From food trucks to taquerias and cantinas, to even the non-Mexican varietals, everyone is jumping on board the taco train.
Gold Coasters have long had a love-affair with tacos (and their associated culinary cousins) so you don’t need travel far to find one.
Now, for those less familiar with nosh from south of the border (seriously though, is there anyone left out there?) so you don’t sound like a clueless gringo who came down in the last summer rain shower, repeat after me…tort-e-yah (not tort-illllla), ha-la-pee-no (not jal-ap-eno) and kay-sah-dee-yah (not quez-a-dilll-a).
OK sweet, senors and senoritas! For those not already in the know, here’s where you can find some of the best tacos on the Gold Coast.
Serving up without question some of the best tacos on the Gold Coast, Bonita Bonita churns out a lot of tacos. Our all time fave? The Crispy Snapper, served on a soft flour tortilla with apple slaw, pico de gallo (fresh salsa), and queso fresco (Mexican cheese). These delicious monsters are served individually, so order two and you’ve got yourself a meal. But tacos are only the beginning of their culinary prowess, we suggest you’d best be ordering the banquet (and a Bonita Margarita).
Where: 2460 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach
ZICATELA Food Truck
With swoon-worthy names like Eduardo and Mauricio, the friendly owners of new mobile taqueria Zicatela, you know you’re in for some authentic street eats. Named in honour of the epic Mexican surf break, it’s little wonder this food truck is frequently rotating on the roster at Balter Brewing HQ. Which is exactly where we first fell in love with their wood-fired tacos (the fish and pollo tacos are honestly some of the BEST we’ve ever wrapped our lips around), wings, loaded nachos, and insanely good breakfast burritos. Hang on, wood-fired Mexican? Yep, they have a wood-fired oven inside the truck and that smokey goodness needs to be tasted to be believed. Hola!
Where: on the move
It’s no secret that we’re big fans of this Kirra eatery, a vibrantly eclectic tiki bar that owners best describe as a Mexican restaurant stuck on a Hawaiian island. Anytime is a good time for Tupe Aloha’s tacos, but shimmy on down everyday between 3—5pm, when you can dig into these bad boys for just $3 a pop. Pineapples!
Where: Corner Douglas and Musgrave Streets, Kirra
A Nobby Beach institution, pull up a stool on the western facing upper deck to enjoy the late afternoon sun. The pork belly taco (paired with the loaded Carne Asada Fries) are to die for, and single-handedly make MexiCali one of the Gold Coast’s best Mexican restaurants for a killer taco feast. You’ll often find us here for Taco Tuesdays, when you can dig into these bad boys for just $5 a pop. Their Sunday sesh is pretty awesome too. Holla!
Where: Shop 1, 2223 Gold Coast Highway, Nobby Beach
Now as the name suggests, tacos are their thang at California Tacos. Boasting Tijuana Baja authenticity (including ex-pat SoCal owner-chefs), they’ve got all the bases covered with beef, chicken, fish, pork, and, for the vegos, cactus. Yep, you read that right. Pair your tacos with some mango and pineapple salsa and a frosty Dos Equis, and you’ll be in Mexican heaven. PS: northern Gold Coasters can now catch the crew Friday and Saturday nights at Helensvale’s NightQuarter.
Where: 1/1718 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
Siguenos Food Truck
No stranger to food truckin’ and being damn good at it, you would never believe Siguenos’ Mexican came from a truck. Specialising in the almighty taco, these guys have nailed the art of gradual flavour hits. Siguenos are consistently mind-blowing and without doubt you’ll want to try every item off the menu, and at just six bucks a taco it’s definitely doable.
Track them down via: www.siguenos.com.au
The Bin Family (Bin 12, Bin 17, and Bin 232)
Likely not where first comes to mind when you think tacos, but the Bin family team do share plates with style, and know that tacos are the ultimate finger food. We can’t go past their chilli pulled pork taco with spiced aioli and pickled wombok. And on Taco Tuesday at their Burleigh and Coolangatta restaurants, Bin 12 and Bin 72, all delectable tacos sell for a very respectable $5 each.
Where: James Street, Burleigh; The Strand, Coolangatta; Pacific Fair, Broadbeach
Beach Burrito Company
A relatively new addition to Coolangatta, we were stoked to hear popular Mexicano vendors, Beach Burrito Company were coming to stake their claim on the Coast. Beach Burrito serve up some amazingly fresh and succulent tacos—like the oh-so-good Baja Barra Fish Taco. Pair it with an epic margarita or pina colada, and grab a patio table overlooking the Norfolk palms and lovely Cooly Beach. ‘Cause this is what life on the GC is all about!
Where: The Strand, 72-80 Marine Parade, Coolangatta
From the team that brought us Pop Taco, now with a home base in Palm Beach, step inside Goodness Gracias’ canary yellow shopfront for easy, breezy good value Latino street food. The team pride themselves on merging farm produce with taco freshness, made with good health in mind (and lots of love). Vegan and vegos are also well catered for too. Win win.
Where: 1114 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach
Tribeca NYC’s soft shell crab tacos are a sight to behold. Whole mini crabs served with fresh and fantastic avocado and mango salsa, coleslaw, lemon aioli, and coriander on a soft tortilla. Now you’d best not be ordering this if you get squeamish at the sight of legs or any crustacean in its whole form.
Where: 58 Thomas Drive, Chevron Island
Gringo Loco Cantina
Gringo Loco Cantina is perfectly positioned for visiting Mexican-lovers, on the Soul Boardwalk opposite Surfers Paradise Beach. Prepare yourself for a mad taco feast at this funky beachside eatery with their six to 12 taco platters. Choose from options including fish of the day (aren’t fish tacos just the best thing ever?), pulled pork, garlic and chilli prawns, or roast pumpkin.
Where: 101/4 The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise
Bursting with colour and character, Pickled Cactus serves up some of the Gold Coast’s best tacos for northerners. The vege-lover’s pumpkin taco is not-to-be-missed and while you’re at it, go for one of their signature margaritas—they’re delicious (and deadly). But what’s a night out for tacos without an Instagram-worthy photo shoot? Pickled Cactus have got you covered with over-sized sombreros and Mexican paraphernalia galore.
Where: 33 Hollywell Road, Biggera Waters
Now, don’t been fooled by its fast food-esque exterior or highway-side location, the guys at Casa Mexicana have been around long before the Mexican wave engulfed the GC. We give them points for authenticity and simplicity, ‘cause in all honesty true Mexican street food is only a handful of the same ingredients served in a variety of different ways.
Where: 38 Frank Street, Labrador
Photo Credit: Hayley Williamson for Metropolist