New York JaJaJa

When Jajaja opened in 2017, it was the first plant based Mexican restaurant in New York City. Now it’s a legend. Their first location was on East Broadway, followed by Brooklyn and rumour has it another is coming soon. After all, what is New York without Mexican food right!?!

Jajaja has a mean vibe (it made me want to dance). It is immensely popular and serves on point Cayote “fish” taco’s, and cauliflower buffalo wings. No wonder there’s a regular 90 minute queue at the weekends.

The location

It’s hidden on the Lower East Side on East Broadway. It’s literally above the metro stop (East Broadway, train F) and in front of the bus M9 (Essex St/E Broadway). Look for their iconic “We will Guac your world” sign or you may miss it. It’s near Chinatown, so it’s handy for Chinese shops and supermarkets.

The space

The walls are stripped back and painted in white and brown, and, in true LES style, half tiled.

Pastel green metal chairs, large windows, a mosaic floor and a cool  industrial vibe fill the space.

There’s no outside seating as Broadway is one of the busiest addresses  in NYC.

The seats close to the entrance have bigger tables in booths and are a little more zoned off than the rest of the restaurant. You can also eat and drink at the zinc lined bar.

In the evening or weekends Jajaja can get very crowded. I recommend a weekly lunch to avoid lines. The service is very quick and friendly.

There’s also a take away shop next door and you can order direct from Caviar, Doordash and Postmates who all do home deliveries.

Jajaja plays Mexican music, but not too loud, so you can still hear yourself talk and have a proper conversation.

The crowd

A lot of New Yorkers know about this spot, so it’s often packed both vegans and meat eaters alike. My friend went for the first time and wasn’t even aware that Jajaja was vegan.  If he hadn’t been told, he wouldn’t have known. There’s a wide age range from 16-60 and a great atmosphere.

The little things that make the difference

The ambience really gives you the feeling that you’re in Mexico, not downtown New York.

The music, the food and the interior, everything combined together is perfect.

What we ate

Everything at Jajaja is 100% plant based Mexican cuisine, plus there’s lots of gluten-free options. Food can’t get much more rainbow coloured than this. The portions are huge and you’ll certainly be satisfied. We had the “Chorizo” Burrito, Coconut Quesadillas, with extra guacamole, and the Cauliflower Rice Bowl.

Their famous “Chorizo” Burrito has been on my bucket list for a long time and didn’t  disappoint!

The burrito was smothered in green salsa, red salsa and sour cream (in the colours of the Mexican flag). The inside was stuffed with “chorizo”, cauliflower rice, fermented black bean and guacamole. There was a huge amount of chorizo in there, I loved it, but it was very spicy.

The coconut quesadilla’s are a good complement to the spicy burrito. They’re filled with spinach, basil, “Serrano”, king mushroom, garlic, pico de Gallo and topped with sour cream with guacamole on the side. All the flavours are very delicate and really blend well together. The mushroom adds an odd texture to the dish, which makes it very interesting, and leaves you wanting more.

The turmeric Cauliflower Rice Bowl is definitely not a usual salad. It comes with turmeric cauliflower rice, fermented black beans, grilled bell peppers, red onion and courgette and is smothered with salsa and sour cream. The salsa is spicy, but the sour cream cools it down. It is surprisingly good.

The bill

Burrito  $12
Coco Quesadilla  $12
+guacamole  $3
Cauliflower Rice Bowl $14