Beyond the Burrito: Melbourne’s Best Mexican Restaurants
Melbourne has long raced ahead of the pack when it comes to authentic, cooked-from-the-heart Mexican cuisine. While there’ll always be a place for frozen margaritas and cheesy Tex-Mex, our hearts now belong to smoky mezcals and zingy ceviche. From big, buzzing cantinas to tiny taquerias, these are our top picks for Melbourne’s best Mexican restaurants, guaranteed to add spice to your night any day of the week.
Their roomy courtyard is perfect for summer nights with friends, while inside there’s plenty of cosy, intimate corners surrounded by cacti, painted skulls and funky wall art. Wherever you land, you’ll get to dig into flavourful Mexican favourites, from tacos laden with beef brisket or grilled prawn, to guacamole loaded with chorizo or carne asada. Order a spread to share with hibiscus margaritas all round.
193 Carlisle St, Balaclava
Flashy, fast and sporting one of the coolest fitouts on Smith Street, Hotel Jesus evokes nostalgic kitsch while serving thoroughly modern food. Fold out chairs, tiled walls, and ceiling fans transport you to the back streets of Mexico City, while the kitchen offers light, summery bites including ponzu-dressed tuna sashimi tostadas and limey prawn ceviche.
174 Smith St, Collingwood
Considered by many to be the OG trailblazer of Melbourne’s Mexican wave, the shine hasn’t dulled on Mamasita in the years since. The CBD taqueria and bar continues to attract queues for its classic dishes given a modern refresh, from tacos with kingfish collars and pistachio habanero crema to braised lamb quesadillas with Oaxacan cheese. Wash it all down with the best Palomas in Hoddle Grid.
11 Collins St, Melbourne
From humble beginnings as a music festival pop-up, Trippy Taco has quickly become Melbourne’s favourite spot for vego Mexican fare – this bubbly joint is right at home in the eco-conscious inner north. Soy cheese and gluten-free options keep everyone happy, while spicy tofu asada tacos prove ethical eating doesn’t have to come at the cost of flavour. Don’t miss their tricked-up sweetcorn tamales slathered in ice cream, banana and maple syrup for dessert.
234 Gertrude St, Fitzroy
6 Acland St, St Kilda
Though located in Brunswick’s industrial heartland, scoring a table at this buzzy bar-eatery is an uphill battle from Thursday to Saturday. If you do, authentic street food awaits, from silky cactus salad and crispy fish tacos to green pepper flautas drizzled with queso fresco. If you’re up for a tipple, the bar shakes up some fabulous cocktails – we love their mezcal margaritas and espresso martinis spiked with tequila and chilli.
339 Victoria St, Brunswick
This convivial cantina gets easy runs on the board in the form of tacos topped with slow-cooked pork belly carnitas and crunchy baja fish. However, our money’s on the unpretentious, homestyle dishes you won't find elsewhere – in particular their freshly steamed tamales filled with earthy chicken mole and simple-yet-unforgettable tortilla soup.
500 Victoria St, North Melbourne
This cheerful little tuckshop bar evokes the easygoing beach vibes of Tulum. They’ve got beach umbrellas, fairy lights and coloured flags strung from the ceiling, while milk crates sub in for chairs and wooden pallets have been made into tables. They press their soft corn tortillas for their tacos fresh daily and offer a short but punchy selection of tequila and mezcal-based cocktails, plus churros with dulce de leche for dessert.
85 Peel St, West Melbourne
As the name suggests, this pocket-sized diner has a laser focus on making authentic tortillas from scratch – a process that begins with stone-grinding maize and ends with perfectly soft, yet sturdy discs. They make thousands each day and you can enjoy them wrapped around slow cooked beef cheeks and pork al pastor tacos, under barramundi and guac tostadas, and inside your bag when you take a pack home.
72 Stubbs St, Kensington
For the perfect post-beach feed, perch out on Radio Mexico’s al-fresco area for fig mezcal sours and casual street eats. The St Kilda favourite doesn’t pretend to be super authentic, but it hardly matters when you’ve got delicious snacks like panko-crumbed cheese-stuffed jalapenos and spanner crab, corn and avo tostaditas to eat as you soak up the last of the afternoon sun.
11-13 Carlisle St, St Kilda
At this well-loved spot for post-work tipples and tortillas, you’ll find cheerful groups snacking on kingfish ceviche, crispy prawn tostadas and churros dipped in mezcal chocolate sauce over jugs of sangria and feijoa rum punch. The place transforms into a party starter at the end of the week with DJs and margaritas made with 12 different salt rims, including black truffle, matcha green tea and ghost pepper if you’re feeling dangerous.
Level 6, Curtin House, 252 Swanston Street, Melbourne
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