Tacos, taquitos and tostadas – where to find the best Mexican food in Brisbane
When it comes to world cuisine, we have a lot to thank the country of Mexico for. While a lot of us are no strangers to a humble burrito, true Mexican food enthusiasts know there is so much more to it – fresh flavours, crisp textures and simple recipes are what make an authentic Mexican dish truly great. Other countries have also borrowed from Mexico’s rich and vibrant culinary culture to create food fusions that we could only dream of – so whether you’re a purist when it comes to your pozole or you don’t mind a bit of Tex-Mex action, Brisbane has got you covered. We’ve rounded the best spots to get your Mexican food fix in Brisbane – let’s taco ‘bout it.
Mama Taco, West End: In early 2020, Hardgrave Road in West End welcomed a colourful bar and eatery that pays homage to the taquerias and mezcalerias of Mexico. Mama Taco seeks to shine a spotlight on Mexican cuisine, showcasing the depth and history of some of the country’s diverse culinary regions. The menu encompasses tacos, platos (larger plates), en el lado (sides) and postre (desserts), with standout dishes including charcoal lamb barbacoa tacos, bay lobster tacos with chipotle mayo, yellowtail aguachile and the signature Mama Burrito. Additionally, Mama Taco’s libation list is part deep-dive exploration and part educational experience on all things agave – think flights of mezcal and tequila and agave-infused cocktails, as well as Mexican cerveza and new wave Australian wines.
Baja, Fortitude Valley: If Mexican food makes you think of layers of cheese and sour cream, allow Baja to take you down a fresher route. The modern Cali-Mex eatery focuses on health and quality, showcasing local ingredients interpreted into classic dishes inspired by the culinary scene of its geographical namesake. Chow down on burrata with a smoked-cashew salsa macha, twice-cooked octopus tentacles coated in a squid-ink and burnt-jalapeno soy sauce, and the signature Baja fish taco with beer-battered kingfish and chipotle slaw served on a la Tortilleria tortilla.
La Patrona Mexican Cuisine, Teneriffe: Giving diners a taste of quintessential central-Mexican cuisine is La Patrona – a spacious eatery that sits on Florence Street in Teneriffe. Here you’ll find dishes that originated in the Bajío region – a large swathe of the country that stretches from the rocky interior to the western coast, whose cuisine encompasses rich slow-cooked dishes and soups as well as fresh seafood-focused fare. Folks are raving about dishes such as the agave-infused ancho chillies stuffed with traditional beef mince, lime-cured prawn ceviche, chargrilled achiote-marinated chicken tacos and tender pork calf glazed in guajillo sauce with cactus salsa that can be carved and divvied up onto tortillas as well. Add to that a drinks list boasting Mexican beer, wine and cocktails, and you’ve got an authentic Mexican dining experience worth checking out.
El Planta, South Brisbane: Blossoming from humble Wandering Cooks-based upstart into a bona fide culinary star in its own right, El Planta has been knocking it out of the park with its menu of plant-based Mexican eats. The South Brisbane bar and eatery’s menu has something even die-hard carnivores will enjoy, including spiced and fried jackfruit tacos, grilled corn rolled in house-made chipotle mayonnaise and mushroom stem carne and potato stew. As for the drinks, guests can quaff four kinds of margarita, Mexican cerveza (including a spicy michelada) and Australian wines.
Ivory Tusk, Fortitude Valley: When the Woolly Mammoth shed its shaggy fur and re-emerged as Ivory Tusk, we were delighted to see that the venue pivoted towards Mexican fare. The easy-breezy Acapulco-style spot specialises in fun feasting that is perfect to share – think Baja fish tacos, pork chicharrones, lamb barbacoa, eye-fillet steak skewers, chorizo sliders, Mexican street corn and gazpacho shooters. The bar also stocks an impressive selection of cocktails on tap – and before you roll your eyes, you can be rest assured that these batch-brewed concoctions are the goods.
MAYA Mexican, Fortitude Valley: The crew behind Fortitude Valley’s Eleven Rooftop Bar revitalised the venue in 2020, transforming it into pop-up Mexican restaurant MAYA. Mexico’s gorgeous coastal regions, the space was given breezy makeover, while the menu was overhauled from top to bottom to spotlight colour, fresh produce and light flavours – think flame-grilled prawns coated in tequila, Dos Equis-battered snapper tacos, kingfish ceviche, chargrilled flank steak and roast butternut pumpkin. The bar copped a similarly substantial shake up – now amply stocked with artisanal tequilas, mezcals and sotols (that means the margaritas are top notch) as well as a host of Australian and international wines and draught and bottled beers.
Pepe’s, Newmarket: When it comes to claiming the mantle of Brisbane’s best Mexican restaurant, ask any local and they’ll let you know that Pepe’s is a contender. The beloved institution has been pumping out authentic Mexican eats since 2006 – we’re talking flautas, enchiladas and empanadas stuffed with the freshest ingredients going, all washed down with perfectly blended margaritas. The kitchen is also extremely accommodating for people with dietary requirements – so your vegan and gluten-free mates will enjoy it just as much.
La Quinta, Bulimba: The team from La Quinta has been dishing out its fresh-as-heck Mexican for more than 14 years, priding itself on providing a genuine and authentic experience for its loyal patrons. You can find traditional eats as well as Tex-Mex faves, but the Alhambra Bake is a must-try – we’re talking jack cheese, bacon, onion, bell peppers and salsa with your choice of mouth-watering protein, all topped off with sour cream and guacamole (of course).
Mucho Mexicano, South Bank and Hawthorne: Boasting two mouth-watering outposts, Mucho Mexicano should be your go-to for polished and inventive Mexican fare. The menu features fun twists on traditional dishes, using the authentic concepts as a base and then putting some fancy spins in there (we’re looking at you, truffled chicken and mushroom quesadilla). You can also cop fresh or frozen margaritas by the jug, as well as beers imported from Mexico – bottoms up.
El Torito, West End: Those seeking a truly homemade Mexican experience best make tracks to El Torito, a family-run restaurant that has been feeding West Enders since 1996. Built on a foundation of traditional Mexican dishes like chilaquiles and chochinita pibil, eventually more well-known eats like burritos, chimichangas and fajitas came to join the menu – meaning there is something for everyone. As for the drinks, the authenticity carries over – margaritas, micheladas and horchata can be found flowing here.
El Camino Cantina, Bowen Hills and Chermside: Everything’s bigger in Texas, so it makes sense that the offering at Tex-Mex haunt El Camino Cantina is larger than life. If unlimited self-serve corn chips and salsa, frozen margs the size of your head and burritos fit to burst are your vibe, this might just be your new favourite spot. Many of the menu items are based on traditional Mexican dishes, but with a Texan flare – cheeseburger tacos, anyone?
California Native, Coorparoo: Considering they share a border (and a penchant for amazing food), the fusion of Californian and Mexican cuisine was pretty much inevitable – and one spot where you can get your hands on the fruits of this union is California Native. Starters like empanadas, beef taquitos and charred elotes make way for mains of Baja fish tacos, wagyu japaleno cheeseburgers and seared salmon with romesco sauce.
Comuna Cantina, Brisbane City and Everton Park: While it might not be a straight-up Mexican eatery, don’t dismiss Comuna Cantina – this lively eatery draws inspiration from all over South and Central America. Starters like grilled corn, guacamole and tacos hint to the menu’s Mexican influence, while heartier options like nachos, quesadillas and burritos have all been given a pan-Latin spin. Be sure to check out the crazy cocktails – there’s a dedicated section for margs, of course.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 2400 places to eat, drink, shop and play.