Craving Mexican cuisine? FACT’s Angela Beitz discovers flavourful and vibrant fare at a city favourite – El Sombrero at the iconic Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort…

Mexican and Latin cuisine has really taken off in Abu Dhabi over the last couple of years but there’s one true mainstay that has firmly held it’s ground; El Sombrero. This restaurant at Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort is fun and vibrant and somewhere you’ll be guaranteed a good night out. The venue is casual with terracotta decor and bright, coloured tiles on the tables. It has a resident band that play every night except for Saturday and their beats are traditional Mexican rhythms along with current hits. The band really makes the restaurant experience very enjoyable and brings a lively vibe to the atmosphere.

El Sombrero has been serving authentic home cooked Latin American dishes for a long time and they have a fantastic Mexican chef who creates delicious food. The key ingredients on the menu – such as maize, beans and premium chilli peppers – are all imported from Mexico which is a nice touch and adds a sense of authenticity for diners.

The menu is made up of Tex-Mex favourites that you would expect from any good Mexican restaurant such as burritos, fajitas and tacos and there is also a large offering of very traditional dishes that we were very keen to try. We start off with the Guacamole En El Sombrero which is one of the most popular dishes on the menu. Freshly prepared at our table is ripe avocado, diced onion, tomato, coriander, green chilli and lemon juice served up with fresh tortilla chips. There are no surprises as to why it’s a firm favourite, its perfectly balanced and super tasty and such treat to have it prepared in front of us.

We also try the Quesadillas where you can choose from chicken, beef, shrimp or vegetable. We go for the chicken and are delighted with the tastiness of the classic flour tortillas with lots of cheese.

For mains we go for the Camerones Al Tequila, Pollo Con Mole and Tacos. The Camarones Al Tequila is a large dish of sizzling shrimps with Mexican rice and green salad. The dish arrives flaming to the table and the waiter lights it up on fire in a theatrical motion. It’s delicious in flavour and texture – right on the mark. The Pollo Con Mole is a very traditional Mexican dish of chicken thighs covered with Mole sauce (which is actually a sauce with chocolate in it although it’s more tart than sweet) and is served with Mexican rice and vegetables; a very interesting dish with lots of unusual tastes that go together effortlessly. It’s also nice to try something super authentic. The tacos were also very good with sautéed steak and caramelised onion in a homemade soft corn tortilla – simplicity at its best.

We managed to squeeze in dessert, opting for the churros with chocolate sauce which were the perfect end to a fantastic meal. The restaurant also offers a plethora of traditional Mexican and Latin American drinks which go perfectly with the food. El Sombrero has an excellent menu and warm service, making for a reliably fun night out with friends. ✤


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