Everyone loves tacos. They are the crowd-pleasing but still decidedly cool thing to order – forget the fajita – it’s so 2000 and late. But, where is serving the best Mexican handheld meal in Dubai? We painstakingly did some grueling research and have come up with the top contenders. It was hard work. Seriously.
One of the liveliest dinner spots in Dubai, there’s a reason Claw BBQ is always heaving with people – it’s great fun. With a staggering array of classic, Southern fare to choose from, many people opt for meat or crab. That is a mistake. The fresh Baja Fish Tacos (Dhs70) are without a doubt the best thing on the menu (and in fact our editor’s favourite dish in the whole of Dubai). Two soft tortilla shells are filled with battered fish fillets, diced tomato, cabbage, and onion – and then topped with cheddar cheese, homemade salsa, guacamole, sour cream and scallions. Our mouths are watering just thinking about it. Team with fries or mac and cheese and one of their specialty mixed drinks to get your night going properly. Booking ahead to be on the safe side.
Maya Modern Kitchen and Grill (from Dhs90)
Located in the idyllic ground of Le Royal Meridien hotel, Maya is the perfect place to hit for sundowners and supper. Undoubtedly the gourmet option – the tacos here (from Dhs90) are more set-menu than street food, but still wickedly filling. You are served three soft flour tortilla shells served with Mexican rice, charro beans and creamy chile de arbol salsa, and five delicious choices of filling. You can opt for vegetable, lamb, red snapper, beef or chicken – but it’s the latter that really stands out. With the inventive addition of pineapple, cilantro, pickled onion and jalapeños – it’s an explosive flavour combo waiting to happen. This is a date-night must.
Loca (from Dhs75)
If you love Mexican food, you’ll love Loca in Jumeirah 1’s Dubai Marine Resort (soon to open in Souk Al Bahar). Not only do they serve some of the best tacos in town – we’ll get to those properly in a minute – their guacamole is unbeatable, and made right in front of you at the table. Providing you don’t fill yourself up on that before you’ve even got to the main event, the choice of tortilla-based goodness is dizzying. Whether you feel like pulled beef with melted cheese (Dhs88), grilled chicken with cilantro and tanqueray sauce (Dhs75) or their amazing spiced grilled Kingfish with chipotle mayonnaise (Dhs75), you’ll be slumped in one of their big restaurant booths for a while after eating, waiting for the ability to move to return.
Cafe Habana (from Dhs50)
A Souk Al Bahar favourite, Cafe Habana is never not busy. Originally hailing from New York, this is the place to find great Mexican flavour with a dash of nightlife energy, thanks to its regular live Latin music. Given it’s prime spot by the Burj Khalifa and fountains, this place is one you’ll need to book for, but it’s worth it. There are four tacos to choose from here, ranging from grilled veg (Dhs50) to Baja-style battered fish (Dhs70), marinated chicken (Dhs60) and spice-rubbed shrimp (Dhs75) all of which come served with the restaurant’s signature rice and black beans. Perhaps not the best spot to go for an intimate dinner, but for a rowdy night with your mates? Perfect.
Tortuga (from Dhs70)
With its amazing setting by the water in Madinat Jumeirah, Tortuga is renowned for its fun atmosphere, and Mexican gimmicks aplenty (Mariachi band, anyone?) but is still enjoyable. With seven types of taco to choose from (ranging in price from Dhs70-Dhs75), you’re rather spoilt for choice. While the veg, chicken, fish, lamb, steak and crispy shrimp are all pretty safe bets – it’s the slow braised duck with green tomatillo salsa that grabs our attention. Zesty and substantial in equal measure, load up on the tortillas and grab a dip as a side and enjoy a fun evening pretending you’re on holiday in Cabo.
Coya (from Dhs38)
Since opening last year, Coya Dubai has managed to retain its reputation of fine-dining and an exclusive crowd. Set in the opulence of the Four Seasons Hotel down on Jumeirah Beach Road, this is latin cuisine for the well-heeled of Dubai – so expect portions to be small but dynamite (you’ll need to order a few). While more Peruvian than Mexican, the tacos here are definitely worth saving up to sample. Featuring delights such as tuna, yuzu and jalapeño, or salmon, tomato and avocado – the chef’s inventions are as creative as they are photogenic (this is prime Instagram territory). With a sharing concept, why not order one of each and take you and your date’s tastebuds on a voyage of discovery?
Now read: 6 of the best fish and chips in Dubai