Cinco de Mayo is today, the fifth of May and while for some of us painting our faces in a very extravagant way seems a little too hard to celebrate the day of the dead, eating damn good Mexican food isn’t hard at all. To celebrate the wonderfully flavoursome cuisine, we thought we’d give you a list of some of our favourite venues to eat tacos and drink tequila. Costumes and face art is optional.
Mamasita is known for its long lines and upmarket offering. With a focus on authentic yet modern Mexican food, Mamasita prides itself on bringing Melbourne the concept of a Mexican taqueria, and offering up a range of some of the best tequila on the market. Sharing is encouraged, so be prepared to split tacos of marinated prawns, creamed corn puree, epazote, and jalapeno crema, or maybe Al Pastor style pig’s cheek with fiery apple, and white cabbage. The refined menu moves to larger dishes of red mole with braised goat, thyme, oregano, and plantains.
11 Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
Another restaurant for a nice evening on the town, Newmarket Hotel brings authentic Mexican cuisine and beautiful surroundings together in their large St Kilda restaurant. The extensive menu covers everything from Achiote prawn tacos with fragrant herbs and jicama slaw, to signature dishes like the whole roasted Milawa chicken with heirloom carrots, sugarloaf cabbage, and smoked bacon. Finishing with a Valrhona dark chocolate pot with blueberries, orange, and almond works well too.
34 Inkerman Street, St Kilda VIC 3182
(03) 9537 1777
A simple, fresh, Mexican meal by the beach sound like a good idea? Radio Mexico is the place for you. Start small with some pepitas or some guacamole with hand cut chips and pico de gallo, move to nachos with spicy roast pumpkin and three cheeses. Mains see oven roasted free-range pork belly with pineapple salsa and green rice or the roast chicken carnitas and poblano peppers in green sauce with home made crema and green rice.
11/13 Carlisle Street, St Kilda VIC 3182
(03) 9534 9990
Acland St Cantina
Acland Street Cantina is a place of many personalities. Bright and loud out the front during the day, dark, moody and sultry out the back at night. Either way, the food and the drinks are thought out and tasty. Pumpkin guacamole is served with salsa fresco and vegetable chips while Peruvian style kingfish ceviche is served with sweet potato, salsa criola, and taro chips. You can also get a breakfast inspired margarita of gin, Cointreau, lemon, and orange marmalade.
Acland St Cantina
2 Acland Street, St Kilda VIC 3182
(03) 9536 1175
Touche Hombre feels like a loud, dark bar that sells Mexican food. In all the right ways. Nab a seat at the CBD restaurant and eat your way through the good times. Start with fried chicken, or maybe a blue crab, chilli, lime, and basil tostadito. Tacos see the left of centre haloumi, beetroot mayo, mint, and caramelised peach salsa, while larger dishes include half twice-cooked duck, agave glaze, chilli sweet potato chips, and spinach. Oh and ice cream sandwiches to finish.
233 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9663 0811
With four locations to choose from now, it’s usually pretty convenient. Flinders Lane, Richmond, Windsor, and now Hawthorn. A quick, casual, and easy dinner spot. Order your beef burrito at the bar while your friends tuck into the cocktail jug and the highly addictive tortilla crisps with guacamole and salsa. And the Mex-Bim-Bap of corn, zucchini, sweet potato, peats, mint, spinach, guacamole, quinoa, black beans, pickled carrot and onion, and shaved cabbage is a salad that won’t leave you hungry. They make everything from scratch too, freshly pressing their tortillas daily.
Locations: Flinders Lane, Richmond, Hawthorn and Windsor
La Condesa Fitzroy
La Condesa is the bohemian quarter of Mexico City. Hanging out in Fitzroy, La Condesa is bringing a piece of that neighbourhood to the streets of Melbourne with their relaxed venue. With Palomas (tequila, grapefruit soda, agave, and lime) on tap, you know these guys are about the good times. The menu is small with $5 tacos, maybe the mushroom, queso, onion, and coriander, quesadillas, chicken wings, and desserts.
234 Johnston Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065
(03) 9419 5675
Opened by two bothers, this Richmond venue is all about replicating the street offering found in Mexico. They keep things concise with a menu of six tacos, salsas served with tortilla chips, and fire roasted corn. We’re into a couple of the flame grilled fish tacos and some made-to-order guacamole served with tortilla chips. A margarita made with Calle 23 Blanco Tequila wouldn’t go astray either.
413 Swan Street Richmond VIC 3121
(03) 9429 5695
Beach Burrito Fitzroy
With around 12 venues across Australia, it’s about time Beach Burrito opened up in Victoria. Luckily for us their new Fitzroy venue serves up more than just tacos. Namely an indoor skating swimming pool. Before you get too excited, we’re not allowed to skate in it due to the serious nature of the structure. Only professionals are allowed to test their skills. We can however sit back and watch while eating nachos, chilli fries, and corn tortillas pressed with a range of fillings including lots of cheese. Or maybe even a plate of jalapeno poppers if you’re game.
Beach Burrito Fitzroy
230-232 Gertrude street, Melbourne VIC 3065
(03) 9416 4863