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, where you can 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. There’s a great atmosphere here thanks to the high ceilings, well-spaced tables and the open kitchen.
To eat, Villarreal and co-owner/head chef Sean Frazer are serving a menu of Oaxacan-inspired dishes. For smaller appetites, a flight of tacos and some ceviche might do you well. But the main event is mole – kingfish collar, braised hominy (maize) or kangaroo tail in a saucy Oaxacan marinade – which comes with a stack of hand-pressed tortillas, rice and condiments for a DIY-style fiesta.
Taquito’s drinks lists is a very considered offering, placing equal importance on Mexican spirits as it does Australian winemakers. You can’t go past classic Mexican cocktails like a Tommy’s Margarita or Michelada, or one of the signature house creations. Taquito gets extra points for homemade non-alc options like tepache and horchata.
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