The day after moving into my new apartment it seemed sensible to start exploring the neighbourhood. Happily, Charlie and I found this little place on a stroll down Overtoom.
The food is fresh, the flavours are truer than the average Tex-Mex place but not quite authentic Mexican. The place itself is best suited to take away food as there are only a few tables and the decor can only be described as industrial chic (and chic is really stretching it). They’ll prepare your order before you arrive if you call ahead (or you can now order online for delivery) but I love sitting watching my meal being put together and the meat thrown on their charcoal fired grills.
The first time I visited I was beginning to regret my choice until the food arrived. Despite the cold weather I was craving lettuce (this happens when I’ve had a few too many glasses of wine or if I’ve had a gluttonous week) and the wild salmon taco seemed like a good idea. Two large salmon fillets were hidden under chopped Cos lettuce, slices of red onion and lashings of mango salsa- it was the perfect fix. The salmon was cooked perfectly (still a rich pink in the centre) and the flavours were perfectly balanced. The wedge of lime was the perfect addition to cut through the otherwise (healthily) sweet dish.
My lunch partner ordered a steak burrito and was not disappointed when a huge plate arrived piled high with meat, beans, cheese and tomato sauce. Though I sampled a good chunk of it, my lunch buddy still struggled to finish the meal. It was the succulent chargrilled steak and fresh tomato salsa that spurred him on. This was definitely something from the more North American side of Tex-Mex.
Tomatillo has a great selection of organic meat as well as having excellent meal options for vegetarians and coeliacs (who often feel like an afterthought). The staff are very helpful and will be happy to answer any of your questions and will allow you to sample any of their salsas before making a decision. They serve a small selection of beers (Dos Equis, Pacifico, Corona and Negra Modelo), wines by bottle or half bottle as well as delicious non-alcoholic blended drinks (the mango liquado is delicious). The food is simple and very fresh- if you’re in the area on a sunny day opt for takeaway and head to Vondelpark.
The prices are very reasonable (especially considering the portion sizes and the quality of the food)- mains range from 4€ (for a vegetarian taco) to around 13€ (for a steak burrito). You can request your choice of salsa- typically they have tomato, Pico de Gallo, Tomatillo chipotle, sweetcorn and the infamous habanero as well as more interesting blends that will change depending on the menu Roasted tomato with orange and their pineapple salsa are both treats to the palate.
If you have room, or decide to split a main meal, make sure to order dessert. Their rhubarb crumble is divine- orange and aniseed is used to add complexity- and they often do specials such as chocolate brownies.
Overtoom 261, 1054 HW Amsterdam, Netherlands
020 683 3086