Café Pacifico – East Sydney / Darlinghurst

Cafe Pacifico in East Sydney
Over a decade ago Cafe Pacifico was my favourite bar in Sydney. My girlfriend at the time and I would go every few weeks and gorge ourselves on jugs of margaritas and fajitas and when the relationship with her broke up so too did my relationship with Pacifico. As such, when WingWoman recently suggests we go to this Mexican haunt I feel nostalgia and trepidation set in – after all, I’m a big fan of repressing memories.

It’s Friday night and the place is jumping. Mexican music is playing and the bar area is packed with people drinking margaritas. We bypass this, however, to grab a candle-lit table.

The service here is friendly and chirpy, which is a bit of a shock when you’re used to regular Sydney service. In an attempt to look grand I order a jug of margaritas, only to later find out it costs $69.50. In Cafe Pacifico’s defence the jug is large enough to give you your money’s worth and then some, but when I come again I’ll definitely order margaritas by the glass (especially as they’ve got several varieties available to try). Thankfully, however, the margarita is good – shaken rather than frozen and strong while still packed with flavour.

I order the chicken fajita ($25.60), made from sizzling chicken, capsicum and onion slices grilled and served on a hot plate, all of which you then wrap up in tortillas with toppings such as guacamole and salsa, while WingWoman opts for the burrito ($18.20). I personally think the fajitas are the best bet here and make for a memorable meal, although back in the day I also used to love the chicken taquitos. I also recommend the Negro Modelo (a dark Mexican) beer that has a deep, malty taste.

* Since my visit with WingWoman I’ve found myself coming back to Cafe Pacifico several times, mainly because they’ve also got a great range of tequila – and I’m impressed that they mainly use tequila that’s made with 100 per cent agave (which is what tequila ought to be made from – many shelf brands mix the agave with other kinds of spirits). Pacifico also has a selection of mezcals that are a world away from the cheap stuff I’ve tasted in the past. Plus, I like the fact that late on weekends you’ll usually find at least one person dancing on the bar or tables. What more could you want from a bar?

Cafe Pacifico, 95 Riley Street, East Sydney. Phone 9360 3811 or see the Cafe Pacifico website Open Tuesday to Saturday. Bookings are recommended on weekends.

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