Sydney, New South Wales

Top10 Image
The Excelsior Hotel is home to another of Merivales successful venues. with renown chef Dan Hong at El Loco's helm. This authentic Mexican restaurant is more pub snack food than fine dining but it hasn't stopped the hoards lining at the doors. It seems $5 tacos (and perhaps a glimpse of Hong working his magic in the kitchen) are what Sydneysiders are going crazy about.
Not Accepts Best Restaurants Gift Card
Not Accepts Best Restaurants Gift Card
Not Accepts Best Gift Certificates
Opening Times

General info


64 Foveaux Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010


Surry Hills




Price Range:

$$$$ ~ $$$$


Fully Licensed (no BYO)

More info


El Loco is the latest addition to the Justin Hemmes Merivale empire, headed up by up-and-coming chef Dan Hong. Attached to the side of renowned Excelsior Hotel pub, El Loco has a crazy contagious atmosphere that, on passing through the baby blue doors, you suddenly feel excited.

The place is full to the brim with gaggles of girls, bands of beer-drinking boys, and an after-work suit crowd desperately in need of a drink. My dining guest and I loiter around the bar area, eyeing the crowds and prowling up and down the concrete floored room like jaguars, ready to pounce on any table that shows signs of possible desertion.

Finally scoring a seat, we are perfectly positioned in the centre of the action, surrounded by high-topped tables covered in Mexican oil-cloths in outrageous floral and checked prints, encircled by an assortment of colourful metal stools. There is also a cosy corner down the back (the most enviable position of the loitering crowd) with some mismatched sofas and milk crates that have been embedded with colourful cushions on top. The vibrant wall mosaics are a melange of painted cactuses and plastered pictures of Frida Kahlo, Mexican skeletons and sharks eating tacos, and the place is surrounded by cacti and corn growing out of huge pots. The effervescent fit-out is the work of Sibella Court from Society Inc.

After a quick look at the menu, I'm almost positive that this isn't authentic Mexican cuisine, with the likes of lemongrass beef and tofu tacos, and the famous Excelsior Hot Dog. But having said that, the spicy, colourful tastes that typically characterise Mexican food are all there, and all the dishes are absolute booze-soakers.

The market grilled fish is accompanied with a shaved fennel, cabbage and coriander salad, and dressed with salsa verde. It is delicious, and incredibly fresh. The salsa verde is more of a chilli-infused guacamole, rather than a traditional Italian sauce. Technicality aside, the punchy flavour is still there.

The vibe is exciting, and the place is full of character. With the right crowd, a taco in your left hand and tequila in the right, you are undoubtedly in for a loco night.
Sami-Jo Adelman

Specials & Events

This restaurant has not scheduled any event.


Please contact the restaurant for further information.


Bar / Wine Bar
Cheap & Cheerful
Outdoor Dining
Something Different
This restaurant does not have any awards.


Jamie Thomas on 7/10/2014
Hongy's tacos and dogs go alright at El Loco after a monster service. Or give me Ryo's noodles on a Monday when I'm off and a can of Coke, and you won't hear from me for about the three minutes it takes to wolf it down.
HAVE YOU DINED AT El Loco?Write your review
Best Restaurants of Australia invites your comments on your dining experience.
You are welcome to share your views with our many readers under our conditions of use*.
(will be displayed on the site)
(will NOT be displayed on the site)
* This is not a forum for rants and other unhappy patrons to complain. We invite not only those with a positive experience but also constructive criticism. We reserve the right to cut comments we estimate too long. Defamatory comments will not be published. All views expressed are those of the writers and may not be the views of publishers of Best Restaurants of Australia.
Currently there are no reviews for this restaurant.
Be the first to share your experience.