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El Rio Grande

  • RatingAvg. Dinner Entrée
    $$$$$Greater than $25
    $$$$$18.01 - $25
    $$$$12.01 - $18
    $$$7.01 - $12
    $Less than $7
  • Mexican, Southwestern
  • 160 E 38th St, New York NY10016 40.748251 -73.976673
  • (Btwn Lexington & 3rd Ave)
  • click map to interact
  • (212) 867-0922
  • 0

User Ratings (Based on 44 reviews)

Food 3.6 Value 3.3
Service 3.2 Atmosphere 3.8

Other Restaurant Info

(212) 867-0922
(212) 949-4097
Place Order:
Order From El Rio Grande for delivery & takeout
Delivery Take Out Visa, MC, AmEx, Disc
Sun-Thu: 12pm-10pm Fri-Sat: 12pm-11pm
Brunch, Dinner, Lunch
Accepts Credit Cards, Catering, Delivery, Good for Groups, Lunch Special, Online Ordering, Online Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Private Parties, Prix Fix Menus, Take Out, Wheelchair Accessible
Delivery Area:
27th to 48th St; 1st to Madison Ave

User Reviews

  • El Rio Grande

    Posted by Rebecca on 08/01/2013


    I am from Houston so I know Tex Mex - the food was not very good. I had the cheese enchiladas which had a strange spice, my boyfriend had the fajitas and the tortillas were the worst I have ever tasted - especially for 'homemade.' Margaritas less than average, service ok. However, the reason I will not ever return to this place is not for any of the above, but the pretentious 'bouncer' who stands outside stamping hands for people just wanting to have dinner and try out a new place. We thought about leaving at that point, but decided to stick it out (what kind of restaurant needs a 'bouncer' at 6:30??). When we left, we noticed it was pouring rain, so I decided to wait underneath the awning in front (not in any way of the door or in anyone's way for that matter) while my boyfriend stood in the rain trying to hail a cab. The next thing I know, the 'bouncer' is yelling at me that I can't stand there. There is no one around but me and him and I was minding my own business yet was forced to stand in the rain. What kind of a man makes a woman stand in the rain? If I was drunk and acting in an inappropriate manner I could understand not allowing me to stand there, but I was just standing there for less than 30 seconds and there was no where else to go without getting drenched. We called and reported the incident to the manager, however just getting the manager on the phone was another chore - once we spoke to the manager, she offered a drink if I choose to come back but was not very apologetic otherwise. I would highly discourage this place - you will find us at Dos Caminios or Rosa Mexicano where the drinks and food are much, much better. Plus they don't need someone outside patrolling that 'crazy 6:30 dinner scene.'

  • El Rio Grande

    Posted by Skyeprowler on 11/29/2010


    Not sure why so many negatives. Although a bit pricey for Mexican, I certainly walked away with no complaints. The guacamole made table-side was to die for. The steak tacos, delicious. Granted, what's the big deal about a steak taco -- in this case, the meat was delicious. Now, the pear margarita was AMAZING. I thought it was well worth the money. I also had no complaints about the service which I thought was actually quite good.

  • El Rio Grande

    Posted by work nearby on 09/08/2010

    Not recommended

    I work in the area and eat lunch out almost every day. I end up here about once a year, when I forget exactly what I disliked about it so much the last time. There is a nice patio that's up off the street, so it's tempting in the summer despite weird ambiance. This time, I tried to order carefully, recalling previous disappointing experiences with the food. And what did I end up with? A burrito with fatty pieces of chopped pork in an overwhelming BBQ sauce with a giant pile of rice and some garnishes. Trying to pick out the edible pieces was a waste of time. What to do with the pieces of pure gristle and fat? Thankfully I was not on a business lunch. I ate the tortilla and left the insides of the $14 burrito and pile of rice for the trash. I will never come back here unless it is for a drink and chips only.

  • El Rio Grande

    Posted by anonymous on 06/05/2010

    neighborhood blight

    Have not eaten there since we had no idea what was on our plates, as it was not what we ordered years ago, tho we did have to rescue some friends once as the bartenders had let them get way too drunk...basically, the nighttime crowds there are rowdy,noisy, and yell, grunt, and growl as a language, at least that is what we hear in the street all night. Sometimes they frighten locals and beat each other up. Aren't bars supposed to restrain patrons from ruining the neighborhood? Non-mutants should avoid this place at all costs...

  • El Rio Grande

    Posted by Pilar on 05/07/2010


    I called and asked about their happy hour and was told $3 miller lights and a free bacardi tasting. When we got there, our waiter told us there were no specials and the free tasting cost $11. He then walked away without taking our order. There was only 1 waiter for the outside patio, and he stopped by our table a couple more times, but would always walk away before taking our order. We were also told that we'd have to leave after an hour if we only ordered appetizers, except that they forgot about our food order. When our bill came, instead of being charged $3 for miller lights, we were charge $6. So they have an outdoor patio...big deal.

  • El Rio Grande

    Posted by Isabelle on 02/26/2010

    Fun place

    I've only ordered three things from this restaurant- Frozen Margaritas, Steak Nachos, and Calamari. Nicely flavored Calamari. But those steak nachos.. Man oh Man...I dream about these steak nachos.. I love them so much- big chunk of steak on top of a nacho with guac, beans, cheese, etc. MOUTH WATERING. The Margaritas are tasty and strong - and they hit you suddenly and all at once. Be Ware! As for the rest of the food- I can't really say much for it- my friends have ordered off the rest of the menu- and pretty much have gathered a resounding ::Meh:: Average and too expensive for what it is.

  • El Rio Grande

    Posted by NYC girl on 11/30/2009

    Agree about the service

    I went here with my BF during the summer to sit outside and drink the yummy margies I've heard so much about. Everyone is right, the margies are SUPER! We sat outside in in an hour each had 2 1/2 margies, we were told we had to pay and leave if we didn't get food. So we ordered something small to stay outside and keep drinking. I would understand if we were sipping one drink for over an hour but the fact that our bill was almost $100 bucks and was rushed to leave was HORRIBLE. No matter how good the drinks I won't be going back with that attitude, there are plently of other places this is NYC after all.

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