The Best Mexican Restaurants in Melbourne

Updated 1 week ago

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Remember when Mexican food was a box of hard-shelled tacos, a block of cheddar and a packet of spice mix? We’ve well and truly moved on from those days. Not only are Melbourne’s next-generation cantinas importing the obscure chillies, corn varieties and cheeses required to make genuine south-of-the-border cuisine, they have the agave-based spirits to match. So do it like the Mexicans do: order a few rounds of tacos or tostadas, and pair them with a Michelada, tequila or smoky mezcal. These are some of the best places in the city to do just that.

  • There were Mexican restaurants before Mamasita, but it was the first one to bring a faithful representation to Melbourne. The “hot babe” has been around since 2010, but its grilled corn and flavoursome tacos still attract queues.

  • Venue number two from the Mamasita crew adds a careful element of kitschy nostalgia, without losing any of the attention to detail. Sit at the bar, order a frosty Michelada and snack on huitalacoche (corn fungus) tacos.

  • This spot just off St Kilda Beach is one of Melbourne's original Mexican restaurants, and it's still one of its best. That's thanks to an uncompromising commitment to quality ingredients. The drinks list, which includes a handful of Margaritas, complements the fun, shareable food.

  • A colourful suburban diner plating up a pan-Mexican menu of favourites. There are tacos al pastor (and plenty of other regional styles), Mexico City-style street snacks and a front bar stacked with mezcals and tequilas.

  • At this lively taqueria from the team behind Superchido, confit beef-brisket and birria tacos arrive on your table in about four minutes, warm and crisp. It’s speedy service – just like in Mexico City. Also in Brunswick East.

  • This lively cantina is all about home-style Mexican. Expect beef tacos exactly how they’re served in Mexico, prawn-and-chorizo tamales and a jiggly chocolate flan. Plus: eight different Margaritas and hard-to-find agave spirits.

  • This bar and restaurant inside Curtin House is all about agave-based spirits – but the food's no afterthought. Baja-style rockling tacos, achiote chicken quesadillas and Mexican doughnuts with salted espresso dulce de leche all go dangerously well with a margarita or the spicy riff on a pina colada.

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  • A Melbourne pizzeria veteran has swapped his woodfired oven for a cabinet smoker and flat-top griddle. On spongy house-made tortillas, he’s dishing out slow-cooked beef birria, cochinita pibil pork, and rolled and deep-fried tacos dorados stuffed with potato.

  • A schmick Mexican-style taqueria serving up tacos, hulking tortas (Mexican-style sandwiches), imported Mexican beers and house-made horchata. There are banquettes and high tables to sit at, or you can get your lunch to take away.

  • La Tortilleria is less like a restaurant and more like the rudimentary taco stands found across Mexico City and LA. House-made tortillas come on colourful plastic plates and it’s up to you to customise with salsas as you see fit.

  • The second taqueria by Australia’s leading tortilla-maker. Go for its tacos filled with pulled meats, fish and plant-based meat substitutes; quesadillas; and crunchy tostadas and chilaquiles (a dish similar to nachos).

  • This small, modestly decorated restaurant sits on a stretch of road best known for horrendous traffic. Yet the food is entirely legit. Generously stacked tacos include pork al pastor and deep-fried flathead with cabbage slaw. Also in the CBD.

  • This dim, characterful basement serves a wide range of proper tacos till late every night of the week. Do you even need to know more? Okay – there are around 70 mezcals and 20 tequilas on the back bar, and plenty of vegan options.

  • This Mexican eatery makes its own tortillas and grows its own chillies and herbs. To drink, there’s wine on tap or you can buy mezcal from the in-house bottle shop.

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  • This “Cali-style” Mexican joint takes inspiration from the San Francisco suburb it's named after. Come for hulking burritos filled with pork carnitas, saucy queso tacos and house-made horchata. You can’t miss it – look for the glowing, burrito-worshipping neon sign.

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  • This taqueria is a simple kind of place, with just two beers on tap and tunes spinning away on the turntables behind the bar. Local hospitality workers like to stick their heads in for a quick chat and a taco before their shift. It’s open until late on weekends, so many return for a wind-down drink after work too.

  • Hit this neon-lit Mexican bar for tacos and burritos loaded with pork belly, spiced chicken or mixed veggies. Devour your tacos in the cactus-lined courtyard or spacious dining hall, or climb to the rooftop for easy-drinking Margaritas and cold Mexican beers.

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  • After a holiday to Mexico, housemates Scott Witham and Andrew Wilson brought Tulum beach back home to Melbourne. Their taqueria and bar is in part a tribute to José, a local beach bar owner Witham met in Tulum. The “tacky disco” décor is reminiscent of the seaside bars they frequented together, and Wilson hand-presses tortillas each day.

  • Garen Maskal and his cousins, Aret and Sasoon Arzadian, are best known for their modern Armenian restaurant, Sezar. But at the Black Toro, they prove they're not one-trick ponies. The menu here isn't especially authentic – e.g. fried chicken ribs with chipotle mayo – but it's not thoughtless fusion, either. Visit for creative spins on quesadillas, "tlayudas" (Mexican pizza, in effect) and achiote chicken.

  • This bright, buttercup-yellow restaurant is inspired by owner Rob Wilson's travels through Central America. Entrees lean North American and include jalapeno poppers and chilli fries. Things get more serious at mains, where tacos, quesadillas, burritos and nachos are made with La Tortilleria tortillas.

  • Cowboy boots line the wall and Latin music plays over the speakers at this laidback Mexican spot. Order the signature is pozole, a hearty hominy-based Mexican soup that’s hard to find in Melbourne.