Agave – refreshingly good Mexican to grace the Sydney restaurant scene

Agave Restaurante Mexicano – 410 Crown Street, Surry Hills.

I love Mexican. Especially after being spoilt for so much choice in the US over the last year. It’s now my favourite cuisine, but it just saddens me to see the state of Mexican food in Australia :/

It was refreshing to come by a cozy little spot in Surry Hills by the name of Agave. I’ve tried a few Mexican restaurants in Sydney (Glebe, Gladesville, Crows Nest), but this one is by far my favourite.

Mexican food in Sydney is highly underrated – rightly so, as the options are so limited. Mexican is definitely one cuisine I miss after having lived in the US for the last year – Mexican to Americans is like Asian food to Aussies and curry to the Poms. Sydney-siders are also not adventurous when it comes to Mexican food – they stick to the usual tacos and burritos. I urge you to try something new!

The interior. Clockwise from top: the beautiful interior downstairs, a painting hanging by the wall upstairs, the backwall of the downstairs

The interior is very charming – you enter into a small area upstairs that is adorned with a beautiful artwork, and then go down the stairs to the bottom level, which is beautifully decorated with rows of paper hangings and paintings of Mexican locals.

Clockwise from left: painting in the downstairs level, view from our table, the guacamole with totopos

What we ate:

  • Guacamole with totopos (corn chips) ($15) – avocado, lime, onion, chilli & coriander. As a classic, we ordered this to have with our drinks and it did not disappoint, although we ran out of chips very quickly so had to ask for a refill. We finished the guac very quickly as it was a very small portion – a little steep at $15.
  • Tacos de pescado ($24) – fish marinated in guajillo & chipotle chillies, w lettuce & pico de gallo. This was a lovely dish, I loved the balance of the flavours – the spiciness with the chilli and the acidity in the sauce with the well cooked fish.
  • Molcajetes/fajitas ($28) – king prawns rubbed w mexican spice blend, served w guacamole, rice, feta, salsa & tortillas. Again, a great dish, with a bit of a kick to the prawns with the spice blend.
  • Elote y huitlacoche ($15) – two quesadillas filled with mexican huitlacoche mushroom, sweetcorn coriander, onion & cheese, served w salsa. This reminded me of canneloni – N is a vegetarian and was very satisfied with her dish.
  • Camarones a la diabla ($26) – prawns in a garlic, tomato, chipotle & arbol chilli sauce w beans & coriander flamed with tequila. This was a dramatic dish – with the waiter bringing it out with a shot of tequila, then pouring it over the prawns and flaming the dish. Oh la la! While the prawns were well seasoned, the tequila was actually a bit too strong on the prawns for me. I would have preferred without.

Clockwise from top left: fish tacos, prawn fajitas, quesadillas, tequila flamed prawns

For drinks, we had wine and V ordered a mojito – I know, we’re at a Mexican restaurant and dont order any margaritas – go figure! What I really loved about the food was that it was filling, yet didn’t leave you feeling like your stomach was about to burst. The portion sizes were just right, with the exception of the guac – a very refreshing contrast to what most Mexican restaurants in Sydney provide. Thanks Agave for understanding that it’s Quality, not Quantity.

the verdict: 7.5/10 – my favourite mexican restaurant in sydney. great food, great flavours and just the right sized portions.

dont forget to order: the fish tacos 🙂

to try next time: the many types of margaritas…and churros!

Agave Restaurante Mexicano on Urbanspoon


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