Who doesn’t love a Mexican meal? Whether it’s a burrito-to-go, tasty taco, enchilada, fajita or something else that’s Mexican-inspired, these restaurants are popping-up all over Sydney. So to help you choose the hombres from the bad hombres, here are the best Mexican eateries Sydney has to offer.
Chula is a seafood-focused Mexican restaurant with a uniquely light yet delectable menu. Chef Alvaro Valenzuela will bring to you the zest of Mexico city. Expect abuela-made foods: raw prawns, served sliced and fanned out and laden with lime juice.
Pink scallops are sandwiched inside tostadas with LP’s Quality Meats chorizo. Whole, de-boned snapper arrives bubbling from the Jasper charcoal grill – spoon the flesh into corn tortillas.
It specialises in woodfired Mexican dishes and takes its inspiration from the haciendas dotted through the Mexican Caribbean (Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos). It has white walls, custom-made dark-timber furniture and Mexican textiles.
The food is a step above your average Sydney Mexican fare and that’s partly because the charcoal incorporates traditional Latin American charcoal grilling techniques. Its signature designed-to-share plates – which come with house-made corn tortillas and sides so you can build your own tacos – feature roasted lamb shoulder with chipotle-citrus yoghurt.
Sonora is a Mexican restaurant and mezcal bar inspired by the thriving restaurant scene in Mexico’s City’s lax neighbourhoods of Roma and Condesa. It’s from the team behind Bondi’s Taqiza and Carbon.
Sonora is all about the Tacos Chingones (literally “bad-ass tacos”) menu, which has options ranging from flat-iron steak to wild mushrooms with zucchini flowers. The dish we predict will ignite interest is the New-York-meets-New-Mexico-inspired Wagyu-pastrami burrito. The tortilla is loaded with layers of pastrami from Belmore salumi-maker Quattro Stelle, plus house-made coriander-and-cabbage sauerkraut, chipotle mustard and black beans.
4. Bad Hombres
At Bad Hombres, the menu is all-vegan and the dishes are inventive without being challenging. Take the cauliflower. Featuring a herby salt, cashew cream, salsa verde, coriander, onion served with corn tortillas on the side, it’s been the most popular dish since the restaurant’s pre-vegan days.
The rotating taco of the week is determined by seasonal produce. You may find your tortilla filled with brussels sprouts, garlic tahini, pickled onion, chilli and mint, or perhaps it’ll be the roasted cabbage with jalapeno sauce, avocado and coriander. Other standouts include the eggplant taco (eggplant fritters with a pineapple habanero salsa) and the sweet corn creme brulée.
Another El Loco popped up at Slip Inn after its successful takeover at Excelsior and offers the same delicious quality Mexican food Sydney has come to expect from its sister restaurant.
El Loco is lively, loud and proud of it. We’re crazy for tacos; whether it’s beef or tofu, your tastebuds are in for a treat. We even have a secret taco (and, no, we’re not telling). We have a line-up of resident DJs, and on Fridays and Saturdays we stay open until 3am, so there’s always a fiesta going on at El Loco.
Since 2013, Mejico, pronounced meh-he-co, has been supplying the Sydney with tantalising tacos. It’s the restaurant’s market-to-table ethos that sets it apart, and there’s also an extensive share-menu that’s semi-vegetarian.
Avocado, Spanish onion, Serrano chilli and coriander are freshly combined at your table for a guacamole serving. It’s served alongside savoury plantain chips. For a seafood meal: snapper and mango version, tossed with pomegranate, is tangy and crisp. The jalapeño poppers – crumbed, stuffed with feta and served with chipotle mayonnaise.
Located above Newtown station is Calaveras. This is the rowdy twin to owner Gerardo Macip’s other venue, Roca. and is lit almost entirely by strings of fairy lights, creating a dim, lively ambience.
The menu pays homage to the country’s vibrant cantina culture. Tantalising tacos arrive flat and topped with chunky ingredients; for fajitas, grilled beef strips are piled high on fragrant rice with “proper guacamole” atop and corn tortillas by La Tortilleria on the side; and Macip’s enchiladas are baked in spicy salsa.