The Best Mexican Restaurants in Sydney
Head to Sydney's top Mexican restaurants for seriously good tacos and tamales, rare mezcals and many, many margaritas.
THE BEST MEXICAN RESTAURANTS IN SYDNEY
Head to Sydney's top Mexican restaurants for seriously good tacos and tamales, rare mezcals and many, many margaritas.
Over the last decade, Sydney's Mexican restaurant scene has had a huge renaissance. Gone are the days of only finding sour cream-laden Tex-Mex offerings and fishbowl margaritas (we may miss this last one a bit). Now, Mexican food in Sydney is significantly more refined and reflects the dining culture of Mexico itself, rather than the cheese-filled US version.
We have stacks of fine-dining Mexican eateries, mezcal and tequila bars and small neighbourhood grocers slinging some of the greatest house-made tacos and tamales in Australia. To help you find these haunts, we've compiled this guide to the best Mexican restaurants in Sydney. Read on to find where you'll next be woofing down trays of tacos while sipping on fine tequilas and mezcals.
You might have come across Rosa Cienfuegos slinging tacos at her fairly regular pop-ups at breweries around the Inner West — including Sauce, Grifter and Young Henrys — but you can also try her authentic Mexican cooking six days a week at her deli shop in Dulwich Hill.
Hailing from Mexico City, Cienfuegos serves up signature Mexico City and Oaxaca-style hot tamales and street-style tacos topped with slow-cooked brisket, lamb barbacoa, marinated pulled pork and a spicy cactus salad. In keeping with the corner deli vibes, you can also pick up homemade salsas, sauces, specialty Mexican ingredients and DIY kits for at-home cooking. And, if you’re closer to the city, you can always hit up her Redfern outpost Itacate.
Rolling down King Street looking for somewhere to dine can be daunting. The sheer amount of options spanning every price point is enough to stress anyone out. Newtown’s Maiz, is here to make that choice easier, offering central Mexican cuisine, affordable tostadas and specialty cocktails in a beautiful openair courtyard.
The neat selection of dinner options purposefully steers away from tacos and highlights other mainstays of Mexico instead. For drinks, you’ll find an extensive list of Mexican cocktails, pulque (think of it as agave wine), beers and vinos. It’s our pick for the very best Mexican restaurant in Sydney. If you don’t believe us, check it out for yourself.
Sydney’s two-storey, 60-seat restaurant and mezcal bar Nu’u is all about standout southern Mexican food. The homely eatery comes to Glebe Point Road from the Oaxaca-born team behind Nativo in Pyrmont — Michelin-trained chef Manuel Diaz alongside his partner and agave expert Diana Farrera.
While Nativo is a quick and simple takeaway-style spot, Nu’u focuses more on spotlighting Diaz’s favourite dishes from his home country in an expansive dine-in lunch and dinner spot. While the food is the star of the show, the drinks list is also impressive, with Farrera, a certified mezcologist, leading the charge. If you’re after some sipping mezcals, this is where you’ll find some of the world’s finest.
We were shattered to hear that Ricos Tacos closed its popular Chippendale home in mid-2023, but we only had to wait a few months before discovering it was moving to a massive new venue with support from PUBLIC, the hospitality group behind The Lady Hampshire, Oxford House and Maybe Sammy.
Keeping the original team on board, one of the best Mexican restaurants in Sydney got a proper glow-up. Downstairs, you’ll find a bright yellow dining room and beer garden and upstairs is the mysterious Club Ricos bar. Food-wise, you can expect the fan-favourite hashbrowns, a rotating selection of tacos, chicken tortas, zucchini flower quesadillas and a carne asada special every Sunday.
“Authenticity is paramount for us,” says The Maybe Group’s co-owner Stefano Catino. “We didn’t want the concept to be a nod towards Mexican culture, spirits or food — it had to be a respectful homage.” This is the approach the team behind multi-award-winning cocktail bar Maybe Sammy has taken to El Primo Sanchez, its cantina-style Mexican bar inside Paddington’s The Rose.
While Maybe Sammy and some of its sibling venues, like Dean & Nancy on 22, are built on luxury, El Primo Sanchez brings the group’s passion for quality cocktails to a more casual affair. The energy is fun and playful, with spotlights drawing attention to patrons with shots of tequila on the way to their table and a two-person karaoke room hidden behind the DJ booth loaded up with hit songs — plus a functional ‘Press for Tequila’ button.
