Little Mexico | Saadiyat Beach Residences

The crispiest tortillas, the freshest guacamole, the spiciest salsa – expect tasty soul food served up to toe-tapping Latin-American beats.Little Mexico

A little piece of Mexico has opened right on our doorstep at one of the capital’s lesser known spots, Saadiyat Beach Residences. This residential enclave is now home to Little Mexico, a vibrant casual dining cantina that has embraced all things Latino both in its decor and menu.

Decked out in eye-popping primary colours, Little Mexico serves small plates and sharing dishes of Mexican classics. Favourites such as homemade tacos, burritos, enchiladas, fajitas and of course plenty of nachos with a very tasty guacamole, everything was spicy but not overpowering and well presented,  it’s a fiesta for your taste buds.

Housed in part of the clubhouse adjacent to the community pool the restaurant itself is quite small with a central long community table and a selection of tables and chairs along the feature wall opposite the bar. Traditional sombreros, cacti, bunting and a boldly decorated mural featuring tattoo inspired sugar skulls fully embrace Mexican culture and traditions bringing an essence of fun to proceedings. For me, the appeal of this venue is the large outside terrace decorated with hanging lights and coloured furniture, tables made from painted barrels and a colourful party pinata hanging from above.

The bright interior design is matched by zingy flavoured dishes, the extensive menu is varied and has a good selection for diners but if you like a shot of tequila, a jug of sangria or a Desperado beer with your food for the full Mexican experience you will have to look elsewhere as this is an unlicensed venue. To compensate there is an extensive range of drinks available, non-alcoholic wines and beers, Mexican sodas aka Jarritos, fresh homemade juices, fruity mocktails and flavoured iced coffees.

The taco station is a real selling point, choices include swordfish, ground beef, pulled smoked chicken, shrimp, skirt steak and a meat-free cheese and refried beans option. The more health conscious folk can enjoy any of the fish, meat and vegetarian options with the corn or soft flour tortillas substituted with a lettuce wrap. My favourite dish was the mixed cheese quesadillas, the delicious fresh guacamole and spicy salsa verde, the other half worked his way through the whole selection of Mexican classics on offer until he could eat no more. Breakfast and brunch are also on offer with eggs rancheros, eggs motulenos and sweet potato and sausage hash. Parties of ten to twelve guests can indulge in the Party Package with various combos designed to share.

Make sure you save room for desserts because the cinnamon dusted churros with a rich chocolate sauce and sopaipillas, puff pastry pillows drizzled with honey are totally worth it. The dessert selection may be limited but it’s yummy, I’m already planning to try the traditional crème caramel flan on my next visit. Click here to see the full menu.

Little Mexico is part of Little Group, a local culinary experience conceived by experienced restaurateur Thomas Gebler who has also opened Little Paris on the Corniche. Expect big things from Little Group as future plans include more restaurants embracing the street food, cultures and traditions of countries around the globe, keep your eyes peeled for Little Roma, Little Soi-Bangkok, Little New York, Little Shanghai, Little Mykonos, Little Tokyo and Little Mumbai, all very exciting considering the attention to detail that has gone into the Little Mexico concept

The food is good and affordable, the venue is fun and family-friendly, the staff are warm and welcoming and as long as you are happy to embrace the alcohol-free experience it’s totally worth a visit. Don’t be put off by the location as it’s really easy to find, ask for extra spice if you like things hot and be prepared to order extra dishes if you have a bigger appetite.

Little Mexico

Location: Saadiyat Beach Residences, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi

Telephone: 02 676 1954

Website: littlegroup.ae

Opening hours: Daily 11:00am – 11:00pm

Home delivery is available to certain areas – telephone for more information.

A second Little Mexico venue will be opening soon at Reem Island

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I was invited to review Little Mexico. All views are all my own based on my experience. Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2016. All rights reserved. Additional photos courtesy of littlegroup.ae