An institution is a word that gets tossed around too often nowadays however there are only a select few around Melbourne who have truly earned this accolade.
Cue, Mesa Verde.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a Melburnian that hasn’t climbed the infamous 1920’s Curtain House stairs in their lifetime—the home to locally acclaimed venues including the likes of Rooftop Bar and Cookie. Contemporary Mexican restaurant and tequila bar, Mesa Verde, has sat on the sixth floor of the historic building for over a decade, and if you ask any Melburnian about this spot, you’d understand why we’re giving it the institution stamp.
Mesa Verde has long stood as the go-to place for Mexican in town. Owner Tim Peach—who also heads up Rooftop Bar— has spent 11 years building this venue into an institution that showcases what Mexican dining and drinking can be.
When executive chef Jacob Green joined the scene in 2018, he brought his own creative flair to the table, leaning into his Southern American roots intertwined with his travels around Mexico. Some forever favourites on the menu include the braised ox tongue tacos, kangaroo loin skewers with sour cherry chamoy, and Oaxacan spiced chocolate crème brulée.
When you enter through the door at Mesa Verde, you’re met with a huge wall of spirits. Truth be told, the venue boasts one of Australia’s largest tequila and mezcal collections, championing over 200+ bottles. Naturally, with so many options on offer, the drinks list is outstanding—not to mention extensive.
They go far beyond a good margarita (although we do think they have one of the best), but after a brief rundown through the list ℅ their ever so educated bartenders, you’ll find a versatile menu that showcases agave in both its most traditional and creative form.
While you’re here, we think you’d love to check out:
- Melbourne's best Mexican restaurants
- How Stalactites earned their institution stamp
- Melbourne's best bars
Image credit: Mesa Verde | Annika Kafcaloudis
Urban List’s Institution Status is a collective of the city's venues that have made their bones with consistency, excellence and tradition—not reliant on trends, changing tastes or fads, but an ever-popular and lauded destination.