Smoking Gringos is the passion project of Burger Head Founder Richard Borg and Jade Jackson. The specialty at this viral Mexican joint is the quesa taco, a three-corn tortilla dipped in marinade and fried before being topped with three kinds of cheese, coriander, onion and your choice of beef or chicken. Each serving is paired with pickled onions, lime, consommé for dipping, and a selection of salsas made fresh in-house every day.
If you want to take things up a notch, opt for the mulitas, which Borg describes as a “quesa taco on steroids”. A dish popular in Los Angeles, the mulitas closely resembles a quesadilla, piling toppings between two of the fried quesa tortillas. Nachos and loaded fries round out the menu at this outstanding Mexican eatery in Western Sydney.
Inspired by a lengthy trip through South America, Paddington’s Tequila Mockingbird is a marriage of the vibrant, bold flavours of that continent and top-shelf Australian produce. Silly name aside, it’s a reliably good joint full of buzz and booze, pulling off a memorable menu complemented by lively service and an expertly curated drinks list.
The food is Mexican-forward but is also inspired by Peruvian, Spanish and Japanese cuisines. Get around a few spanner crab tacos, wagyu beef anticucho and roasted black garlic miso pumpkin. A tequila-heavy cocktail list complements the big flavours and Latin American accent of the menu, making it a great bar in and of itself.
In May of 2022, the long-awaited Quay Quarter Lanes arrived in Circular Quay, and with it came Londres 126 — a Mexican restaurant set in a stunning wood-panelled dining room. The entire fit-out is inspired by Frida Kahlo and the fiestas she used to throw.
Behind the sleek bar, the venue boasts a huge collection of mezcal and bottles of natural wine — all curated to accompany an eclectic and seafood-heavy take on Mexican cuisine. The menu is to the point, with just a handful of top-notch options available. You can ease into the meal with oysters and spiced potatoes, or dive directly into the heftier stuff that’s great for sharing. It’s easily one of the best Mexican restaurants in Sydney.
Freshwater welcomed a new Mexican restaurant in 2022 that boasts an expansive set menu of food and drink. A sibling to Avalon’s Alma, St. Alma joined the long-standing venue in the northern beaches, 30 minutes south of the OG eatery.
For bevs at St. Alma, we recommend starting with a mezcal or tequila flight. They are ideal for those wanting to learn more about these agave-based tipples. You’ll also find all your other usual suspects on the drinks menu — margaritas, palomas and Mexican beers. Pair your booze with a huge selection of tacos, steaks and other classic Mexican eats made for sharing.
Chica Bonita is another reason to head to Sydney’s Nothern Beaches. Translated to ‘pretty lady’ in Spanish, the Good Good Company (Sunset Sabi, Winona Wine) has created a casual hang-out in a back arcade of Manly. Although away from the crowds, it’s jam-packed, and you’ll be lucky to get a seat. But once you do, you’ll be rewarded with well-priced Mexican and Baja California street cuisine and drinks to match.
Start off with one of the many margaritas and some beers before trying the contemporary Mexican eats. Our tip? Order the maiz ensalada to share and then take your picks from the taco and tostada menu.
CBD dining institution Mejico has been serving Sydneysiders some of the finest Mexican cuisine and tequila for over a decade now. The Mejico space remains much the same after so many years — a lofty industrial ceiling, exposed brick walls and distressed concrete beams brightened by vivacious colours and bold geometric patterns.
Food-wise, the signature guacamole adds some theatre to your meal, as the ingredients are smashed together tableside in a molcajete (Mexican pestle and mortar), with long, golden plantain chips as the perfect vehicle for dipping. Exploring the menu further, you’ll find plenty of vibrant contemporary Mexican dishes and a massive selection of tequilas.
A red neon sign declaring “everything with tequila” beckons you off the street and downstairs into a moody basement space with hanging wire lamps, potted succulents, booth seating and a cluster of chandeliers above one long table. You’ve found Barrio Cellar.
Pick your cocktail (opt for a margarita, tequila mule or mezcal sour), a flight of tequila, or get on the Mexican beers before sampling the small bites, tacos, quesadillas, nachos, burritos, bowls and salads. While these mainstays are fab, the real treat is in the daily chef’s specials.
Checho’s opened in 2020, bringing contemporary Mexican dining to Penrith. The aesthetic is breezy, almost coastal chic, with pastel tones and neon feature pieces. But you’re here for the food: expect vibrant flavours that pop. We’re talking Tex-Mex-style snacks like jalapeño poppers with maple bacon, Latin-inspired zesty ceviche or steak with chimichurri sauce, and melt-in-your-mouth brisket tacos.
