Sydney

The Best Mexican Restaurants in Sydney

Sydney's Mexican cuisine is improving. Here's the proof.

SoCal
Photo Courtesy Of www.yasminmund.com

Mexican restaurants in Sydney have come a long way, yet with all the offerings available, it seems we still have a long way to go, for more variety, more styles, and more culture. Not to mention, importing ingredients from South America is much easier in Northern Hemisphere countries than it is in Australia. 

With that said, over the past seven years, Sydney’s Latin American cuisine game has stepped up, and Sydneysiders are loving it. From Taco bars to margarita bars, here are Sydney’s best Mexican restaurants to try. 

Cartel
Photo Courtesy Of Cartel

Cartel

Chippendale
This fun and buzzing Mexican joint brings a lot of South American flavours, and culture to the table. They’re unapologetic in what they serve, including a traditional style ceviche (served in a bowl), and they do as much as they can, in the traditional way. You will notice the empanadas are not puff pastry and the corn chips are not the corn chips you know. Instead, they import dried corn, reboil it and mill it into flour to be made into masa (maize dough), which is then used to create tortillas, corn chips, and the pastry for the empanadas, among other things. Their drinks are also a standout, with cocktails made from avocado-washed tequila, cactus cocktails covered in worm salt, and a margarita tree that comes with 10 cocktails on a tree apparatus. International mixologist, is a whiz behind the bar, constantly breaking the rules and coming up with new concoctions that we haven’t seen before. It doesn’t get any better, or more authentic than Cartel.

best mexican restaurants sydney

Casa Mérida

Potts Point
Casa Merida is a 70-seat venue drawing inspiration from the city of Mérida and offers a Mexican dining experience you won’t find anywhere else in Sydney. The palatial elegance and Mayan ancestry, juxtaposing stone and rustic time-worn interiors with chandeliers and luxe gold detailing creates a feeling of nostalgia and history. Although the menu is where you will find traditional Mayan cuisine, including the Cochinita Pibil—a traditional Yucatán pork dish. This is a must when dining here, but the chicken tacos are also good. For dessert, opt for the classic flan or the bitter orange dessert is also a crowd-pleaser.

Carbon Bondi
Photo By Kitti Gould

Carbon

Bondi
Carbon is all about Mexican woodfired dishes using traditional South American ‘parrilla’ techniques. Here, you will find a menu filled with classic dishes, including a range of tacos from chicken to mushrooms, and larger main dishes that are ideal for sharing. Think charred cauliflower, lamb shoulder, half-roasted chicken, and grilled octopus served with kipfler potatoes, and chipotle pesto. The signature is to make your own tacos which you can choose from a range of meats, and ingredients to make a delicious taco, that’s all your own. The drinks here are just as important as the food. Choose from an extensive range of mezcals, and a selection of blue agave tequilas, which will transport you to Mexico. Of course, you can always savour a margarita, or try a mezcal old fashioned.

Chula

Potts Point
Mexican cuisine doesn’t have to be all about tacos and burritos. Chula focuses on seafood, offering up a light, and fresh menu with Mexican flavours and techniques from expat chef Alvaro Valenzuela, who moved to Sydney from Mexico City. Start with tuna sashimi tostadas or a classic ceviche, before digging into the Baja tacos, and garlic prawn quesadilla. While seafood is their signature, be sure to try their other offerings, including slow-cooked brisket tacos, octopus, and enchiladas filled with braised chicken, or mushroom. If you want a taste of everything, the set menu ($55 per person) is a great way to travel with food. Expect BBQ corn cob, potato and chorizo enchiladas, and more. You might also notice the sizeable bar, offering margarita options, and other fun tequila cocktails. Chula is a great place to explore Latin America, without leaving the country.

Sonora
Photo By Kitti Gould

Sonora

Potts Point
The team behind Bondi’s Taqiza, Carbon, La Palma & Calita, is also operating this Mexican restaurant and mezcal bar in Potts Point. Sonora is inspired by the dining scene found in Roma and Condesa, not to mention the coastal town of Sonora, known for its love of flour tortillas over corn. The menu is small, but the flavours are big, and they love their flavours. You will find tuna ceviche, kingfish aguachile, BBQ eggplant, octopus zarandeado, and wagyu flank steak with chimichurri on the menu. Enjoy a selection of homemade salsas to accompany any of the dishes. As for dessert, there are no churros, but you will find flan and grilled pineapple with agave syrup. If you’re looking to feast, the bottomless menu is a 1.5-hour session of unlimited tacos, salsas, and all you can drink margaritas.

