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El Pistolero

El Pistolero
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Cost
R80 avg main meal
Ambience
Groups, Quick meals
Food
Mexican
Payment
Mastercard, Visa
Corkage
R45 (except on champagne)

Critic's review

Diane de Beer

Food
This is something unique in the way the meals here have been put together. Nothing is extravagant or over the top. It’s a small yet rich menu of Mexican-inspired dishes concentrating mainly on quesadillas, tacos and burritos with innovative fillings like black beans and cheese or battered hake, pickled jalapenos, slaw, tamarind and ancho paste for the tacos. Else opt for grilled chicken, beans and basmati rice with salsa, avo and Mexican cream for lashings of flavour with slow-cooked lamb, avo, cream, rice, and mint dressing for the extra filling burritos.

The portions are generous and the selection, though concentrated, reaches wide. You shouldn’t leave without trying the yellowtail ceviche and the selection of churros. (These include white chocolate and coconut ganache as well as dark chilli chocolate with milk jam caramel.) To die for!

Drinks
The list is small with three red and three whites, but really it’s obvious that you should for one of the many tequila options like the tequila margarita. Or, if you’re there for a light lunch and have to return to work, go for the virgin Margarita.

Service
Quick on the draw and ready with all the right responses.

Ambience
The design is super smart and has stayed the course even with outside extensions, which are closed off for warmer winter meals. With the clearly visible chefs in the background, it’s easy to ask advice if you’re checking. The space is contained yet not claustrophobic. Parking at this neighbourhood restaurant is easy and safe.

And…
Make sure to check the specials that include half-price tacos on Tuesdays or the chicken or vegetarian burrito with a special pineapple drink for R70. That’s a steal.

(October 2017)

Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.

  • Ambience
  • Service
  • Food
  • Diane de Beer

    Food
    A few Mexican restaurants have suddenly popped up in Pretoria and this one is the coolest with the best contemporary food. With two chefs in the kitchen in quite a small restaurant, you expect fireworks and that’s what you get. Everything from the nachos to the guacamole is freshly made, including the inventive starter, ceviche (hake or yellowtail, depending what’s available) with red peppers, lime and orange juice, and pickled jalapenos, textures and taste sparkle.

    For mains there’s a choice of one of their tacos, including slow-cooked pork belly, adobo (paprika and oregano-based stock) pineapple and coriander salsa or, if you want to stick to a fishy theme, deep-fried fish consisting of Zamalek battered hake, pickled jalapenos, slaw, tamarind and ancho paste – all served in two portions so you can swap around for different texture and flavours.

    Concluding on a sweet note, you have to tuck into the most delicious churros with a grateful nod to Mexico. These are great meals to enjoy with friends – finger food, in a sense – that can be shared around for the best experience.

    Drinks
    They’re waiting for a liquor licence but you can take your own and dip into their great soft drink options, including homemade coriander lemonade or hibiscus iced tea.

    Service
    The staff is hip and happening and keeps an eye out while not imposing too much.

    Ambience
    Their crockery, while mix and match, is very stylish and adds to the visual delight of every dish, saying everything about their design ethos, which is unique especially in the Mexican context. They steer well clear of any stereotype. No sombreros or paper umbrellas here. The inside space, with yellow as the accent colour, is tight but not uncomfortable. On summer nights patrons can spill onto the outside wrap-around balcony.

    And…
    The style of eating and the costs appeal to the youthfulness of their patronage.

    (September 2016)

    Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Click here to read our editorial policy.

    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food

User reviews

  • Food was absolutely amazing! Had Quesadillas with chicken and Nachos with pulled pork. Yum! Friendly people and an extra Churro, just because ... will be back for sure!
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  • Loved it! Delicious food, great service and they now have their liquor licence. Well worth the visit!
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  • Great ambiance Better service Fantastic food
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Beer served
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Smoking
  • Takeaways
  • WiFi

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