This new Abu Dhabi restaurant is one of the most exciting in the city

Why VaKaVa is one of the must-visit venues in the capital

This new Abu Dhabi restaurant is one of the most exciting in the city

If you’ve been living in Abu Dhabi for a while now, you’ll no doubt remember Latin restaurant Toro Toro, that used to reside at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers.

Well, we’re thrilled to tell you that the super cool space has been filled by VaKaVa, another  entry to the successful Richard Sandoval restaurant chain.

The restauranteur describes VaKaVa as being the “twin sister of Toro Toro: sassy, vibrant and young”. That sounds like the winning combination to us, and the menu is full of colourful South American creations such as tacos, ceviches and grills.

“It’s a lighter version of a steakhouse,” says Sandoval. “It’s not so heavy. People can come in and share appetisers or something from the grill and it’s very approachable.”

We suggest starting off with nibbles like the smoked guacamole or swordfish, before moving on to try some sashimi (the Peruvian tuna tataki sounds particularly good) and ceviches with sea bass, salmon or tuna.There’s also a range of fresh salads, and chicken and beef anticuchos, just to get yourself warmed up for the main event.

Many of the dishes, such as the meats cooked on the Brazilian charcoal grill, are specifically designed to be shared.

The family platter of wagyu steak, beef tenderloin, chicken and prawns is created for parties of four or more, and it looks set to be the perfect spread for your next gathering with family or friends.

There’s also a Mexican influence with flavour-packed softshell crab and chicken tacos, seafood specials like Chilean sea bass (which is one of Sandoval’s favourite dishes), and Peruvian grilled octopus.

Other stand-out dishes include the dynamite lobster, which takes the joy of dynamite shrimp to a whole new level of brilliance, the vegetarian-friendly sweetcorn pancakes and fruity tres leches cake.

We want to try all of it immediately, which is always a very good sign.
Open daily 7pm-11.30pm. Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, West Corniche (02 811 5666).

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