Frankie’s Tortas and Tacos

30 Johnston St
Fitzroy, VIC 3065

Frankie’s Tortas and Tacos – how great does that sound?! This eye-catching little bar – which until about a year ago, was just a food stand in a parking lot – knocks up some great Mexican staples, with a couple of specials ducking in and out to keep things spicy. The vibe is deliberately a little dingy, and very cool in a retro late-night neon sort of way. Frankie’s embodies the quintessential casual local bar and eatery, and anyone who lives within walking distance should be envied.

Rating: 13.5/20 – i don’t know who frankie is but i’m sure he’s cool.
Must-order: fish taco, and the best damned hochata in this city.
Fun fact: the torta here refers to a sandwich, but depending on where you are in the world, torta can apparently mean anything from pie to omelette to flatbread!

Flank Steak Tacos ($23 for 3, $28 for 4)

The Flank Steak Tacos ($23 for 3, $28 for 4) are absolute monsters, the aromatic corn tortilla topped with an enormous pile of juicy steak, fat still sizzling from the grill, dressed with a generous dollop of house-made chimichurri. If I had just one criticism, it’s that the beef is a touch too salty, especially given how much there is, but otherwise, this is a killer steak taco that fulfills all the cravings.

Fish Pescadillas ($26 for 3, $32 for 4)

I feel almost unfaithful for saying this, but the Fish Pescadillas ($26 for 3, $32 for 4) are arguably even better than your classic fish taco. The construction of this is not too different from what you’d expect; a piece of flaky white fish wrapped in a tortilla, and garnished with spicy mayo and cheese. All that’s really missing is the slaw.

Fish Pescadillas ($26 for 3, $32 for 4)

What sets this one apart however is its trip through the deep fryer prior serving, which turns something ordinary into something truly magical. The crunch of the fried tortilla lends its texture to the fish, whose delicate flakiness is shown off even more in contrast. And the filling of molten cheese and sauce turns each bite into a creamy, oozy, decadent mess. As rich as they are, you can easily scoff down three, thanks to the bright and tangy house-made salsa verde served on the side.

Al Pastor Torta ($20)

The torta (not to be confused with a tortilla!) is basically a big ol’ Mexican sandwich, and because I didn’t get it in taco form, the Al Pastor Torta ($20) became a must-order. Though nothing extravagant, this is a really good simple and hearty sandwich. There’s an excellent balance between the richness of the pork and freshness of the lettuce and pickled onion, and the dollop of refried beans adds just enough sloppiness without making the experience untenably messy. This is the kind of sandwich I’d happily down as a meal of the day, any day of the week.

Choco Flan ($13)

The only official dessert on the menu at this stage is an ice cream taco, but we heard tell from our waitron that they’re testing out the Choco Flan ($13), a classic yet faintly ludicrous Mexican dessert. We’re talking dense chocolate cake, topped with a layer of flan (this version is much thicker than the original French crème caramel), and lots of dark, sticky caramel. Go on, treat yourself.

Horchata ($7)/Grapefruit and Lemon Myrtle ($7)

The drinks here are also very much worth a mention. The Horchata ($7) is the best I’ve ever had, with a creaminess and sweetness to it that no other place seems to want to commit to. On the lighter end is the Grapefruit and Lemon Myrtle ($7), which is beautifully fizzy and refreshing, and also comes with the option of adding a shot of liquor of your choice.

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