Good Nachos may have been hard to come by in the Big Apple in the past. But nowadays it’s a different story. You still need to do your research to relieve your yen for satisfying nachos in the city of lights. Or you could just browse the list below, as these 12 places serve the best Nachos in NYC.
Gloriously Messy and utterly irresistible. There are the best nachos in NYC. Photo credit: Herson Rodriguez
There once was a time when finding a good mound of nachos in New York City was equivalent to expecting Michelin-starred fine dining from a deli or looking for decent Mexican fare in, say, Poland. It just didn’t happen.
But fortunately, things have changed. Nachos in New York City have arrived—though we’re still not sure if there’s any good Mexican food in Poland.
With locations in Chelsea, Midtown, and Nomad, Mexicue and its great barbecue-centric nachos are never too far away for when you need a fix. They’re layered with Poblano cheese sauce, sl0w-simmered black beans, guajillo salsa, and ultra-flavorful burnt ends brisket. Sit at the bar and order a margarita and you’ve got pure comfort food in a bowl in front of you.
With locations in Park Slope and Tribeca, Chela makes an impressive plate of nachos. This is one of the few versions that manages to have all the chips fully coated in cheese. In this case, Chihuahua cheese. Which is why it had to make our list of best nachos in NYC. Plus, the chips are topped with salsa verde and your choice of chicken, chorizo, shrimp, or brisket. At the Tribeca outpost, the nachos are only available on the happy hour menu.
The hipsters love nachos too. And so the Commodore, one of the most hipster haunts in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, serves up a messy bowl of crispy tortilla chips slathered in thick melted cheddar cheese. The Cadillac Nachos, as they’re called, truly are the luxury sedan of nachos at the Commodore. Bring some friends (you’ll need a few extra mouths) and be sure to come hungry, as the big-portioned nachos are piled high with pinto beans, tomatoes, onions, and three types of salsas.
This Chelsea eatery is not necessarily a Mexican restaurant. It’s a place named after a famous Havana ice cream parlor that serves pan-Latin food in a diner-like setting. They also serve some of the city’s best nachos. The thick chips are the secret weapon. But piled with melted Muenster cheese, beans, salsa, and sour cream, the nachos at Coppelia (207 W 14th St) are a tour de force.
This Flatiron District barbecue joint does smoked meat quite admirably. They also make a killer Frito pie, a gooey four-cheese mac ‘n’ cheese, and a darn good fried chicken sandwich. Hill Country happens to serve some of the best nachos in the city. And they don’t just offer one variety. Instead, you can get a pile of cheese-coated corn chips topped with palate-kicking Tex-Mex chili, tender brisket, or flavorful pulled pork.
Stephen Starr’s Philadelphia import, the wackily named El Vez in the Financial District, doesn’t get enough love, especially for its nachos. The crispy chips arrive relatively flat to ensure the toppings-to-chip ratio is greater than in other varieties. Melted queso mixto is interlaced with black beans, salsa, pickled red onion, and jalepeños. Choose between chorizo and birria, both of which are very good here.
Empellon Al Pastor
At Alex Stupak’s most casual outpost of his Empellon empire, Empellon Al Pastor in the East Village serves excellent tacos and a surprisingly good corn dog. But the nachos are worthy of your stomach space here. Using chips culled from homemade corn tortillas, the nachos here manage to be impressively and fully covered in cheese. Each chip and each side of the chip is balanced and slathered in gooey cheddar. And the red chili pork that comes on top is excellent.
Located in Crown Heights, Brooklyn (605 Prospect Pl), Güeros has nachos that are worth the journey if you hail from other parts of the city. The tortilla chips are packed with melted cheese, tangy salsa, sour cream, and beans. Carnivores should opt for the juicy pork or the hard-to-resist fried chicken to go on top.
You don’t have to be vegan to love Jajaja, a plant-based Mexican spot with locations in Dimes Square (AKA Two Bridges, AKA the lower Lower East Side), Hudson Yards, Williamsburg, and the West Village. In fact, the nachos here are tops. Made with nut-based cheese, the nachos are super flavorful. And no animals were harmed in the making of your nachos! Can you believe that one of the best nachos in NYC is vegan?
The nachos at the Lower East Side’s La Contenta and its West Village sister location, La Contenta Ouest are as pleasing to look at as they are to eat. They come out of the kitchen with the homemade chips arranged in a pleasing star-like or sun pattern. But don’t look too long. These nachos are too good to just stare at. Oozing with melted Poblano, cheddar, and Monterey cheese, the simple-but-toothsome nachos are then topped with black beans, pico de gallo salsa, and whatever protein you want.
Yes, that’s right, Jimmy Buffet’s sanctuary of sun, sand, and sea, happens to serve some of the best nachos in the city. In fact, they’re called Volcano Nachos because they come out as a mountain of crispy chips, gooey melted cheese, beef-and-black-bean chili, sour cream, jalepeños, guacamole, and pico de gallo. If you’re looking for an excuse to go to the Times Square outpost of Margaritaville—ironically or not—this is it.
Started by some Californians in 2013, Taqueria Diana’s arrival on the New York nacho scene heralded a new nacho chapter in the Big Apple. The portions here are huge. The nachos are served in a plus-sized rectangular tin tray and are piled high with melted jack cheese, jalepeños, salsa, and your choice of meat: carnitas, chicken, al pastor, and carne asada. The original location is in the East Village but there are now outposts in Williamsburg and Hell’s Kitchen too.
David Farley is a West Village-based food and travel writer whose work appears regularly in the New York Times, National Geographic, BBC, and Food & Wine, among other publications. He’s the author of three books, including “An Irreverent Curiosity: In Search of the Church’s Strangest Relic in Italy’s Oddest Town,” which was made into a documentary by the National Geographic Channel. You can find Farley’s online homes here and here.