Finally Haarlem has good and authentic Tex-Mex! Cantina023 opened its doors in February and it’s amazing. I’ve been there twice so far and am always looking for an excuse to go back. All of the standards are there, burritos, tacos (authentic or crunchy), jalapeño poppers, everything; and it’s all homemade.When you walk into Cantina023 it really does look the part, the decorations are just right and they even have music playing that you would expect to hear when you walk into a Tex-Mex joint in America. When you are seated you are immediately served with [¡free!] chips and homemade salsa, it’s very good and a standard at any real Tex-Mex place.
Upon opening the menu, I was presently surprised with the offering, no “Dutchified” versions of things here. One thing I was really excited to see was the jalapeño poppers and… bonus… when they came out they were homemade! I never had homemade ones before. If you don’t know what a jalapeño popper is, it is a whole jalapeño peper that is filled with cheese, breaded, and then deep fried. I absolutely have to order this every time I go.
So far the main courses I’ve tried are a chicken burrito which was huge, no Europeanizing the size here. There was even an option to have cheese melted over the top of it which I of course did. The guacamole which is served on the side is fresh and bright green, not the greenish-brown colored guac that you see far to often in this country. In the end it was sad that I could not finish it, it was so good but I was so full. The next time I had some of their authentic tacos, I was with a Mexican that time and she even said “wow, this is an authentic Mexican taco.” It was also really nice and a much more manageable size if you’re not looking to eat too much.
Get the churros for desert. You guessed it, again they are homemade right down to the salted caramel and chili chocolate sauce that criss-cross the plate. Served with a scoop of ice cream and some whipped cream.
Cantina023 is located at Kleine Houtstraat 13 and can also be found on Facebook. Make sure to get a reservation before going because this place is popular. Don’t have anyone to go with? Leave me a comment and I will go with you, yes, I really do like it that much![This review has also been published on expatsHaarlem.]