Exploring Our Top Picks for Auckland's Best Mexican
When one pictures Mexican food, many different images come to mind. From saucy, stuffed enchiladas to fresh, crispy baja tacos, cheesy quesadillas or the classic guac’ and chips, perhaps accompanied by a chilli margarita and or crunchy, doughy churros to follow; Mexican is one of the international cuisines Kiwis are probably most familiar with. It’s accessible, it’s comforting, and it’s delicious - what’s not to love?
Words by: Nicole Mudgway
Mexican food has emerged in New Zealand as a cuisine that can be cheap and cheerful, oozing with sauces like mole and habanero, cheese and satisfaction. Still, it can also be seen as fine dining, with delicately presented sharing plates for the table. It’s always a great food truck option and can simultaneously make for a great date night option. And there may now be more margarita types than in Mexican cities, but who’s complaining!? They make the best companions to many of our favourite Mexican dishes.
The list below is a guide to some of our favourite Mexican restaurants in and around Auckland. From cantinas and taquerias to easy takeaways and fancy date nights, great Mexican food in Auckland is not hard to find. And sometimes, good food is just worth travelling for!
130 Ponsonby Road
Originating in Queenstown, Taco Medic has quickly become a firm Auckland favourite - the variety of fresh, flavoursome tacos (especially for vegetarians) is almost unparalleled. It doesn’t feel that long ago that Taco Medic’s much-awaited Ponsonby outpost opened, and already their Quay Street spot has become a raging success - so don’t be surprised if there is more in store for the future.
Image by: Supplied
14 The Concourse, Henderson
Cielito Lindo is unassuming, authentic, and a must-visit for any true devotee of Mexican food. The decor is simple, but you’ll feel right at home (if you were in Mexico) at this eatery showcasing traditional flavours, methods and foods. While you’re here, we suggest trying the sopes - a popular Mexican street food, falling somewhere between a taco and a tostada, along with the signature tacos - always served with two layers of tortilla, in the ultimate pursuit of authenticity.
The Lucky Taco
597 New North Road, Kingsland, Auckland, Auckland
One of the city’s longest standing food trucks, The Lucky Taco has been brought to us by husband and wife duo Sarah and Otis Frizzell since way back in 2013. Plentiful flavours include elevated takes on all the classics and more adventurous options (such as lamb brains). Scooching their way around Auckland, it’s best to check their website to see where the truck will be next.
Shop 3/490 South Titirangi Road
Brought to us by the fab team behind Jo Bros Burgers (Josh Barlow and Brody Jenkins), the boys adopt the same approach to their tacos as they do their burgers: doing something that’s already done well but better. At Loco Bros they focus on using their chef-trained cooking techniques and high quality produce to create tasty and affordable tacos loved by many. Quesadillas and other main dishes are also mainstays on the menu.
Photo by: Supplied
Commercial Bay Level 2/1 Queen Street
One of Commercial Bay’s most lively spots, Ghost Donkey is a mezcal and tequila bar offering all the classics - tacos, fried chicken, quesadillas and of course, jalapeno poppers. For something a little bit different, try the carrot nachos - they’re even topped with a carrot habanero sauce! It’s great for groups, events and makes for a fun start to any night out in the CBD.
Photo by: Supplied
85/89 Customs Street West, Auckland CBD
This vibrant Viaduct spot offers the perfect go-to for a post work drink. While mezcal and tequila are both on offer at Frida Cocina's (tastings are available if you want to try it all), the margaritas are nothing short of magnificent: there are three different sizes and a multitude of flavours, ranging from classic to spicy and everything in between. Pair with some sharing plates or tacos under the watchful eyes (and brow) of Frida herself, whose portrait tastefully adorns the interior.
Photo by: Supplied
La Fuente Wine & Mezcal Shoppe and Bar
Snickel Lane 23 Commerce Street, Auckland CBD
Bringing this list to new heights is La Fuente, the first bar in New Zealand to be centred around mezcal, an indigenous spirit derived from the agave plant. The drinks menu is impressively comprehensive and pairs beautifully with the refined bites on offer - think cheese and jalapeño croquettes, guacamole, and house cured ceviche, to name a few. If you’re after a bite of decadent deliciousness, the mezcal truffles always go down a treat.
Taco Loco Cantina
179 Mount Albert Road
What was once a humble food truck has grown so much in popularity that there is now permanent housing in Mount Albert. Always a good time, the pops of colour and jovial atmosphere at Taco Loco Cantina create a pleasant dining experience, only enhanced by the tasty tacos that are served up time and time again. We love the chimichangas, a fried take on your choice of burrito, topped with salsa, pico de gallo, sour cream and guacamole.
572 Great North Road, Grey Lynn (also in Milford)
Fortunately for us, Grey Lynn’s La Mexicana sells their freshly made corn tortillas by the pack, because once you try a true corn tortilla, there is no going back! The menu may be simple, but it’s because La Mexicana takes the business of making mouth-watering authentic Mexican food very seriously. The recent opening of La Mexicana across the bridge is testament to the loyal fan base that has developed over the years.
Photo: Stock by Anna Briggs
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