Spacious vegan Mexican restaurant at Westerstraat. They also have a separate cocktail bar area in the front.
A few years ago, Suzanne van Huuksloot decided to start her own restaurant. Inspired by the motto ‘world peace starts in the kitchen’ and vegan herself it had to be a vegan place. Still thinking about the concept, she went to the U.S. for some exploratory conversations with a plant-based chef/entrepreneur. It was there that she visited L.A. restaurant Gracias Madre, and immediately fell in love with the place. A very nice, big and bustling Mexican restaurant serving only vegan food. The fact that they don’t advertise it as vegan also appealed to Suzanne. “I thought this was very cool. It helps to normalise it, not too label it as a distinct vegan place.” She could picture a place like this in Amsterdam as well.
The owners of Gracias Madre were not interested in collaborating as in fact they were trying to sell the restaurant, so Suzanne decided to set up her own project, loosely based on what she appreciated about Gracias Madre. In fact she was not a complete stranger to Mexican food, as she used to work in a Mexican restaurant for some time.
Of course the corona pandemic added some additional challenges, but after she found a dream location eventually Madre opened October 2021.
“The Mexican cuisine lends itself well to a plant-based menu, as all the basics are already vegan: corn, guacemole, pico de gallo, rice, beans etc. Meat is used a lot for fillings but these you can replace with vegan versions,” says Suzanne. That’s why at Madre they call their food also modern Mexican, to allow for experimenting.
The menu is pretty straightforward, divided into starters, main courses and desserts. Famous Mexican dishes like tacos, fajitas and quesadillas but also lesser known dishes such as sopes (maize cakes with savoury topping), pozole (traditional soup made from hominy corn) and elote (cob of corn from the bbq). By the way, you won’t find the word ‘vegan’ on their menu at all! But the insider will understand, looking at the menu.
Then there’s also an elaborate cocktail menu prepared by the cocktail shaker in the front. Non-alcoholic cocktail options as well.
Lots of seating
Lots of seating inside the restaurant area, also some tables in the adjoining cocktail bar area, where they serve a few snacks as well. Madre is located at Westerstraat, Jordaan. Before Madre, well-known restaurant Cinema Paradiso used to be here for many years. Tram stop nearby (tram 5).