Who doesn’t adore biting into a filled-to-the-edge, crispy and carbolicious taco? But if crumbs down your front don’t appeal, you can always turn to the soft version. While no one knows for sure what the origins of either the hard or soft taco are, the name “taco” was likely born in the 18th century.
Named after little charges – pieces of paper wrapped around gunpowder used to excavate ore in Mexican silver mines – one of the first references to the edible variety was tacos de minero, or “miner’s taco”. That makes total sense when you think of a tortilla wrapped around beans and chilli being something fiery, right?
Baja Fish Taco
Made with battered fish, zucchini, cilantro and lime slaw, this citrusy treat is easy to eat and warrants at least a couple of orders if several of you are dining. It is, though, far from the only taco example on the menu here. You can, for instance, also tuck into the braised beef short rib with trailer-trash taco mash (that you can also order as a side on its own) and salted treacle BBQ sauce. There’s also their celebrated Street Staple Twisted Taco – ask the staff about the daily topping. By the way, the Mexican gyoza dumplings are also fantastic, showcasing refried beans, chipotle and agave sour cream.
Where: The Black Lion, H Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road
Contact: +971 4 359 2366,
Featuring a soft-corn taco filled with sautéed shrimp, sour cream, jalapeño and smoked paprika, this is another dish that you’re definitely going to want more of. Speaking of which, hungry diners might want to just order the Mexican Platter instead: it comes with these shrimp taco lovelies as well as quesadillas (with chicken, green chilli, onion, tomato, coriander and jalapeño), a bowl of beef chilli (with slow-cooked beef, black beans, serrano chilli, sour cream and nachos), and a portion of chicken wings (with chilli-spiced chargrilled chicken wings and lemon mayo). But the shrimp tacos definitely deserve some love.
Where: 7 Elephants, Emirates Financial Towers, DIFC
Contact: +971 4 354 4354,
Shooting tacos into the stratosphere of luxury are these bite-me beauties at Gaucho, with their tender lobster bits, creamy coriander mayonnaise, crisp red onion slices, iceberg lettuce and zesty lime. They’re fresh, light and surprisingly refined. Still hungry? Order the sharing platter that comes with empanada and seafood samplers, a selection of meaty mains, and a collection of sweet treats. If you’re feeling selfish about your food, we loved the churrasco de lomo that sees fillet marinated for 48 hours in garlic, parsley and olive oil, followed by apple and elderflower crumble served with vanilla ice cream.
Where: Gaucho, DIFC
Contact: +971 4 422 7898, website
Asian Cod Tacos
Subtly sweet with umami leanings, this dish sees carrot tacos housing a feast of honey-soy roasted cod fillet, iceberg lettuce, shredded carrot, mango, green papaya and coriander. The best bit? These tasty tuck-ins come in at just 472 calories. Sticking with the Mexican theme, throw a fiesta on your tongue with the chilli con carne, whipped up with beans, capsicum, zucchini, sweet potato and quinoa, served with sour cream. If you scoff at the idea of sweet treats tasting good and being nutritious, the coconut caramel cheesecake – with coconut cashew cream, pecan, almond and maple syrup crust and blueberries – will change your mind.
Where: Gourmet by Kcal, Jumeirah Lakes Towers
Contact: +971 4 511 7373, website