Ricos Tacos

Roseberry and Marrickville
After being forced out of The George In Waterloo, in part due to the pandemic, Toby Wilson took his tacos on wheels, introducing us to Ricos Tacos. You can find these flavour-packed tacos outside Gelato Messina’s Roseberry HQ and as of recently, a mobile taqueria at Grifter Brewing Co. in Marrickville. The menu is always changing. A good way to see what’s cooking is to follow their Instagram page. Expect, a range of tacos from cauliflower to pulled beef, topped with different kinds of salsa including the infamous Taco King salsa.

Bad Hombres
Photo By Bad Hombres – Madeleine Ryan

Bad Hombres

Surry Hills
This Mexican inspired eatery is vegan, which is not something you hear a lot of. The menu is a playful take on Mexican classics including nachos, quesadillas, ceviche, and others. For example, nachos come with cashew cream, and mushrooms replace fish in the ceviche. You will also find tacos filled with miso eggplant, Baja jackfruit, and chipotle potato. The sharing plates are great for when you want to try a little of everything including oyster mushrooms stir-fried Peruvian style or mole enchiladas with sweet potato, kale, corn, and house ‘cheddar.’ Their drinks list also contains natural wines and a range of mezcals.

Chica Bonita

Manly
Literally meaning pretty girl, Chica Bonita marries Mexican flavours with Australian ingredients. Think steak and chorizo tacos or crispy tempura corn with spicy miso tacos. You will even find a cheeseburger taco on the menu which features, beef, cheese, avocado, white onion, mayo and pickles. While tacos rule the dinner service, lunch focuses on burritos and bowls. Burritos come in all kinds of styles including veggie, crumbed fish, chicken, steak, and lamb. Any of these flavours come in the bowls too. As for drinks, there’s a list of margaritas and mezcals on offer including several types of tequila.

SoCal
Photo Courtesy Of www.yasminmund.com

SoCal

Neutral Bay
SoCal, short for Southern California, is an airy, light-filled restaurant in Neutral Bay serving up a slice of Southern California vibe, alongside a Latin America inspired menu. Expect street food, low n slow-smoked meats, house-made sauces, and indulgent sides. Bite into a soft shell crab taco, or an Australian take on a taco dubbed the chip butty. There’s also a number of shared dishes including fried smoked wings, jerk chicken thigh cutlets, Kingfish tiradito, tiger prawns, and achiote cauliflower with cashew cream, and tomatillo. The drinks menu includes everything from day time cocktails to tequilas and plenty of cervezas. SoCal is famous for its fiestas, so be sure to check out their Instagram to keep an eye on the next event including a comedy night, and tequila masterclass.

Cantina Bar

Balmain
Head to Balmain for this Mexican watering hole slinging $5 tacos on Tuesdays and $10 margaritas on Saturday and Sundays between 12 pm to 5 pm. The menu is fun and down to earth with simple tacos, offering big flavours. If you’re up for the challenge, opt-in for the tacos tasting board, which comes with six different tacos for $40. You will also find quesadillas, duck tostadas, tuna ceviche, fajita salad bowl, and spiced chipotle wings. Let’s not forget about the desserts. Churros, a Latin pavlova, and not to be missed, Xocoatl, which is a Mexican chocolate and avocado mousse served with crushed pistachios, pomegranate, candied pasilla and sweet tostadas. There’s a lot to love about Cantina Bar—see for yourself.

Esteban

CBD
Hailing from the team behind Tequila Mockingbird is Esteban, a two-storey Mexican restaurant with one of the biggest collection of premium tequilas and mezcals in Australia. Upstairs you will find the restaurant, and if you venture downstairs there is a mezcal bar and a laneway dining space to enjoy. They make their corn tortillas in-house and the custom-built Parilla grill and vertical charcoal rotisserie turn out all the yummy meats for the tacos and larger main dishes including an Ironbark grilled chicken. The restaurant upstairs focuses on indulgent options from wattleseed rubbed duck breast and a Wagyu 1kg Delmonico rib eye served with a selection of sides including charred carrots with agave butter and grilled broccolini. Downstairs, the menu takes a street food approach with tacos, ceviche and tortas available from lunch until late.

