Skip to main content

Meet La Barbona, NYC’s Newest Speakeasy

New York isn’t known for its Mexican food (although, we are getting better). Just ask any transplant who’s a native of California or Texas, and they’ll basically tell you how disappointed they are in the authenticity of a cuisine they’ve been enjoying their whole lives. On a recent trip to Mexico, a group of NYC restauranteurs realized they wanted to fill this gap in the city’s dining scene, and the idea for La Barbona was born.

La Barbona
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Hidden beneath its sister restaurant, the beloved De Santos in Greenwich Village, stepping into La Barbona is like being transported to Mexico for the night. Interior designer Kenyan Paris Lewis put a playful twist on the traditional Mexican cantina for the space with dark wood, lots of candlelight and the charming kind of knick knacks you would find at a roadside mom and pop restaurant. The combination of a discreet location and limited seating gives an air of exclusivity without the pretension, perfect for impressing a date or the family when they’re in town.

But La Barbona isn’t just a pretty face. The kitchen is helmed by Chef Michael Hamilton who earned his chops working for some of the best restaurants in both New York and the UK. Not only did he spend time in the kitchen with Daniel Boulud at Daniel and Mads Refslund at Acme, he worked at both the Surf Lodge in Montauk and for Rick Stein, the number one rated seafood chef in the UK. For the menu at La Barbona, he adopts traditional recipes passed down from generations and combines them with the highest quality, locally-sourced ingredients he can find for truly standout tacos and ceviches. The Vieiras – scallops marinated in citrus, Coca-Cola, avocado and orange juice – is made with some of the freshest seafood we’ve ever tasted, perfectly highlighted by the mildly sweet and bright accompanying ingredients. All of the tacos are delicious, from the slow roasted pork to a shoulder steak with charred onions, folded into fresh, hand-pressed tortillas. La Barbona’s signature mezcal cocktails (and shots of the spirit too) are the best way to wash down your meal.

Whether you’re going for the food, drinks or just the atmosphere, La Barbona is a welcome addition to New York’s downtown dining scene. Check them out at 139 West 10th Street.

Amanda Gabriele
Amanda Gabriele is a food and travel writer at The Manual and the former senior editor at Supercall. She can’t live without…
We paired summer beers with grilled meats and veggies — these are our fave combos
Beer and grilled foods are meant to be enjoyed together
Beer and grill

There are many reasons to look forward to the summer months. First of all, you can wear shorts and flip-flops every day. It feels like the sun is shining constantly, the days feel endless, there seem to be limitless ponds, lakes, and pools to swim in, and best of all, it’s grilling season. While we love everything about summer, it’s the latter we enjoy the most. Especially when we pair summer grilling with a nice, frosty beer (or three).

When it comes to summer beer pairing, yard games are fun, sitting on a dock with your feet in a lake is great, and downing a crisp beer after an afternoon of lawnmowing is exceptional, but nothing beats the classic, timeless grilling beer.

Read more
Find bars specializing in alcohol-free cocktails with this search engine
cherry-gin-cocktail

As more and more people are choosing to forgo alcohol, there's been a boom in thoughtfully made, delicious, non-alcoholic cocktails. Gone are the days of a couple of sad, overly sweet mocktails being tacked on to the end of a drinks list as an afterthought -- now, bartenders around the world are getting interested in the possibility of alcohol-free drinks. Whether you're doing a dry month, you're off alcohol altogether, or you just fancy trying something different, a night at a bar specializing in mocktails can be eye-opening.

But it's not always easy to find places that will suit a non-drinking crowd, which is why an alcohol-free search engine is hoping to change that. Mocktail Quest lists bars, restaurants, and shops that specialize in alcohol-free options.

Read more
Step back in time and learn how to make authentic Turkish coffee
You can have Turkish coffee any time, let us show you how
Making Turkish coffee

Turkish coffee is a concentrated, rich, and somewhat bitter drink made of unfiltered coffee. It's also one of the oldest methods of preparing coffee, dating back to 1555. Unlike a traditional cup of joe, Turkish coffee is made with super-fine grounds brewed in water versus drip style, where water is poured over coffee beans and filtered. Because of this variation, Turkish coffee is incredibly concentrated and perfect if you like your coffee or espresso strong. (Like we do.)

We went to Ciragan Palace Kempinski, a luxury hotel in Turkey that occupies a former Ottoman palace, to learn how to brew traditional Turkish coffee. Burak, the hotel's Gazebo Lounge barista, told us while coffee was discovered during the 11th century in Ethiopia, its brewing history dates back to 1555.

Read more