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A must go to if you love nothing more than Pan-Latin flavors, ceviches, and Brazilian charcoal grill!
This summer, VakaVa took over Toro Toro at the iconic Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, a spot we used to enjoy visiting a lot. In fact VaKaVa is Toro Toro’s more mischievous twin sister. We are delighted the upscale and brilliant decor remains unchanged and VakaVa brings the same Latin roots into their menu.
Founded by celebrity Chef Richard Sandoval, it is a great place to visit whether you feel like indulging on ceviche, sharing style appetizers packed with Peruvian, Venezuelan inspiration or their large choice of charcoal grill options.
Some will skip the dinner to directly visit the lounge upstairs that offers both an indoor corner and a large open terrace overlooking the sea and Jumeirah at Etihad Towers. There is a Latin Cuban band every night from 9 pm onwards that brings a lively atmosphere to the lounge.
Our dinner experience at VakaVa
Invited shortly after the launch of VakaVa, we had a look at the large menu and were quite overwhelmed given the many appetizing options to pick from. Vladimir, who was looking after our table, was very knowledgeable and helped us pick different sharing plates to savor mixing ceviche, skewers, followed by the main course.
The Degustacion platter is a cool option to opt for as it gives you a chance to try a mix of different signature ceviches-tuna, beef, prawns or seabass. Our favorite was the ceviche Huachinango: prepared with seabass, we loved its refreshing taste thanks to the Leche de Tigre and coriander. The Prawns Aguachile also was amongst our favorites with the sweet and sour taste added by the mango and lime mix.
If you are into guacamole, go for the smoked guacamole which we haven’t tried ourselves during this visit. We observed though that this starter very popular at the restaurant with many tables were sharing it with signature drinks.
We couldn’t help but share the Venezuelan Cachapas: these sweetcorn pancakes are filled with halloumi cheese and topped with sour cream. An old favorite we are fans of!
If you are into beef, we highly advise you order the Beef Fillet Anticucho skewers. The marinated Peruvian-style beef kababs come to your table on a grill with grilled corn as a side. Juicy, flavored, these skewers are just outstanding and will surely be on our upcoming order, next time we visit.
After this broad and fulfilling selection of cold and hot starters, we decide to share a main course for two and went for the Pescado Del Callao which can seem weird for a restaurant that has oversized bulls at the front door.
We absolutely don’t regret this pick which was a huge hit at the table. Cooked and served over a layer of lemongrass, the seabass fillet was just divine, with a hint of ginger miso and lemongrass flavours. We accompanied this main with grilled cauliflower that was quite sweet thanks to the anticuchera sauce.
For the dessert, Vladimir suggested us to trust him and share their latest signature dessert that involves chocolate, fresh berries, and quite some drama. We don’t want to ruin the surprise and must say both the show and the dessert were worth it.
Don’t hesitate to stop by the upper lounge after 9 pm as there is a live band playing every night. We cannot wait for the cooler days to head back as the outdoor terrace is just fantastic with a light breeze thanks to the sea surrounding the hotel.
VaKaVa Pan Latin Grill & Lounge is open Monday to Saturday, 7 pm to 11.30 pm.
The Upper Lounge & Bar is open Monday to Saturday, 6 pm until 2 am (3 am on weekends). Children are welcome in the restaurant only, while the lounge is reserved for guests aged 21 and above.
To get more information or make a reservation, you can just +971 28 115 666 or email JADRestaurants@jumeirah.com.
VAKAVA | Jumeirah at Etihad Towers
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