Lucy Stones
20 Best Mexican Restaurants in Sydney: Authentic to Tex-Mex | Man of Many
First thing’s first, understanding the difference between traditional Mexican food and Tex Mex is a must. Emerging in America during the mid-20th century, Tex-Mex played an important role in gaining exposure for flavours that originate south of the border, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is authentic. In fact, many of the foods we’ve come to love as Mexican staples aren’t really Mexican at all. For example, burritos and nachos are two Tex Mex specials, inspired by Mexican cuisine, with a healthy pinch of Texan style.
Traditional Mexican Food vs Tex Mex
With a crash course in Mexican cuisine now complete, it’s time to dive into the best Mexican restaurants Sydney has to offer. From traditional to Tex Mex, here are our top picks to put on your list.
Best Mexican Sydney
If you are looking for authentic Mexican food in Sydney, Rosa Cienfuegos is your best bet. What started as a food truck operation has since grown into two Inner West icons, with the Redfern establishment a bit more upmarket than its Dulwich Hill deli sibling. Famous for its handmade tamales, which feature a softened corn husk, shredded chicken and a healthy dose of salsa verde, this charming little hotspot looks straight out of Oaxaca. A must-visit for Sydney Mexican food fans.
1. Rosa Cienfuegos Itacate
While Mexican food often conjures up thoughts of tacos and burritos, Esteban is firmly grounded in the upscale dining market. Here, you’ll find a stunning array of mezcals and tequilas for sipping, alongside a series of dishes from across Mexico. Owners Mark Crawford and Michael Fegent, along with executive chef John Frid have put together an authentic journey through the region, highlighted by a 3.4-metre ironbark-fuelled parilla grill. The entire H&E Architects-designed venue is stunningly dark-lit and reeks of blackened meat cooked over an open flame. Be sure to check out the one-kilogram Wagyu delmonico rib eye
2. Esteban
A 60-person eatery that has become ingrained in the Bondi foodie culture, Carbon specialises in woodfired Mexican dishes by incorporating traditional Latin American parrilla grilling techniques. Inspired by the haciendas of the Mexican Caribbean, the diner has a unique atmosphere that capitalists on its traditional white walls and Mexican textiles. In terms of food, we recommend grabbing a few share plates, namely the Hampshire suckling pig and roasted lamb shoulder.
3. Carbon Mexican Woodfire
Chica Bonita Manly has piles of personality and Mexican fare for the hungry crowds. Its stools are often packed to the brim but well worth the wait. Start off with some of the tasty snack foods like the kingfish ceviche or guacamole and chips. Then get stuck into the tacos and tostadas like the cheeseburger taco or the brisket tostada.
4. Chica Bonita Manly
Arriving straight from the streets of Guadalajara Mexico, Dos Senoritas is a truly authentic journey through flavour and texture. Located in Gladesville, the eatery is home to Chef Domingo, a man so proud of his heritage, he went and recreated it here in Sydney. Dos Senoritas is famous for its moles – Mole Poblano, chicken breast cooked slowly in green mole pepian or Mole Oaxaca, featuring chicken cooked in a dark chocolate sauce – or his tamales stuffed with chicken or beef and wrapped in a corn husk.
5. Dos Senoritas
Potts Points’ Chula offers a delicious range with some of the best Mexican in Sydney. The dishes and beverages highlight the menu in a modern contemporary style. Think Charcoal-grilled beef, zingy ceviche, fresh zesty salads, Mexican truffle quesadillas and more. And don’t forget the most popular Mexican dessert, Churros are also on the menu. For the drinks, try the Mexican cocktails or Michelada.
6. Chula
Dishing out authentic Mexican food in Sydney, complete with a near-endless list of margaritas to choose from, La Farmacia is a must-visit dining destination. Hidden behind a closed door in Stanley Street eatery Mrs Palmer Sandwich, the hidden tequila bar and restaurant isn’t to spot, but once you enter, you’ll never forget it. Of you’ve got the time, we highly recommend the bottomless brunch options on Saturdays and Sundays, which sees a set menu, mixed spirits, Mexican beer or wine and 1.5 hours of bottomless margaritas.
7. La Farmacia Sydney
Sydney’s proverbial home of street plays host to a Mexican icon from head chef and co-owner Juan Carlo. Maiz Mexican Street Food opened in King Street in 2021 at the height of the lockdown and has been booming ever since. With a beautiful courtyard that feels equal parts familiar and foreign, the restaurant is renowned for its signature vegan hibiscus al pastor, spanner crab tinga and 16-hour slow-cooked beef barbacoa.
