7.1
NYC

JaJaJa

Perfect For: People Watching Vegetarians
PHOTOS: Noah Devereaux

Some things in life are tough to figure out. True love, for example. Does it exist? Or is it just when you like someone’s face and they aren’t mean to you? Obviously we’ll never know the answer to this question - but at least Jajaja is easy. Should you eat here? If you’re a vegan, the answer is yes.

Jajaja is a vegan Mexican restaurant on the part of the Lower East Side where you’ll find Dimes, Scarr’s, Kiki’s, and all the people who hang out at such places. The menu has things like a fake chorizo burrito, a “sausage” egg and cheese torta, and five different kinds of vegan tacos. And everything’s pretty decent. Sure, maybe the tortillas here could use a little work (and the food sometimes arrives at room temperature) - but the dishes don’t taste aggressively vegan, and your meat-eating friends will probably be just fine with this place.

They might not go crazy for all of the food (vegan meats typically taste like something you’d eat in the cafeteria of a spaceship on a twelve-year scientific expedition), but they will, at the very least, be into the atmosphere. This place has a cursive neon sign, a pastel color scheme, and a multi-colored margarita that comes with a paper straw that collapses in about five minutes (but looks great until then). It’s fun, lively, and the median age hovers around 26.

Of course, if you or a loved one aren’t currently living an all-plant lifestyle, you should probably just go a restaurant where the “carnitas” tacos aren’t made with hearts of palm. Acceptable as the vegetables are here, real carnitas are about ten times better. But if you aren’t currently eating meat and you want some reasonably-priced Mexican food in a nice little space, come here.

Food Rundown

Nachos

These nachos look like an offering to the god of nachos. Which is generally a good sign with nachos. Start your meal with them.

“Chorizo” Burrito

Is fake chorizo as good as real chorizo? Of course not. But if you don’t eat meat, you should be happy with this.

Pupusas

We aren’t huge fans of the tortillas here, but the pupusas are different. They’re crispy, flavorful, and a good way to start your meal. Share an order with someone.

Beet & Pumpkin Empanada

There’s nothing especially wrong with this ball of pumpkin and fried dough, but it probably isn’t worth nine dollars.

Chayote Fish Taco

The “fish” in these tacos is actually fried chayote (a type of gourd). They pretty much just taste like onion ring tacos, and if you throw on some hot sauce, you have yourself a pretty good order.

Chorizo Tacos

Not our favorite. Maybe it’s the fake chorizo - works in a burrito, but feels kind of skimpy in a taco.

Frozen Agave Margarita Swirl

Exactly what it sounds like.

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