Join your friends at The Huntr as we present Puerto 99 Dubai and find out why we think it’s a strong contender for the UAE’s best Mexican restaurant…
Located on Bluewaters Island with spectacular views of JBR, the beach and sea, Puerto 99 is a licensed Mexican gem open daily from 12:30noon until 1.30am Sunday-Wednesday and until 3am Thursday-Saturday. The elegant restaurant is spread over two floors and features high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows flooded with natural light, cosy round and square wooden table set ups for small and large groups and eye-catching colour pops thanks to the banderitas, artworks and design touches.
Up on the first floor you will find the bar and a party vibe from 7pm onwards, and on the ground floor there are a plethora of tables for guests to enjoy lunch or dinner with loved ones. Plus, Puerto 99 has its own resident Mariachi who serenade guests and provide a joyful, romantic ambience to the atmosphere – as well as some toe-tapping entertainment.
The kitchen is led by Chef John Gray and the menu offers a tempting array of dishes including raw seafood, small plates, salads, soups, tacos, fish, meat and poultry.
The Huntr visited Puerto 99 for a weekend lunch. Naturally we had to order the Guacamole (75AED), which is crafted with fresh avocado, pico de gallo and pomegranate and served with homemade corn tostado and is easily one of the best we’ve sampled. The Roasted Bone Marrow Tacos (85AED) are a must-order and might just be the best taco in town – the soft corn tortilla is homemade, moist and fresh and the mouth-watering filling of braised short rib and guajilo chile jun coriander is everything that you want it to be and more.
We also sampled the Queso Fundido (80AED), which is comprised of a Mexican cheese fondue, soft tortillas and pico de gallo – gooey and delicious, just make sure you eat it before the cheese hardens and gets a little chewy. Plus the Fresh Tuna & Spicy Cabbage Salad (85AED), a beautiful, light and flavourful mix of freshly diced tuna, sesame garlic oil, lime, soy, macha-mayonnaise – served on a bed of corn tostada and lettuce. Plus the Freshly-Shucked Oysters (150AED for 6), which hail from France and come with tangy salsa, lime and sea salt.
For the main event, we opted for the Guajillo Chile Rubbed Octopus (140AED for 250g) – which was perfectly tender and the Mole Glazed Local Chicken (100AED), which comes complete with refried beans, Mexican rice, almond mole and queso franco. Tasty and filling, the dish is good for 2 to share if you are also having starters.
To end one of the best meals we’ve enjoyed of late on a sweet note, we shared the Mole-Spiced Chocolate Lava Cake (50AED), which had just the right amount of sweetness and comes with pistachio ice cream and walnuts.
Drinks-wise, Puerto 99 is fully licensed and serves a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks including cocktails, mocktails, tequila, wines, beers and spirits.
We found the service to be as good as the food, drinks and atmosphere (and scored all 4 elements a full set of rare 9s!). The team are welcoming, swift and knowledgeable – exactly as you would expect for a restaurant of this calibre. It’s the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion such as a birthday, date night or take someone special for a first date. Just sit back and prepare to eat, drink and be merry…
Insider tips: Vegans and vegetarians are catered to bespoke on request, simply share your preferences with the staff. Advance reservations recommended for peak timings. Ladies Nights on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (3 free margaritas 8-11pm). Various drink deals available at the bar also. Smoking only permitted upstairs at the bar and outside. Ground floor is a non-smoking zone. Find Puerto 99 just beneath the Ain Dubai observation wheel.