A new authentic Mexican restaurant has opened in the bustling city of Durban.
Two friends from California and Las Vegas, Mekbib Kassa and Hiruy Amanuel, noticed a gap in the market and decided to embark on a mission to introduce authentic Mexican cuisine and flavours to the South African food scene.
Kassa and Amanuel were astonished to discover there were no authentic Mexican restaurants in the country. That changed last month with the announcement that the partners had opened an authentic Mexican taqueria called Las Palmas in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
Kassa is a chef from Las Vegas with years of experience, and Amanuel is an international businessman and entrepreneur.
“Authentic Mexican food, with the right ingredients and recipes, is very niche on the continent. Consequently, Las Palmas is the first to develop and drive the production of proper Mexican dishes and exploit the South African market. There is a general lack of authentic international cuisine in the country, so our aim is to help diversify the food industry,” said Amanuel.
The restaurant has just opened and plans to expand its menu with various well-known Mexican dishes. However, to start with, they decided to specialise in producing a range of delicious tacos.
“The South African diet already consists of corn maize and some kind of protein as a staple. So, it felt right to start with tacos as there is a similarity between the cuisines.
“For example, our popular quesa birria tacos are originally from Mexico but consist of very slow-cooked meat folded in a corn tortilla. So they will be a familiar combination for locals, presented in a new way, with new flavours. We will be growing the menu as we expand,” said Kassa.
“We’re primarily a family-oriented restaurant. We appeal to all ages, which has allowed us to reach a large demographic, especially in Durban, where the first restaurant is based. We plan to open a couple more restaurants and franchises and also branch out into our own product line, our signature Birria Paste, catering services, and more. It is a very new market,” added Amanuel.
The restaurant has already caused a buzz on social media, with celebrities and locals flocking to try it out. Recently, it has also been included on Durban Tourism’s Official Guide & Visitors Information list.
Las Palmas is situated at 223 Florida Road, Windermere, Durban.