A few months ago, I got a major craving for nachos. Unfortunately, Mexico is quite a ways away from Holland, so there are very few Tex-Mex or authentic Navajo joints sprawling about the city. Luckily, I’m a member of the Sid Lee Supper Club, and therefore have several culinarily inquisitive friends. Together, we decided to embark on an epic Mexican adventure – a quest to uncover the best nachos in Amsterdam. We famed our escapades the Nach’yo Average Pub Crawl, and mapped out several local Mexican haunts to visit around the city. Armed with score cards and sombreros, we kicked off our escapades on a sunny day, in search of crispy chips, melted cheese, and cool, creative toppings.
We planned to visit six spots around the city that served nachos – de Biertuin, Agabi Santa Maria, Cafe Harlem, Los Pilones, Waterkant, and Cannibale Royal. Some we’d been to before, some we’d heard good things about, and others we’d found on TripAdvisor.
As the event was organized by a three Account folk and a Producer, the planning was tight. We mapped out a route. We created a ranking system. And then I took the Nach’yo Average Pub Crawl antics to the next level and made a map and score card. Check it:
So where are the best nachos served in Amsterdam? Let’s review the contenders . . .
1. de Biertuin
Our first stop of the day was de Biertuin. Despite being an April afternoon, the weather was warm and we were excited to catch de Biertuin while the sun was high in the sky – the have a large patio, ideal for basking (drinking beers) in the sunshine.
We donned our sombreros and ordered some nachos, and waited patiently for our first platter of cheese and glory to arrive. de Biertuin’s nachos were straight from the oven. They were crispy, layered with cheese, and by far the biggest platter of nachos we consumed that day. They were not served with salsa (negative points) and eating large tomatoes on small chips was a bit awkward. At this point, we were all starving, so we devoured the platter in five minutes flat. We were also pretty sober at this point in time, so we took our nacho-ranking responsibilities quite seriously. We ranked each spot based on taste, presentation, and originality. Out of 20, de Biertuin scored a 12.2 on the nacho-scale.
You can find more on de Biertuin here (they have awesome beers and meaty entrees!)
2. Agabi Santa Maria
Our second stop was Agabi Santa Maria. None of us had ever heard of Agabi before, but it was conveniently located between de Biertuin and Cafe Harlem, so we decided to give it a go. Agabi gets plus points for being centrally located, and having outdoor seating in the sun at 2.30pm, however, as they were super central, they were also super touristy. Everything was quite over priced and the portions were by far the smallest. However, we made our own fun by stopping at the Waterlooplein Market where Amy bought a sparkly jacket for Sahil to rock. Enter the Mexican matador: And not to get totally off topic, but guess who was spotted wearing a VERY similar jacket three weeks later?!? The good news about Agabi was that they served pitchers of margaritas. They were way over priced but they came with cactus straws and umbrellas, so we were ok paying the premium (side note: woke up the next day having lost my €60 Dior lipstick, but never fear, I somehow managed to salvage my new plastic cactus stirrer).And now on to the nachos. Sadly, the nachos at Agabi were . . . . MICROWAVED. Boo :( The chips on the bottom of the plate were soggy, and the cheese tasted like . . . Dutch cheese. That said, they were still pretty damn good, and still relatively sober and hungry, we very easily killed the small platter of chips.Overall Agabi scored a 5.4 out of 20 . . . ouch! We probably would not visit here again. You can find their site here.
3. Cafe Harlem
After thoroughly blending the contents of our bellies at the carnival, we arrived at our third stop. Cafe Harlem has a reputation around town for serving up delicious nachos. They also serve Corona and lime, which was a welcome Mexican bebida after some strong margaritas. While we waited for our nachos to arrive, we broke out the staches. And took the Mexican party to the next level. Finally our platter of glory arrived, and gosh was she a beauty.Oven-baked and piled high, the nachos at Cafe Harlem were by far my favorite. They were served under mounds of sour cream and guac, and the cheese was layered evenly throughout the entire platter. A speckle of sprouts garnished the dish, and spicy chicken made the meal filling and HOT.
Overall Cafe Harlem received a 18.2 out of 20, our highest score of the day so far! More on Cafe Harlem here.
I would be lying if I didn’t tell you . . . . this is the point where the Nach’yo Average Pub Crawl started to go downhill. We were tipsy, we were full, and even though our next stop was Los Pilones, we wanted to make the most of the sun . . .and so we deviated from the plan and hit up our scheduled fifth stop . . .
Waterkant is an awesome bar with a large, open space, situated under a car park and right on a canal. It’s ideal for drinking – not ideal for finding a seat on a super sunny day or cooking a pretty plate of nachos. Behold:The nachos were actually Doritos (but you wont hear this girl complaining) our seats were the ground and our table was a large inverted blue crate. All of my photos at Waterkant were super blurry (this is my fault). We did however bump into Sophie, which was awesome and by far the best part of our stop at Waterkant. The nachos at Waterkant scored an 8.3 out of 20. However, don’t let the nacho score deter you, as it’s actually one of my favorite spots to visit in the summer (just be sure to stick to beer). Ohh, and also, it was by far the cheapest. Two rounds of beer (for seven people) and one gigantic platter of nachos was only €25. You can check out Waterkant here.
At this point we were meant to visit Cannibale Royal, however, we were a) stuffed b) drunk and c) craving tequila shots. Which could only mean one thing . . .
5. Rose’s Cantina
Our last stop, Rose’s Cantina, was fuzzy and fun. We sat on a big couch upstairs, drank many Mexican cocktails, and ate at least three platters of nachos (despite all thinking we were already stuffed). It was a fitting last stop, as Rose’s was Amsterdam’s first Mexican restaurant. And so they would be our last stop of the night, where we downed Green Gingers (seriously my favorite cocktail in Amsterdam – ask for it spicy) and homemade tortilla chips.
We let the waitress talk us into ordering platter after platter of nachos. And round after round of drinks.
Although our score cards were quite sloppy at this point (and some even lost along the way . . . . . *cough* . . . Dave) we still managed to rank Rose’s and they, by a nose, came out on top – scoring an 18.8 out of 20!! More on Rose’s Cantina here. They’re great for dinner, cocktails, and are by far the most atmospheric Mexican spot in town.
We ended the night across the street at Ludwig, dancing like idiots in sombreros and staches. If you’re looking for an awesome pub spot in Amsterdam that serves up nachos, Cafe Harlem is your jam! And if you’re looking for a nicer, sit-down place, definitely hit up Rose’s Cantina.
More Supper Club adventures coming soon ;)