Saturday, September 10, 2005

Maria Bonita's Taco Shop

Guacamole made table side on a molcajete. (photo by Equalizer)

Wall mural painted by a Mexican artist. View to the Kitchen (photos by Equalizer)

Maria Bonita's down to earth design. Fish Tacos. (photo bu Equalizer)

Maria Bonita's Taco Shop is a place that you do not expect to see in Dubai's upscale and chain restaurant laden dining scene. The place looks uninviting from the outside, as it is placed in the middle of no where in Jumeira. Once you enter, you feel you have stepped out of Dubai and straight into Mexico. It is not the typical franchise-esque Mexican restaurant, one would expect to find, with all the fake decoration and prodigal usage of sombreros and mariachi band cotumes. This is what you would find in Mexico (forget the US emblazoned border towns). It feels more like a local hangout than a restaurant. You feel immediate comfort once seated. The walls all pained in the typical pinks and yellows of Mexico, with the leather tables and palm strewn chairs, and old ceiling fans and a Pepsi fridge.

We were greeted by Jorge, an Emirates airline pilot turned restaurateur. Jorge, a Mexican himself, and his partner, found the perfect opportunity to bring real Mexican food to Dubai, and probably the region. Everything is practically flown in from Mexico, from essential equipments like the tortilla machine to essential ingredients like the Mole sauce to even earthenware and plates. The place was going through minor renovation, luckily we had been there a couple of times, so it didn't give us a bad impression. Actually it was quite interesting to know that Jorge had brough an artist from Mexico to draw a mural on the wall, representing an old mexican village at night during what appears to be a fiesta.

We started off with some freshly baked corn tortilla chips with fresh mild and hot salsas that tastes like no salsa has ever tasted before. Then we ordered Queso Fundido (Cheese Fondue) topped with sauteed onions, jalapenos and hot pepper strips and served with warm flour tortilla. You just scoop the cheese and all its scrumptious fillings on the tortilla, roll it and start eating away. Then the waiter came with a metal trolley and parked it next to our table. On it was a large volcanic mortar called molcajete and pestle, olive oil, black pepper, ripe avocado, chopped tomato, onions, cilantro, and chili. The perfect recipe for the perfect guacamole. First adding the olive oil and then the avocado, mashing it all up with the rest of the ingredients, he made it hot with the chilli as requested, and seved it in the same volcanic mortar. This was the best guacamole I have ever tasted. I never even had that in Mexico.

The main dishes began to arrive one by one. We had ordered Chicken Tostada Suprema, which is shredded chicken sandwiched between two round fried sheets of crispy dough, and topped with diced tomatoes, sour cream, refried beans, shredded cheese and a whole lot more. We also had Tacos Jorge which is think beef fillets on soft corn tortillas topped with melted cheese and avocado slices, with a side of mexican rice and refired beans and toppings. The ultimate highlight of the day was the Fish Taco Baja. This is a specialty usually found in the Baja California region of Mexico. Frankly, I have never tried those before, and never got the courage to try some. To my amazement, these soft corn tortillas filled with a a battered strip of white fish with onions and limes juice, is probably the best taco item I have ever tasted. If there is one item that will keep me craving for more, its the fish tacos. It really makes me think, just how many cuisines did the chain-restaurants help to defame by bringing it down or "Americanizing" it. Next time you go to Taco Bell, rest assured, that there is nothing Mexican about it!

Maria Bonita's Taco Shop tel:
+971 4 395 4454 New Shop to open soon in the Greens.
Directions: Um Al Sheif Street (between Al Wasl Road and Jumeirah Beach Road,Turn right opposite Spinney's Umm Suqeim), Jumeirah 3


Blogger samboose said...

yummy....the atmosphere looks amazing!

9/10/2005 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger kuwaitigirl said...

i thought you were going next weekend?

9/10/2005 07:46:00 PM  
Blogger Not_Without_My_Heels said...

Wow! I'm into pictures and I absolutely adored the first one. Did you take it on your own?
[I know this was supposed to be about rest. and food but I liked the pics this time:)]

9/10/2005 08:35:00 PM  
Blogger Equalizer said...

samboose: Yeah the atmosphere is so friendly! its amazing.

Kuwaitigirl: Yeah I might go again for Tiesto, but like my experience with Paul van Dyke last time, the crowd was crap! This trip was on impulse hehe.

not without my heals: Yup that was my photography and most of the pics on this blog. I'm still an amateur though. Btw this blog is about design too, so photography fits in I guess. :p

9/10/2005 10:04:00 PM  
Blogger Blossom said...

Hi ,I didn't read the post , but the pictures mashallah are great ...the food looks really yummy.

Nice blog

9/12/2005 01:57:00 AM  
Blogger MBH said...

@@ Tiesto, when is he coming?!

9/12/2005 04:38:00 AM  
Blogger Equalizer said...

Blossom: Welcome back :) Thank's, I think photography is my new thing hehe :)

MBH: This upcoming weekend, I think Thursday. I haven't booked yet.

9/12/2005 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger DeeDee said...


9/12/2005 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger kuwaitigirl said...

Tiesto will be in Dubai on thursday..At Thirst

9/12/2005 03:57:00 PM  
Blogger Equalizer said...

kuwaitigirl: I'm going with you right? :p

9/12/2005 04:11:00 PM  
Blogger kuwaitigirl said...'s a date;)

9/12/2005 09:05:00 PM  
Blogger Rimyoleta said...

U'r killing me :D...great pic's ;)
Looooooooooooooooove it;)

9/12/2005 11:12:00 PM  
Blogger jenny said...

new to this blogging world...sounds like you know how to cook!

9/13/2005 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger Ms.Baker said...

Dear Equalizer,

I have a molecajete, which I use frequently to make guacamole and pesto :) This is a post close to my heart, as I am a mad lover of anything Mexican!


9/21/2005 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger Equalizer said...

MsB: It seems that you do great Mexican food! mmmmmm this is really interesting ;)

9/21/2005 02:43:00 PM  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Oh it's wonderful, Maria Bonita's. The prawn fajitas are just amazing (I am usually chicken/beef fan but the prawns blew me away).

The Mexican-style hot chocolate is also delicious.

Dammit, now I have a craving and it's 3.30am - I'll have to go there for lunch/dinner tomorrow ;)

9/24/2005 02:29:00 AM  

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