Taquito is co-owned by Alec Villarreal, who grew up in Mexico City before moving to Melbourne. It's on a quiet strip of Drummond Street in Carlton. There are three distinct options for eating and drinking here. In the warmer months, you might not make it farther than the tables outside the building. After all, tacos and outdoor dining are a great fit.
Inside you have two options. For something more casual, the front room is a bar area with mainly stool seating. Big windows facing out give the space a light and breezy feel. One corner of this room is actually a bottle shop: one of the best (and only) places in Melbourne to buy rare mezcals and tequilas to take home.
Or you can head downstairs, to the main dining room. It’s filled with cacti, monstera and subtle Mexican accents, such as in the fabric of the booth seating. There’s a great atmosphere in here thanks to the high ceilings, well-spaced tables and the open kitchen.
To eat, head chef and other co-owner Paul Clarke (former head chef at Mesa Verde) is serving a concise menu of plates designed to share. For smaller appetites, a flight of tacos and a side salad might do you well. For something larger to share, a beef short rib birria (spicy stew) comes beside a stack of tortillas, for a DIY-style taco dinner. The six-course “feed-me” option is also good value. Taquito makes all of its tortillas in-house and grows its own hard-to-find Mexican ingredients such as epazote (an aromatic herb).
Taquito also makes its own horchata (a sweet rice milk and cinnamon drink). For something stronger, a seasonally rotating drinks list places equal importance on Mexican spirit producers such as Tequila Tromba as it does Australian winemakers.