Best Mexican restaurants in Amsterdam
Even though Latin America is a whole other world away geographically, there’s no reason why you can’t have a fiesta in Amsterdam. Taco bars, burrito joints and higher-end restaurants are found all over the city, offering up Tex-Mex and more traditional Mexican cuisine that will leave your taste buds craving more - long after the last tostada has been crunched. Let the flavours of those zingy salsas, smokey mezcals and those ear-popping jalapenos dance around your mouth with this list of the best Mexican restaurants in Amsterdam.
Tuck into margarita sours and superb jackfruit tacos at this lively plant-based restaurant that was recently installed on Westerstraat, Madre offers a fine selection of delicious comfort food dishes including mushroom quesadillas made with shiitake and truffle oil, cauliflower tacos smothered in chipotle sauce and zingy salads with mega helpings of avocado. The cocktail list pairs perfectly with the food - we can stop banging on about the ice-cold granita made with mezcal, lime and ginger.
This colourful and casual diner on the Dappermarkt has a straight-to-the-point concept, serving tacos, ceviche and antojitos (little snacks) to the salsa-craving people of Amsterdam-Oost. At Local Dealer, the tacos are filled up with everything from carne asada (grilled steak) to barbacoa lamb or Holy Pastor (their delicious vegan option with grilled pineapple). They also host a brunch event on Sundays - think huevos rancheros, breakfast burritos, chilaquiles, and some of the best bloody marys in town - as DJs spin funky tunes. On warm evenings, mezcals, margaritas, micheladas and bottles of Modelo beer fly off the bar onto the lively outdoor terrace - we'd recommend reserving a spot if the sun is out.
You haven’t tasted proper Mexican cuisine until you’ve been to... well, Mexico. But if that option is not available to you right now, the salsas at Coba Taqueria reach out-of-this-world levels of complexity and the margaritas always get the party started. Indulge in sublime small plates and intriguing tequilas in the cheerful, unpolished interiors complete with wicker stools and cactuses positioned here and there. The menu features a daring array of tacos and tostadas: one tortilla is stuffed with soft-cooked pork neck and grilled pineapple, and another contains octopus, brown beans and peanuts. Whilst Coba is one of the pricier Mexican establishments in town, you'll be remembering how good the meal was months after your visit.
Tacos and tostadas tear out of the kitchen at this hip taqueria located in a former parking garage. Inside, the dim lighting and eclectic furniture add to the pop-up bohemian vibe that is typical of Amsterdam Noord, brightened by the friendly and dedicated staff. Highlights at Bacalar include the taco de pulpo, delicious fried octopus on a bed of ground peanuts, beans and soft purple tortilla or the black pudding tacos paired with mango and a habanero salsa. The cocktail menu is equally exceptional, with micheladas, mezcals and margaritas giving alliteration a good name.
What started as a BBQ with friends in the park before moving on to pop-up events across the city, MasMais has now found a permanent spot in Bos en Lommer. Describing itself as a next-generation taqueria, this friendly neighbourhood eatery was inspired by the bold flavours of the streets and markets of Mexico. We'd recommend starting with the pulpo and carnitas tacos - all wrapped in soft, hand-pressed tortillas. Wash all this down with a smokey paloma (made with mezcal) or some Mexican beers to really get into the fiesta spirit.
Top tip: Due to rip-roaring success, MasMais have opened up a second location in Bos en Lommer on the Admiraal de Ruijterweg called Marisqueria. This spot is a little different than their first venture. Here, they are primarily focused on fish with an a la carte menu full of tongue-tingling seafood dishes (with plenty of veggie options).
Bringing the most authentic and high quality ingredients, Cabrón offers mouthwatering flavours from all over Latin America. Their nachos con queso and carnitas en adobo tacos are definitely worth a try. However, we personally think nothing beats their birriaquesa con consomé quesadilla, (which essentially includes beef stew, pico de gallo, consomé (which arguably is the best part), and finally, heaps of cheese. They also offer an excellebt vegan selection. Located right at the heart of Albert Cuyp Market in De Pijp, the restaurant is an easy 10 minute metro ride from Centraal Station.
Fiona is a new eatery inspired by Mexico’s most famous female chef, Zahie Téllez, who oversaw the menu here. It’s a vibrant spot with cool vibes, décor that would sit comfortably in trendy Tulum, and seasonal plates. Start with the pumpkin seed paté with habanero chillies and crudité before indulging in the meltingly tender pork confit, served with raw onion, coriander, black beans, salsa verde and soft tortillas. Still hungry? The raw beef tostada with chilli oil, avocado mayo and crispy leeks is tasty, and the roasted cauliflower with beetroot mole is an exciting take on tradition.
Founded 20 years ago by three Mexican brothers, you know you're getting the real deal at Los Pilones. The extensive menu is packed with variations on famous dishes such as enchiladas and tacos, whilst more adventurous eaters can try out lesser-known specialties such as cochinita pibil - a slow-roasted pork stew of Mayan origin from the Yucatán. At the Nieuwmarkt location you'll find their taquería, serving up 14 different types of tacos including camarones a la diabla using spicy prawns or the toluca showcasing cactus.
Named after the main street in Little Havana - the heart and soul of Cuban and Latin American culture in Miami, Calle Ocho blends multicultural cuisines to offer a menu with feisty flavours and surprising ingredients. Though you can always find tacos and freshly made salsas, the chefs change the menu weekly to highlight the different cuisines of South and Central America. Treat yourself to freshly-made chilled ceviche and chicken tinga or, if you’re in the mood for a challenge, test out a dish featuring the impossibly hot Trinidad moruga scorpion pepper. Of course, you can cool off with a refreshing margarita from the bar.
Mr Haz Tacobar
This funky little taqueria is the perfect pitstop to fill your tum on a night of bar-hopping through the lively Jordaan neighbourhood. The menu at Mr Haz is straight-to-the-point and effective, offering kick-ass tacos stuffed with your choice of fish, pulled meats or veggies (and several vegan and vegetarian options to boot). We’d recommend washing all this down with a tasting flight of tequilas and mezcals (all made from 100% agave) or a pitcher of margarita to share between friends.