I visited Los Amates Mexican restaurant on Friday night for the first time in several years. I was in a group of four and we were seated out in the covered rear courtyard during the heavy rain. We got a bit damp but also enjoyed ourselves a lot by winding down from a busy week with margaritas and much laughter. We ordered too much (not my fault – why do women order more than they know they can eat?) so I got to sample several dishes.
Margaritas – clockwise from left – lime, strawberry and mango (below).
The ensalada de nopales con queso blanco – strips of nopal cactus in a salad topped with fetta cheese – is delicious (below). We asked the waitress and she confirmed that you can buy nopal in jars across the road at Casa Iberica if you want to make your own.
Pollo con salsa roja – my friend who ordered this said it was sensational (below). It may have been the only dish I did not try.
Cochinita pibil – braised shredded pork Yucatan style marinated with achiote and spices (below). Then served with hot salsa and tortillas. This pork was so moreish I managed a spare tortilla stuffed with this!
The fish special – red snapper in a mild spicy sauce (below). This was my main and fish was lovely. The sauce did not overpower the flavour of the fish, and the rice was delicately spiced and tasty too.
Campechanos – grilled beef strips and chorizo served with hot salsa and tortillas (below). I tried a bit of this too and loved it – I’d definitely order this myself next time.
Los Amates has been widely reviewed, and generally positively, by Eat and be merry for tomorrow we diet, Half eaten, Nicole eats Melbourne, Lady and the fork, Palace foods and Juganaut, though Happiness is a warm gut is not overly impressed.
With lots of food (more than I have shown here), and at least two drinks each, our bill came to about $70 each, which was very reasonable. We finished by sharing a jug of the most amazing sangria, low on fruit and fix so you could clearly taste the wine in it (most dilute the wine too much) and with a strong cinnamon flavour. I’ve always enjoyed Los Amates and am surprised with myself that I have not reviewed it before.
Unfortunately Los Amates has limited accessibility. There is a high step at the entrance door (which opens inwards), and the front dining space is crowded. A shallow step goes up to the equally crowded middle dining room, and there is a narrow path to walk between tables and on to the corridor out to the toilets and the rear courtyard (below).
It looks possible for the wide gate at the rear of the courtyard to be opened (it would open onto the laneway behind Johnston St). The courtyard area is far less cluttered than the front rooms and would be wheelchair accessible, and the entrances to the toilets are quite wide. But to access the rear courtyard you’d have to traverse an unevenly cobbled laneway full of the usual junkie detritus. It could be done, but it may depend on assistance and prior arrangement with the venue.