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Salvadorian Food at El Amigo

Posted by Emily / August 9, 2007

Last night, I had a meal that knocked my socks off. I wasn’t at a fancy restaurant, nibbling on some nouveau cuisine. I was on my couch, diving into a bag of takeout containers from El Amigo, a little Salvadorian eatery on St. Zotique. My meal was messy, salty and fattening, and it was every bit as glorious as takeout can be.

When I arrived at El Amigo in the late afternoon, the restaurant was empty except for a guy at the counter watching a telenovela and a woman in the kitchen who was probably his mother. After perusing the menu a bit, I asked (in English) if the waiter could give me some recommendations. He told me (in French) that he didn’t speak English. I tried making my request in Spanish, but apparently my accent was so bad that he thought he’d better resort to sign language and he pointed to several pictures on the menu. I gave him the thumbs-up, and we were in business.

The woman in the kitchen took about 15 minutes to make my food. I didn’t mind waiting, because the telenovela on TV was actually pretty engrossing. By the time one of the main characters had caught her man cheating on her with her sister, my food was ready to go.

The first item that I tasted was an open handmade tortilla with a mixture of avocados, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and pork sprinkled on top. The avocados were perfectly ripe and the pork was tender and juicy. At first I picked at the toppings with a fork, but I eventually abandoned all pretence and ate the whole thing with my fingers, which turned out to be the best way to get all the flavours in my mouth at once.

Next, I tried a deep-fried pastry pocket with a filling of chicken and a mild sauce. The filling was fantastically flavourful and juicy, and the dough was perfectly crisp and not too greasy. It came with a thick tomato sauce, which I found too overpowering. Instead, I found that the perfect accompaniment to the salty chicken pocket was a fried plantain, which had a slight burnt-sugar flavour on the outside that helped to cut the sweetness.

I finished off my meal with a pupusa, a uniquely Salvadorian dish that looks like a pancake with a savory filling (in my case, fried beans). It didn’t taste all that spectacular until I dipped it into the sauce that had come with it. This sauce was much thinner and sweeter than the kind that came with the deep-fried chicken pocket. Since I had an extra plaintain, I wrapped the pupusa around it and dipped the whole thing in the sauce. The flavours from the tangy sauce, the sweet plantain, and the salty pupusa went extremely well together.

I’ll bet that a meal eaten at El Amigo would have tasted even better than my takeout food, if that’s possible.



El Amigo; 51 St. Zotique East; De Castelnau metro; (514) 278-4579; open every day from 11am to 11pm



mathamore / May 11, 2008 at 09:50 am
well 15 to wait for a meal is not very long..even if the place is empty, and i think is about time that you learn a little bit of french, or a least understand it....
pupusalover / November 11, 2008 at 05:11 pm
El Amigo is the best Salvadorian place in Montreal. Maybe the place does not look fancy but it is authentic, the restaurant to go to eat the food a Salvadorian mom cooks. And the pupusas are amazing!
Iycedbaby / December 9, 2011 at 06:21 pm
oomg I love salvadorian food!!
Napoléon / February 14, 2012 at 05:15 am
We went as a family (my mom and dad and my son) about a month after a vacation in Central America, I guess in hope it would bring back some warm memories. This place is pretty typical of several Salavadorian eateries in the area. That is to say, great food for a really reasonable price. My Dad had the enchiladas and he was thrilled! I still think my favourite Salvadorian resto is Cabanas on Belanger, several blocks to the East, but El Amigo didn't disapoint either. Hope your French and Spanish have improved a bit, because chatting with the owners is part of the fun. :)
Anika / May 10, 2012 at 08:54 pm
I ADORE THIS PLACE! Can't get more "homie" than this and the food is fresh, tasteful and fulfilling for very little money. I love in the Plateau and I even took the bus in the middle of the winter to go and get me some great papusas and tamales to go.
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