Latin American cuisine is a delicious study of diversity. And Dubai, which ranks in the top 10 in a Google survey as one of the most diverse gastronomic capitals in the world, has a plethora of restaurants that offer the best of Latin American food. In the pre-Covid era, there was a celebration of the vibrant and demonstrative culture and cuisine of Lat-Am in April at the Dubai Latin Fest. Alas! The pandemic has made these joyous celebrations a thing of the bygone past.
However, Lat-Am cuisine is an umbrella term, as the flavors of the foods are at odds with the vast expanse, including Mexico, Cuba, Colombia, Brazil, and the wild Patagonia. But there is a unique destination in town. Look no further than the Cartagena Hotel on the 72nd floor of the JW Marriott Marquis in Business Bay, Dubai, the world’s tallest five-star hotel.
Every Wednesday, between 5:30 p.m. and midnight, unwind on a Lat-Am culinary journey without borders, and to the pulsating rhythms of Calypso of the Caribbean.
The flavors are as eclectic as the signature dishes of Cartagena owner Ms Buendia, including platters of fresh and fried guacamole tapas – including mashed avocado, spicy tabbouleh – or succulent chicken anticuchos – accompanied sumac and togarashi and an anticuchera sauce – Aguachile with prawns and melting in your mouth Braised beef empanadas filled with sweet plantain and avocado poblano.
Taste (5/5): Authentic to a T. Its light fusion bites not only celebrate the region’s vast diversity, but also trace its origin in Spanish tradition. And Cartagena, a port city in northwest Colombia in the Caribbean, acts as a perfect nod to the geographic indicator of Lat-Am food and its diverse palate.
Atmosphere (5/5): The Cartagena Hotel is spread over two floors and has 250 seats in the pre-Covid era. Alas! The uplifting Latino dancers are missing due to pandemic restrictions. But their absence is more than made up for by the breathtaking view of the majestic Burj Khalifa.
Service (4/5): Vladimir Gelev, the charming director of operations at the Weslodge Saloon, who runs the Cartagena hotel, is a livewire. The affable Macedonian, who was a seasoned man in the food and drink business, makes sure customers are treated well
Presentation (4/5): Connoisseurs argue that presentation is the key to attracting the five senses to the eating experience. Hotel Cartagena ticks almost all of the boxes, from the smell of the ingredients to appreciating the texture and visual tasting of the food, before savoring it.
Covid awareness (5/5): All Covid-19 measures are strictly followed by Cartagena hotel staff members. Face masks and disinfectants are available for guests as well as a mandatory social distance of three meters between all tables