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“No longer proud to be Mexican”

Popocatepetl The Mexican
Ranked #130 of 344 Restaurants in Haarlem
Cuisines: Mexican
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Reviewed 10 August 2017

Oh Popo, what have you done? This used to be such a great place, with great tasting Mexican classics, just like you'd expect, plus a few other things to explore, in a wonderfully characterful and colourful environment. It was top of my list of dependable places in Haarlem. Now, the Mexican-ness has been watered down so much it seems you're actually ashamed of it.

My fajita last night had more carrots in it than meat. Now I'm all for having a healthy amount of vegetables with my meal, but the point of a fajita is you get all the bits separately so you can decide how to have them. This was essentially a very oily carrot matchstick stew with a few scrapings of pulled pork mixed in plus some coleslaw-style salad, guacamole and sour cream. Sure, it tasted OK and the coleslaw thing was very good, but for the main part it's no longer what I go to a Mexican restaurant for.

Over the years I have noticed the menu gradually dumbing down. Looking around, there were a lot of burgers and chips being served. The food is becoming less Mexican every year. If I want a burger, I'll go to a place that specialises in burgers. I come (or should I say came) to Popo for that distinctive Mexican zing. It's just not there anymore. You've become a general café which happens to have a few Mexican inspired dishes, with most of the flavour stripped out to satisfy the unadventurous Dutch pallet. But not those of people who actually love Mexican food. It's now only slightly more Mexican than Albert Heijn's 'Mexican' salad.

And what's wrong with giving people plates now? It appears the new protocol for fajitas is you have to hold the tortillas in your hand to construct them. And since when were enchiladas served in a bowl? With the accompaniments in even smaller bowls on the side? You've actually made the food really hard to get at. It's just not a relaxing way to eat.

Oh, and that brings me to the building redesign. All the character and colour stripped away in favour of a pleasant but completely ambiguous space. It actually felt like it should have been a non-specific lounge bar rather than a Mexican restaurant.

I'm really, really disappointed that one of my favourite places effectively doesn't exist anymore. Sadly, won't be coming back :-(

    • Value
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    • Food
Thank Mim0012014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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11 - 15 of 186 reviews

Reviewed 9 August 2017 via mobile

I don't understand why they didn't warn us that the kid dishes ate hot and spicy
Who servers hot / very spicy kids dishes...

The adult main courses took forever to arrive.

Bad experience, bad service - don't go if you are with children.

Thank ilan i
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 July 2017

We had a table outside with a great view on the cathedral. Great service. I love it when you can taste the fresh herbs and BBQ grilled meat. Homemade calamari's and chicken legs like I've never had before... And also very affordable...

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Alexander B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Eric B, Manager at Popocatepetl The Mexican, responded to this reviewResponded 10 August 2017

I’m glad you enjoyed our dishes Alexander! We hope to welcome you again some time!

^Stan

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Reviewed 1 July 2017 via mobile

A great place , famous restaurant chain in Holland. Good food. Many staff walking araound. A bit cold in flow of airco.

Thank Marco v
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Eric B, Assistent at Popocatepetl The Mexican, responded to this reviewResponded 11 July 2017

Thank you for your review Marco! The airco is work in progress ;)

^Casper

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Reviewed 1 July 2017 via mobile

We went there for a quick dinner with our kids. The restaurant was almost empty when we sat down. We placed the orders, starters arrived very quick and was delicious fresh made nachos. The main dish did not come for 40 minutes, we ordered just grilled corn for kids but even these were served very late. We complained and explained that people who came after us were served earlier but the stuff was not trained to handle the situation. We will not go again

Thank isil k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Eric B, Assistent at Popocatepetl The Mexican, responded to this reviewResponded 11 July 2017

Dear Isil,

I’m sorry to hear your visit was disappointing. Because we just opened after a renovation and because we have a new menu we are still fine-tuning with the kitchen and the service. Sadly it is not always going flawless but we are doing our best to improve the service for the future!

^ Casper

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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