The mayhem that is restaurant week is back, and the fight to make reservations is worth it. (O sea, it’s the only time most of us can get away with dining at some of these shi-shi joints!) If after reading this you’re not hungry and picking up the phone, you are dead inside, or just altogether better than us. We had to stop ourselves from reserving a table everywhere out of respect for our wallets. But if we could, we would.

Here’s the deal: three-course meals (sometimes four! Take a look at Centrico…), prix-fixe lunching ($24.07) and dining ($35). You’ve got ten days (Jan 21-25 & Jan 28-Feb 1) to gorge yourself. To keep you organized, we found all participating Latin joints, and even got chefs to disclose some menu alternatives to entice you, no matter where the mood strikes. Mexican restaurants are dominating but Cuban flavors are coming in a close second. Make sure to make reservations, tables go fast!

OJO: All menus subject to change. Official Restaurant Week info can be found here.

UPTOWN

Maya
1191 First Ave.
212.585.1818
website


Dinner. New York mag and other die-hard fans call it the “best Mexican food in NYC,” so it’s about time to head here, give in to chef Richard Sandoval’s reported awesomeness and see if it’s true. Another plus of trying it now? The price. If you wait until Valentine’s Day to eat “modern Mexican” cuisine here, be prepared to pay $69 bucks per person. Insane.

You could have…
Entrada: Mahi-mahi ceviche – mahi-mahi, mustard seed, caper, horseradish, red onion, cilantro.
Fuerte: Pechuga adobada – adobo marinated chicken breast, roasted corn, pico de gallo, cilantro pesto, huitlacoche-manchego cheese dumplings.
Postre: Arroz con leche.


Calle Ocho

446 Columbus Ave.
212.873.5025
website


Dinner. Calle Ocho’s got a delicious menu for these weeks but their lips were sealed regarding desserts. You’re just going to have to be surprised at the self-labeled “nuevo latino” restaurant with mostly Cuban influences.

You could have…
Entrada: Domino – Black bean and queso blanco empanada, avocado soup.
Fuerte: Churrasco – honey basted hangar steak, papas rústicas, chunky sofrito.

Victor’s Cafe
236 W. 52nd St.
212.586.7714
website


Dinner. Tropical and sometimes loud, Victor’s Cafe is bound to cheer you up, y con el famoso coconut mojito, you can pretend the palm trees around you do belong in Manjátan. The only downer is that Vic kept mum about his menu, so we’ve got no way to make your mouth water but, ropa vieja (a favorite here) IS part of their off-season prix-fixe menu and we doubt they’d ditch it for restaurant week.

MIDTOWN

Asia de Cuba
237 Madison Ave.
212.726.7755
website


Lunch. Just like the name indicates, you can expect Asian cuisine melting into Cuban flavors. Celebrities are also known to frequent this spot, so if you’re into that sort of thing, you may want to check it out (though we’re not sure if celebrities really do the whole restaurant week thang). Go with someone who likes what you like; AdC serves “family style” dishes, so two guests share one entrée, which is said to be “proportioned accordingly.” Vegetarian options are also available, so that ups their cool factor in our book.

You could have…
Entrada: Calamari salad ’Asia de Cuba’: Crispy calamari with chayote, hearts of palm, bananas, cashews, chicory and radicchio with sesame orange dressing.
Fuerte: Cuban BBQ chicken served with thai coconut sticky rice, avocado fruit salsa and tamarind sauce.
Postre: Homemade sorbet of the day served with seasonal fresh fruit and passion fruit-chili dipping sauce

Pampano
209. E. 49th St.
212.751.4545
website


Lunch. This is another modern Mexican place REALLY hiking prices back up to normal after restaurant week ($79 per 4-course!!), so if you want to eat like Plácido Domingo (he’s a partner here), head over for delicias del mar. Ajem, skip it if you’re allergic to seafood.

You could have…
Entrada: Ensalada mixta – mixed greens, mango, jícama, cucumber, avocado, cilantro-lime vinaigrette
Fuerte: Mariscada – shrimp, scallop, octopus, cilantro rice, coconut-achiote sauce
Postre: Helado de coco – coconut ice cream


DOWNTOWN

Centrico
211 W. Broadway.
212.431.0700
website


Dinner. You’ve probably seen it on TV, or keep hearing how delicious and incredibly trendy this place is (flashback to our New Year’s dinner guide), so you should try it already! Celebrity chef Aaron Sanchez keeps rocking the kitchen and the drinks are still amazing (not included in the deal, pero valen la pena). Centrico does throw in guac and chips while you wait for your entrada at no additional charge, making that a four-course meal on the cheap. An insider also guarantees they keep putting their best effort forward during rest. week, “Our point is to win people over.” Yippeee!

You could have…
Entrada: camarones y pozole – sautéed shrimp, creamy guajillo chile sauce, pozole.
Fuerte: pescado veracruzana – pan roasted market fish tomatillo, olives, serrano chiles.
Postre: flan de coco, assorted ice creams

Crema
111 W. 17th St.
212.691.4477
website


Lunch & Dinner. Chef/Owner Julieta Ballesteros es de Monterrey but studied at the French Culinary Institute. She sticks to her roots while cooking, but presents her foods a la francesa. However, we don’t know what to make of the simple menu choices. Plain but good, or something our abuelitas could make us?

You could have…
Entrada: Queso flameado
Fuerte: Tamal de puerco
Postre: Capirotada – Mexican bread pudding

VARIOUS LOCATIONS

Dos Caminos
475 W. Broadway / 212.277.4300
373 Park Ave. South / 212.294.1000
825 Third Ave / 212.336.5400
website


Lunch & Dinner.
Otro favorito entre críticos, Dos Caminos is Mexican on the fancy, relaxed side. We think it’s cool every single location is participating, so you’ll get a deal anywhere. We probably don’t even have to tell you this, but make sure to try a few tequilitas while dining (OR for lunch, why not!?). They’ve got over 100 different kinds. We likes.

You could have…
Entrada: Grilled squid, plantain and papaya salad with wild arugula, smoked chile-mint vinaigrette
Fuerte: Chile rubbed beef brisket taquitos, with mole coloradito, queso fresco, ginger pickled red cabbage
Postre: Mexican chocolate and cafe de olla mouse cake – kahlúa ice cream, almond palanqueta

Rosa Mexicano
61 Columbus Ave. / 212.977.7700
9 E. 18th St. / 212.533.3350
1063 First Ave. / 212.753.7407
website


Lunch & Dinner.
Some love it, some hate it, (only ’cause we didn’t get a job there in a moment of desperate need, ajem!) but Rosa is probably going to be the hardest table to book (along with Asia de Cuba), and that speaks for itself. The “official” menu is another mystery, marketing reps involved and all (!), but you can check out their site to get an idea of what you’re getting into. (OJO! The location at First Ave. is only offering prix-fixe dinner). Oh, and wondering why it’s Rosa MexicanO and not MexicanA? They’re referring to the color (a deep hot pink), not the rosa itself.