23 August 2019
There’s a lot to love about Sydney’s Mexican restaurants—from traditional taquerias to eateries where mod-Mexico shines like the salt crust on a margarita. We’ve braved the spiciest salsas, chili-est chilies and the most fabulous fajitas to compile this list of the 10 best.
SoCal is most definitely southern Californian in both its vibe and cuisine. A beach-inspired fit-out and a bright, airy, leafy courtyard create the mood—then the food does the rest. The honest-to-goodness Cal-Mex offerings might include smoked brisket, delicate scallop ceviche, herby spiced black beans and a BBQ pork quesadilla. Six agave-based cocktails only add to the deliciousness.
This food truck has built a loyal following based on only three things: nachos, burritos and soft-shell tacos. But done very, very well. Fill your tacos with slow-roasted chipotle beef or pork cooked in citrus and guajillo chilli, and decide whether you’re a hot, extra hot or inferno type of person. Follow CM’s Instagram to find out where the truck is popping up next.
Uruguay meets Mexico at this cozy cafe-cum-restaurant serving up the best in Latin American home-cooking. A must-try is the sopa Azteca (tortilla soup), where fried tortilla strips are drenched in a rich, red chicken broth, topped with lime wedges and coriander. Equally delicious is the chivito al plato, the Uruguayan take on a steak sandwich, which features an assemblage of thin tender steak piled with everything from ham to fried eggs.
Located in The Eastern Hotel, this restaurant and rooftop bar features an inspired Mexican fit-out: think hand-painted tiles, religious iconography and Day of the Dead skeletons. El Topo’s chefs deliver mod-Mexican share plates such as fried plantain, roast crickets, scallop ceviche with strawberry salsa, coffee-marinated flank steak and a mushroom taco with pumpkin mole.
The street food at Chica Bonita is well worth the trip on the ferry over to Manly. Like Bondi Junction’s El Topo, the decor is muchos Mexican—even the toilets are plastered in cut-outs from Mexican newspapers. The drinking/eating balance is pretty close to perfect here, with killer margaritas and great Mexican beers matched with heavenly tacos and delicious tortillas.
At its two Sydney locations, Dos Senoritas prides itself on serving simple, authentic Mexican dishes where flavour is key. While you’re nibbling on the complimentary corn chips and salsa, try to decide which taco is your poison: gringo style (flour), street style (corn) or Tex Mex (crispy). Oh, and save some room for the one-is-never-enough churros.
There’s plenty to love about this Glebe mainstay (including that fabulous name): from the lip-smacking margaritas and huge array of tequilas to the epic hot sauces. Prices are reasonable and servings are generous. Make sure you try the deep-fried Chimichanga burrito and queso fundido, a moreish gooey Mexican cheese dip served with crisp corn chips.
Under the guidance of Dan Hong, one of Sydney’s brightest and boldest chefs, this Mexican joint at the Excelsior Hotel in Surry Hills is very hot property. You’ll need to get in early on a weekend to enjoy the menu inspired by LA taco trucks. You may even have to queue—but once you’re sipping on a jalapeno margarita or one of 25 varieties of tequila, it probably won’t matter too much.
There’s a subtlety about Méjico (pronounced ‘Meh-hee-ko’), both in the decor and the food offerings. It’s mod-Mexican executed beautifully: empanadas filled with beef cheek and bone marrow; tacos stuffed with baked king trout or smoked lentils; sweet corn ‘ribs’ served with agave mayo; chipotle- and beer-glazed pork ribs. And you won’t want to miss the signature guacamole—freshly smashed to order at your table.
Wood-fired dishes are the speciality in this pretty, white-washed eatery on busy Bondi Road (‘carbón’ is Spanish for charcoal). Charcoal grilling (parrilla) and a roasting box known as a caja china are what create all the great smoky flavours in dishes such as roasted lamb shoulder with Grandma’s mole and fire-roasted chicken with mango habanero salsa. If your tastes run a little simpler, the tacos are absolutely top-notch, too.