El Chico

Friendly staff, huge portions of food, memorabilia madness 18 Reviews

elchico197
© ITP Images

In the same vein as Chili’s or Applebee’s, El Chico serves huge portions of solid, often calorific food, while various themed memorabilia hangs from the walls. Thankfully, the décor isn’t too imposing and the staff are helpful and friendly. And considering the newness of this restaurant it’s not too empty, so it must be doing something right.

No sooner had we been shown to our booth – the pattern on the seat covering designed to look like a poncho – a basket of warm tortilla chips and spicy salsa dip landed on our table. As we perused the menu, our drinks – a non-alchoholic pina colada and Mexican Flag (the place is unlicensed) – arrived. As with all restaurants of this style, the trick is to plan ahead. Portions are huge, so for most people a main will suffice, but if you do want to kick off with an appetiser, the chicken poblano taqutio, consisting of small flaky morsels of chicken, deep fried in a crispy spring roll-style shell, with a guacamole and sour cream dip to share, will suffice.

In terms of mains, all of the classic Mexican dishes, from tacos to enchiladas, rice and refried beans, are listed, and from they are all done very well. I selected a giant plate of Guadalajara tacos – soft discs of floury taco laid over each other around a shell of sour cream, bonded together by melted jack cheese and covered in onion, peppers and fajita steak. Meanwhile, my companion chose the chicken and mushroom fajitas – a construction kit of sour cream, dip, rice, salad and warm tortillas, followed by a sizzling skillet of expertly spiced and flavoured meat and vegetables. And, once assembled, the fajitas were excellent.

With portion sizes of this calibre, there will be little left of the appetite after the mains. But having seen another sizzling skillet, this time containing a chocolate brownie and cinnamon ice cream, we had to give in and find room. Sure enough, the dessert was brought to our table, the smell of the butter sauce poured by the waitress filling the air as soon as it hit the hot metal. It continued to sizzle and bubble away as we devoured the chocolate sponge.

Altogether, El Chico is a pleasant enough experience, delivering very good food – as long as you are sensible with the amount you order. And like the themed décor, the service doesn’t force itself on you. Best of all, it doesn’t cost that much. We will definitely be back to El Chico.

The bill (for two)
Pina colada (non-alcoholic) Dhs16
Mexican Flag (non-alchholic) Dhs16
Large water Dhs8
Chicken Poblano Taquito Dhs31
Chicken Mushroom Fajitas Dhs59
Guadalajara tacos Dhs42
Brownie sundae Dhs22
Total Dhs194


By Becky Lucas

Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.

Details

  • Location: Dubai Marina, Dubai
  • Tel: 04 423 3828
  • Travel: The Walk, Jumeirah Beach Residence
  • Website

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Map

User reviews

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  • Users voted this restaurant most suitable for: Family friendly

User reviews:

Posted by: Sai on 02 Nov ' 12 at 14:23
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  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

Very bad service poor food quality spoiled our weekend ..... Will not recommend total waste.....

Posted by: jb on 26 Oct ' 12 at 08:48
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  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

The food is bland, really commercial......

Posted by: melody on 13 Jan ' 12 at 21:18
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  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

Very poor quality foods with expensive price and rude waiters!

Posted by: Siddharth on 10 Jan ' 12 at 20:05
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  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

All in all a good experience

Posted by: Lance on 09 Aug ' 11 at 10:10
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FoodAmbienceValue
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

Disgusting Food, I am amazed that places like this stay open to be honest, especially with all the choice in this city, it looked and tasted like everything that was served came out of the deepfreeze.

Might appeal to people who think Chillis is good eating, but seems to be just and excuse to import an American food chain into the U.A.E and churn out disgusting frozen meals to people. Its a sad reflection on peoples tastes that this place is still doing business.

Will never ever go there again. If you want authentic mexican with a bit more soul try Maria Bonitas instead.

Posted by: sy on 17 Apr ' 11 at 08:22
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  • Best for: Business lunch
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

food ordered was cold on the inside and hot on the outside. I couldn't even request to remove some cheese away as i was told it was already 'been pre-wrapped'.

