Caliza: Super Authentic Mexican Fare In The Heart Of Tribeca!

My recent visit to Caliza on Greenwich Street was a real treat. I had read the all the reviews stating that they have the best guacamole in town but I was really there to put their margarita and wagyu beef tacos to the test plus try a couple of their gorgeous desserts! Caliza is the brainchild of Chef Daniel Mendoza and restauranteur Josh Lebowitz. This light and airy space with a casual vibe and big windows has a capacity of only 120 (with 22 on the deck) so it’s not overwhelmingly big.

Their margaritas are strictly made with “the best” and served in a simple water glass. There is nothing fancy about this drink but the quality is there! The Caliza bar staff uses artisanal small batch tequila which makes for an ultra refreshing taste. Also in the mix is Combier Orange Liqueur and fresh lime juice. The bartender that I spoke to will customize to use any mainstream or higher end spirits of your choice, though. (The bartender’s favorite tequila to use in his margaritas is Herradura Ultra.) You also have the option of regular or smoked salt on your glass.

The ice cold sangria is the most popular drink item after the margarita (no surprise there) and is super fruity and rich in flavor. This is a very special glass of sangria because it combines a red wine with Flor de Cana rum, Combier orange liqueur and a blackberry cordial. This pairs great with any meat dish on the menu.

The legendary Caliza guacamole comes with three giant tortillas and you can request a mix of both standard and blue corn tostadas or just take the standard three corn tostadas that will come if you do not speak up.These tostadas, like the guacamole, are freshly made on the premises. It is a generous portion and you might have to ask for extra tostadas to load them up like my dining guest Gail and I did! The blue corn tostadas are a bit firmer than their yellow counterparts and hold up well to even the largest dollop of guac! The guac itself is slightly spicy because it has small pieces of Serrano peppers in it. There are other specialty Mexican dipping sauces that they will bring out if someone prefers getting chips but does not like guacamole.

As fans of wagyu beef, my dining pal and I had to try the very popular Suadero which are soft homemade soft white taco shells filled with confit of wagyu brisket, onions and fresh cilantro. The quality of the meat shines through. It is shredded, super tender and cooked on the medium well side. These are perfect, simple tacos that everyone at your table will love.

I wanted to try something that vegetarians would enjoy in case I brought some of my veg pals to Caliza in the future and the Wild Mushroom Quesadilla does not disappoint. Besides the Chaneterelles, there is a special type of mushroom used that is simply called the Black Trumpet (and it is “the bomb”)! These grown-in-Mexico mushrooms are extra tender, and when teamed with the artisanal white Mexican cheese, are a little bit of heaven! The soft white flour tortilla is lightly oiled and has a delicate, crispy surface. I would strongly recommend this as an appetizer for two to share as it is about 10 inches long. There is a heck of a lot of cheese in this quesadilla and it’s hot and oozing!

This thing of great beauty pictured above is the most famous chicken dish known as Pollo Asado. The juicy grilled skin-on white meat chicken is laying in a gorgeous bed of charred tomatillo salsa (with a heavy cilantro kick) and topped with large fresh organic rainbow radish slices, fresh cilantro and pearl onions. This is a huge portion and probably features close to a pound of fresh Amish chicken. I will be coming back to have this time and time again. It’s delicious and a great choice for low carb eaters!

There are several beautiful and unique Mexican desserts at Caliza and the simply titled Chocolate Cake is anything but simple. It’s a totally stunner and tastes as good as it looks. There is a nice chunk of homemade dark chocolate mole layer cake topped with homemade raspberry ice cream and sauce…then it is liberally garnished with multiple farm fresh berries and edible flowers. This is one of the city’s most gorgeous desserts but my favorite part is the homemade ice cream with large chunks of raspberries!

You can totally judge a Mexican restaurant by its churros and Caliza has extra long churros that are crispy, sweet and golden (just how they are supposed to be). You get four in an order and they are very filling. The gooey homemade caramel sauce is served nice and hot and is undoubtedly some of the best that you will ever have. I was tempted to take home all the leftovers and put them on top of vanilla gelato. Caliza is a real crowd pleaser and they welcome families (there are two kinds of special kids’ quesadillas, by the way). Prices are in the medium range (most entrees are between $22 and $28) and portions are generous. Check out for more info. Reservations are recommended but not required.

Article by anne241

Hardcore NYer who loves to enjoy the good life here in the Big Apple and beyond!