Slideshow: 25 Mexican Tortas and Cemitas We Love in NYC

Barbacoa at Tacos Morelos ($6)
Barbacoa at Tacos Morelos ($6)
The expected beans, mild white cheese, avocado, and tomatoes join soft shreds of steamed goat meat; it's super-moist and fall-apart tender, reasonably mild but gamey enough that you can't forget it's goat. Chipotle and mayo combine for a smoky spicy sauce that holds it all together.

Tacos Morelos: 2nd Street and Avenue A, New York, NY 10009 (map) 347-772-5216

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Cemitas at Cafe Ollin ($8 to $10)
Cemitas at Cafe Ollin ($8 to $10)
The bun, is one of the best in the city: fresh, rich, and buttery, crispy yet yielding, a perfect holding-pen of starch in which to layer fried cutlets of beef and absurd amounts of cheese. Though it's missing the papalo, it's an impressive bite that takes two people to tackle. The Juancho version ($10) features a delectable hash of sorts: sliced potatoes, fingers of cactus, jalapenos, onions, and a choice of meat (chorizo is ideal here) griddled into a crispy, flavorful melange, and then tucked into the cemita.

Cafe Ollin: 339 East 108th Street New York, NY 10029 (map); 212-828-3644; cafeollin.com

[Photograph: Scarlett Lindeman]

Carnitas in Flatiron ($5)
Carnitas in Flatiron ($5)
This carnitas torta is one of the most lip-smackingly gelatinous things I've ever eaten, though it suffers from small ribbons of chewy, flavorless connective tissue you'd do best to spit out. The sandwiches are topped with tomato, fresh-sliced avocado, radish, lettuce, cilantro, and a dusting of cotija cheese, as well as generous squirts of crema and a tart, though mild, salsa verde.

Flatiron Taco Truck: Corner of 28th St and 6th Ave, New York, NY 10001 (map)

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Potato and Poblano at Choza Taqueria ($8.04)
Potato and Poblano at Choza Taqueria ($8.04)
Proof that Mexican sandwiches can be vegetarian and delicious. Tender chunks of roasted potatoes are meaty in their own right, and the slightly smoky, somewhat spicy poblano peppers they're cooked with keep them from feeling too starchy. Refried beans and guacamole are rich and creamy, ample enough to be more than just a condiment.

Choza Taqueria: Locations in the West Village (212-533-8226) and Flatiron (212-213-0708); chozataqueria.com

[Photograph: Craig Cavallo]

Cochinita at Comodo ($9)
Cochinita at Comodo ($9)
This behemoth Chipotle Braised Cochinita torta is rich, fatty, and porky—everything a pork sandwich should be. The slow roasted meat is tender, juicy, and smoky, with some mild heat from the chipotles. Getting some rich creaminess involved is never a bad thing, and the mayo and avocado that smother the meat do just that.

Comodo: 58 MacDougal Street, New York, NY 10012 (map); 646-580-3866; comodonyc.com

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Chorizo and Egg at Tulcingo del Valle ($6.50)
Chorizo and Egg at Tulcingo del Valle ($6.50)
The main players are eggs scrambled with plenty of mildly spiced chorizo, pickled jalapenos, and a smear of creamy refried pinto beans on the bottom. The remaining ingredients are supporting characters and do more for the sandwich's texture than flavor: crisp lettuce, sliced red onion, sliced tomato, cheese, and a smidge of guacamole.

Tulcingo del Valle: 665 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10036 (map) 212-262-5510; tulcingorestaurant.com

[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

Al Pastor from El Rey del Sabor ($6)
Al Pastor from El Rey del Sabor ($6)
Don't eat this before a big meeting. The roll isn't sturdy enough to keep all the meat, and fixin's (pickled jalapenos, onions, lettuce, sour cream, guacamole) inside, and if you wait a subway ride to eat it, the bread will turn soggy. But it's definitely tasty, and a mondo sandwich for $6.

El Rey del Sabor: carts on 49th and Park, 60th and 3rd, and 43rd and 6th

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Avocado and White Cheese at Cafe Habana ($8.25)
Avocado and White Cheese at Cafe Habana ($8.25)
Thick slabs of salty, crumbly white cheese, black beans, and a very generous helping of avocado are pressed down until Portuguese bread turns crisp and hearty. This is a weighty beast of a lunch in a neighborhood (Nolita) with too many overpriced dainty meals that try to impress but don't satisfy.

Cafe Habana: 17 Prince Street, New York, NY 10012 (map) 212-625-2001; cafehabana.com

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Pepito at La Esquina ($9)
Pepito at La Esquina ($9)
Sure, a steak torta can cost a lot less than the pepito at La Esquina, but when it tastes this good, we're not complaining. The steak bits get a great sear but stay tender and juicy, and there are an awful lot of them on this sandwich, layered with grilled onions, black beans, creamy avocado, and a creamy-spicy chipotle mayo.

La Esquina: 114 Kenmare Street, New York, NY 10012 (map); 646-613-7100; esquinanyc.com

[Photograph: Carey Jones]

Chorizo Cemita at Cocina Economica Mexico ($8)
Chorizo Cemita at Cocina Economica Mexico ($8)
The cemita roll is surprisingly light and briochey, with a soft crumb and plenty of sesame seeds. A chipotle sauce adds smoky depth to the crisp fine crumbles of chorizo, and the papalo—which tastes like a cross between arugula and cilantro—adds brightness. Some stringy Oaxacan cheese completes the package.