El Loco
Photo Courtesy Of El Loco

El Loco

Surry Hills
Walk around Surry Hills and you’ll come across a vibrant little eatery, serving a little of Mexico in Sydney. Operated by Merivale, this cheeky spot, is a great lunch break, or for after-work drinks. If you’re a night owl, stick around, El Loco’s DJ’s will have you sipping and dancing all night long. The menu is extensive and includes tacos, either signature or DIY style, quesadillas, large plates, and sides, so if you have a group of friends or are on a date night, El Loco is a great place for any occasion. The DIY taco platters are a crowd-pleaser. You get eight soft flour tortillas, lettuce, pickled jalapeños and onion, guacamole, grilled corn, refried beans, and pico de gallo. Sip on margaritas or enjoy a range of Caballito shooters packed with colour and flavour.

Mejico

CBD
How do you like your guacamole? Smashed tableside? We Agree. Mejico is a modern Mexican restaurant and bar on Pitt Street, that has been serving Central American cuisine since 2013. Still a popular haunt, Mejico has an industrial vibe inside with exposed brick walls, and concrete beams, but the menu is refined and sophisticated. Focusing on market-fresh food, the menu is split into street snacks, tacos, and mains. The street snacks include empanadas, jalapeno poppers, corn ribs with chilli, and patatas bravas smashed potatoes with paprika and smoked cayenne aioli. Their tacos are classics including chicken, beef, and prawn, but are a must-try. The market menu is where flavours and techniques shine. Expect to find beef tartare, beetroot carpaccio, chargrilled octopus with Amarillo sauce and puffed rice, and a watermelon salad with mint and habanero sprinkled with Mexican dukkah. To drink, choose from over 230 tequila and mezcals, or work your way through the cocktails list including a Mexo Espresso.

Flying Fajita Sistas

Glebe
Despite its comical name, Flying Fajita Sistas serves serious festive flavours, in its little shop in Glebe. It’s mostly known as a local haunt, but you will find out of towners digging into smalls and large plates designed to be shared. The prices are on the more affordable side, with two tacos for $13 or three for $18. You can choose your filling with options such as jackfruit, roasted cauliflower, mango and avocado, grilled chicken, and beef brisket. You will also find nachos and burritos on the menu along with their signature fajitas which you assemble yourself at the table. To pair with your fajita or taco, trust in the sangria of the week. They know how to make a good one.

Calita
Photo By Kitti Gould

Calita

Bondi
The team behind Taqiza and Carbon is also continuing their love of Mexican fare here at Calita, which appropriately has a focus on seafood. While enjoying seaside views of Bondi, dig into sustainably sourced seafood and Baja Peninsula-inspired dishes in the form of tacos or botanas, also known as snacks and share plates. Think blue swimmer crab tostadas, calamari ceviche, smoked trout, and spiced prawn tacos. There’s even a Mexican take on fish and chips. For dessert, a pineapple and tequila sorbet awaits as well as homemade churros with dipping sauces: dulce de leche, macadamia, and chocolate. The drinks menu highlights several beers, but you would be amiss if you didn’t give the Tommy margarita a try.

Taqiza
Photo By Kitti Gould

Taqiza

Bondi
Here is another Bondi Mexican joint, from the same owners as Calita and Carbon. Taqiza, meaning taco party is exactly that. Here, you will find taco combinations like BBQ salmon, beef cheeks, grilled barramundi, octopus, and pork belly—to name a few. It’s the perfect place for taco lovers looking to expand their taqueria knowledge. Of course, they have a few other items on the menu including quesadillas and ceviche as a starter. If you love a taco Tuesday, be sure to drop by here for $6 tacos and $14 drinks.

Get the latest from Thrillist Australia delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here.

Sydney

What’s On in Sydney This Winter

There's plenty on.

It’s officially cold, but that doesn’t mean we should hibernate. Throw on a warm coat and hit the streets as Sydney comes alive with Bridgerton Balls, lobster rolls, ramen clubs and much more.

