To say Capetonians love Mexican and Tex-Mex food is an understatement. In fact, you can fill up on tacos, tortillas and tequila almost every day of the week for a month, and not eat at the same place twice! That’s right, the more than 20 Mexican eateries in and the around El Cape Town offer everything from Tex-Mex cheesy nachos, to takeaway chilli poppers, to more authentic comida Mexicana, and of course a lot of tequila.
Here’s a look at some of our favourite places to hang our sombreros.
El Burro & Taqueria
Started by the group of friends behind the famous Royale Eatery, El Burro (The Donkey) pride themselves in serving only authentic Mexican dishes (don’t even mention nachos!). They offer carne asada (marinated flank steak), chicken mole poblano (chicken in chocolate sauce, yes, chocolate!) and ceviche a la gorditas (lime marinated fish with smoked jalapeño sauce). Their build-your-own tacos and carnitas are firm favourites, served with hard or soft taco shells, and traditional flour or corn tortillas.
They also offer an incredible 37 different kinds of imported tequila (only the real stuff from Mexico). Another donkey recently made its home in Newlands, and their traditional Mexican street food and taco bar, Taqueria, in Tamboerskloof, is loved by the hip-and-trendy crowd. It goes without saying that booking is essential. If you’d like to sample more of their myriad of tequila options, they also have a tequila bar called Cabrito, downstairs from their Green Point restaurant.
Cabrón Taco Bar
This recent addition to the Mexican food scene on Bree Street is making waves in Cape Town. This restaurant, unlike most of the others on this list, has opted for a simple approach. Here, you can get Nachos or Tacos. And although they don’t have much in the way of options, what they do have is really, really tasty.
Another esteemed Tex-Mex favourite is Panchos in Observatory. Rumoured to be the home of the best nachos in the barrio, Pachos is always packed with vatos and chicas enjoying the rustic Mexican atmosphere, and of course, the amazing fajitas, enchiladas, chili con carnes, and giant jugs of frozen margaritas.
With branches in Kenilworth, Durbanville, and even Stellenbosch, Viva! Mexican is another strong contender for Cape Town’s Tex-Mex favorita comida. Chef Mike and his team source ingredients from ethical farmers to serve up tasty burritos, tacos, tostadas, and their signature pizzadillas in a very lively setting (to say the least).
If you’re looking for a great party vibe with a side of deliciously cheesy chilli poppers, tasty tacos, tostadas, tequilas, and muchas cervezas, Fat Cactus is where you should go. With branches in Woodstock, Mowbray and just off trendy Kloof Street in the CBD, Fat Cactus is many a Capetonian’s go-to spot for Tex-Mex.
Senor Onion in Somerset West is easy on the pocket and simply delicious. It serves up Tex-Mex favourites like chilli poppers, burritos, chimichangas, and fajitas. If you’re heading to the winelands and need to get your Mexican fix, this is the place to go.
Okay, so this is technically Latin-American food, rather than authentic Mexican. But the New York-born owner trained in Mexico and the food is so good that we had to include it. Nos gusta! Be sure to dip fresh nachos in creamy guac, and don’t miss the tacos or the churros!
Up north, the famous Tacoways in Durbanville is the place to get your Mexican flavour fix. This little no-nonsense outpost on the other side the Boerewors Curtain serves up truly delicious Tex-Mex, including tacos, nachos, burritos, and their famous pork chimichangas. In fact, those chimis alone are worth the trip up to the wild north.
Zapata Mexican Restaurant
But if you think the high noon chimichanga has been won, you’d be incorrecto, muchacho. Named after the famous revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, the restaurant that bears his name offers some stiff competition. They also serve up other delicious Tex-Mex favourites, including some of the best chilli poppers in town.
In Camp’s Bay you’ll find Del Mar, which serves some more authentic Mexican food. There are the fantastic Antojitos, (tapas) influenced by traditional Mexican street food, and mouth-watering main courses, with a twist on original Mexican recipes. It’s also one of the few places to get Mexican food with a sea view, so put it on your list!
Tortilla Modern Mexican near the CTICC
Remex Mexican Cantina in Table View
Cantina Tequila near Tiger Valley Mall
Didi’s Mexican in Claremont
Mex It Up at the V&A Waterfront
El Mariachi in Sea Point
El Cartel Mexican Cantina in Kloof street