Authentic, south of the border Mexican? Nope. Not really. Authentic charm, a laid back, vintage vibe, and a cheery, self-referential tone to the menu and kitsch of the place? Yep. All of that in spades. Which is why I love Hotel Tortuga, located on the border of Gramercy and the East Village. I chanced this place with a friend as we were walking by, and I must say, I kind of fell in love with the retro Florida vibe the place has going. Not quite what you’d expect from somewhere in NYC, let alone the East Village, and that’s why it’s kind of perfect. It seems best for parties of two since the place is tiny, and that’s what my friend and I were – we enjoyed a pitcher of margarita, which, editor’s note right here, was much more potent than we initially realized, and the food was good too. We left full and happy, and I have a fond spot in my heart for this place.

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