I’ve always been a fan of Las Iguanas for as long as I remember. My first memory of discovering the place was around 11 years ago when I was on a trip to Bath, visiting my sister on her placement year there.
She took me to a little Latin American food place, tucked away in a quiet square. Back then, there wasn’t a Las Iguanas in Manchester. I remember thinking how good this place was, full of Mexican inspired food with a twist. Street food vibes, with a touch of Brazilian and extremely good cocktails. I was sold. Wham bam.
Then came the Manchester city centre Las Iguanas restaurant, a large dining and drinking space situated on Deansgate – the main bustling area for drinks and food.
It soon became my go to for a number of things: bulging enchiladas, loaded nachos and delicious cocktails. We even chose the place to host my sisters hen do with the family around 6 years ago! You know when you have two types of hen parties, and one tends to be a wilder one away with the girls, and the other one a nice restaurant location with family, with a bit of fun thrown in?
Anyway, I can back with my friend last month to try out the Spring/Summer updated menu. The first thing I have to say is that the menu is waaaaay extensive – there are so many pages! I was overly shocked at the amount of choice.
If you’re a real foodie like me, you might struggle a little with the mountains of choice. The pages are classed by country and cuisine theme, so it starts with all your nibbles and starters, before moving onto tapas.
Then, you’ll get pages dedicated to Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Peru, followed by sides and desserts.
As you can see from the below, it took me no time to order a piled up plate of nachos, topped with melted cheese, pico de gallo salsa, jalapeños, roasted tomato salsa, sour cream & guacamole. I chose a generous helping of Chilli con carne to be muddled in with the corn chips too, which gave the nachos a real kick.
As myself and my friend came here for lunch, we shared a selection of tapas dishes between us.
Next up was the Chicken Quesadilla, which came as three folded up tortillas filled with spicy chicken, peppers, onion & cheese. These are then pan-toasted & served with a deliciously rich roasted tomato salsa.
So much flavour, packed with fillings. Again, ideal for a tapas sharer, especially if you love a bit of chicken and cheese with a bit of tasty veggies!
One of my favourites, however, had to be the Shredded Duck Tacos. I actually had both of these to myself as the duck was a combination of soft and crispy, with the nicest tasting caramelised onion and spicy cranberry salsa.
Actually I’ve just realised that the Chicken Coxinha may have been my joint favourite dish come to think of it! This popular Brazilian snack is made up of smoky chipotle chicken wrapped in potato dough, covered in panko crumb & deep-fried. Ours came served with sticky chilli jam and these were literally something else!
A little bit different but capturing the delight of smoked chicken, kind of in their own little aranchini style without the rice!
A tapas sharing lunch isn’t complete without a portion of sweet potato fries and crispy calamari. And I can safely say that the above dishes were more than enough for just the two of us.
Perhaps we were a little greedy, as there were definitely left overs as each portion was plenty enough and a great size. Totally good value for money.
By getting so caught up in the exciting array of mixed tapas dishes, it meant that we didn’t even get chance to explore the foods from the global cuisines which made up the bulk of the menu.
However, I did give it a good analysis, being the food obsessed restaurant reviewer that I am.
On the Brazil pages, the MOQUECA DE PALMITOS stood out for me. This is a veggie concoction of Butternut squash, ethically sourced palm hearts, fine beans & spinach in a creamy coconut curry with charred red peppers, garlic & fresh tomatoes. It comes with spring onion rice, sweet plantain, pico de gallo & coconut farofa to sprinkle.
I also spied a XinXim – a classic recipe from North Brazil. This dish is made up of chicken & crayfish in a creamy lime & peanut sauce with spring onion rice, fine green beans, coconut farofa & sweet plantain. I’m drooling…
Over on the Mexican page, it was delightful to spy all your Mexican classics, with slight Las Iguanas twists. For example, you have everything you come to a Mexican for: enchiladas, burritos, fajitas and chilli – both meat and veg versions.
I was impressed to see the new addition of the BURRITO BOWLS though, which are made up of loaded bowls of salad, spring onion rice, black beans, fresh sliced avocado, grated cheese, slaw & pico de gallo, etc. Mmmmmm…
Over on the Argentina page, you get all your quality meat dishes. For example, the new addition of the BLAZING BIRD sounds like it will be a popular one, a spice-rubbed marinated chicken, with slaw & a choice of fries or salad.
You can top it with Lemon & herb peri-peri, Honey peri-peri, Amarillo chilli & garlic, Spicy BBQ jerk, or Vivo; Flaming hot habanero.
Last but not least, the Peru & Beyond page is a mixture of some real interesting foods. I spied a Dominican Goat Curry, as well as a Peruvian style truffle mac and cheese, which is making me dream of rich and creamy macaroni.
Overall, I was astounded at the extensive array of choice. People may assume it’s offers your Mexican favourites, but this place offers only a fraction of that. Prices are reasonable and portion sizes are big. Perfect for groups, date nights and dinner/lunch with friends.
Fabulous atmosphere, attentive service and above all, mouth watering food. I’m pleased to say I’ll always be a fan of this place if they continue offering food like this!