Mexican cuisine is among the world’s favourite, and Wellington has its fair share of restaurants cooking up some of the most first-rate Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes in the country. There’s always a surprise in Mexican restaurants, with chefs experimenting more and concocting dishes just that little bit different from the usual burritos, tacos and chilli con carne.
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With numerous regional cuisines, Mexico is the perfect country for meat lovers, part-time vegetarians and staunch vegans alike. Another advantage is the party scene; with numerous cocktails and beers (as well as late openings), a lot of Mexican joints are ideal for celebratory functions. Check out these Mexican-Wellington (“Mex-Well”?) establishments for a vast range of spicy treats and cold beer.
All you can eat! Four words that instantly get the attention of hungry hordes looking for a feast. If Mexican fare is your heart’s desire, head to Tequila Joe’s on Vivian Street, on the corner of Tory Street in Wellington’s CBD in Te Aro. They offer all-you-can-eat tacos on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and if buffalo wings tick the box, this fine establishment offers the same deal for those on Wednesdays. Tequila Joe’s has kept Wellington going with fantastic Mexican food and sublime cocktails since May 2013, with mains such as cactus pork carnitas and the baja quesadilla grande standing out. Gluten-free tortillas are available on request, as well as veggie options. Party hard and try the tequila shots at just $6 (£3.20).
The Flying Burrito Brothers
If one had to choose a location for a Mexican restaurant a few thousand miles from Mexico, Cuba Street is not a bad shout. The Flying Burrito Brothers’ “cantinas” have grown across New Zealand, although the Wellington venue was their first, having opened in 2002. Pork tacos have a celebrated reputation, as do the feijoa and apple margaritas (feijoa is a South American fruit resembling guava). Specialising in funky vibes and a dazzling array of both food and drink, The Flying Burrito Brothers focuses on great service and happy times. Tuck in, eat well, and be happy!
Fans of Mexican food in Wellington won’t be too far from a Viva Mexico. They have venues on South Bank in Te Aro, Jackson Street in Petone and Riddiford Street in Newtown. With so much choice, those with healthy appetites can’t really go wrong. Viva Mexico is noticeably authentic, with two chef friends David de Orta Jimenez and Antonio Gonzalez realising a dream all the way from the south Mexico City district of Iztapalapa. Don’t expect anything sub-standard here; their tacos are beautifully fresh and smell like ground maize. Try their zarape mexicano – slow-cooked pork with green sauce, beans, rice, sour cream and cheese. Makes the mouth water, right? With plenty of cocktails, beers, sides and desserts to see patrons through, Viva Mexico is a terrific Mexican experience in the world’s southernmost capital city.
Everyone likes to eat with a view, and that’s what diners get when they visit Mexican QBT. Based at Customhouse Quay, the harbour glistens while locals tuck into quesadillas, burritos and tacos (these three specialties may give a clue to the QBT name). The owner, Andres (married to a Kiwi and nicknamed “Shortie”), can be found on most Sundays at the Harbour Market, educating the faithful and selling all manner of Mexican sauces. From Monday-Friday, expect busy lunches at fantastic prices; for those on a budget, check out Mexican QBT for a great value lunch.
Sweet Mother’s Kitchen
This little beauty may very well have all angles covered when it comes to great Mexican restaurants. Fancy a breakfast? They do French toast, waffles, hot sandwiches and huevos rancheros from 8–11.30am weekdays (and all day on weekends until 4pm). Moving on to lunch… burritos, burgers and toasted sandwiches can be ordered with numerous sides. For dinner, pick between enchiladas, ribs and blackened fish. Desserts are somewhat of a speciality, with homemade pies always popular. Based on busy Courtenay Place, Diana Parker and her team pride themselves on home-styled Mexican and Louisiana food, all in a wonderfully bright atmosphere with funky decor. And pets are welcome.
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