Check out these events if you’re looking for more fun things to do this weekend in Sydney. 

things to do sydney this weekend
Photo: @thelobstersocial

Indulge in lobster rolls and truffle fries at the Lobster&Co pop up

August 16- September 25
The Rocks
Following a hugely successful Melbourne pop-up, Lobster&Co is coming to Sydney. Bringing with it their iconic lobster rolls, truffle fries and champagne—served from an airstream. The lobster rolls are stuffed with wild-caught whole confit lobster, fennel slaw, and a touch of citrus. Lobster&Co will also be popping up during Taste in the City, taking place in Entertainment Quarter from September 3-4.
Cost: Starting from $50

things to do sydney this weekend

Attend the Cherry Blossom Festival

Saturday August 20 to Sunday, August 28
Auburn
One of Australia’s most photographed cultural events is returning to Auburn Botanic Gardens this August. The Cherry Blossom Festival pays homage to Japan’s traditions, music, pop culture, and food, with the incredible backdrop bursting with cherry blossoms. For those who want to attend, you must buy tickets and pre-book a session in advance. Each ticket includes an all-day entry into the festival grounds and a 45-minute session of your choice on the Cherry Trail, which is where you can get the best photos. Although, be sure to check out the other attractions, including a Hello Kitty Garden Party, 9-hole Putt Putt Course, and the Japanese Food Village for Japanese Hanami staples.
Cost: $11.75

things to do sydney this weekend

Party all night in this Rave Igloo

Ends September 25
Greenwood Hotel
A three-month igloo rave has arrived at Greenwood Hotel brought to you by S*A*S*H Sydney and Fireball Cinnamon Whisky. Enjoy tonnes of snow, a fireball bar, and fire pits to keep you cosy all night. Local S.A.S.H. residents Kerry Wallace, Gabby and Jake Hough will provide the background music, along with international DJs every week.
Cost: Varies.

things to do sydney this weekend

Get a Negroni at Apollonia’s Negroni Series

Starts July 26, 2022
CBD
Negronis from five of The World’s 50 Best Bars will take centre stage at Apollonia for six months with Volume One featuring negronis from Atlas (Singapore), PDT (New York City), Sweet Liberty (Miami), COA (Hong Kong) and Above Board (Melbourne). In six months, these five negronis will rotate out and be replaced with five more from a new selection of bars.
Cost: Varies.

Catch a never before seen in Australia Sidney Nolan exhibit

July 21 – October 23
Darlinghurst
The Sydney Jewish Museum is exhibiting 50 of Sydney Nolan’s Auschwitz paintings, which have never been seen before in Australia. Until recently, the paintings mainly remained hidden, their stories untold for over half a century. The public can tour the exhibit to see Nolan’s intense paintings, created after a tour of Auschwitz in 1961. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see this interpretation of history from an Australian perspective.
Cost: $20.08 for adults, $15.86 for senior concession, and $12.69 for students. Free for children under 10.

things to do sydney this weekend

Go glamping in the city with friends

Surry Hills
The Winery has been transformed into a cosy, bohemian glamping spot, perfect for rugging up and indulging in comfort food with friends. Nestled in the laneway’s garden, each glamping tent is set up with floor cushions, soft rugs, blankets and low table tops for grazing. The experience is complete with a four-course menu featuring grilled olive bread and burrata, salt and pepper calamari, truffled steak frites, and more.
Cost: Starts from $69 per person.

things to do sydney this weekend

Indulge in Raclette, S’mores, and spiced rum cocktails at Opera Bar

July 21-28
Circular Quay
This winter, Opera Bar is launching roving carts serving raclette, s’mores, and warming Bacardi Spiced Rum cocktails to your table. Keep warm by hailing the cocktail cart for hot buttered rums, raclette melted over crispy potatoes, or get your sweet fix with s’mores—toasted at the table. Live music is on every night and there are plenty of heaters to keep you warm while you take in that stellar harbour backdrop. The roving carts are available from Thursdays to Sundays.
Cost: $11 -50.

things to do sydney this weekend
Photo: K Wong Photography

Follow the Truffle Trail down in Darling Square

Ongoing
Darling Square
Over the next few weeks, dive into all things truffle with a selection of Sydney restaurants offering exciting dishes showcasing the unique depth and the umami and sweet flavours of the hyper-seasonal truffle. To take things to the next level, a pop-up cart will be open each Sunday offering exclusive, luxury truffle products for avid truffle seekers. Expect duck truffle soup from Auvers Cafe, wild mushroom truffle ragu from Hello Auntie, and even Truffalo buffalo wings from Wingboy.
Cost: Varies

things to do sydney this weekend
Photo: Holly Hawkins

Attend a 10-day art, NFT, and negroni pop-up for charity

July 21-31
The Rocks and Darling Quarter
Sydneysiders can discover an epic line-up of homegrown artists, from NFT creator Bianca Beers to graffiti artist Scott Marsh, with 100% of profits from ONE’s ticket donations, art sales and auctions going to local charities, including; Asylum Seekers Centre, HalfCut and Save the Children. Across the 10 days, there will also be live auctions featuring luxury items from local businesses, exclusive pieces from Sydney artists and designers, themed life-drawing, and comedy tickets to the ARA Darling Quarter Theatre. 
Cost: Varies from $10- $200 (dependant on auction pricing)
Buy tickets here.

