Mexico City, Elsternwick and Bentleigh, Melbourne

I love a small, buzzing, Tex Mex eatery. There’s something about one that transports me back to the dusty, noisy, no-frills establishments that I frequented during my (too short) time in Mexico.

The two Mexico City branded restaurants (in the south-east suburbs of Melbourne), do a good job of providing a no-fuss entry point to casual Mexican street food. Nothing is pretentious, nothing too flash, just the provision of blue-collar Tex Mex dishes, full of fresh and punchy flavours.

mexican beef fajitas with bell peppers panoramic shot

The small Elsternwick restaurant is the original (founded in 2011), with the Bentleigh eatery repeating the successful formula a few years later. There was also a food truck at some point too, as the Mexico City team rode the uptick in interest in Mexican street food.

The decor of both Melbourne restaurants is modest and unassuming. You’ll find Frida Kahlo self-portraits on the wall and humble, laid-back attitudes with the friendly staff.

The food is equally unpretentious. When we visited there were $5 Tacos, $10 Tostados and ordering dos (2) Enchilada (with negra beans and rice) cost us less than $20.

My companion choose the 3 Stooges and received nachos, enchilada and a taco for $21. (Editors note: we visited before the twin devils of COVID and inflation hit the hospitality industry. Prices are unlikely to be the same now).

I love tucking into a sizzling paella and Mexico City’s was excellent. Zingy, mouth-watering flavours were a feature of our lamb and prawn version (I’m not sure how authentic a paella combination this is, but hey, it tasted awesome…).

Mexico City is not fine-dining, but honest, no-nonsense Tex Mex. Served with a smile in homely surroundings and with a decent cocktail menu to boot.

In my worldview, working through plates of tacos, fajitas (with habanero sauce), coupled with frozen margaritas, jugs of Sangria and the afternoon sunshine is one of life’s greater pleasures. Enjoy.

Mexico City Bentleigh – 260 Centre Road, Bentleigh, Vic 3204 03 9557 6663

Melbourne is fortunate to be home to many fabulous Mexican restaurants. Read our selection of the best that the city has to offer here.

Slices of quesadillas with lime slices

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Dylan Cole

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