TravelGround’s Guide to Memorable Mexican Merriment in SA
Hola, amigos! Spring has finally arrived after a long, cold winter and it’s time to get festive. Mexican cuisine is without a doubt flavoursome, delicious, and not to mention the founders of the ever popular guacamole, which we can’t thank the Mexicans enough for!
With its tradition of spicy tacos, packed burritos, bright-coloured restaurants, tequila and refreshing margaritas, how can you go wrong with celebrating Mexican style? No one can argue that it’s a great way to spice up your birthday, the beginning of a new season, or a get-together with your loved ones.
Feast on the best tortillas in Cape Town at San Julian
It doesn’t get much more authentic than this. San Julian is hosted by a Mexican native, Arturo Garcia, who opened the restaurant with his father and brother, Ricardo, who is the chef. When asked what made them decide to open a Mexican restaurant this side of the Atlantic, they said their craving for traditionally made corn-filled taco with authentic chillies, beans and guacamole was more than enough reason to build their own Mexican empire in Cape Town that met their expectations. What makes San Julian so special, is that the recipes used are all Garcia-family trademarks.
You’ll feel like you’ve teleported straight to Mexico as soon as you enter this restaurant with the bright red, yellow and orange finishes, wrestling masks, sombreros and piñatas everywhere. Visit this restaurant in the beautiful CBD of the Mother City to try their delicious and unique Mole de Cabo (Sauce of the Cape) made with South African chillies and chocolate, served over chicken and cheese wrapped in tortillas.
You can get tasty half-price tacos on Tuesdays and a Chef’s Special on Wednesdays. If it’s your birthday, the San Julian staff will entertain you with some traditional mariachi music and tequila which you have to take while wearing a wrestling mask and someone shaking your head.
Open Monday to Saturday from 17:00 to 23:00.
Be trendy and merry at Mama Mexicana in Johannesburg
Experience Mexico in an industrial-like building in the trendy Arts on Main Maboneng Precinct for some mouth-watering chili poppers and nachos. This restaurant started out as a taqueria at a Sunday Market on Main, but Kevin and Wade, the two friends who founded Mama Mexicana, spent two years trying to create the perfect nachos, burritos, quesadillas, chimichangas and enchiladas, and thought it was well worth opening a full-time restaurant.
Although Mama Mexicana is not excessively decorated in typical Mexican accessories as the above mentioned sombreros, piñatas, etcetera, it offers a one-of-a-kind vibe with minimal, art-deco décor, fresh white walls and plenty of light. This creates a classic, rustic feel that caters to the artsy crowd of Maboneng, but at the same time adding some Mexican spice to this hood.
One of the biggest perks of Mama Mexicana is that almost everything on their menu is under R60!
Open Monday to Tuesday from 10:00 to 16:00, Wednesday to Saturday from 10:00 tot 21:00 and Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00.
Have your own fiesta with Silver Creek Craft Distillery’s Margarita Moonshine
Why not bring Mexico to your home? Buy a bottle of the newest addition to Silver Creek Craft Distillery, Margarita Moonshine, and celebrate the start of spring in your backyard. Margarita Moonshine is a small-batch, American-style moonshine, and the proud owner of a goldprize at the 2018 SA Women’s Wine & Spirit Awards (SAWWA). Silver Creek Craft Distillery is an artisanal distillery in an old mine building in Randburg, Johannesburg, and is now known for being the largest moonshine distillery in Africa.
Margarita Moonshine is inspired by the classic margarita ─ created in a 1930s bar in the Mexican city of Tijuana ─ and when you drink it, you’ll feel like you’re blissfully lounging with a sundowner on a picturesque beach in Cancún…
You can enjoy Margarita Moonshine in a salt-rimmed glass with crushed ice and lime-wheel garnish, or simply as a straight shooter to kickstart springtime.
Mexican Mania at the Mojo Market in Sea Point
The new Mojo Market in Sea Point, Cape Town, is a food and lifestyle market that’s open seven days a week! Mojo Market offers a vibrant mix of 45 designer retail stalls, fresh goods and 25 food vendors, as well as stunning floor-to-ceiling views of the sea and the ever-so-popular Sea Point promenade. This market focuses on both local and international producers, such as the Tortilla Modern Mexican stall.
Tortilla Modern Mexican focuses on producing tasty Mexican fast food that is considerably healthy, and they’re also certified halal and vegan friendly. Don’t leave the Mojo Market without trying their wide selection of flavourful burritos (build your own!), or get delightful Nutella-filled churros to sweeten your day.
You can also find a Tortilla Modern Mexican store in Cape Town’s City Centre in Lower Long Street, and keep an eye out for the new stores coming soon to the V&A Waterfront and Cavendish Square!
Mojo Market trading hours:
Food Stalls: Monday to Thursday from 11:00 to 22:00, Friday to Sunday from 10:00 to 22:00.
Pump it up at Pancho’s in Observatory, Cape Town
Pancho’s is just as vibrant and colourful as Observatory, the neighbourhood in which it’s located. The bright flowery art on its walls provides the perfect spot for celebrating while enjoying some of the best Mexican cuisine in all of Cape Town! Pancho’s has more of a pub vibe, which is the ideal place for those who like lively, down-to-earth restaurants with a young feel to it.
Serving huge portions, Pancho’s is also a good option for saving some moola, seeing as the food is usually more than enough to share between two people. Due to its popularity, be sure to make a booking if you plan on dining here.
Rumour has it that Pancho’s has simply the best nachos in town, so bring your loved ones and come and find out whether it’s true. You can also make a day of it and explore the arty streets of Observatory filled with cute little bars and trendy vintage stores.
Open Tuesday to Saturday from 17:30 to 00:00. Closed on Sundays and Mondays.
Where to take a Mexican Siesta?
A Mexican getaway is just around the corner! Valaparaiso Guesthouse is Mexican-themed and located in the beautiful coastal town of Jeffrey’s Bay. It boasts views of the pristine beach and ocean, tastefully decorated and colourful rooms ─ each in its own Mexican way ─ as well as absolute privacy. Enjoy a sundowner on the deck while marvelling at the beautiful surroundings, or feast on a delicous breakfast at Café Solo.
Blue Roan Country Lodge
Want to experience the best of South Africa and Mexico in one? Blue Roan Country Lodge is located on the outskirts of Magaliesburg and it might just offer the getaway you’re looking for. This lodge boasts awe-inspiring décor, Jacuzzis and views of the majestic Magaliesberg Mountains and units decorated according to the themes of different countries. Although the entire lodge isn’t Mexican-themed, it offers seven self-catering units, one of which is named The Mexican Loft. With its bright-coloured décor, blue and yellow walls and red sofa, you’ll feel like you’ve walked straight into a Mexican villa.
If you’ve never feasted on Mexican cuisine or celebrated a special occasion with some tequila or margaritas, you’re missing out big time. Come on, get festive, put on your sombrero and celebrate the start of the flower season at your nearest Mexican spot with your favourite amigos!
Feature image: Bigstock