12 excellent Mexican restaurants to try in Melbourne

A bottomless Mexican weekend brunch draws crowds to Bodega Underground in Melbourne’s CBD. Credit: Bodega Underground
Four tacos filled with an assortment of toppings on a rectangular white platter at Bodega Underground in Melbourne

Melbourne is known as Australia’s cultural melting pot so it’s no surprise that its eclectic restaurant scene includes some of the country’s best Mexican restaurants. Find top-notch tacos, tequila, and cantina-inspired ambiances in various parts of this coastal food-centric city.

At Carlton’s very first Mexican restaurant, tortillas are crafted in-house daily from stone-ground corn. Flame-grilled chicken—aka Mexican-style pollo asado—takes top billing at a relaxed indoor-outdoor restaurant in Footscray. Weekly salsa dancing classes are part of the draw at a lively Preston cantina.

Whether you’re after a low-key taco dinner or a high-octane fiesta, these restaurants have you covered. Read on for a guide to 12 standout Mexican spots to try now in Melbourne and its surrounding suburbs.

Benzina Cantina (Preston)

A plate of lightly fried corn ribs coated in red miso, feta, and butter dressing sits atop a bar at Benzina Cantina in Melbourne.
Rooftop views, sunshine, and shareable small plates make Benzina Cantina a much-loved Mexican restaurant. Credit: Benzina Cantina

Grab your friends and head to this funky Mexico-inspired bar and restaurant, built entirely from shipping containers. Benzina Cantina offers rustic al fresco dining under the soft glow of pendant lights, surrounded by cacti. If you’re here to snack, share the lightly fried corn ribs coated in red miso, feta, and butter dressing, sprinkled with paprika. For something more substantial, try the chef’s pick: a hearty flour tortilla filled with sauteed chicken, corn, capsicum, salsa, garlic, coriander, and cream. Arrive early to enjoy happy hour from 5 pm to 7 pm on Wednesday and Thursday, or visit on Latin Wednesday for dinner and a dance class—$5 beginners salsa runs from 7 pm to 8 pm (bookings are essential). 

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Los Pollos (Footscray)

The name says it all: At Los Pollos in Footscray, it’s all about Mexican-style flame-grilled chicken served with a special lemon-butter garlic sauce. Devour it in various sizes including quarter, half, or whole, and pair the bird with flavour-packed sides such as red rice, black beans, housemade slaw, or seasoned chips. The restaurant’s short but approachable drinks list includes a few beers, wine, and tequila-based cocktails, best sipped in the outdoor covered beer garden. It all adds up to an easygoing perch for a relaxed midweek Mexican meal.

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The Milbri (Rosebud)

A trio of mouthwatering tacos, including vegetarian and vegan options, at The Milbri. Credit: The Milbri

Latin American food is treated to a Southeast Asian spin at this much-loved Mexican spot. Sip on a Tommy’s Margarita (The Milbiri’s ode to the drink served at the legendary Tommy’s Mexican restaurant in San Francisco) as you mull over hawker-style shared plates such as grilled corn with Baja sauce, sticky adobo lamb ribs with sweet potato mole and dukkah, and nachos decked with chile con carne, guacamole, and jalapeños. The dark cosy interiors and relaxed service set the tone for a mellow but memorable Mexican feast.

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Bar Tobalà (Pascoe Vale South)

Bar Tobalá is a brand-new spot on the corner of Bell and Melville streets in Pascoe Vale. But it’s already scoring attention for its traditional Mexican cooking techniques and flavours. The restaurant’s tiny but mighty menu—which changes frequently—could include housemade chorizo, tamales (masa dough with savoury fillings wrapped in corn husk), and rajas (sliced poblano peppers with cream). Enjoy it all against a vibrant backdrop complete with turquoise walls adorned with Mexican art in eclectic antique frames and wooden booths. That colourful aesthetic extends to Tobalá’s pink-tiled bar and assortment of rainbow-hued cocktails, including the Motel Tan made with mezcal, limoncello, yuzu liqueur, and passionfruit.

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The Palms (Mordialloc)

Loaded tortillas are part of the Mexican feast at The Palms. Credit: The Palms

You’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve left Australian shores for America’s West Coast when dining at The Palms in Mordialloc. Palms flow out of hanging baskets, seawall panelling adds brightness to the decor, and a swinging rattan chair makes for the ideal Insta moment. The menu showcases California-influenced Mexican food, so expect plenty of share plates, tacos (crammed with slow-cooked beef brisket, tempura-battered rockling, and smokey jackfruit), and burrito bowls—or let the chefs make the decision for you on the restaurant’s $55 Feed Me menu. Consider pairing your meal with The Palm’s very own ale, though there are also fine wines, cocktails, and spirits to accompany your Cali-fresh meal.

