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Review: Alvarados Mexican Cantina

Review: Alvarados Mexican Cantina


Words Vanessa Ortynsky

Photography Charlie Jackson 

The dining experience at Alvarados is as close as you’ll come to authentic Mexican cuisine in Christchurch. Traditional Spanish ballads softly serenade us as we dig into our mains – lovingly prepared dishes that transport us to the warmth of Guadalajara.

It’s reassuring and surprising to discover a Mexican cantina in Christchurch.

Alvarados Mexican Cantina has roots in Christchurch’s restaurant scene that trace back almost 35 years.

The original location became something of a postcard for the September earthquake when the walls of the previous location crumbled, eerily revealing the undisturbed restaurant interior. One year later, just in time to celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day, Alvarados reopened in its current location on Stevens Street in Waltham.

For nearly five years, Alvarados continues to serve truly authentic Mexican food at a time when so many establishments have begun to pivot towards contemporary fusion and shared plates.

In the kitchen, the food is proudly prepared by Mexican expatriates, who strive to deliver the most authentic dishes using locally-sourced ingredients.

The à la carte menu offers entrées and mains that range from the famously original Rellenos to tex-mex mainstays such as the
crowd-pleasing nachos.

Tacos de carnitas and Baja fish tacos are some of my favourite authentic Mexican dishes; it’s refreshing to see them featured on the menu. Filled with rice and chicken and topped with cheese, salsa and guacamole, the hearty chimichangas are completely satisfying. They are some of the best I’ve had anywhere.

The drinks menu features frozen margaritas in original lime as well as strawberry, blackberry and a myriad of other flavours. You’ll also find beers that extend beyond the standard Corona and Dos Equis.

The owner Julie also reveals that tables are pushed aside later on in the evening for salsa dancing. I’m already looking forward to celebrating Mexican Independence Day on September 15th.

03 374 4149
77 Stevens Street, Waltham, Christchurch