Posted by: LB on 30 Mar ' 11 at 11:53
OverallDecorService
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  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

Talk about soul-less, I've never been to such a terrible place as 'The Walk' and then we had to choose a place to eat. Growing up in the States I love love love Mexican food so we decided to try El Chico, it looked very busy, that's usually a good sign right? We sat outside thinking there would be some interesting people-watching, yikes, I've never seen such a boring crowd of people in my life. The servers were nice but nothing special. My virgin margherita was missing something...let's think. My burrito was tasteless and smothered in plastic cheese and none of the food had any kick or spice at all. Has the chef heard of jalepenos? They are sort of a requirement in mexican food, along with chili powder, pepper, cumin, cilantro....My husband ordered a fajita and it came prewrapped, aren't they supposed to come sizzling? I wouldn't eat here again if someone paid me to.

Posted by: Vic on 14 Mar ' 11 at 10:35
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

Nice atmosphere and and friendly but never had such tasteless Mexican food.

Posted by: sam on 06 Jan ' 10 at 17:54
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  • Best for: Brunch served
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

This is my yfavourit resturant in JBR. I love their friendly staff. The nachos are great and so are the dips. I usually go for the enchiladas and the Fajitas. The taste is always great.
I love the grilled salmon dish as well, but I prefer their chicken dishes more that the beef and fish.

Posted by: xxx on 10 Sep ' 09 at 18:57
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  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Posted by: Abjb on 29 Jul ' 09 at 09:23
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  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

I was very afraid going there as because of the reviews written here but it was definitely worth trying this restaurant. I liked the food, tortillas where a bit tasteless but everything else very delicious. Specially the Mexican apple pie!!! I love it. Good for going there with friends but also worth for a nice dinner with your beloved. Service could be more professional but if you ask the guys with a smile they do everything for you.

Posted by: Steve on 02 Jul ' 09 at 19:53
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FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Frequent El Chico at least once a month if not more as I am living close to JBR. I've tried Chilis and on the boarder but neither meet the excellent experiences of El Chico. I have been enjoying the live entertainment of the Spanish guitar player/singer in the evenings which really sets the mood. The staff are very friendly and prove an excellent service. The food is always tasty and portions are generous and the free warm corn chips and salsa are always topped up! The deserts are too tempting to resist and the apple pie with the cinnamon ice cream would have to be the best in Dubai. To the staff and management behind the El Chico's success keep up the great work.

Posted by: kate on 21 Jun ' 09 at 05:23
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  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

Posted by: Rebeca on 30 May ' 09 at 13:48
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  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

This is not a Mexican restaurant is a Texmex style of food. Salsa should be more spicy, tortillas should be better quality. they should have delivery. Over all is good. for a texmex. For real mexican food go to Maya restaurant.

Posted by: Yasser on 27 May ' 09 at 12:29
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

This is my yfavourit resturant in JBR. I love their friendly staff. The nachos are great and so are the dips. I usually go for the enchiladas and the Fajitas. The taste is always great.
I love the grilled salmon dish as well, but I prefer their chicken dishes more that the beef and fish.

Posted by: Pri on 26 May ' 09 at 13:54
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

I completely agree with the review. The food wasnt great and was just slimy and bland and surely not enticing! Although the staff seems friendly - they either choose not to convey your request to the chef or just don't understand English.
On the border on the other hand was absolutely fanstastic and El chico will need to step up if they want to draw crowds during the coming months.

Posted by: salim on 08 Apr ' 09 at 17:36
OverallFood
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Posted by: Gary on 27 Mar ' 09 at 11:43
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Business lunch
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

I've been going to El Chico in the US since I was a young boy. It used to be a great experience to go out for a fine Mexican meal with me family. As I recall the food was always fresh and delicious.

When they opened here on the Walk I was very excited as Mexican is my favorite food. The first time we went the food was good and the service was excellent. I've been back 6 times since then and the quality of the food has dropped significantly and the service remains fair at best. I almost always order the Steak Fajitas and I always specify that I want the veggies cooked very well done. The waiter always acknowledges my request but the veggies always come out barely cooked and still crunchy. Having worked in the food service industry before I know that you should never send a meal back into the kitchen, so I'm usually stuck with something that I don't wish to eat. On one occassion my fiance ordered the Chicken Taco Salad. She asked for no cheese and no dressing. When the salad came out it was covered with cheese and the chicken that was on it was boiled and mixed with a red sauce. When we alerted the manager he agreed that this chicken was the one supposed to go in the enchilada and that the chicken for the taco salad was supposed to be grilled.

It seems that the wait staff either doesn't understand plain English or they do not convey the customer's request to the kitchen. In any case they fail miserably each time we go. I will continue to dine at El Chico as it's close to where I live in JBR and the chips and salsa are the best around. I'm still hoping that they improve over time.

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