Cocina Economica Mexico: 452 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10010 (map); 212-501-7755; cocinaeconomicamexico.com

[Photograph: Craig Cavallo]

Chorizo and Egg at Fast and Fresh Burrito Deli ($3.50)
Chorizo and Egg at Fast and Fresh Burrito Deli ($3.50)
The chorizo and egg torta sprinkles bits of chorizo into fried egg, serving the resulting omelette with refried beans and pickled jalapeños on a fresh, fluffy telera. While the chorizo itself could stand to be more flavorful, the sandwich as a whole is a satisfying breakfast treat at any hour of the day.

Fast and Fresh Burrito and Deli: 84 Hoyt Street, Brooklyn NY 11201 (map); 718-802-1661

[Photograph: James Boo]

Chorizo and Egg at Chavela's ($7)
Chorizo and Egg at Chavela's ($7)
Crumbled bits of satisfyingly spicy chorizo bound in with scrambled eggs, a more-than-ample layer of melted Oaxacan cheese, beans spread onto the bread, a burst of jalapeño heat, and tons of avocado layered over everything.

Chavela's: 736 Franklin Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11238 (map); 718-622-3100; chavelasnyc.com

[Photograph: Carey Jones]

Tortas at Puebla Mini Market ($7 - $8)
Tortas at Puebla Mini Market ($7 - $8)
Sunset Park's Puebla Mini Market has been adding to their torta menu since it opened in 1992. There are currently more than 30 options on the menu and the grocery/tortaria has become a haven for torta lovers citywide—us included. Gotta try 'em all.

Puebla Mini Market: 39-08 5th Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11232 (map); 718-435-3326

[Photograph: Scarlett Lindeman]

Breakfast Torta at La Flor Bakery ($4)
Breakfast Torta at La Flor Bakery ($4)
If you're feeling less than yourself—sick, hungover, or just in need of a sandwich hug—check out the breakfast-ish torta at La Flor Bakery. The pillowy soft, slightly sweet bread is stuffed with creamy eggs, bits of ham, refried beans, onions, avocado, lettuce, tomato, and a generous squirt of crema. It's all about creaminess four ways: tender egg, ripe avocado, beans, and slightly tangy cream.

La Flor Bakery: 4021 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11232 (map); 718-633-1254

[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

Pambazo at El Mariachi ($8)
Pambazo at El Mariachi ($8)
Potatoes that have spent some time getting to know the griddle are crisp, with almost burnt crusts that make this sandwich so special. Knobby chunks of just as crisped-up chorizo are joined by some cool lettuce and crema on a soft sweet bun that's drenched in a mild chili sauce—use your hands at your own peril.

El Mariachi: 33-11 Broadway, Astoria, NY 11106 (map); 718-545-4039; astoriamexicanrestaurant.com

[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

Pierna at De Mole ($6.50)
Pierna at De Mole ($6.50)
One of the tastier offerings at De Mole is the Pierna Torta. It's stuffed with thin slices of braised pork leg, topped with a sweet chipotle sauce, pleasantly lard-y refried beans, avocado, stringy cheese, lettuce, and tomato. Though the pork is a little more lean than I'd like, its firm bite, nicely porky flavor, and ample rub of complex chili sauce more than make up for its shortcomings. Avocado and refried beans add great creaminess, countered nicely by chewy cheese and crunchy iceberg.

De Mole: Locations in Astoria (718-777-1655) and Woodside (718-392-2161); demolenyc.com

[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

Pumas at Tortas Neza ($14)
Pumas at Tortas Neza ($14)
A competition-worthy dish at the Tortas Neza sandwich truck in Corona is the Torta Pumas. Its layers include fried, hot-dog-like sausages, a breaded and deep fried chicken cutlet, a chorizo omelet, several slices of head cheese and ham, refried beans, pickled jalapeños, lettuce, tomato, avocado, and a generous helping of fresh Oaxacan-style cheese. Not the cheapest torta on our list, but it could easily feed a small family.

Tortas Neza: Corner of Roosevelt Avenue and 111th Street, Corona, NY 11368 (map); 347-666-1517

[Photograph: James Boo]

Cemita at Estrellita Poblana III ($6.50)
Cemita at Estrellita Poblana III ($6.50)
A serious amount of food is stuffed between the light, airy sesame egg roll but, surprisingly, it's not very messy. The milanesa de res—thinly pounded, bread, and fried beef, plays nicely with the pungent papalo, stretchy cheese, crunchy onion, and creamy avocado and mayo.

Estrellita Poblana III: 2328 Arthur Avenue, The Bronx, NY 10458 (map); 718-220-7621

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Egg and Chorizo at Real Azteca ($6)
Egg and Chorizo at Real Azteca ($6)
Bright red pieces of sausage are cooked into lightly fried eggs, their creaminess upped by the avocado. Tomato and iceberg are a little bland, but the scattered strips of pickled jalapenos and lathered on queso fresco play into the dynamic just right. Fresh and toasted, the bread is deceptively good—especially after soaking up some sauce.

Real Azteca: 1013 East 163rd Streeet, The Bronx, NY 10459 (map); 718-860-1566

[Photograph: Chris Crowley]