zapata’s – northbridge

Mmm mexican. Cutlery-free eating is right down my alley. I love mexican food, whether its the real deal or tex-mex. For clarity, Zapata’s for the most part is tex-mex. It’s hard to miss on James Street. It has the kitsch, laidback cowboy look, complete with rustic wood and ranch-like atmosphere. Yeee-hah! I like it. As soon as we walk in, we were greeted by a friendly waiter who chooses a cozy table for us.

Easily entertained by the menu, I contemplated how much corn, chilli and jalepenos I could possibly stuff into myself in one sitting. Meanwhile my sister was captivated by the drinks menu. With good reason too –  Zapata’s could have the cheapest cocktails in Perth – $9.90 each or $16 for a jug! A eyewatering list of tequilas and mexican beers are available, perfect for chasing down the mexican food (too bad I was designated driver. boo.)

My sister immediately ordered a Death by Chocolate cocktail which looked ravishing, replete with strawberry garnish. It tasted much like an wicked iced chocolate. Mexican falls into that greasy food group that pairs excellently with alcohol (but when the-morning-after-arrives, they also make a nefarious pair…)

We ordered jalapeno nachos which we were warned would come out first. The nachos were quite light, refreshingly not drenched in cheese, but with a touch of sour cream and fresh avocado. Showered generously with deceptively spicy jalapenos, eating the chillis was akin to playing russian roulette with our sorry mouths. Like a sadistic addiction, the more  we ate, the spicier it got and the more chillis we wanted! What a vicious cycle.

Soon after, a loud sizzle (followed by a delicious aroma) was heading our direction. A hot plate of  steak pieces carried by a brave waitress signaled our fajitas had arrived. Served with a plate of salad and three soft white tortillas, this is casual food at its best. The filling of sizzling steak, grilled onions and capsicum was aptly contrasted by the crisp salad, salsa and cool sour cream. Serving the fajitas as fresh as possible, lifted the humble fajita far and away from its wrapped-and-ready supermarket cousins.


There’s a variety of tacos available: chilli con carne, beef and chicken. I ordered a prawn taco, a filling I have yet to try. I love tacos – the taste of the crispy taco shell and freshly baked aroma of corn cannot be substituted. =)  Typically, the first bite was disastrous with the shell splitting and contents spilling out! Served filled, with the prawns bathed in salsa and the salad overflowing the demure shell, I found the overall taste to be muted. From the tell tale spongy texture, the prawns were the frozen cocktail kind. However the salsa was sweet and piquant.

After making a mess of ourselves, we were offered dessert, but were too full. I should have saved some room for chocolate mousse.

Overall, I wouldn’t hesitate coming to Zapata’s again. The food is fresh (except for the prawns!), service is attentive and friendly plus the prices are really good. It’s a great place to chill out, enjoy the easy food and rejuvenate in the uni student atmosphere, complete with chilli fairy lights.

– 13 tequilas out of 20 –

Up’s: Love the laidback atmosphere – the staff have a great attitude, nothing’s too serious. Sizzling fajitas. Well priced drinks! The outdoor setting is pretty cool – high wooden tables and chairs, would make for great people watching on warm summer nights.

Down’s: Presentation of food can be messy. I think the waiter might have overcharged me, seeing there was half price tacos and $5 nachos on the day we went, so double check the bill!

Zapata’s Mexican/Latino Restaurante, 155 James Street, Northbridge WA 6003

T: 1300 NACHOS (yes, that’s for real)

Opening hours:
Dinner 7 days 6pm – late (Tue and Thu open from 5.30)


p.s. Worth having a look at their website for daily specials and menus.

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