - the place is delightful and very reasonably priced. The short ribs were fantastic, the molten lava cake was the best I have ever had, and we had the pleasure of having Sylvia as our server - who made the whole dining experience phenomenal

I have seen the mixed reviews on the board and those looking for a staight Mexican alternative have a right to be critical. The chef is from Le Cirque and has put his own mark on the various cremes and salsas - that are not traditional Mexican but rather display his culinary background. The menu is a blend of northern (think steak, seafood, short ribs) and southern (taco, burritto, enchilada but all with a slight twist) California mixed in with some French - so if you can approach this with an open mind I dont think you will be disappointed

This is a great neighborhood place, they have outdoor seating in the Spring and a nice brunch and a very good Margarita Happy Hour. A wonderful place for a date or a small party

I truly hope for their success - the Upper East Side is in dire need for a place like this versus just another Italian restaurant which we have plenty of

2
★★★★☆

As a fellow restaurant owner, i tend to be overly critical when I go out for dinner..I have walked by Samalita's several times and even though it looks very cute from the outside - it usually isnt crowded- which I had used as an excuse not to try the place

What a mistake - the place is delightful and very reasonably priced. The short ribs were fantastic, the molten lava cake was the best I have ever had, and we had the pleasure of having Sylvia as our server - who made the whole dining experience phenomenal

I have seen the mixed reviews on the board and those looking for a staight Mexican alternative have a right to be critical. The chef is from Le Cirque and has put his own mark on the various cremes and salsas - that are not traditional Mexican but rather display his culinary background. The menu is a blend of northern (think steak, seafood, short ribs) and southern (taco, burritto, enchilada but all with a slight twist) California mixed in with some French - so if you can approach this with an open mind I dont think you will be disappointed

This is a great neighborhood place, they have outdoor seating in the Spring and a nice brunch and a very good Margarita Happy Hour. A wonderful place for a date or a small party

I truly hope for their success - the Upper East Side is in dire need for a place like this versus just another Italian restaurant which we have plenty of

Pros: service, prices, atmosphere

Cons: not authentic Mexican (if you are looking for traditional)

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I am FROM California and LOVE mexican food, and this place is NOT Cal-Mex. There was nothing special about it. The enchiladas hardly have ANY sauce. Portions are small. The "california" tostada, had 2 slivers of avocado in it and so little sour cream that they may as well have not put any in it. The food was bland and grossly overpriced for what it was. The service was not good either. We had to ask for our drinks multiple times. Then they brought out one of our drinks in a cracked glass and tried to charge us for it after replacing it.

This place was a huge disappointment. If you want authentic mexican food, this is not it.

0
★☆☆☆☆

I am FROM California and LOVE mexican food, and this place is NOT Cal-Mex. There was nothing special about it. The enchiladas hardly have ANY sauce. Portions are small. The "california" tostada, had 2 slivers of avocado in it and so little sour cream that they may as well have not put any in it. The food was bland and grossly overpriced for what it was. The service was not good either. We had to ask for our drinks multiple times. Then they brought out one of our drinks in a cracked glass and tried to charge us for it after replacing it.

This place was a huge disappointment. If you want authentic mexican food, this is not it.

Pros: decor

Cons: see below

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Hands down the best Chicken Burrito in the city. If you are into Mexican you will love Samalita's. This place is great, the food is fresh and healthy.

2
★★★★★

Hands down the best Chicken Burrito in the city. If you are into Mexican you will love Samalita's. This place is great, the food is fresh and healthy.

Pros: Food, Service, Ambience is all great

Cons: no complaints

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Samalita's is a really nice family restaurant. We dine ther at least once a week and just think the world of the staff and the food. Glad to have a place like it in the neighborhood

2
★★★★★

Samalita's is a really nice family restaurant. We dine ther at least once a week and just think the world of the staff and the food. Glad to have a place like it in the neighborhood

Pros: Great Dinner & Brunch

Cons: NONE

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The location is fantastic and the decor is festive, so I really wanted to love this place but the food is average. I am from California and have grown up eating authentic Mexican, and this wasn't it. The chips and guac was sub-par, margaritas ok, and the tacos I had were pretty flavor-less. If I hadn't had such great Mexican food before, I would've liked it. At least it was cheap!

1
★★★☆☆

The location is fantastic and the decor is festive, so I really wanted to love this place but the food is average. I am from California and have grown up eating authentic Mexican, and this wasn't it. The chips and guac was sub-par, margaritas ok, and the tacos I had were pretty flavor-less. If I hadn't had such great Mexican food before, I would've liked it. At least it was cheap!

