Doc Sci and I have a new flavor obsession: chipotle. Yes, we love the restaurant, but lately we just can’t get enough of that smoky pepper goodness. These little buddies give a little kick to everything from salsa to salad dressing to soup to enchilada sauce. Chipotle peppers impart genuine Mexican flavor, and any restaurant in Europe using them is most likely legit. Los Pilones in Amsterdam is no exception.
Los Pilones has a presence in three different Amsterdam neighborhoods: Nieuwmarkt, Leidsebuurt, and Jordaan. We visited the Leidsebuurt location because it just happened to be closest to the bus station. I wasn’t able to figure out the opening hours from their website, but lucky for us, the restaurant starts serving up fajitas and frijoles at 4pm.
The menu advertises the food as Mex-Mex (as opposed to Tex-Mex). I didn’t hear any Spanish being spoken, but corn tortillas and Mexican cheese are good signs. No one wants a taco topped with Gouda!We ordered the Beef Tacos Alhambre and the Enchiladas Verdes as well as a side of rice and beans. The server brought us a tiny bowl of chips and pico de gallo (heavy on the cilantro) and a flask of water with small, traditional blue-rim glasses with ICE! I can’t remember the last time (if there ever was a time) I had ice in my drink when eating out in Europe.
The beef in the tacos was not ground; rather, the dish was prepared with chopped steak. The presence of bacon in the Alhambre preparation was a new flavor in my Mexican food experience. It added a hint of smokiness which is almost always a good thing. The tacos come unassembled, and the only downside is that you only get four tiny corn tortillas. More tortillas can be ordered separately.Authentic green tomatillo sauce smothered the enchiladas. I usually prefer red sauce on my enchiladas, but this platter was a delicious exception. The chicken nestled inside the tortillas lacked spice, but the slight heat in the sauce made up for it. A small scoop of black beans accompanied the enchiladas as did a smattering of thinly sliced red onions.
And, speaking of black beans, we ordered a side of negros refritos to stretch the meal and feed all four of us. The seasoning on the beans tasted just right – not too timid, not too spicy. Unfortunately, the rice bitterly disappointed with its addition of vegetable bits but lack of flavor. But no matter, we just doused it in the house chipotle sauce.
If you’re an expat or just crazy about Mex-Mex, I highly recommend visiting Los Pilones for an authentic Mexican meal in Amsterdam. Two thumbs up!