I really love Mexican food. This is no lie. If it’s hot, spicy & bad for your waistline, I’m totally there… So when I kept hearing rumblings about this little place in Rose St called San Julian, I just knew I had to check it out.
Sadly, for various reasons, I took me a really long time to finally make my way over there, but when the rowdy group of ladies who I travelled to Thailand with recently said they felt like a Mexican dinner, I knew exactly which place I wanted to suggest.
Now when asked, many people in Cape Town will say that El Burro serves up the best Mexican in town, but to be honest, I’ve never really been that impressed by their food. The venue is beautiful, the vibe is fun, but the food just ends up being a bit of a disappointment (well except for their ceviche – they really do make a kick ass ceviche). I was therefore very excited to try something different, and from what I had heard, you really can’t get any more authentically Mexican than San Julian.
Looks wise, its a small, casual spot, but with lots of Mexican flavour. Bright colours, tons of Mexican memorabilia and collectibles, and just generally a really fun vibe:
I really loved all the quirky details, like the many Lucha libre (or Mexican wrestling) posters, the colourful crockery and even that strange bicycle hanging above our table:
According to their website, this is the only Mexican restaurant run by a Mexican family in South Africa (not sure when last that was confirmed – but hey, it’s the run by a real Mexican family part that really got my attention). The family originally came to Cape Town back in 2009, planning to stay for only 1 year. But for various reasons, including the World Cup and the fact that Cape Town is the best city in the world (OK OK, I added that last part), they decided to stay and open a place where they could serve and enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine. The rest as they say is history, and today they’re still serving food made from extra special family recipes to their many happy customers.
But how does one kick off a good Mexican feast? With some margaritas of course! Their frozen margaritas are served by the glass or in jugs. But trust me on this one, skip the glass and just go straight for the jug (or in our case many jugs). You definitely won’t regret it.On the food side, I have to point out that they make absolutely everything from scratch, so you won’t be finding any suspicious store-bought looking nachos here my friend. There was a lot of umming and ahing, because everything sounded so delicious, but in the end I knew I wanted to try three things: their chilli poppers (R15 each), their ceviche starter (R70) and their tacos (R85 for chicken & R90 for the braised Chilorio which is a pork dish). We didn’t have space for dessert – but they do a “Platano Tatemado” (R45) which is a hot cake topped with roasted banana, vanilla ice cream, goats milk & brandy caramel. Doesn’t that sound bloody delicious? (I’ll just have to try that next time)
Other worthy mentions include that our one waitor was actually from Mexico and was able to give us some great travel tips (Mexico’s definitely on my travel to do list). The rest of the team are all super lovely and so friendly, and they even encourage a bit of dress up if you’re keen. Just be sure to act fast and snap up a sombrero before they’re all gone… otherwise you’ll have to take one for the team by rocking a wresting mask, just like my friend Jules here:Of course no Mexican restaurant is complete without some great tequila options, and you can rest assured that here you will only be served the best…
I can highly recommend San Julian for everything from first dates, to group celebrations, it really is such a fun and tasty experience. For their amazing food, great service and all round awesomeness, I’m going to give them on the Miss K Kiss-o-Meter scale.
This is definitely my new go-to Mexican spot, and to get your own taste of Mexico, take note of the following:
- You’ll find them here: 3 Rose Street, Shop 3 & 4 State House building, Cape Town
- You can call them on: 021 419 42 33
- And they are open: Monday to Saturday from 5pm to 11pm
And with that I’m going to say: Olé! 😉