Attend The Bridgerton Ball

Saturday, September 3
Town Hall
The town’s most informed Lady is inviting the cream of the town to the social gathering of the season at the exquisite Sydney Town Hall. Dress in elegance and come prepared to dance to classics known to many by our fabulous string quartet. Favourable food and enticing premium drinks fit for Lady’s and Lord’s, along with an array of activities such as life drawing and games of chance await you as you try not to be caught up in the gossip to earn the Queen’s attention. 
Cost: $209.

things to do sydney this weekend

Try Maybe Sammy’s new cocktail menu

From April 6
The Rocks
Rat Pack is out. Artistic doyennes are in. The new menu has been inspired by 12 women who have shaped us artistically from the fields of music, art, cinema and fashion. Each of the 12 cocktails is a tribute to these leading ladies and their contribution to the arts. Maybe Sammy has collaborated with a talented female Australian artist, Clementine Roslund (who goes by @klemekleme_), who has created bespoke artworks to accompany each cocktail. The artwork sits alongside each cocktail in the new menu booklet, entitled ‘Stardust’, which is the name of this new collection. Each cocktail will have a bespoke custom social media filter made from the artwork, so you can pop yourself or your chum into it and extend the experience. The filters will be accessed by a QR code that can be found next to each of the cocktails in the Stardust menu.

things to do sydney this weekend

Conquer Sydney’s tallest paint and sip experience

Ongoing
CBD
Champainting has launched Sydney’s highest paint and sip event at over 300 metres above the CBD in the Sydney Tower Eye. The exclusive event allows guests to paint the ‘City by Night’ masterpiece. Sip on a two-hour drinks package and enjoy a gourmet grazing box while you unleash your inner Monet.
Cost: $145 per person.

things to do this weekend sydney

Race your friends at Hyper Karting

Ongoing
Entertainment Quarter
Located in Sydney’s The Entertainment Quarter, Hyper Karting is not your average go-karting—it’s karting reimagined. Think, electric karts, faster speeds, environmentally friendly, all-weather track and safe and inclusive karting. Each race is 15 minutes, and you can enter as many races as you want. It’s only $19 per race and there are two tracks, one for the kids (3-7 years old). When you start the race, your kart is at 50% power, although with every lap you finish, your speed increases dependent on your lap times. So the faster you complete a lap. the faster you can go the next time around. They have expert and standard races. If you’ve never been karting before, stick with the standard. You can race as a family, and the best part, they take your dine and discover vouchers. So what are you waiting for?
Cost: $19-$59.

things to do sydney this weekend

Bridge Climb X Hendrick’s Gin Bar

Ongoing
CBD
Throughout the month of January 2022, all climbers that scale the iconic arches on Day and Twilight Climbs departing after 1 pm will be treated to a complimentary post-Climb celebratory drink in an on-site celebration bar, which closes at 10 pm. The post-Climb drink offered will be a Hendrick’s and Fever-Tree Tonic with a cucumber garnish. Alcohol will be served to guests aged 18 years and over only. Those not of legal age to drink will be offered a non-alcoholic version.
Cost: From $198 for adults, and from $99 for kids.

things to do sydney this weekend

Butter X Impossible Pop Up at The Rocks

Ongoing
The Rocks
Butter, Sydney’s favourite burger and chicken joint, have launched an Impossible Pop-Up in The Rocks in Sydney. The menu is made exclusively with Impossible Beef, so you can pop down and try the full menu. Expect dishes such as an Impossible Chilli Cheeseburger, Impossible Katsu and American Impossible Chilli Cheese Fries. There will also be live music, DJs every week, and a bar stocked with fun cocktails. Butter hour is from 5 pm to 6 pm every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Bottomless brunches will also be on, as well as secret menu items, Australia Day festivities and New Years’ events.
Cost: Varies.

Get the latest from Thrillist Australia delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here.

Related

Our Best Stories, Delivered Daily
The best decision you'll make all day.