Review: Los Amigos Brings Authentic Flavor to the Mountains

Los Amigos has been a Maryville stalwart for over thirty years.  We review it to see if it is worth a stop on your way to the Great Smokey Mountains.

Plate of food from Los Amigos in Maryville, TN

Situated at the bedpost of the Smokey Mountains, the city of Maryville seems only to most as a “gas-and-go” city for those traveling to the Great Smokey Mountains.  However, the city boasts an impressive resume of items making it a worthy stop off the beaten trail to the mountains.  Home to a gorgeous public library, formerly the nesting ground for the Foothills Fall Festival, and a historic downtown, Maryville has something for everyone.

As a devout “foodie,” my search for a unique eatery in the city where “People are the Key” drew me to a small restaurant located directly across from the public library.  Los Amigos, while on the outside may seem like an aged “Mexican” restaurant, has been a staple eatery to the locals since 1988.  Many restaurants have opened in the building directly next door such as the likes of Brick Hill Pizza and Smokin’ Butt B-B-Q, and while tough economic conditions have forced their shutdown, Los Amigos still manages to serve dish upon dish without any hesitation.

My first glance into the restaurant itself left a lot to be desired.  The tables and chairs are rather aged and definitely purvey the 90’s diner feel (and lack of comfort unfortunately).  In hopes that the seating was the only downside, I took a careful glance at their offerings.  Los Amigos offers many standard “Mexican” items on their lunch menu such as the traditional fajita plate, taco salad, and so forth.  However, my palette was seeking a dish much more refined.

In perusing the entrees, I was extremely impressed at the variety of items that deviated from the norm typically approached to satisfy the typical American.  Los Amigos entree choices boast dishes incorporating cooking styles from both central Mexico and Veracruz.  Having experienced true Veracruzana technique at a local taquiera, I opted to see how Chef Hector’s skills in the kitchen compare.  With this, I decided on the Chilorio, a traditional Veracruz dish with fire-roasted tomatoes as the base for the sauce cooked with some top-sirloin tips, cilantro, jalapeno and poblano peppers to add an element of heat to the otherwise tame dish.  For a casual Mexican eatery, the presentation of the dish was quite nice, garnished with some fresh chopped avocado and some fresh cilantro stems.   The flavors married very well as each succulent bite melts in your mouth.

While the standard menu choices for lunch may leave a lot to be desired, the true magnificence of Los Amigos is experienced from their authentic Mexican entrees.  After experiencing what Chef Hector offers to each customer, I can see the reason why the eatery has been a staple for the city of Maryville for the last 26 years.  Each dish is carefully prepared and the serving staff make every effort to see that you enjoy your meal and leave both hunger free and with a smile on your face.  However, if you want to take a taste of some auténtica comida mexicana, it is best to arrive right when they open.  If not, you will more than likely be waiting for a table.

Los Amigos is located at 409 Cusick Street in Maryville, TN and is open daily from 11-9:30 Mon-Thurs, Fri 11-10PM, and Sun 11:30-9PM.  They can be reached at 865-983-6022

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