Review: settle into Vakava for a Latin love affair

The food’s vibrant, so is the venue itself, but this place is more than that as guests can also get into the groove. 

vakava interior

Across Latin America, food is more than a meal. It’s an event. It’s a celebration that’s shared, savored and enjoyed

Those words are printed on the menu at Vakava; we couldn’t agree more.

From choosing and sharing dishes to being immersed in the Latin American inspired atmosphere, Vakava is a true dining experience.

The dining area is elegant yet comfortable with ornate chandeliers.

High-back wicker chairs and colourful traditionally upholstered, plush seating and coordinated stools with purse hooks – a very nice touch – set the scene perfectly.

We’re seated in a comfortable booth where we sip a chilled concoction of grape and chopped fruit while browsing the Pan Latin inspired menu.

vakava beef

Tuck into dynamite lobster– a definite favourite of the evening.

Then there’s bite-sized pieces of lobster deep-fried in tempura coated in chipotle sauce with fennel, orange coriander and red chili.  This spicy appetiser is intended for sharing but we’re betting you’ll want the entire portion for yourself.

Things cool off a bit with the chipotle salad, a generous blend of mixed greens, tomatoes, almonds and goat cheese topped with chipotle balsamic dressing.

Bring you friends to share the hot and cold small plates.

We can’t resist sampling the cornbread, served warm in a miniature cast iron skillet. The golden, circular loaf is moist and fluffy at the centre with kernels of real corn and crisp edges, making it as much a finisher as it is a starter.

The main course does not disappoint as an oak serving board loaded with Brazilian-style picanha steak, wagyu ribeye steak, Australian lamb chops and achiote marinated chicken consumes most of the table space.

This scrumptious platter of meat for two is garnished with carrots, dipping sauces and roasted potatoes.

vakava potato three ways

The sides from the a la carte menu include steamed asparagus and potato 3-ways, a combination of creamy potato with a few potato chip fingerlings and a demi-glace.

You can’t leave without trying the gooey chocolate fondant cake with orange and topped with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. We didn’t.

vakava dessert

The meal might be over but this no time to head home.

Instead, head up to the upper level where there’s a lounge, terrace and fully stocked bar.

Sway to the beats of  live Latin music with  amazing sea views.

Vakava is more than just a good meal – it’s a vibe!

Need to Know

We Say: Latin Vibe | AED 1,000 for two. Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, Corniche West. Mon-Sat 7pm-11.30pm, Thu and Fri noon-midnight. 02 811 5666,

Words by Tamara Clarke

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