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 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.
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 Mexico City catering food truck at some point too, as the Mexico City team rode the uptick in interest in Mexican street food.
Recently the group has also launched Mexico City Cantina in the leafy suburb of Surrey Hills.
The decor of these Melbourne restaurants is modest and unassuming, reflecting the focus on street food. You’ll find Frida Kahlo self-portraits on the wall and humble, laid-back attitudes with the friendly staff. The feel is your local, welcoming Mexican restaurant.
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…).
Hungry for a classic Mexican dessert? The choice was not extensive but we enjoyed our Choc Nachos. For those with a particularly sweet tooth, there are flauts (banana and strawberry) and a choc mousse to consider too.
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. And this Mexican restaurant group does all these things really well.
Feel like rustling up some comforting beef nachos yourself? See our easy recipe.
Mexico City Melbourne:
Mexico City Bentleigh – 260 Centre Road, Bentleigh, Vic 3204 Tel: 03 9557 6663
Mexico City Cantina – 595 Whitehorse Rd, Surrey Hills, Vic 3127 Tel: 0437 111 069
Editors note: We have been informed that Mexico City Elsternwick is now permanently closed. Mexico City Cantina (Surrey Hills) and Mexico City Bentleigh are still open as usual.
Best Mexican Restaurants
Melbourne, and Australia as a whole, is fortunate to be home to many fabulous Mexican restaurants.
Mexican cuisine has exploded in popularity in recent years, from Australian chains fast on the way to becoming international icons (Guzman Y Gomez), and national treasures (Fonda Mexican), to intimate Mexican Street Food eateries like Mexico City.
If you’re yet to try eating at a Mexican restaurant, why not try one of the following?
Best Mexican Restaurants in Melbourne
Read our selection of the best Mexican eateries that Melbourne can offer in this article.
Mexican Restaurants in Sydney
If you’re visiting Sydney, check out these Mexican restaurants to find excellent Tex Mex .
Mexican Restaurants in Brisbane
If you’re off to Brisbane, then these Mexican eateries should be on your preferred list.