Expat Magazine

Mexican Restaurants in Sydney

By Floridagirlinsydney
So this one time in band camp...
No, let me start that again.
So this one time in Florida, I was having a Cinco de Mayo party and I printed up these cute invitations that said, "Come Join Us for a Mexican Siesta!".   Clearly growing up in South Florida, I should know better.
Spanish lesson of the day:
Fiesta = party.
Siesta = nap.
And if you're in Australia inviting people to a Cinco de Mayo party, then don't worry, virtually no one down under speaks Español, so even if you've screwed up all your Spanish verbage on the invitations, they'll have no idea what you're saying, and they'll never have heard of Cinco de Mayo to begin with.  No worries mate. 
Have I mentioned that in eighth grade my friend Pedro taught me how to say lots of swear words in Spanish?  Very useful throughout the years.
Moving on...
If you're from Mexico, or California, or Texas then you probably will never be happy with the likes of Mexican restaurants in Australia-- or in other U.S. states for that matter.  But if you're in Australia, and jonesing desperately for burritos or tacos or guacamole-- I'm here to help you get your Mexi-fix.  But I must warn you...  the choices are limited and there's no chile rellenos, at least not that I've found.
So I've done the hard work (eating Mexican food all over Sydney), and I'm ready to share my brief reviews of the best Mexican restaurants in Sydney.
Listed in my personal favorite order:
  • Poco Cantina in Randwick.  Unfortunately for all of us, they have no website... but they do make up for it with their pulled beef chimichangas which are almost Texas quality (that's my baseline for comparison purposes; though I know that just doesn't cut it with Californians).   Their fajitas are very good.  The margaritas are the best I've had in Sydney.  And the waitstaff is very friendly, we usually have this young American waiter who is great.  It's kid friendly and casual.  And I like to drink many of their margaritas.  And their margaritas are good.  Is it margarita time yet?
  • Baja Cantina in Glebe.  We don't go to Baja Cantina as much as I'd like, simply because it's not as convenient as other restaurants for us.  But their food is really good, the American owner is very nice, and the restaurant is family-friendly, with a bonus of being located next to a most excellent chocolate shop.  

Baja Cantina Glebe
Baja Cantina Glebe
  • Beach Burrito Company at Bondi Beach.  A Chipolte-esque, hole in the wall style chain of quickie-Mex at the north side of Campbell Parade directly across from the beach.  Think super-beachy casual, bikinis and dreadlocks crowd letting it all hang out, sitting at tall, sometimes communal tables with barstools.  Burrito Beach Company has some most excellent frozen margaritas.  Just between you and I, the last time we did a takeaway order (that's Aussie for "takeout"), my husband smuggled a margarita out the door and got it home to me still frozen!  Woo-hoo!  He's a wild man.  And I'd recommend many of the items here-- but most specifically any of the items filled with "Green Chile Pig" or their chili.  The fish tempura burritos are pretty good too.  And the mango salsa is yum.  
  • Cafe Pacifico in Darlinghurst.   Cafe Pacifico was the first Mexican restaurant we found in Sydney, and was the only Mexican place we went to for about a year.  The food is very good, we usually ordered the fajitas and burritos.  The downside is that the service is not great, and the restaurant is extremely loud, as in let my 6 & 7 year old boys scream at the top of their lungs in the middle of the restaurant and no one will notice (literally).   It's pretty much a party place-- and you know how us old, oldtimers hate stuff that's too loud-- have I mentioned I'll turn 40 this year?  Additionally, the tortilla chips often seem too thick and/ or slightly stale. But don't get me wrong, I'd still go there when I'm in the mood for some pretty good Mexican food.
  • Mad Mex in Darlinghurst.  This is another Chipolte-style, quasi-fastfoody type place.  I like it.  Read Chipolte's menu and you'll be right at home at Mad Mex.  I would highly recommend it for a Mexi-quickie. 
So there you have it... I heart Mexican food and I will go to all kinds of lengths to find it in countries where no one has ever heard of a quesadilla... okay, that's an exaggeration, but not by much.

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