Stop trying to make Mexi-bourne happen, it's never going to happen! Well, guess what Regina George, it totally did. There are about fifty-five billion Mexican restaurants in Melbourne satisfying our obvious thirst for tacos, nachos, enchiladas, ensaladas, burritos, quesadillas, guac – the list goes on and on. I am almost certain that it was mostly influenced by the Old El Paso ads (think of the theme song and it's stuck in your head all day), but, while there is nothing wrong with a make-your-own burrito kit, might we suggest you step out of the salsa aisle at Woolies and peruse The Urban List picks of Melbourne's best Mexican.
TOUCHÉ HOMBRE & BURROTECA
If you'd like a healthy dose of street cred attributed during dinner service, hit up Touché Hombre for eclectic in-house cool. Run down chic and rows of tequila served alongside a menu featuring Mexican classics – tostadas, $5 tacos and a set menu for larger groups – complete with big old jugs of sangria. They do takeaway as well as it's a hot spot for corporates, so if your bleary eyes can't face the day, munch on a hangover box full of Touché fare. It's always packed, lunchtime and dinner time, so make sure you're quick as they only do bookings for groups of 10 and over. If you feel like kicking on after dinner, head next door to Touché Hombre's little brother bar, Burroteca.
Though she's been plugging on for a couple of years, Mamasita is still arguably the best Mexican in town, with punters still patiently waiting in line to get their cheeky hands on tasty tostadas or a zingy fresh margarita. Though everyone bangs on about the fish taco, I'm forever nibbling on the grilled corn cobs with that tangy chipotle mayo and lime. You can only book if you've got around eight friends with you, so get popular so you can skip the queue.
MI CORAZON TEQUILA BAR
Melbourne's oldest tequila bar is Mi Corazon, nestled in Brunswick's East. If you thought that the only type of tequila was the one with the cool red hat on it, you are WRONG. Mi Corazon has over 80 different types of tequila dancing along their cutsie bar, alongside a watchful statue of Mary, as well as a traditional Mexi menu with all your favourites – we recommend the crispy taquitos, mainly so you can say taquito.
Another Brunswick baby of the Mexican scene, Los Hermanos is a great place for a guilty quesadilla or a fresh taco after a big night out on the town. Traditional Mexican food with a vibrant party atmosphere, come here with a bunch of mates, or the entire family, for a night fuelled by margaritas, fabulous nosh and great music. They're open late, so if you've woken up in the middle of the night dreaming of tacos, you know where to sate yourself.
With opening hours as elusive as its location, Little Blood is a Mexi-gem on Fitzroy's Brunswick Street. Nestled above the Kodiak Club, Little Blood's tiny nook only seats a few people, but the lucky few get to sit in chair hammocks and sip on the incredible array of Mexican beers, wines and of course, tequilas. Take a look at all the kooky little antiques floating around as well, but remember, BYO Sombrero.
ACLAND ST CANTINA
Encompassing the ultimate restaurant slashie concept, Acland Street Cantina acts as a bar, bottle shop and restaurant, shutting up shop only in the wee hours when the tequila shots run out. Embrace the candlelit skull art and a noisy good time at Acland Street Cantina. The cafe and diner section has recently closed, giving way to the sexy speakeasy vibes of Cantina Bar, where you can enjoy the small Bocadito menu and a big, boozy cocktail list, featuring plenty of Southern Flavours.
BAY CITY BURRITO
Forget greasy kebabs, the burrito is the most underrated hangover/still drunk food going around, and Bay City Burrito is where you're going to get it. With the prettiest painted walls and light-filled space, the menu is equal parts dangerous – with Bay City Bomber stuffed with cheesy steak, rice, guac and salad – and heavenly – the Braised Tofu boasts tofu, veggies, beans and brown rice in a low fat tortilla. If you're picky, you can also make your own! With two stores now open, we reckon it won't be long till they're popping up all over town.
The three Fonda restaurants are among the more well known Mexi-haunts of Melbourne. You can find the original Fonda in Richmond, a much bigger, sexier restaurant in Windsor and a new brightly-hued CBD outpost on Flinders Lane. So if you can't get seated in one, simply head to another! Famous for that crumbed rockling taco and THOSE chips, Fonda's got a bunch of other taste sensations on the menu that'll have you hanging around sipping cocktails all night long. Courtesy of their reputation, the Fonda joints get super busy, but come in early and snag a table and you'll be set.
Nestled on Gertrude Street is Trippy Taco, Melbourne's entirely vegetarian Mexican restaurant. Open for a late breakfast and well into the evening, Trippy is the hotspot for craft-beer-swilling hipsters, but in no way should that deter you. Get your butt into that cute space and order a sangria jug, teamed with a big plate of nachos and a burrito and topped all off with some sick beats, then tell me you don't love it.
LOS AMATES MEXICAN KITCHEN
Decorated with some seriously cool Mexican art, Los Amates is possibly one of the more authentic Mexican restaurants on the list. Owner Arturo Morales, the Mexi-wizard, encourages punters to sip on big salt-crusted fishbowls full of punch and dine on antojitos, ox tongue tacos and a good old fashioned plate of nachos with chicken on top.
Radio Mexico in St Kilda dishes upgood, hearty, traditional Mexican alongside a considered list of beers and cocktails. Boasting a fabulously inviting beachside location, Radio prompts punters to dine on tasty tacos, pinchos and perhaps a creamy coconut sundae if you've got room left over. Peace of mind is insured by the fact they make everything from scratch, focus on local produce and all is fresh, fresh, fresh. Yum.
Collingwood's addition to the mexi-scene is La Condesa, which has recently moved from its initial shack into bigger digs on Johnston Street. Opening their doors at 11.30am and continuing until the evening, La Condesa offers a compact menu of several different flavours of taco (ranging from the happy vego to hearty meaty) as well as grilled corn and bubbly, homemade frescas. La Condesa certainly holds its own in the Melbourne Mexican wars with its yummy food and chilled out vibe.
If the promise of $6 tacos doesn't make you come running, then the fact that this is Movida's baby taqueria should set you in motion. With a cool fitout made of an old shipping container and filled with super happy colours and communal tables, this is the perfect lunch time destination should you be perusing a bit of Melbourne CBD culture. Nestle in their cute little garden bar in the summer sunshine, and make sure you sign up for their Thursday night tequila tastings – not to be missed.
Chingon's menu is short, but ever so sweet. With a spritely take on the leader of Mexican morsels - the taco, Chingon delivers an almost flawless taco experience. With soft shell tortilla tacos, all freshly hand-made in house, you can enjoy a delicious selection of any 4 from their menu for just $23. Top your meal off with a variety of salsas, guacs, corn chips and grilled corn off the cob guaranteeing your sombrero knocked straight off your head!
Main Image Credit: Half Baked Harvest