A taste of Mexico in Christchurch: The city's best Mexican restaurants

A corn chip shopping up a bean mix.

Craving Mexican food? Here are our picks of the best Mexican restaurants in Christchurch.

Words by: Petra Nyman 

We’re yet to come across someone who does not love Mexican inspired food. Tacos? Yes, please. Guacamole and home-made corn chips? Heck, yes. Margaritas? Say no more, we’re in! 

The fun part of dining at a Mexican restaurant is just that – it’s not only the food we love but the viva la vida atmosphere. These are establishments that are colourful, cheerful and a little bit cheeky. And yes, they deliver fresh, flavoursome food and delicious drinks that are hard not to love. 

If you’re after an entertaining evening with a few amigos, or a fun way to introduce the kids to dining out, Mexican restaurants are where it’s at: there’s always plenty to see, taste and experience within any of these establishments.

Whether you’re craving safe and traditional, such as a darn good burrito, or feel like stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something truly authentic, Christchurch offers a great variation of restaurants offering Mexican fare in all its colours. 

Chiwahwah

136 Oxford Terrace, Central City

Bold in more ways than one, Chiwahwah is an experience not to be missed. Enter through the jungle of botanicals, and it’s like you’ve stepped through a Travelport directly to modern México. The walls are adorned in day-of-the-dead art, taxidermy animals don sombreros, and a tequila list of some 40 odd varieties await choosers, as does a menu filled with the traditional and the not-so-traditional suspects of Méxican fare. A crispy nori shell taco anyone? This is a spot that is open for lunch, dinner and late-night partying. 

Mexico

203 Manchester Street, Central City

It’s a bold move naming a restaurant after a country, but Mexico doesn’t take representing its namesake lightly. Every detail has been thought through here, and it shows. The space is colourful and fun, the walls are clad in paintings and images straight from the motherland, and the menu is filled with finger-licking goodness, such as the Guajillo chicken picadillo. On the drinks side, it would be a crime not to taste Mexico’s own sodas, and if non-alcoholic is not your jam, eye up the Sangria options – there are plenty.

Mexicanos

131 Victoria Street, Central City

Mexicanos is a display of all good things Mexican – fresh and flavourful food, bountiful beverages and a buzz like no other. The atmosphere here is festive and fun, like a streetside tavern somewhere in the El Tri. Food is heavily influenced by the street-food culture as well, with most dishes designed to share or to fit perfectly in your palm. Tacos, guacamole and chips, fried chicken and tostadas are just some of what's on offer. The opening roof is a nice touch for the summer nights, which creates yet more ambience and lets the sound of the revelry spill out onto Victoria Street.

Muy Muy

44 Welles Street, Central City

Tucked inside The Welder, Muy Muy is in the business of delivering true authentic Mexican food to the good people of Ōtautahi. Drawing inspiration from the food scene of Oaxaca, the culinary capital of Mexico, you can expect to find a number of items on the menu you may not have previously come across. It’s not every joint that can pull off dishes such as Smoked Octopus or Duck Empanadas. Not shying on the beverage offerings either, you can find yourself sitting at a garden table at Muy Muy, sipping a Mandarin Margarita or an Ahumado Jungle Piña Colada.

Caribe Latin Kitchen

255 Saint Asaph Street, Little High, Central City

Occupying a colourful corner of Little High Eatery, Caribe Latin Corner is a true breath of fresh Latin American air. Offering a range of culinary curiosities from central America, this tiny restaurant’s dishes are full of punchy flavours. Expect to find burritos, tacos and quesadillas galore on the menu, as well as a number of intriguing specialities that are a step away from Mexican fare, such as arepas, Caribe’s signature cornmeal bread filled with your choice of goodness, or Chorrillana, traditional Chilean loaded fries. 

Casa Publica

180 Armagh Street, Central City

Casa Publica is a true slice of Latin America on the corner of Armagh and New Regent Streets. Imitating the era of prohibition, expect an atmosphere of novelty, mystery and intimacy. The dimly lit restaurant offers plenty of glamour and a menu to match: truffled mushroom tacos, a whole lamb shoulder for two and Peruvian fish ceviche, are just a few of the options on offer. Don’t bypass the selection of rum on the drinks menu either, which is, in fact, the true star of the show at this establishment. Whether you’re after a bite and a drink, or a full blown feast of a Latin American dinner, point your nose this way.

Neat Christchurch & Canterbury Places

Bessie

A table setting at Bessie, Christchurch's steak house.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Restaurants key icon.

Dark, a little brooding and faultless in its theme, Bessie is an immaculate display of fine dining in the inner city.

The Observatory Hotel

A Modern Gothic lounge design.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Accommodation key icon.

The Observatory Hotel is a beautiful central location in Christchurch, allowing you to leave the car for your stay and explore the city on foot.

A&C Homestore

A&C Homestore interior in Christchurch.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury

Found down a laneway in The Crossing precinct, the retail heart of Christchurch’s inner city, shopping at A&C Homestore is always a dreamy experience.

Dux Central

Dux Central exterior, Christchurch.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Bars key icon. Restaurants key icon.

If bars could be left or right handed, Dux Central would be ambidextrous. There’s nothing this place can’t be.