A full-on Mexican restaurant serving tacos, quesadillas, lots of tequila and also has a beautiful alfresco garden deck.
Probably one of the most casual places in this guide, but we'll always be fans of their original, perpetually packed space on Duxton Hill, especially the fairy-light festooned alfresco backyard. The name of the game here is elevated Mexican food, and worthwhile options include the mango and snapper ceviche, the carnitas tacos with pork belly, cilantro mayo and jicama, and the Bistek con Nopales, skirt steak with cactus salsa verde and chimichurri sauce. Be sure to peruse their fun, party-worthy and refreshingly non-stuffy cocktail list, too.
Duxton Hill has enjoyed quite the revival, and keeping things lively in the neighborhood is this bustling spot, courtesy of Aussie brothers Christian and Julian Tan—they’re behind Tanjong Beach Club, their effort with The Lo & Behold Group.
With a moniker like Lucha Loco, you might expect some wrestling action, but that’s not in the cards—unless you count the crowd you have to wrestle with to score yourself a table as the policy here is strictly no reservations, except for groups of nine or more where it’s mandatory.
When you manage to get one, order up some corn chips with roasted tomato chipotle salsa and guacamole ($12). They’re a bit on the modest side—both in terms of flavor and size—but at least it comes out quick and will keep you company as you wait on the hot items. We could have done without the chipotle- and honey-glazed pork ribs ($36) which while meaty, lacked the sticky glaze and the accompaniment of caramelized onions advertised.
You’ll fare better with the tacos; they use corn not flour tortillas. In particular, the chorizo and braised beef brisket ($10) and snapper with salsa and chipotle mayo ($11) both pack a punch flavor-wise, despite the tortillas being somewhat wet and flimsy. The quesadillas (both $16), too, are worthwhile options; go with the huitlacoche which they’ve smartly called “Mexican truffle” for novelty—there aren’t many places in the city that serve corn smut.
With its lively (read: loud) atmosphere and music, pretty decent service and grub, this is one of those places built for a good time; a Mexican Mule ($16), or three, doesn’t hurt either. Plus, we’ve got to give them props for not charging the usual 10 percent service charge.
Eat this at Lucha Loco: Mexican Street Corn. It's one of I-S Magazine's 50 things to eat before you die (2013). Care for a primo drink while you're there? We recommend Mexican Moonwalk. It's made of kicky Cimarron tequila, throat-warming chipotle syrup, and a cloud of Negra Modelo beer foam, topped with a playful shower of pop rocks. There's much to be said for fun, not-too-serious drinks.