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Taquito (Carlton)

Come for the lively margarita-fueled atmosphere but stay for the innovative taco flights. Crowds flock to this modern Mexican spot—co-owned by Alec Villarreal, who grew up in Mexico Cityfor the housemade stone-ground corn tortillas with seasonal stuffings such as battered fish or frijoles with mint crema and pickled onion. Consider, too, superb share plates including coral trout with fermented peach, buttermilk, and coastal herbs. Bonus points for a daily happy hour that runs from 4 pm to 6 pm, making Carlton’s first Mexican restaurant a coveted post-work hangout.

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Los Amantes del Agave (Brunswick)

Wooden platters are topped with fried rolled tortillas and quesadillas in the beer garden at Los Amantes del Agave in Melbourne.
Beer garden snacks such as flautas (fried rolled tortillas) and quesadillas are popular choices at Los Amantes del Agave. Credit: Los Amantes del Agave

Step inside this late-night cantina-style taqueria for truly explosive flavours—for starters, there are a whopping fifteen chile varieties on the menu. The backdrop is warm and casual, filled with low lighting, brick walls, and timber accents. Los Amantes del Agave’s specials include sopes (fried masa with toppings), ensalada de nopales (cactus salad), and tacos filled with smoky mushrooms and lamb barbacoa. If you’re here to imbibe, get the tasting flight—the restaurant has over 150 tequilas, mezcals, racillas, and sotols to choose from. Or chat up the mezcalier for a masterclass on all things agave.

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South of the Wall (Cremorne)

Things get festive at this Cremorne hotspot, thanks to six different margaritas (including a knockout pineapple and coconut version). The usual suspects—guacamole, ceviche, and tacos—all make appearances, along with larger plates including a zingy shredded chicken with Carolina reaper sauce, chile sauce, slaw, and pickled onions, intended for true blue spice lovers. Show up on a Saturday when you can book a boozy brunch which includes three courses and unlimited drinks for two or three hours for the ultimate weekend party.

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La Onda Latin Mex (Dromana)

Pairing Latin American and Tex Mex flavours, La Onda—which means the frequency or the wave in Spanish—brings all that and more to the shores of Dromana. The menu is well-loved for dishes such as playa ceviche (barramundi) served with plantain chips, elote loco (chargrilled corn) topped with mayo and shredded white cheese, and warm corn tortilla tacos loaded with assorted meats and vegetables, pickled cabbage, and pico de gallo. Wash it all down with a cerveza lineup that includes wine, cocktails, and Kolashanpan—a fizzy orange soft drink from El Salvador.

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Bodega Underground (CBD)

A plate of churros with dulce de leche dipping sauce on the side at Bodega Underground in Melbourne
Churros with dulce de leche dipping sauce are an ideal finish to a five-course feast at Bodega Underground. Credit: Bodega Underground

Head underground to the basement of the Crossley Hotel and you’ll find this buzzing taqueria and mezcal bar. Spice up your weekend with its Mexican brunch, a five-course feast of street corn, chilaquiles (pulled chicken and tortilla strips in roja sauce), and churros with dulce de leche. Bottomless mimosas, Palomas, espresso martinis, and a steady stream of beers and bubbles keep the fiesta vibes strong.

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Mesa Verde (CBD)

Ascend the stairs to the sixth floor of Art Nouveau Curtin House in Melbourne’s CBD and you’ll be rewarded with boundary-pushing Mexican fare at Mesa Verde. Kick things off with mezcal martinis from the agave-focused drinks list and oysters before making way for guacamole with totopos (a Zapotec riff on tortilla chips) and kingfish ceviche with jalapeño-mint adobo. If you’re extra ravenous, there are heartier plates to choose from such as lamb ribs with fennel and apple slaw. Add one of Australia’s largest tequila and mezcal collections, a rotating cast of DJs, and warm mood lighting, and it’s no wonder Mesa Verde is a sought-after weekend hangout.

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Tacos ‘N’ Tequilas (Elsternwick)

Say hola to Tacos ‘N’ Tequilas, a Mexican restaurant inspired by the streets of San Francisco. This Elsternwick dining destination is just as bold with its interiors as it is with its dishes, with decor that includes neon signs, sombreros, and a pink pressed-iron ceiling lining the back bar. Beers come in buckets and cocktails can be served by the jug. Start with small morsels such as jalapeño poppers and beef or chicken empanadas, and progress to burritos and group-friendly mains including sizzling fajita platters and paella. The cinnamon sugar-dusted churros, served with housemade chocolate sauce, make for a grand finale.

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