Cuisine: Mexican

Ladies and gentlemen, Tex has left the building. There is no ground beef in sight at this slick Mexican taqueria, named intriguingly after Mexico City’s Chinatown and Barcelona’s red-light district. A long central bar twinkles with tequila bottles, winged by street-facing booths and a big dining room on the other side. Paint-stripped walls and squeeze bottles of house-made chilli sauces set the scene for eating street food — barbecued corncobs $6, tacos $5–$6 or tortas (burger-like sandwiches) $10–$12 — but each bite is a delicacy. Ingredients like cactus and squash blossoms find their way into salads and between rounds of soft, fried tortilla bread. Corn chips might come topped with citrusy pulled pork and jicama $12 and tacos with grilled prawns and zingy kiwifruit salsa. Then there’s the tequila menu. It’s fun, fresh, and far from Texan.

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Cuisine: Mexican,Italian

Get cosy on one of the sunken lounges by the open fireplace, drink in hand, or chill out on the alfresco terrace all year round. Despite the name, pizza’s not all you’ll find on the menu. With celebrity chef and co-owner Pete Evans behind it, mains (from $26) are actually dominated by pasta but we recommend you branch out and consider the wagyu sirloin with wild mushrooms, roasted kipfler potato and red wine jus $40. Pizza options $18–$28 are abundant and varied and we can’t stop raving about the wild mushroom, taleggio, goat’s curd and caramelised onion offering, or the fresh fig pizza with pancetta, gorgonzola, tomato and basil. Desserts are done very well, too, if the pizza hasn’t proved too much to handle — chocolate hazelnut pizza with ricotta, banana, icing sugar and vanilla gelato $14 is heavenly.

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Cuisine: Mexican,Italian,Japanese

The endearingly baffling slogan, “goody and delicious” says it all. JuJu is one of the most authentic Japanese cultural experiences in the city, transporting you to a Tokyo-style izakaya (tavern) complete with a no-shoes policy, traditional sunken seating and food designed to be shared and paired with plentiful sake and Asahi beer. Beef or pork shabu shabu $42 (for two) is a fun DIY affair involving a bubbling hotpot broth and a mountain of fresh ingredients. Deep-fried delicacies, from $7.50, make great beer snacks and sushi and sashimi are masterfully prepared. Try softshell crab roll $8–$15.80 or a mixed sashimi plate $29. No need to hit the clubs for some after-dinner entertainment — karaoke kicks off at 10.30pm on Friday and Saturday and is famously enthusiastic.  

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