Less food court, more food destination, this Mexican taqueria is a hub of
Top-notch Mexican at Los Vida.
SHOPPING centre food courts have gone gourmet since the days of plastic forks, sad salads and bain-maries.
At St Collins Lane, the retail centre formerly known as Australia on Collins, you’ll find Los Vida two floors up under an arty installation of dangling green bottles. It’s the sole south-of-the-border outpost of the Mexican taqueria which already has two Sydney outlets.
With table service, 120 seats and a dramatic gothic fit-out, this is more serious restaurant than retail pitstop.
Opened in January, Los Vida is Spanish for “collective of life” and the menu is a medley of tasty treats and good drinking to be enjoyed at the bar, in a booth or on the balcony.
Under the seafood ceviche line-up, the prawn Acapulco arrives as a chipand-dip situation, a pile of moreish corn chips to swipe through a piquant sauce of orange, tomato, onion and coriander with two fat prawns on top.
Work your way through nine types of tacos, like the spicy tinga chicken with guacamole, sour cream and iceberg lettuce, or the pulled pork tangled with roasted pineapple. Like it hot? Ask for Pablo’s Diablito, a sauce of jalapeno, habanero and crazy-hot arbol chillies.
The quesadilla flies the flag for Mexican fare that’s a notch above your standard Tex-mex. Get chicken, beef or mushrooms with Monterey Jack and queso fresco cheeses and pico de gallo (salsa) pressed between toasted tortillas.
There are also bigger sharing plates, such as slow-braised lamb ribs with a chipotle and orange glaze.
A choice of three desserts includes chocolate tequenos (pastries). Wash it all down with tempting cocktails such as the salted watermelon margarita.
Whether it’s lunch for one or a meal with your amigos, Los Vida hits the spot for lip-smackingly good Mexican fare, and not a plastic fork to be found.