Amsterdam Foodie

Tex-Mex in Amsterdam: Parakeet

I’m writing this post as I sit in Chicago airport, having spent two weeks on holiday in Indiana, Illinois and Tennessee. I didn’t make it to Texas this time around, but I’ve been several times before, and Mexican food (especially of the Tex-Mex variety) is something that I crave every time I’m west of the Atlantic. So it seems fitting that I’m finally getting around to writing up my review of Parakeet here in the States – albeit a few weeks after the fact.

Close to the Foodhallen, Parakeet is Amsterdam’s answer to the eternal question: “Where can I go to eat nachos and drink margaritas?” I’m something of a margarita snob, I’m not ashamed to admit, so my bar is pretty high. I don’t want any dubiously green “margarita mix” or heavy-handed syrup pouring. It’s gotta be fresh, citrusy, strong and salty. I’m pleased to announce that Parakeet’s margarita (or rather, Lucy’s Margarita, as it’s called on the menu) is all of these things – plus slightly spicy, which is even better. There’s a hint of chilli on the salt rim, and they use an ancho chilli liqueur – but quite honestly they had me at reposado tequila.

Parakeet Amsterdam - nachos and margaritas
Nachos and margaritas at Parakeet

Meanwhile, the food menu offers nachos in all ways, shapes and forms: with dips, in salad or as “nacho dinners” in four versions. I tried the Vondel nacho dinner (a half is enough for one person) with pulled pork, feta, jalapeno, pomegranate (an interesting addition that gave the nachos a slight North African tang), sliced radishes, salsa, avocado puree, sour cream, coriander and Parakeet’s signature queso. The chips were excellent and the toppings plentiful, which made the plate great value for €9 (my guess is the prices will go up once the word gets out). The only thing I wasn’t wholly sold on was the queso, but that’s possibly because I wasn’t brought up with cheese as a creamy dip – cheese is kind of sacrosanct in Europe.

It’s rare that I write much about the venue itself, much less the music, in my restaurant reviews – but both deserve a mention at Parakeet. There’s a nice little terrace outside if the weather’s good, but inside is cosy and relaxed with a bar that makes you want to hang out and chat to whoever’s sitting next to you (stranger or friend). And the night I visited, there was a steady stream of 80s classics that were an absolute hit with our group (I’m assuming the owner is about the same age as me!). While the nachos themselves cost me less than a tenner, I still managed to spend over €40 because I couldn’t stop ordering those spicy margaritas… I had the hangover to prove it the next day, but I doubt it’ll stop me going back for more.

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Parakeet (Mexican)
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