8. Maiz Mexican Street Food
With a contemporary Mexican menu curated by head Chef Axell Torres, this new restaurant features some of the best Mexican Sydney. Designed with an Australian twist, it’s the perfect spot to kick back and share some Tacos, Quesadillas, and Margs with good company. Our personal favourites include the pork belly tacos with crackling, guacamole and chips, and the awesome stone baked Quesadillas. This is the spot for Mexican street food with native ingredients and unique flavours.
9. Sinaloa Sydney
With several restaurants throughout Melbourne, Fonda is now gracing the golden sands of Bondi beach, producing fresh and simple Mexican food made with love. ‘Fonda’ meaning a home that is open to the community as a restaurant is exactly what founders Tim McDonald and Dave Youl had in mind. Think crispy prawn tacos, fresh bright salads, tostadas and shared taco boards.
10. Fonda Mexican
Check out El Loco at Excelsior for a bounty of the best Mexican Sydney. Located in trendy Surry Hills, make sure you get in early because this is Mexican restaurants in Sydney is packed on most nights. It’s no wonder since the food does the talking. Streetfood is the name of the game and the menu keeps things simple, like all the best things in life, flavourful and fresh.
11. El Loco at Excelsior
Perhaps a little less Mexican and a little more Cali, SoCal in beautiful Neutral Bay is the perfect spot for a bit of Golden State ambience. It’s packed with modern Southern Californian share-style Mexican street food with a heavy dose of Latin American spices. Dishes like the seared tuna tostadas, ocean trout ceviche or the Baja fish tacos will have you coming back for some of the best Mexican Sydney.
12. SoCal Sydney
There is nothing better than late-night tacos and that’s exactly what you can expect from El Gringo’s. The Crows Nest Mexican restaurant has a great vibe, amazing food and a delightful cocktail list to get you int he mood. Best of all, the restaurant also gives a chunk of every month’s profits back to its staff, so you can feel good about chowing down.
13. El Gringo’s Tacos
This Mexican restaurant is right at the heart of Sydney’s CBD and has the largest selection of tequila in the city, need we say more? Not only that Mejico pumps out all the Mexican classics with a modern twist, like the Chipotle beer glazed pork ribs or the baked king trout taco with thyme and fennel mayo. For dessert, there are margarita cheesecake bites and crunchy fried banana.
14. Mejico Restaurant
Flying Fajita Sistas in Glebe is all about fresh, seasonally available produce combined with authentic spices and flavours of Mexico. So if you’re on the hunt for the best Mexican in Sydney, this one is hard to walk by. The menu features all your favourite Mexican dishes like tamales, enchiladas, tacos and as the name suggests, a whole bunch of fajitas with every type of filling like, king prawns, mango and cheese, sweet chipotle chicken and more.
15. Flying Fajita Sistas
Ascend the stairs at Calaveras, past the twinkling fairy lights and art-filled walls, the atmosphere is set for a great Mexican dining experience. Tasty tacos filled with toppings and quesadillas stuffed with cheese…and then there are the drinks. With an impressive Tequila and Mezcal collection, you’ll probably find it a bit daunting on which to choose, but the knowledgeable staff are happy to give you recommendations.
16. Calaveras Mexican Cantina & Tequila Bar
Take a trip down to Paddington’s Five Ways for some of the best Mexican Sydney has on offer. Tequila Mockingbird’s cosy dining space and culinary prowess will have you wishing you’d found this place sooner. Combining the tastes of Latin America with the modern Australian kitchen provides a flavourful and inventive dining experience. Try the ceviche taco or the Wagyu Picanha with garlic jalapeno butter.
17. Tequila Mockingbird
There’s Good Food at Bad Hombres, not only good but 100 per cent vegan. There are small plates to share like the king mushroom Peruvian ceviche or the Nachos with cheddar “cheese” and Pico de Gallo. Or for something more substantial the mains include the Shiitake and sunflower seed chilli, Lomo Saltado (Peruvian style stir fry) or the veggie bowl with seasonal vegetables. Great for vegans but also those who want to try some of the different types of Mexican restaurants Sydney has to offer.
18. Bad Hombres
Another El Loco popped up at Slip Inn after its successful takeover at Excelsior and offers the same delicious quality Mexican food Sydney has come to expect from its sister restaurant. Try one of the Mexican inspired burgers or snack and share some Jalapeno mayo chicken wings, salt and pepper squid or one of the many delicious tacos. The cocktail list is just as tasty with Margaritas galore, and a hefty wine list.
19. El Loco at Slip Inn
Quality produce, sourced locally is what Mexicano does best. They’ve got tacos for days with every protein you can think of, share plates like the prawn ceviche, jalapeno croquettes or beef chimichangas. Try one of the banquet options for a little taste of everything and for dessert, you can’t go wrong with the salted caramel ancho chilli truffles.
20. Mexicano
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