Mercadito Cantina Will Satisfy Your All of Your Cravings (almost)

Mercadito Cantina gluten free nyc

Foiled in my attempt to go to the Red Hook Ball Fields yesterday, I had a hankering for grilled corn that had to be satisfied.  I began scanning my memory for restaurants on my ‘to check out soon’ list and remembered that Mercadito Cantina was apparently ‘better than sex.’  While I wouldn’t extend the hyperbole quite so far, the food did satisfy my cravings at the time.
Guacamole at Mercadito Cantina
I’ve enjoyed a great gluten-free dinner at the original Mercadito up the street, but this was my first visit to the Cantina.  My friend Matt and I ordered a sampling of guacamoles – totally unexpected flavors that were still recognizable as guacamole.  I loved the betabel guac with beets, pickled jalpenos and toasted spiced pepitas.  The sandia guacamole with watermelon and habanero was spicy and refreshing (reminded me a little of my fig and avocado salsa).
Rajas at Mercadito Cantina
We had the rajas – sautéed chiles with corn (the menu said hominy but they replaced it with regular corn) and the Taquiza carnitas tacos with the veracruzana and cacahuate salsas.

Arroz Verde at Mercadito Cantina
Our favorites were the elote mexicano (grilled corn) with lots of spice and the arroz verde, a green rice casserole that was crispy and cheesy and totally crave-worthy.

Mercadito Cantina Chips

Most of the menu is completely gluten-free.  Unfortunately their chips are fried in the same oil as their churros, but I was able to enjoy the guacamoles with the fresh corn tortillas. And apparently I made that look good enough that Matt abandoned the chips and started using tortillas as his guac delivery device as well.

They don’t take reservations and while the space is tiny, the food is worth squeezing in next to strangers.  Mondays and Tuesdays they offer all you can eat Tacos and Taquizas.  I will definitely be back there soon.

It’s down the street from S’mac, Back 40 and Terroir – gluten-free dining options in American, Greenmarket, Italian and Mexican cuisine all so close together, the East Village seems to have an irresistible call to the “gluten-challenged.”

Mercadito Cantina
Address: 172 Avenue B (at 10th St)
New York, NY
Phone: 212-388-1750

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Jeanette said,

May 29, 2009 @ 8:55 pm

YUM! Thanks for providing gluten free resources. It inspires my very own gluten free lifestyle blog: Control + Z (goes gluten free!) @

» Sweet Sins of Summer at Lula’s Sweet Apothecary | A Gluten Free Guide said,

August 11, 2009 @ 1:27 pm

[…] is culinary wonderland so it doesn’t take much to stumble upon something outstanding – Mercadito Cantina, Knife + Fork, Prune, Terroir, S’mac and Back 40 are just a few of the options.  I […]

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