La Carnita

Cool, industrial Mexican bar and restaurant
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Time Out Says

When you started out life giving tacos away for free, can you really succeed in building an empire when you start asking people to pay for them?

As far as La Carnita is concerned, the answer seems to be a resounding “si”.

From its pop-up inception in Toronto, Canada, where the free tacos were just an incentive to get people to buy the art on sale, La Carnita now has four branches in its home city, plus another in each Winnipeg and Baltimore.

And now, Dubai. A franchise founded by entrepreneur Hamdan Al-Khafaji, who frequented the original Canadian branch as a student, the menu sticks reasonably true to La Carnita’s roots. Tacos are the stars here, though main courses have been added to appeal to the local market.

But need they really have bothered? Dubai has become a hub of family, or sharing-style dining recently, and after a quick glance down the list, it’s how you’ll want to play a meal here.

A few dishes come highly recommended from the staff, several of whom have been brought over from Canadian branches – and it shows, for service (particularly at the bar) is outstanding.

Go for the light, fragrant smoked chorizo quesadilla and you won’t regret it – nor will you recognise it if you’re more used to tortillas dripping with American cheese and doused in sour cream. Mexican street corn, grilled and dressed with chilli and queso, is both restrained and authentic, and the flavour of the sweet, creamy kernels shines.

We’re told in no uncertain terms that the cod taco is what built La Carnita, and though we’re surprised to only receive one per order (even if they are only Dhs30), our moderate disappointment doesn’t last long. Delicate shavings of cabbage and green apple pair perfectly with the crisp, golden-battered fish, all brought together with a tangy lime crema. The carne asada taco is every bit as tasty, but a few too many lumps of unrendered fat stymie our enthusiasm.

With a cool setting, superb staff and stellar bites, it’s easy to see why this place is swinging on a Thursday and Friday night.

La Carnita may no longer be giving its tacos away, but then it absolutely doesn’t need to.

WHAT IS IT...
Cool, industrial Mexican bar and restaurant

WHY GO...
Terrific tacos and a wide variety of agave-based drinks

By Time Out Dubai staff  | 12 Dec 2018

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Details

Payment OptionsCash, Credit Card
CuisinesMexican
6:00 PM to 1:00 AM
Sunday: 6:00 PM to 1:00 AMMonday: 6:00 PM to 1:00 AMTuesday: 6:00 PM to 1:00 AMWednesday: 6:00 PM to 1:00 AMThursday: 6:00 PM to 1:00 AMFriday: 12:30 AM to 2:00 AMSaturday: 12:30 AM to 2:00 AM
Show number 04 425 4030
Dubai, Dubai Marina, InterContinental Dubai Marina

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