Sydney’s Mexican scene still has a way to go. The right ingredients can be hard to get, and the Mexican expat population is slim compared to say, the Thai and Italian populations. Then there's Tex-Mex, which has its place, but tends to be conflated with genuine south-of-the-border cuisine.

These restaurants are leading the pack. A few do fusion in a respectful way, but for the most part they work with traditional recipes and ingredients such as ancho, guajillo and poblano chillies; 100 per cent agave tequilas and mezcals; and perhaps most importantly of all, nixtamalised white-corn tortillas.

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Carbon Mexican Wood Fire

A hint of Mexico’s Caribbean where it’s all about DIY tacos and boutique tequila.

288 Bondi Road, Bondi

Chula

A Mexican seafood restaurant from the former owners of Barrio Chino.

Shop 7 33 Bayswater Road, Kings Cross

Rosa Cienfuegos Tamaleria

An authentic Mexican deli serving cult tamales. Try the handmade parcels in-store or take home the ingredients to make them yourself.

463 Marrickville Road, Dulwich Hill

Sonora

You won't find any sugar skulls or sombreros here. This eatery and mezcal bar is inspired by the coastal state of the same name and the executive chef's heritage, flour tortillas are preferred – and they're used to make Wagyu-pastrami burritos.

37 Bayswater Road, Potts Point

Ricos Tacos

A food truck by taco devotee Toby Wilson stationed in Gelato Messina's Rosebery car park. There's a pared-back menu of the kinds of handheld tacos you'd find on the side of the road in Mexico.

58 Mentmore Avenue, Rosebery

Bad Hombres

A plant-based Mexican diner with creativity at its core.

40 Reservoir Street, Surry Hills

Calaveras

Traditional Mexican food and not-so-traditional Margaritas.

Level 1 324A King Street, Newtown
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Flying Fajita Sistas

A bright and cheerful Mexican eatery serving creative takes on the classics.

65 Glebe Point Road, Glebe

Mejico

Where the guacamole is made at your table.

105 Pitt Street, Sydney

Barrio Cellar

Tacos, tequila and lots of dancing.

58 Elizabeth Street, Sydney

Don Pedros

Inside this historic backstreet venue, you'll find a SoCal take on Mexican cuisine.

1 Victoria Street, Paddington
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Chica Bonita

A rustic little bolthole specialising in tacos.

Shop 9 A/B 9 The Corso, Manly

El Loco

On Fridays and Saturdays, the fiesta lasts until 3am.

64 Foveaux Street, Surry Hills

El Topo Cantina

Forty different tequilas for a smashing fiesta.

6 Homepride Avenue, Warwick Farm

SoCal Neutral Bay

One foot in California, one foot in Baja.

1 Young Street, Neutral Bay

Esteban

A moody Mexican laneway diner in an old CBD printing shop. The upstairs restaurant serves tacos al pastor, a one-kilogram Wagyu rib eye and a sweet potato dessert. Downstairs there's a bar with more than 200 mezcals and tequilas.

1 Temperance Lane, Sydney
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