Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.


953 Second Ave. (E. 50th & E. 51st Sts.) Send to Phone
Kitschy scene with coastal Mexican cuisine.

Lunch Mon.-Fri., Dinner nightly

* Click here for rating key

THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED Zarela Restaurant Review

: This Midtown Mexican gem has developed a loyal following over the past few decades, and one step inside and you’ll understand why. Zarela conveys the utter charm and ageless vivacity of its owner, Zarela Martinez. The décor is kitschy but fun, with crêpe paper cutouts dangling from the ceiling and a grand wooden bar where potent margaritas are served to a lively crowd. Martinez pointedly avoids serving such common fare as tacos and burritos, opting instead for the more flavorful cuisine of Mexico's coastal regions, particularly Oaxaca. Enchiladas and tamales are served up with such intriguing starters as snapper hash and a poblano chile stuffed with chicken and dried-fruit picadillo. Seafood specialties might include tuna in mole sauce, salmon paired with jícama and a chipotle aïoli or pan-seared trout topped with a jalapeño sauce. And the extravagant dessert menu might offer dried fruit or bread pudding with applejack-brandy-butter sauce. Mexican beer goes well with Zarela's cuisine.
Check out hip and new NYC restaurants to try right now
New & Hip NYC Restaurants

Check out what's new and trendy on NYC's dining scene with GAYOT's list of restaurants to try right now.


GAYOT's Annual Restaurant Awards honor America's best chefs, as well as promising newcomers and a top restaurateur.