New York City. The Big Apple. The City of Dreams. The Capital of the World. The City So Nice, They Named it Twice. The Center of The Universe. The City That Never Sleeps. The Empire City. The Five Boroughs. Fun City. Gotham. The Melting Pot. Metropolis. New Amsterdam. The Modern Gomorrah. Those are all the names Wikipedia informed me that New York City is known by, but what Wikipedia doesn’t tell you is that there are also restaurants that sell nachos there. I wouldn’t know though, because when I visited I didn’t get any.
JK LOL! Of course when I go to a new place I have to try the local nachos, are you nuts? After consulting the various websites claiming to list the best nachos in all of NYC (RIP NachosNY) and taking the average reviews of all of them I realized that was just too much work and picked some at random to visit. One of these, the one listed as #1 on almost every nacho review page, is Taqueria Diana on 2nd Ave.
I get it, space is at a premium in The Big City and you need to pay off the Mafia to keep away the C.H.U.D.S. and the Squeegee Men and friends who sit in your coffee shop on your couches and never order anything. All of this results in a lot of restaurants where there is barely room to order, let alone have a seat to enjoy the food. The 2nd Ave version of Taqueria Diana is like this, and if you happen to show up when they are getting a delivery be prepared to jump out of the way of folks carrying food back and forth while you order. Maybe this is my quaint country ways looking upon something that a typical New Yorker would just say “Fahgettaboudit!” to, but consider yourself warned. Also consider yourself warned, when your nacho meat choices are “Pollo”, “Al Pastor”, “Carnitas”, “Rajas”, “Carne Asada”, or just “Cheese”, go for the carnitas, because you ALWAYS go for the carnitas.
We were lucky enough to get two of the six or so seats in the back of the restaurant and I became overcome with joy when I saw they were just loading up a disposable aluminium tray with chips and toppings. Forget plates, plates are your daddy’s way to eat nachos, all the cool kids are eating off, or out, of metal trays these days. It’s the future of plating, get used to it. I was pleased by that, and then even more pleased when they arrived and I started eating them.
I added guac and crema, because like carnitas you ALWAYS go for guac and crema, and was not disappointed. The chips looked home made, the carnitas were cooked just enough to make them safe to eat (which is the correct amount of cooking for meat), and the ratio of chips to toppings were pretty spot on. What was missing from the above picture of my dish were the pickled jalapenos and carrots, which I assumed were included because literally every picture of the nachos online had them on it. Now the pickled carrots I could pass on, but no jalapenos is a travesty. Maybe that was on me and I’m some dumb country bumpkin for not knowing I had to get those extra and thinking they were part of the “Salsa”, but consider yourself warned. I couldn't possibly imagine how I could have been confused looking at pictures of them from 5 different websites...
Would I recommend Taqueria Diana as the best nachos in NYC? I 100% would, mostly because it was the best of the two different nachos I ate in the city to judge, but also because they’re really good. They’re simple and really flavorful, just don’t bring the whole family to this location thinking you’re going to all sit down for a nice dinner. Maybe their other locations are more sit down friendly, but if you’re rolling solo and want some quick and delicious nachos to go, Taqueria Diana is it.