The Best Mexican In Sydney

From Mejico to Contrabando and Chula, we look for the best Mexican going around.

The best Mexican food. That enchanting category of grub that will not stop taunting you until your plate is spotless. Oh you’re full? What’s another cheeky taco or guac-covered corn chip in the grand scheme of things? Shut up and eat, por favor.

With its never-ending rainbow of salsas picantes Mexican food has been booming alongside the burger movement over the last few years. The bastardised hard-shelled Tex Mex of the early 2000s has been body slammed lucho libre style by traditional-with-a-modern-twist soft-shelled Mexican food. And it’s all muy bueno in our books.

The craze has meant every Juan, Dick and Harry has decided to start slinging tortillas. Not that we’re complaining, but not every taco is made equally. So we set out on a mission to find the best Mexican in Sydney, and this is what we found.

Chula – Potts Point

Chula is a bit of an ‘it’ place at the moment, and not just in Mexican food buffs circles. With a long list of recipes from the head chef’s Grandmother and an arsenal of ten different chillis, Chula puts their own modern twist on traditional flavours and serves them with seasonal cocktails and a wisely put together agave list. Like any respectable Mexican joint, Chula has a Taco Tuesday, and they also have a bottomless Cinco de Mayo brunch. Salud!

Top tip: You can’t go wrong with the Al Carbon Pollo (Adobo grilled chicken) and Cochinita Pibil (Achiote pulled pork) tacos washed down with a cocktail inspired by the rugged north. Try the Sotol Smash (La Higuera Sotol, lemon, mint, bbq pineapple and seasonal fruits).

Contrabando – CBD

This is Mexican, not Mexican … meaning it’s not exactly authentic Mexican. With a blend of old-school Latin American flavours, Contrabando is more of a homage to the street stalls in Southern Cali.

Their exploratory menu is piled high with beauties like Ocean Trout Ceviche, Duck Nachos and Braised Bulgogi Beef Cheek Tacos. They also have a wicked cocktail list and surprisingly delicious vegetarian options, like crispy pumpkin tacos with honey, chipotle vinaigrette, guac’, sumac yoghurt and slaw.

Mejico – CBD

This Pitt Street eatery is a favourite amongst office workers looking to schmooze. It’s easy to sit here for hours and meander through their impressive tequila list.

The fresh market-to-table menu at Mejico is highlighted by dishes like Snapper Aguachile (finger lime, jalapeno, radish, yuzu compressed cucumber, tequila dressing and jalapeno tapioca crisp) and Cochinita Pibil (pork shoulder in citrus and Yucatan spice, wrapped, cooked & served in banana leaf, served with gorditas, pickled onion, smoked eggplant yoghurt and Mejico’s hot sauce).

Top tip: Hungover or not, try the Bloody Frida (Olmeca Altos Plata, house spice mix, tomato juice and citrus).

When it comes to the best Mexican in Sydney, these are not the only contenders. Others include Barrio Chino (Kings Cross), Cantina Mobil (Darlinghurst), Playa Takeria (Darlinghurst), El Loco (Surry Hills), Izote Mexican (Newtown) and Mexican grub that is definitely worth travelling for at Mexicano in Narrabeen on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

words by niall roeder

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