Smudge Eats Directory

Smudge Eats Directory


Cantina gains a spot on the Smudge Eats Directory.


One of the things that make food trucks great is their mobility, and Cantina Movil serves authentic Mexican food everywhere from music festivals and major sporting events to your neighbourhood corner.

Cantina Movil offers tacos, burritos, nachos, chilli corn, and custom-made, Mexican-inspired ice creams, and it is the only food truck in Sydney to have a liquor license for private events. Interestingly, it was also the first food truck to hit the streets of the Sydney CBD.

Stephanie Raco and Rode Vella own Cantina Movil, and they both play active roles in managing the business. Rode has a background in heritage restoration and building, and he was the driving force behind the design of the food trucks. Stephanie studied Fine Arts at Melbourne University, and worked in the hospitality industry while she was there. When Rode and Stephanie met in 1999, they quickly learned that they wanted to work in food together.

That same year, they opened ‘in situ’ bar/restaurant in Manly, which became Manly’s first small bar, and served up live music nightly. Simon Livingstone came on as head chef, and, later, teamed up with Rode and Stephanie again to create the authentic fillings which are at the heart of Cantina Movil’s cuisine.

Rode and Stephanie went on to sell ‘in situ’ in 2008, and tired of a four-walled business, they looked into new options. “We began researching the global uprising of food trucks that were wowing the critics with their fine food on four wheels,” said Raco. After such success worldwide, food trucks were clearly destined to hit Sydney streets, and Rode and Stephanie rolled out their first food truck on Boxing Day 2011 on the Northern Beaches. At the time, this area was one of the few Councils to offer a permit for mobile food service.

Shortly afterwards, The City of Sydney Food Truck Trial initiative was announced. “It was like the ‘Holy Grail’ of truckin’ in Sydney,” said Raco, “and we focused on attaining one of the ten coveted permits.” Of course they were successful, and Cantina Mobil rolled onto the City’s streets in April 2012.

On Australia Day 2014, Rode and Stephanie launched their second food truck, under their new name Cantina Movil – the name change was due to a trademark dispute with a large corporation and, today, they also have a fixed location at 99 Glebe Point Road, Cantina Movil’s Bar & Garage. To help them run the business they’ve teamed up with operations manager Montjuith Robledo. “I’m very passionate about my culture,” she says, “and nothing makes me happier than to work in Cantina Movil since it has recreated the folklore, food, drinks, service, the flare, and the warmth for which my native country is famous.”

Whichever location you visit, expect to find a selection of signature delicacies, like slow roasted and succulent signature meats such as chipotle beef, achiote chicken, and the recently released chilorio pork. The pinto beans are so good they’ve been featured in Delicious Magazine. Meats and fresh produce are provided by NSW farmers, and many ingredients come directly from Mexico, including chillies, pinto beans, hot sauces, and even dried oregano. Further, Cantina Movil is licensed and can serve alcohol at private events and some public fiestas.

“Our Sydney embraces the cuisine of different nationalities and when It’s done well, Sydneysiders will travel the distance and will even line up in the rain to enjoy it,” say Rode and Stephanie.