Dubai: Mexican birthday dinner at Maya

by Sanne
Maya - Mexican restaurant in Dubai

Yesterday was my birthday, and just like most other years, it came as a complete surprise to me that I once again turned one year older. When Poul asked me, where I wanted to dine, I therefore didn’t have a clue. After some consideration I suggested that we tried Pai Thai in Souk Madinat. However, Thursdays in Dubai is like Friday sin Europe (i.e. weekend), so when I called Pai Thai, they told me that the only table available was at 22.00. No Pai Thai for us then.

Our old favorites Tomo and Sonamu were our second best bets, but as we really didn’t feel like spending most of the evening stuck in SZR-traffic, we also gave up those two. Instead, we decided to give the Mexican restaurant Maya at Le Royal Meridien a try. Maya is one of celebrity chef Richard Sandoval’s creations and the cuisine is upscale Mexican.

The restaurant, which also accommodates a lounge bar, is located just before the large stretch of grass that separates the hotel from the beach, so a golf car took us from the main entrance and down to Maya.

We started our meal with guacamole and nachos followed by a Tres Antojitos Tasting, which were three mini versions of our choice from the starters menu. We chose ceviche, taquitos and quesadillas, which came nicely arranged on a large white plate. The ceviche marinade was made ​​with lots of chili and tomato, and tasted brilliant with the accompanying nachos. The two taquitos and quesadillas were great too but unfortunately so small that I just managed to get a tiny feel for the flavor and texture before they were gone. When you order a starter for the price of a main course, you also expect it to be the size of a main course, and 170AED may thus seem a bit expensive for those three small bites.

Luckily the main courses were a lot more generous servings. Poul had beef fajitas, while I went for fish tacos, which I’ve really developed a thing for after visiting Mexican restaurants on my trips to Los Angeles. My fish tacos had golden and crispy chunks of battered red snapper topped with cabbage and poblano tartar sauce, and it was so tasty I didn’t feel like sharing. At the end, I let Poul have one anyway, and he agreed that it was among the best Mexican food he had ever eaten. Poul’s fajitas included a large and juicy rib eye steak, which, combined with sour cream, guacamole and salsa, evolved into something so tasty, you’d want to write a poem about it.

I love churros and when I lived in Spain many many years ago, churros with chocolate was a part of my daily afternoon routine (and a major contributing factor to my 10kgs-in-5-months weight gain). When I spotted churros in the dessert menu, I therefore couldn’t help ordering some, even though I was really full after my fish tacos.

Maya’s churros were absolutely perfect. They were served piping hot, crunchy and sweet, just like churros are supposed to be. They came with 3 different kinds of sauce, and they were so good I was close to ordering another portion to take home for later consumption.

The service at Maya was charming and laid-back. The staff was attentive without being intrusive and they really managed to create a cozy, almost homely atmosphere. By the end of the meal, our waiter said that he hoped to see us again soon, and we could honestly reply that we would certainly come back. Thank you Maya, for a wonderful evening!

• If it is not too hot, make sure you ask for one of the tables outside, when you make a reservation.

• There is no official dress-code, but if you want to blend in with the other diners, go for a smart casual look.

• There is also a popular lounge bar at the premises, so arrive early or stay after dinner for a drink or two.

Anther nice, but more casual Mexican restaurant in Dubai is Maria Bonita, which you can read about here >>

Maya Mexican Kitchen + Lounge, Le Royal Meridien, Dubai

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