After spending the afternoon at Mall of the Emirates, we headed to Salero Tapas & Bodega for dinner. Its an authentic Spanish restaurant with a modern touch. I’ve passed by it before and always thought it was more of a evening drinks kind-of place, but its quite family-friendly and they even have a kids menu!
We got there around 7pm and the restaurant was just starting to fill up. Since we had reservations ahead of time, our seat was ready and waiting for us. The staff were so friendly with my 1-year old Khalifa, even though he was being a bit of a grumpy-pants. They brought out a high chair for him, the kids menu and even some markers and coloring sheets. The coloring definitely kept busy and gave us time to sort through the menu and see what we wanted.
Before even looking at the menu, a waiter brought us a bread basket, garlic and a tomato sauce spread. The presentation had a really rustic touch to it, and although the ambiance of the restaurant is on the fancy-side, we could tell that the food was going to be home-y and delicious comfort food.
This is my first tapas experience, and so I was excited to try it. Restaurants that specialize in tapas usually have smaller food menus, and larger drinks menus. Tapas can be described as an “in-between” appetizers and main meals, and is usually had with drinks. Since we don’t drink alcohol, our focus on the food menu. Typically with tapas, you order several different plates to share. If you feel like having one full meal, however, they have traditional Paella available as well. Between the two of us (and Khalifa) we chose 5 different tapas plates.
For drinks, we ordered mocktails and also got Khalifa a fresh watermelon juice. From the kids menu, we got chicken croquettes for him. They brought out the drinks and Khalifa’s croquettes first. This dish, regardless of whether you have kids or not, is a must-try at Salero! It’s soft cloud of potatoes and chicken on the inside with a shell of crispy fried goodness on the outside. Khalifa loved them, and my husband and I gave them a try too and they were so good that we nearly ordered a second plate of it, but our tapas plates started flowing on to the table pretty soon and we realized that we definitely had more than we could handle.
The first tapas dish that we got was Patatas Bravas. It looks very simple– fried potatoes with a tomato cream sauce– but this dish proves that looks are deceiving. It packs a punch! The sauce has a bit of spice and its almost like a refined version of chili-cheese fries. Its really good, and also a must-try on your visit to the restaurant.
The second tapas was the Gambas al Ajillo, which is a sautéed shrimp dish. The shrimps are succulent and perfectly cooked, and tossed in with garlic and some spices.
After the shrimps came the Rabo de Toro, which could have easily been a main dish if there was a cup of rice or mashed potatoes served with it. It’s slow-braised oxtail in a stew of soft potatoes and carrots. The meat falls off the bone and is just dreamy! This dish is a great option if your feeling like you want a full meal, but also want to save a little room to sample another tapas dish.
We then had the Calamares a la Andaluza con alioli. It’s a very traditional fried calamari dish served with a parsley aioli dipping sauce. The calamari is coated in a light flour batter and is crispy on the outside. The dipping sauce was a nice change from the common marinara that usually accompanies calamari dishes.
Our last tapas dish for the night was something I was really looking forward to because I love eggplant– the Berenjenas a la Miel. It’s large eggplant slices that are batter-fried and drizzled with cane honey. It also has a very salty element, so its not as sweet as it sounds.
We were expecting the dishes to be smaller, but were pleasantly surprised by the generous size of it, and filled ourselves up so much so that we didn’t have any room for dessert! Also, by this time, Khalifa was getting very sleepy so we decided to head back up to our suite at the hotel.
There are a couple of things that I especially love about this restaurant. Firstly, you can try many different dishes without feeling like your over-ordering, because hey, thats what tapas are all about. Secondly, the prices are really good, and they even have offers including one that allows you to order 3 tapas plates for just 95 Dhs; and they also have a business lunch deal.
- Staff/Service: 5
- Ambience: 5
- Food: 4
- Presentation: 4
- Cleanliness: 5
- Value for money: 5
Overall Rating: 4.67
Worth Trying?: So worth trying– the food is really good and authentic. I would highly recommend that you go with a group of 4-5 friends so you can share and try out as many of the tapas as possible. Best part is that you don’t have to leave your little ones behind!
For more information call Salero Tapas & Bodega at +971 (0) 4 409 5888.