A Taste of Mexico in Bahrain: Cantina Kahlo

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If you were to ask me what my favorite type of food is, I would have to say Mexican food is right up near the top. Along with Arabic food, US Southern food, and Greek food, it’s one of the cuisines that I crave most of all. Which is tough, because good, authentic Mexican food isn’t always easy to find. Luckily, a new restaurant has just opened in Bahrain which is going to make all of our lives a little easier….and tastier…

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Cantina Kahlo is a lovely little place. It’s taken over one side of Trader Vic’s at the Ritz Carlton, but the vibe is much different and the kitchen is totally separate. The setting is beautiful, with views looking out onto the pool and beach area.

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Cantina Kahlo is not only gorgeous – with bright, funky colors and gorgeous artwork – it’s also legit. When I opened the menu to see things like barbacoa, lengua, Oaxaca cheese, yucca, plantains, queso fresco, I almost teared up. I lived in Texas during university and grad school, so I know a thing or two about Mexican food and my hopes were high. I told the waitress and she laughed and explained that most of the waitstaff are from Mexico, as are the kitchen team, and they import many of their ingredients from Mexico.

“We want it to taste like our grandmother’s cooking,” she said. And my hopes soared even higher.

We started with Micheladas – beer mixed with Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and lime juice. They were tangy and bright, the perfect accompaniment to a tableful of tacos.

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It wasn’t an easy feat, but we finally settled on what we would order.

We had tostadas charras – pulled chicken with black beans and queso fresco; flautas de pollo – braised chicken with sour cream and Serrano chili sauce; tacos de canasta – wagyu short ribs, green sauce, and pickled cabbage; barbacoa tacos – braised lamb with morita chili sauce, corn fungus, and caramelized onion; veggie enchiladas, and, for dessert, churros with dark chocolate sauce and dulce de leche sauce.

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Everything was flawless – bright, fresh, perfectly balanced and unbelievably delicious. My only regret is that I forgot to order elote! Well, I’ll save that for next time, and believe me, there will be many, many more next times. I already can’t wait to go back.

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At the end of our meal, Chef Monica came out to visit with us. It was great to meet the genius behind our meal and hear about her passion for creating these dishes.

This was one of the best dining experiences I’ve ever had in Bahrain. It was absolutely spectacular and a total necessity for Mexican food fans, like myself. Get yourself to Cantina Kahlo as soon as you can – you’ll probably see me there.

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