Time Out Says
It’s our first visit to the latest Latin restaurant to hit Abu Dhabi, and we’re immediately impressed by the colourful entrance.
With cactus plants lining the walls and lots of quirky artefacts, we want to start Instagramming the decour straight away. But before we can do that, or even take a seat in the restaurant, we have to give our names and contact details at the front desk.
It’s a bit of a slow process that’s slightly frustrating given about three quarters of the tables are unoccupied. But once we’re seated our server is as polite and helpful as it’s possible to be, and she is more than happy to talk us throught the menu of tacos, ceviches, grilled meats and many more South American dishes.
It’s similar to Toro Toro’s menu (the former outlet in this space and part of the same restaurant group), and the funky, light and airy dining area has a (very) similar vibe. However, we’re not complaining as there’s loads that we’d happily devour from the menu, and the place looks great.
We start off with the smoked guacamole, which is quite literally smoking. When our server lifts the huge domed lid, the sight of the vapours escaping is really very cool. But it doesn’t just look dramatic, the creamy avocado and tomato mixture is totally delicious, too. We also get some chicken anticuchos, served on their own mini brass grill with grilled corn and pickled cucumber. The chicken is marinated in an incredible, zesty dressing, and the white meat is perfectly cooked. Meanwhile, the cheese-dusted corn has to be the sweetest we’ve ever tried.
Next we get the cachapas: Venezualen sweetcorn pancakes with halloumi cheese. The combination is certainly different to anything we’ve tasted before.
The sweetcorn is so naturally sweet, the pancake is almost like a dessert, but as we also have a serving of seared salmon with quinoa and chipotle aioli, the sweet and spicy flavours balance each other out perfectly. The creamy dressing is indulgent but it doesn’t mask the taste of the lovely fish or crunchy vegetables in the quinoa.
With faultless food and good service, it finally seems like COYA has found some competition for the best Latin food in town.
By Time Out staff | 08 Sep 2019
Recommended for you in Restaurants
All-new gluten-, wheat- and dairy-free products now available
The evening is in partnership with Maison M. Chapoutier
Brunch, set menus, cultural performances and more