Perfect for a first date, a family dinner, a friendly catch-up or even just one of those ‘don’t feel like cooking’ evenings, The Mexican Café at 67 Victoria Street West in Auckland’s CBD is the go to place for great food, a fantastic bar, friendly staff and an atmosphere that is always lively and lots of fun.
Very handy to Auckland’s tourist areas, with Skycity across the road, hotels nearby and walking distance from the viaduct, The Mexican Café is so much more than you expect when you see the little door and steep flight of steps.
With a huge list of quality tequilas (80 to be exact), Mexican and Kiwi beers, cocktails (including Mojitos, Margaritas and Sangria of course) reasonably priced wines, champagne, spirits, non-alcoholic options, happy hour deals and, if all that wasn’t enough, tea and coffee, the bar provides every drink you could possibly want.
Now I haven’t tried any of the tequila on its own and although the margaritas aren’t the best in town (and I think I’ll keep the place that does the best ones my little secret) they are very good, especially if they are on ice and not blended (in my opinion anyway).
The restaurant is decorated with streamers, sombreros, cacti, paintings and so much colour that when you pass through the doorway at the top of the stairs, it feels as though you have left Auckland altogether and stepped into a world where Mexican culture is the theme and every day is a party just waiting for you to enjoy it.
The staff are very helpful and if you ask they will bring you a gluten free menu that clearly states which dishes are gluten free and, for those that aren’t, states which can be altered and how. With the spice levels able to be adjusted to suit all tastes the food, which for the record is really tasty, is suitable for all members of the family and all palates. I can personally recommend the beef quesadilla and the enchiladas and nachos are good too. I’m also dying to try the beefsteak ranchero (although I might have to swap out the sauce), chilli con carne and the lasagne. Yes, the lasagne is gluten free as it is made traditionally with corn tortillas. When you arrive you are given a bowl of corn chips and salsa on the house which I always enjoy and they make a great appetizer. The prices are reasonable, especially if you go for lunch (from 12pm Monday to Friday) as the meals are just $10, a decent size and the lunch menu also offers plenty of gluten free options.
Friday night is DJ King Salsa night (Raul Peredo) , so every Friday from 11pm The Mexican Café is filled with hot Latin dance music including Salsa, Samba and more. There is even space to dance and the café also hosts new Latin bands and performers transforming the café into a party. Plus if you leave them your email address you can be among the first to receive information about events and entertainment.
The Mexican Café has a balcony overlooking Victoria Street, which provides a view of the Skytower and a more relaxed atmosphere. In Summer it is cooler on the balcony but they also have heaters out there for the colder months. The Café can also cater to large groups and there is a function room that can seat up to 45 people and is gorgeously decorated with candles and paintings which give the space a lovely ambience.
I have to say there is one downside to The Mexican Café and that is that the building does not provide disabled access and, short of being carried up those rather steep, narrow steps, there is no way a disabled person could reach the restaurant. Also do be aware that the café is crazy busy on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights so if you don’t want to wait (although the bar is a great first stop for your evening out) then I do suggest booking, which you can do quickly and easily online or by phone. Just be sure to book early as bookings are also limited to leave space for casual diners.
The Mexican Café turns 30 this year so clearly they are doing something right and with the music, bar, décor, balcony and great food it is the perfect place to start, finish or spend your long lazy afternoon or fun night out.