Popocatepetl – not the full can of beans

Haarlem’s Mexican restaurant is one of eight Popocatepetl restaurants established in the Netherlands over the past 30 years. Negative reviews over a few years had deterred me from Popocatepetl – but I put my hesitations aside when Social Deal offered a 3 course meal for €15. It was sombrero time.
We had an early booking on a Saturday evening. At 6.30pm the restaurant was full and we were escorted to the bar to wait for our table to be cleared. Within 4minutes a waiter came to take our drink order and to deliver corn chips and salsa. We spent about 20minutes drinking acceptable, but small, classic margaritas – before being collected and taken to our table.

The deal: a choice of 3 entrees (soup, nachos and chorizos), 3 main meals (veg or chicken fajitas; burrito; enchilada), and 2 desserts (pecan kalhua cake; helado ice-cream mix).

FOOD:
Nachos – I don’t think I have ever seen or tasted such a dull nachos. No beans, no salsa, cornchips not even spread over the plate. This was corn chips with a little melted cheese, pieces of fresh tomato and jalapeno chillies. Not worthy of even university dorm food.pop
Chorizo: two thin sausages served with flour tortillas and AH salad mix. Very boring.
Vegetable and goat cheese fajitas: hot plate filled with zucchini, onion, capsicum, tinned corn and onion and topped with a scoop of goat cheese. Served with a salad, guacamole, sour cream and 3 flour tortillas. Presentation was good. Guacamole and tortillas were fine. Vegetables were drab and tasteless. No spice – and surprisingly for a Mexican restaurant: not one bean on the plate.
Beef Burrito: minced meat and a few black beans rolled inside a flour tortilla and served with cheese, salad and sour cream. Again looked fine, but taste was severely lacking.
Pecan Kahlua Cake– slices of dry cake with coffee syrup poured on the slices. Served with ice-cream and cream.
Helado (3 sorts of ice-cream): 2 scoops of berry ice-cream, 1 scoop of vanilla and cream. Disappointing and not as described on the menu.

Service: We were greeted warmly on entering the restaurant. Unfortuately, our waitress was uninterested and incompetent. When asked were our entrée was after waiting 75 minutes (when customers that arrived after us were already eating their main meals), she told me that they were busy. She forgot our order for water, and made no attempt to offer us drinks during the meal.

Overall: Food was underwhelming, dull – and we were unable to eat more than half of each dish due to the lack of taste. Restaurant environment is colourfully decorated and spacious. Cost for two people €54 for 2x 3 limited selection courses (Social Deal) + drinks.
Not recommended – even with a deal.  http://haarlem.popo.nl/home

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