A Mexican meal without stale nachos or sweaty cheese is hard to come by, so Amerigos is worth a look
Mexican restaurant Amerigos on Yas Island worth a look
It's often said that you can judge a Mexican restaurant by its guacamole, and at Amerigos this rings true. Their version is fresh and creamy with a nice texture -not too chunky but still far from a puree. It was perfectly good for dipping tortilla chips and provided a nice foil to the little pot of jalapeno peppers that we ordered on the side, but it lacked a certain citrus zing and could've done with being more heavily laced with lime. Enjoyable but not exceptional and this is a fitting description of a meal at Amerigos.
My friend enjoyed our other starter of tuna ceviche with coriander spiked tomato salsa. I, on the other hand, was less enamoured, finding the dense cubes of pink fish rather flavourless and a bit dry.
The star of this particular show was undoubtedly my friend's rib eye main course, which arrived at the table sizzling, the meat glistening with buttery richness. The taste and texture didn't disappoint - juicy, succulent and bursting with salty umami flavour. The steak was served with little pots of jalapeno mayonnaise, which she barely touched. Dipping the meat into the mayonnaise not only detracted from its excellent natural flavour but also made for far too indulgent a mouthful. If rib eye needs anything, it is a lively, slightly sharp accompaniment capable of cutting through the richness of the meat, rather than something that adds to it.
Both of our main courses were served with a couple of thick rounds of potato. Although they were nice - tender and tasting as if they'd been cooked in butter and rosemary - they felt at odds with both dishes and seemed a strange accompaniment to a Mexican meal. I ordered chicken with smoky chipotle and oranges. It was fine, but not something I'd go out of my way to have again. The leg meat was moist and made a welcome change to the ubiquitous and often dry chicken breast, but the skin was flabby rather than crisp and the sticky bitterness of the oranges reminded me rather too much of marmalade.
Portions are large, so in the end we ordered the torrjias (deep fried bread and butter pudding) for dessert more out of curiosity than a need to sate hunger. As the name suggests, this is definitely not diet food. While it didn't resemble any bread and butter pudding that I've ever eaten (being more akin to a large square doughnut) it was rather nice; crisp and golden on the outside, light and fluffy in the middle, with a little bowl of good quality vanilla ice cream on the side.
The service we received at Amerigos wasn't what I'd call attentive. When we arrived we were left to find our own way through the restaurant and out on to the terrace, and a couple of times during the meal we had to work to catch our waiter's attention. The restaurant was busy, though, and I think that these discrepancies were due to a shortage of front-of-house staff, rather than a lackadaisical nature.
A Mexican meal that extends beyond stale nachos and sweaty cheese can be hard to come by. While a meal at Amerigos isn't perfect, if you find yourself out on Yas Island with a craving for fajitas in relaxed surroundings, then it's worth dropping by.
- A meal for two at Amerigos, Park Inn Abu Dhabi, Yas Island costs Dh311, not including service. For reservations call 02 656 2222. Reviewed meals are paid for by The National and reviews are conducted incognito.