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There’s no shortage of Mexican restaurants in NYC but La Barca Cantina in Hell’s Kitchen offers something unique: it’s located on a three-story boat so you’ll be able to enjoy a scenic cruise on the Hudson River alongside your favorite Mexican street food and cocktails. It sets sail for the first time this evening (Thursday, May 20).

Sailing along the Hudson with view of the west side. All Photos Phil O’Brien.

La Barca Cantina originally planned to set sail last year, but wasn’t able to due to challenges from the pandemic. The boat launches today — and we predict it will become a favorite summertime destination. 

The menu features a core selection of tacos, including one called Tony’s Campechano, a beef, pork, and roasted scallion homage to Mexico City culinary destination, Tacos Tony. Most of the food is designed to be shared, including classics like guacamole and fresh corn chips, queso fundido, and vegetarian nachos.

The travels of Craig Kanarick, Chief Executive Officer of New York Cruise Lines (the company that owns the ships on Pier 81 and 83) throughout Mexico informed the drinks menu just as much as the food offerings. “Having spent the last three years learning everything I possibly can about agave-based spirits, including mezcal and tequila, it’s a thrill to cast a spotlight on a beverage category that is just as diverse and terroir-driven, yet not as well-known, as wine,” he said.

The work of artist Tlisza Jaurique.

The boat includes an expansive outdoor top deck with a bar and table seating and a two-story interior space with two additional bars, table seating and booths. Artist Tlisza Jaurique has created vibrant, custom pieces throughout the floating restaurant. 

Getting ready for a sunset trip on the Hudson River.

Located on Pier 81 at W41st Street and 12th Avenue, La Barca Cantina is neighbor and sister-restaurant to the North River Lobster Company, the popular lobster shack.

Both maritime restaurants are affiliated to the iconic sightseeing Circle Line Cruises — which had to forgo its big 75th anniversary last year due to the pandemic. All ships are back now and have been busy serving the neighborhood since April. La Barca Cantina will be open four days a week, Thursday through Sunday, with multiple sailings each day. You can purchase a boarding pass or make a reservation here.

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