The plates are made to be shared, especially larger dishes like sizzling fajitas and lamb shoulder. And the fresh house guac is, of course, non-negotiable. For bevs, there are classic margaritas and signature agave-focused cocktails with tropical fruit flavours, spices and citrus. It’s not reinventing the wheel. It’s just serving up damn delicious Mexican eats to Penrith locals.
The bright red exterior of Surry Hills’ Bad Hombres signals to the artsy vibe of the industrial fit-out, where a bustling kitchen is pumping out 100-percent vegan and mostly gluten-free Mexican eats. And by your first bite into the ‘tuna’ tostada or al pastor mushroom taco, you’ll forget all about your love for meat or seafood. You won’t even miss the cheese — we promise. These flavour-packed eats are the real deal.
And because it is meatless, the prices are incredibly reasonable. If you have a group of eight or more, you can get around the banquet menu for just $40 per person, or hit up Bad Hombres on a Tuesday to nab three tacos for $15. Drop by the next day and dive into $13 margaritas all night long. It’s one of the best Mexican restaurants in Sydney, and it’s our top choice for those on a budget.
A temple to tequila and tacos, Bar Patron brings an air of sophistication to Sydney’s Mexican restaurant scene. Located in the old Café Ananas spot in Circular Quay, the venue comes courtesy of Rockpool Dining Group.
The menu includes all the Mexican classics — tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas and empanadas. Plus, there are a heap of dishes made to share. Drinks-wise, despite the extensive offerings, you really do need to try the classic margarita, which is shaken with lime, sherbet and Silver, Roca or Platinum Patron tequila — it’s one of the best margaritas in Sydney.
Coyoacán Social is a Mexican street food eatery from the Plate It Forward team. The hospo crew and social enterprise has already made a huge impact on Sydney’s culinary scene with its slate of venues including Colombo Social, Kyiv Social and Kabul Social.
Like its sibling venues, Coyoacán Social has a strong ethical focus. Here, the team donates a meal to Mexico City for every guest who buys a set of tacos while also working with local charities to create a safe space within the local Redfern and South Eveleigh communities. Birria tacos are the star of the show, but the customisable nachos and tostadas are also hugely popular. Dine on some of the best Mexican food in Sydney while supporting plenty of good causes.
Popular multi-level venue Esteban is split into three distinct offerings: an upstairs restaurant, a downstairs mezcal bar and a laneway dining space. In the kitchen, Head Chef Will Quartel is plating up Mexican share plates created using traditional cooking techniques but with sustainably sourced Aussie produce.
Corn tortillas are made in-house daily, while the custom-built parilla grill and vertical charcoal rotisserie have been installed to turn out the likes of tacos al pastor and ironbark-grilled chicken. Other specialties served in the upstairs restaurant include pink ling ceviche with leche de tigre, karkalla and fried plantain; seared pork belly with pickled watermelon radishes and salsa tastemada; and a massive one-kilogram wagyu rib eye paired with black garlic and chipotle butter.
Glebe’s long-standing Mexican haunt is known for its cheap tacos and glowing wall of tequilas. Using fresh, seasonally available produce and imported spices and sauces that are usually only found in Mexico or the US, the taco menu is well-researched and constantly changes. For $16, you get two fresh, soft corn tortillas, which you can fill with either panko-crumbed prawns, jackfruit with black beans, beef brisket, grilled chicken or mango and avocado.
As the name suggests, sizzling plates of fajitas are also hugely popular here. Build your own little burritos or soft-shelled tacos with a whole assortment of fillings and sauces. Pair it with a tequila or mezcal flight to make a proper night of it. It’s home to cheap, cheerful and damn tasty food. It’s a no-brainer for groups seeking a big feed in Glebe.
DIY tacos, made-to-order tortillas and a serious mezcal program are all on the menu at the bustling restaurant on a corner of Bayswater Road in Potts Point. Mexican-born chef Juan Carlos (Three Blue Ducks) has created a menu inspired by his time working in Baja California, but it’s far from traditional Mexican fare — you’ll spot plenty of international flavours and ingredients throughout.
It’s also home to one of Sydney’s top bottomless brunches. For $89, you get 90 minutes of unlimited tacos and margaritas. Challenge accepted! And, if you’re by the beach, make sure to head to one of its sibling venues, Carbon or Taqiza.
Top images: The Tamaleria & Mexican Deli
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