How to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Style in New York City

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Cinco de Mayo isn’t a Mexican holiday and Mexico doesn’t observe it. It actually began in California. As a side note, it commemorates a battle fought in Mexico in which the town of Puebla defeated invading French troops. Whether Cinco de Mayo is a tradition or a serious celebration, we can certainly have a lot of fun with it and show our affinity for all things Mexican.

Check out these restaurants in New York City for your Cinco de Mayo festivities.

King David Tacos. Photo courtesy of King David Tacos
King David Tacos. Photo by King David Tacos

King David Tacos

Start your holiday with Tex-Mex breakfast tacos from King David Tacos. The Brooklyn-based import from Austin is all the rage and will deliver a variety of taco bundles with choices like queen bean (refried beans potato, egg, cheese), Mom’s migas (eggs scrambled with Mom’s salsa and tortilla chips, with jalapeno rajas, cheese), or the No. 5 (chili non carne, beans, potato).

For Cinco de Mayo, order their Taco Drop delivery and you’ll get two Mexican spring water Topo Chicos as a bonus. Just heat and eat! If you’re out and about, they also have carts at Madison Square Park and Prospect Park.

Cinco de Mayo: Even though Cinco de May isn't celebrated in Mexico, it has become entwined with culture in America. Check out these restaurants for your Cinco de Mayo celebration.

Universal Taco

Popular Soho ghost kitchen Universal Taco has party packs to spice up your at-home celebration.

The appetizer-to-dessert package includes traditional pork carnitas, salsa rojo, tamales with rajas and Oaxacan cheese, guacamole and chips. Top them off with onion, cilantro and jalapeno, to your liking, and choose corn or flour tortillas buñuelos add a sweet finish.

Taco fans can add a range of globally inspired versions: Baja-style shrimp, chicken shawarma, beef gyro, Peking duck, Argentine skirt steak, and pork carnitas. Vegetarians aren’t left out –  try the roasted cauliflower taco or Moo Shu veggie style with mushrooms and cabbage.

Los Tacos No. 1. Photo by Meryl Pearlstein
Los Tacos No. 1 for Cinco de Mayo. Photo by Meryl Pearlstein

Los Tacos No. 1

They don’t look like much, but the lines tell a different story. The multi-station Los Tacos No. 1 stands in Chelsea Market and Times Square are the real deal when it comes to Mexican tacos.

Los Tacos No. 1 was created after three friends from Tijuana, Mexico and California decided to bring authentic Mexican bites to the East Coast, using family recipes with fresh and simple ingredients. You’ll have to bring your own margaritas, though – they don’t serve alcohol.

Seamore's shrimp tacos. Photo courtesy of Baldor Specialty Foods
Seamore’s shrimp tacos. Photo by Baldor Specialty Foods

Seamore’s

Created by Seamore’s Montauk-inspired sustainable seafood restaurants in Manhattan, the “Shrimp Taco Meal Kit” celebrates Cinco de Mayo with peppery salsa macha- braised shrimp, avocado, tortillas, lime crema and cabbage. Add your own tequila and you won’t even mind the easy clean-up.

Get a Cinco de Mayo spread from Rosie's. Photo courtesy of Baldor Specialty Food
Get a take-and-make Cinco de Mayo spread from Rosie’s. Photo by Baldor Specialty Food

Rosie’s

East Village Mexican bistro, Rosie’s, has put it all together for you with their “Rosie’s Taco Kit.” Designed for a festive taco night at home, you can say you’ve done some of the cooking yourself with this party kit.

You’ll get three different salsas, fresh ingredients to make your own guacamole, and three different taco fillings. Not to worry, though, the kit comes with step-by-step directions.

Mardi Gras meets Cinco de Mayo at Gumbo Bros. Photo by Meryl Pearlstein
Mardi Gras meets Cinco de Mayo at Gumbo Bros. Photo by Meryl Pearlstein

The Gumbo Bros

For a Cajun spin on the holiday, The Gumbo Bros offers a NOLA-inflected special for Cinco de Mayo. For a whopping $5, you can order two catfish tacos.

The Boerum Hill eatery is what happens when Mardi Gras meets Cinco de Mayo. You can chow down on the tacos, get your hands dirty with their crawfish boil (call to arrange) and drink a few hurricanes or Abita’s to toast the holiday.

Have an outdoor fiesta for Cinco de Mayo at the Cantina Rooftop. Photo courtesy of Cantina Rooftop
Have an outdoor fiesta for Cinco de Mayo at the Cantina Rooftop. Photo by Cantina Rooftop

Cantina Rooftop

Plan an outdoor fiesta with your gang at Cantina Rooftop in Hell’s Kitchen. If you time it right, the sunset is a perfect backdrop to the colorful umbrellas covering the tables.

Go a little crazy with your group and share the totally instagrammable 8.5-pound Big Ass Taco or the 15-pound Big Ass Burrito. Wash everything down with a fruity Niña Fresa, made with Don Diego Silver tequila, watermelon, strawberry and St. Germaine.

Sinigual's guacamole. Photo courtesy of Sinigual
Sinigual’s guacamole. Photo by Sinigual

Sinigual

Sinigual will entertain you on Cinco de Mayo on their lovely patio with a mariachi band from 4-7 pm. Order one of their handcrafted margaritas; guacamole as you like it, made tableside; and a pile of their sizzling fajitas, and let the party begin.

Casa del Toro for Cinco de Mayo entertainment and cuisine. Photo courtesy of Casa del Toro
Casa del Toro for Cinco de Mayo entertainment and cuisine. Photo by Casa del Toro

Casa del Toro

For more entertainment, Casa Del Toro, the Oaxacan-inspired taqueria in Hell’s Kitchen presents a fiesta to remember with live entertainment from aerialists, contortionists and dancers. The restaurant’s full Mexican menu and complimentary Patron tastings might have you dancing as you pose for photo opportunities in front of a step and repeat wall.

Tipsy Scoop. Photo courtesy of Natalie's Juice
Tipsy Scoop. Photo by Natalie’s Juice

Tipsy Scoop and Tanteo Tequila

What would Cinco de Mayo be without tequila ice cream? To celebrate, Tanto Tequila has collaborated with Brooklyn’s Tipsy Scoop and Natalie’s Juice to create two special 100% agave-infused boozy desserts for Cinco de Mayo.

Wine.com

The Tipsy Squeeze (vanilla ice cream with orange juice, strawberry and blanco tequila) and The Spicy Fiesta (key lime sorbet made with Natalie’s margarita mix and jalapeno tequila) and both  5% ABV per serving. You can buy them from Tipsy Scoop’s locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan or online for same-day delivery in NYC.

Check out these iconic restaurants for classic New York City dining.