La Palapa, an authentic Mexican restaurant specializing in “Mexico City style” tacos and quesadillas and regional home cooking opened in November 2000 at 77 St. Marks Place, between First and Second Avenue in the East Village.
La Palapa is owned by Barbara Sibley, a chef and artist with extensive New York City restaurant experience. Barbara was born and raised in Mexico City. Her recent cookbook is Antojitos: Festive and Flavorful Mexican Small Plates. She is owner and Chef of La Palapa Cocina Mexicana. For many years she has collected traditional, rare and ancient Mexican recipes, including 17th Century recipes from Mexico’s convent kitchens, and traditional ingredients. Her interest in indigenous cuisines was deepened by her studies in Anthropology at Barnard College. Her New York restaurant career began at La Tulipe, a New York Times Three Star French Restaurant, where she was influenced by Sally Darr, Jacques Pepin, Julia Child, James Beard, Mimi Sheraton and Sarah Moulton.Since 1997, she has served as co-director and founder of the San Miguel Poetry Week, an annual poetry conference in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
La Palapa focuses on authentic Mexican cuisine featuring Tacos al Pastor, Mole Negro Oaxaqueno, Salsa Pibil and many other specialties from different regions of Mexico. Salsas and sauces are rich and spicy and fresh ingredients are used. A palapa is a palm-thatched shelter on a Mexican beach where you can relax with your feet in the sand looking at the ocean while you sip an ice cold cerveza flavored with lime and salt, and eat a spicy shrimp taco with salsa guajillo.