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Our total bill for two with soup and no wine was $70. This say's something to me--overpriced. The gazpacho special was average sized and pretty good but cost $9. ($5-7 more like it) Freebie starters were a thin sliced sort of bread, carrot and celery sticks and olive oil for dipping. Honey glazed duck at $17 is fair if well prepared--NOT. Drumstick skin was very crispy but so was meat there; thigh skin was soft and meat there was dried out too. The trick is to keep the meat moist and tender while crisping all of the skin. Berry sauce and wild rice were good but the duck was so-so at best. Special of night--rack of lamb (3 chops) was ordered rare and was cooked rare. However, this does not mean the outside can't be charred and well-grilled. No grill flavor, no char...in fact, very little flavor, very disappointing, very overpriced...for $24. We were seated near the kitchen and there was no odor/smell/aroma of grilling; either excellent ventilation system or minimal grilling. The garlic julienned vegetables were the best item of the meal. Decaf was $2.50 each. Service was OK--water served as needed; waitress was hard to find, but manager and owner (?) were nearby to help. Decor nice, atmosphere--younger, hip crowd., tho kids could be seen. The owner/manager are trying but high pricing and mediocre food will likely cause it to suffer the fate that befell the pizzeria/restaurant that was there before it..

1
★★☆☆☆

Our total bill for two with soup and no wine was $70. This say's something to me--overpriced. The gazpacho special was average sized and pretty good but cost $9. ($5-7 more like it) Freebie starters were a thin sliced sort of bread, carrot and celery sticks and olive oil for dipping. Honey glazed duck at $17 is fair if well prepared--NOT. Drumstick skin was very crispy but so was meat there; thigh skin was soft and meat there was dried out too. The trick is to keep the meat moist and tender while crisping all of the skin. Berry sauce and wild rice were good but the duck was so-so at best. Special of night--rack of lamb (3 chops) was ordered rare and was cooked rare. However, this does not mean the outside can't be charred and well-grilled. No grill flavor, no char...in fact, very little flavor, very disappointing, very overpriced...for $24. We were seated near the kitchen and there was no odor/smell/aroma of grilling; either excellent ventilation system or minimal grilling. The garlic julienned vegetables were the best item of the meal. Decaf was $2.50 each. Service was OK--water served as needed; waitress was hard to find, but manager and owner (?) were nearby to help. Decor nice, atmosphere--younger, hip crowd., tho kids could be seen. The owner/manager are trying but high pricing and mediocre food will likely cause it to suffer the fate that befell the pizzeria/restaurant that was there before it..

Pros: manager/owner's pitching in

Cons: inattentive waitress, overpriced, non-Mexican food subpar

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I had a really nice dinning experience last night. My wife and i absolutely love this place. The owners were there and were a pleasure to meet. The food is outstanding and the service is great. I had the Asian steak salad which was well prepared and more then i could eat. My wife had tortelonni which is to die for. I have to say Sam make one hell of a margarita. I wish them lots of luck and i am glad to finally have a place like this in the neighborhood. We will be back .

2
★★★★★

I had a really nice dinning experience last night. My wife and i absolutely love this place. The owners were there and were a pleasure to meet. The food is outstanding and the service is great. I had the Asian steak salad which was well prepared and more then i could eat. My wife had tortelonni which is to die for. I have to say Sam make one hell of a margarita. I wish them lots of luck and i am glad to finally have a place like this in the neighborhood. We will be back .

Pros: The food is great and the margaritas are wonderful

Cons: none

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went to samaliats for brunch with a group of friends and was pleasently surprised with the place and it's delicious food. I was very impressed with the portions, for nine dollars I got the skirt steak with eggs and chipolte sauce. also had the bloody mary that was actualy the best I had in a long time. My friend got french toast with berries, which was very tasty as well. The service was exceptional. Nothing in this neighborhood compares to this place. Highly recomend it.

2
★★★★☆

went to samaliats for brunch with a group of friends and was pleasently surprised with the place and it's delicious food. I was very impressed with the portions, for nine dollars I got the skirt steak with eggs and chipolte sauce. also had the bloody mary that was actualy the best I had in a long time. My friend got french toast with berries, which was very tasty as well. The service was exceptional. Nothing in this neighborhood compares to this place. Highly recomend it.

Pros: great food, nice portions

Cons: it looks empty from out side, i guess its new, but it is worth trying

.

