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There were many Mexican restaurants before this one, but owners Nick Peters and Matt Lane were the first restaurateurs to bring a faithful representation of Mexican food to Melbourne. This "hot babe" has been around since 2010, and there are still queues on the stairs for its elotes (grilled corn) and flavoursome tacos.
Crittenden, the vineyard upon which Stillwater restaurant is situated, is renowned for its chardonnays and pinot noirs (but also does cracking sparkling and Spanish wines). It’s a good match for Stillwater, which offers up a confident, well-rounded menu that combines winery restaurant favourites with more esoteric dishes (such as house-made beetroot pasta).
Los Hermanos Mexican Taqueria
Half restaurant, half bar and always a party. Owner Bruno Carreto was born in Mexico and did a stint in a taqueria there before opening Los Hermanos. As you'd expect, the tacos and gorditas are the real deal. Don't forget to choose a tequila or mezcal from the blackboard.
Venue number two from the Mamasita crew introduces a careful element of kitsch but loses none of the attention to detail that made its older sibling such a hit. Take a seat at the bar, order a frosty Michelada and snack on some huitalacoche (corn fungus) tacos. Even if you've been to Mexico, you won't find the experience lacking.
“Cibi” is Japanese for “little one”. But this cafe and homewares store is not so little anymore. It's in a light-filled warehouse with a spacious, homey kitchen; there are traditional breakfasts alongside more contemporary dishes; and there's also a grocery section with a range of produce and pantry goods to take home.
At La Tortilleria, house-made tortillas come on colourful plastic plates and it's up to diners to customise with the salsas as they see fit. It's an experience that's more akin to what you might find in Los Angeles of Mexico itself than what you'll find at many other Melbourne taco places.
Marquis of Lorne
This classic pub – which has stood on its corner for over 150 years – is one of Melbourne's best. The three-level hotel is the ideal place for a good feed or a knock-off pint in the sun, whether you're downstairs in the front bar, upstairs in the dining room, or soaking in rays on the rooftop.
Monk Bodhi Dharma
A tiny brick cubby serving up breakfast, lunch and the occasional dinner. The menu here is completely vegetarian and no eggs are used, too. If you think it's not brunch without eggs, then think again – after a couple of bites of whatever you've ordered, you won't even know they're gone.