Devour Australia’s biggest plate of nachos at California Tacos’ new West End eatery

Brisbane diners have likely spied California Tacos’ iconic eye-popping share-style nachos on their Instagram feeds before. This mountainous serve – boasting layers of corn chips, cheese, black beans, avo-peño cream, guac, salsa fresca and protein – is notorious for its hunger-busting qualities, but it’s really something you need to see for yourself.

May 19, 2023, updated May 19, 2023

Over the weekend, the Gold Coast-born concept opened its first Brisbane franchise on Boundary Street in West End, unveiling a crisp, neon-lit locale serving everything from cheesy quesadillas and chargrilled steak and shrimp tacos, to frozen daiquiris and giant margarita towers.

On paper, California Tacos‘ recipe for success doesn’t seem overly complicated. A menu inspired by the beaches of Southern California and Mexico (boasting generous American-sized portions) is a major contributing factor, to be sure, but it’s not what’s rocketed the Burleigh-born brand to its current level of popularity.

It’s the vibe – the brand’s palpable party-starting energy and a carefree atmosphere that’s synonymous with the coastal lifestyle – that has made California Tacos a return destination for locals and visitors alike. After expanding its presence in Southeast Queensland with locations in Broadbeach, Townsville and Caloundra, California Tacos has finally made its debut in Brisbane.

In a slender space off Boundary Street in West End (previously home to Kulcha’d), franchise owners Nathan ‘Macca’ McElroy and Ruby Lewis have created a slick, SoCal-inspired oasis illuminated by vivid neon, drawing inspiration from the brand’s established beachy aesthetic. “The vibe down in Burleigh is what we wanted to replicate up here,” says Macca. “The idea is to bring the beach to the city – we designed it to feel like you’re having drinks and eats with the beach right there.”

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While West End is far removed from the sun-soaked beaches of Burleigh, San Diego or Ensenada, Macca and Ruby have managed to evoke a breezy approachability via a colour palette of neutral tones and murals. Boasting a street-facing dining space and a rear courtyard (access via a colourful laneway next to Brisbane Brewing. Co.), California Tacos is larger than its Burleigh sibling, with more room for dine-in custom bolstered by the presence of two bars (including a garden margarita bar out back).

Where Macca and Ruby haven’t strayed is with the menu, which has been replicated word-for-word from the OG site. Leading the offering is an 11-strong list of tacos, stuffed with the likes of achiote-tequila pork, sauteed cactus and zucchini, panko-crumbed white fish, and chipotle and lime shrimp. Four beefed-up burritos are also available alongside guacamole bowls and quesadillas, but the true centrepiece is the nachos, which are kind of a big deal.

The share-sized portion is considered the largest in Australia, with normal nachos, California Fries and Surf N Turf options available. A big ol’ feed like that requires a drink or two to was it all down. California Tacos’ beverage list is headlined by 3-L margarita towers, frozen daiquiris, passionfruit mojitos, pina coladas and local craft and imported beers.

California Tacos is officially launching its new West End location on Saturday May 20, with DJs spinning from afternoon into evening.Those looking for a spot to host their function can hire out part of California Tacos as an event space – email the crew to make an enquiry. Head to the Stumble Guide for operating hours and other important details.

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