The service was unreasonably slow especially considering the place was empty. I am used to having a complimentary basket of chips and salsa when I go to a Mexcian themed restaurant but here they charge 8.50 for a plate of ordinary chips and a tiny tiny bowl of ordinary pico de gallo. My fiance ordered the veggie fajitas which were fine except the tortillas as well as the accompanying condiments/toppings were tiny and did not include guac. Maybe they like this stuff in California . To be fair I had the baked burrito and it was really good. We're sticking with our standby Mexican joint for next time.

1
★★★☆☆

The service was unreasonably slow especially considering the place was empty. I am used to having a complimentary basket of chips and salsa when I go to a Mexcian themed restaurant but here they charge 8.50 for a plate of ordinary chips and a tiny tiny bowl of ordinary pico de gallo. My fiance ordered the veggie fajitas which were fine except the tortillas as well as the accompanying condiments/toppings were tiny and did not include guac. Maybe they like this stuff in California . To be fair I had the baked burrito and it was really good. We're sticking with our standby Mexican joint for next time.

Pros: Free refill on diet coke

Cons: Value, Service

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Pros: They have great food and a VERY reasonable wine list (if you buy by the bottle). Good selection of food and I always leave satified with my meal. Everyone should be able to find something they like. From the new menu the Baked Mole Chicken Burrito is great. From the old menu the Chicken Pizza with Chilis was SOOO GOOD - PLEASE BRING IT BACK!!! Also, very nice atmosphere. They have good free bread and veggies.

Cons: They just changed their menu and while some changes are good and reasonable, they raised the prices on everything and some if it is way off. I'm not spending $7 for soup or $10 for salsa or $13 for guac - we used to order the guac but it is just too much $$ for what you get now. It annoys me when restaurants charge for salsa. Cilantro down the street gives out it out for free and so should anyone that offers it unless it is REALLY gourmet and even then it should only cost about $3.

Recommendations: Lower prices on appetizers/would be nice to have some kind of drink special or entree special one night of the week/bring back the chicken pizza with chilis!

Overall I highly recommend this resturant!!

2
★★★★★

Pros: They have great food and a VERY reasonable wine list (if you buy by the bottle). Good selection of food and I always leave satified with my meal. Everyone should be able to find something they like. From the new menu the Baked Mole Chicken Burrito is great. From the old menu the Chicken Pizza with Chilis was SOOO GOOD - PLEASE BRING IT BACK!!! Also, very nice atmosphere. They have good free bread and veggies.

Cons: They just changed their menu and while some changes are good and reasonable, they raised the prices on everything and some if it is way off. I'm not spending $7 for soup or $10 for salsa or $13 for guac - we used to order the guac but it is just too much $$ for what you get now. It annoys me when restaurants charge for salsa. Cilantro down the street gives out it out for free and so should anyone that offers it unless it is REALLY gourmet and even then it should only cost about $3.

Recommendations: Lower prices on appetizers/would be nice to have some kind of drink special or entree special one night of the week/bring back the chicken pizza with chilis!

Overall I highly recommend this resturant!!

Pros: good value if you order the right things

Cons: raised prices with new menu

.

I've gone to Samalitas twice; once for brunch and once for dinner. Brunch was great -- good options, tasty food and good service. Dinner however, was disappointing -- the food was unmemorable and the service was slow, even though the restaurant was not very busy. I'd recommend it for brunch. The decor is also nice and cheerful; consistent with what you'd expect for a California-Mexican restaurant.

2
★★★★☆

I've gone to Samalitas twice; once for brunch and once for dinner. Brunch was great -- good options, tasty food and good service. Dinner however, was disappointing -- the food was unmemorable and the service was slow, even though the restaurant was not very busy. I'd recommend it for brunch. The decor is also nice and cheerful; consistent with what you'd expect for a California-Mexican restaurant.

Pros: brunch

Cons: dinner

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Samalita's has become one of my favorite places to eat on the Upper East Side. The atmosphere is so inviting the staff is very attentive. I frequented the Samalita's taquera on 3rd Avenue and 81st Street and i am glad to see they did not go out of business. instead have opened a truly unique California cuisine restaurant. Hats off to them.

2
★★★★★

Samalita's has become one of my favorite places to eat on the Upper East Side. The atmosphere is so inviting the staff is very attentive. I frequented the Samalita's taquera on 3rd Avenue and 81st Street and i am glad to see they did not go out of business. instead have opened a truly unique California cuisine restaurant. Hats off to them.

Pros: ALL THUMBS UP

Cons: AND NONE DOWN

 

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