Jan 20, 2012

Maria Bonita, Dubai's version of a neighborhood Mexican joint

I had heard about Maria Bonita long before I was ever able to venture here.  Mexican cuisine, whether it's upscale and fancy or casual street food,  is one of my favorites, but it's something I have yet to discover done well here in the UAE.  The Maria Bonita restaurant does a decent job of holding the reputation as one of the better casual ones for now........ 

 When you are first seated at the table, the waiters bring a bowl of homemade tortilla chips and two different types of salsa.  One resembles a Pico de Gallo and the other is a very spicy hot sauce.  We placed an order for the fresh made Guacamole which is usually a gauge of what the rest of the meal will be like.  It was made table side with simple flavorful ingredients. So far so good!

Know ing how heavy some of the enchiladas and tacos can get, we opted for the traditional dishes. My friend ordered the Filete de Pescado Yucatan marinated in achiote spices.  Achiote  is made from ground annatto seeds. On their own, these reddish-brown seeds have a woodsy aroma and a subtle earthy flavor. They also turn foods brilliant shades of yellow, orange, and red depending on cooking method and other ingredients. Achiote turns up in one form or another in many major Mexican dishes, from mole sauce and tamales to certain stews and bean dishes. It can be used in a marinade or dry spice rub for grilled meat or mixed with oil to brush onto seafood.This was a very flavorful and surprisingly light dish.  Another check!
I ordered the Camarones al Ajillo, simply translated, garlic shrimp.  They were cooked just right and with a squeeze of lemon had the perfect balance of spicy, citrus, and garlicky goodness one would expect from a dish with "garlic" in its title. It even came with some accompaniments, the traditional beans and rice, pico de gallo, and guacamole.  It was a simple meal, but really hit the spot.  It was also very light and somewhat healthy (minus the bowl or tortilla chips of course!)
We didn't actually get to try the dessert.  I am aware they have a Pastel Tres Leches, Flan, and Crepas De Cajeta on the menu.  Will have to come back and make it a point not to fill up before the dessert.  

Maria Bonita is located on Umm Al Sheif Road between Al Wasl and Jumeirah Beach Road. For more details check out there website below:

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