Mexican nights with Maria Bonita


“I know this awesome little Mexican place in Jumeirah,” my friend said.

I was beyond exhausted after spending an entire day at ARTE and needed a place to chill out. She bundled me off to Maria Bonita.

I’d seen this place before, but only when I’d popped in to the café next door (Central Perk, if anyone’s interested. Modelled after the awesome TV series FRIENDS, it’s missing a Gunther and a Phoebe Buffay belting out Smelly Cat).

Anyway…Maria Bonita (sorry I do have the habit of rambling).

So the first time I went there, we sat indoors. It’s a ramshackle sort of homey place that makes you just want to plop down and never move.

The food helps. They offer nachos and salsa sauce as a starter of sorts. And then you go: munch, munch, munch.

I had cactus for the first time in my life! Cactus? Am i joking? No. Here’s a near-faithful recounting of the conversation I had with my friend that night:

Nuts (the friend): “We HAVE to have the cactus salad.”
Me: “Eh?”
Nuts: “Yeah it’s really good. Healthy too. You’ll run to the bathroom afterward.”
Me: “Eh?”
Nuts: “It’s good for your digestive system?”


Without going into gory details…she was right. It’s quite nice (I think) – a cold salad – that does, ahem, clear your digestive system up quickly. Just make sure you eat more than half and you’re good to … errr … go. It’s called Ensalada de Nopales on the menu.


Oh this sounds random (and if you’ve only just caught on to my randomness…hello, why haven’t you read this blog before? It’s filled to the brim with awesome randomness; if that’s the sort of thing you’re into), but I love their menu! It’s packaged in the middle of two slabs of wood. Very cute I think.


The chicken jumbo quesadilla was my order both times I’ve gone till date. Can’t go wrong with them one. Cheesy, chicken-y, bread-y goodness. HAPPY DAYS! *cue in Happy Days music*


The second time I went there was at the end of December 2011 with the enigmatic @movie_mafia though this time we sat outside.

While the cactus and quesadilla came back this time, the discovery I made this night was…



The menu describes it thusly: “Deep moist home-made cake, prepared with three different kinds of cow milk.”


Yeah, sorry menu-writer…you did not explain how soft, moist and light this little mound of crustless, sinful cakeyliciousness is. Seriously everyone…this is CAKE. Surprisingly I loved it (can you tell?) despite the lack of chocolate. I’m such a chocolate person but this little plate of heaven wowed me.


I want someone to create a life-size pastel tres leches cake for me to dive into, like a fish running to water and then gobble my way through it forever and ever and ever. So, more infinite than life-size then.

Good food, reasonable prices and gorgeous dessert…can’t go wrong.


Maps, tips and more:
From the Spinneys on Al Wasl Road, take a left at the traffic light. Go straight all the way to the end, take a u-turn and the first right into the service lane.
If you get parking on the narrow strip of street parking in front of the restaurant, pat yourself on the back. If not, keep driving ahead and park in the first available spot. Barring that, go to the other side of the road and park there.



11 thoughts on “Mexican nights with Maria Bonita

  1. Damn! Those photos are enticing! I had wondered about this place but due to a lack of “licence” ahem, had not visited it. My mind is now changed…I want to go to there…..

  2. Hmmm, I don’t know how I’d feel about that cactus salad either. But the place sounds really interesting!

  3. Thanks Angela! Haha you can always pop by another spot later on once you’ve had your fill here. The virgin margharitas and pina coladas aren’t all that bad 😉

  4. Thanks for stopping by Joyti! The cactus salad is definitely interesting. Worth a try, at least once :)Have you ever been to Dubai?

  5. Did you have the Horchata? I have cravings for that drink!

  6. @DerrickPereira Nope I didn’t, but my friend did pick them up for herself. Said the same thing too…she had cravings for it!!!

  7. Thanks Iliyana 🙂

  8. You had me at the first picture. What a great looking dessert! Cactus salad intrigues me. I have to try it sometime. Hope I get an opportunity. I love homey kind of places where you can relax, have a drink or two, munch on munchies, dig into sumptuous far and leave feeling happy and sated.

  9. Anita – woohoo! Yeah I always try and put my favourite pic, or the best food from the review at the top so people – hopefully – get hooked.If you visit Dubai, I think we should check this place out 🙂

  10. I also spotted the cactus salad on the menu, when i was there, but the thought of being served a plate full of spines kind of put me off. Though it looks rather harmless in your photo, so maybe next time 🙂

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