Senor Paco's

It’s not just about the atmosphere at this jolly Mexican restaurant Reviews

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Dining at a theme restaurant can be a soul-destroying affair – the gaudy colours, crude national stereotypes and enforced joviality can be overwhelming to the unwary patron. Nobody should be made to wear an oversized hat unless they explicitly consent to it. Yet at Señor Paco’s – a Mexican joint nestled in the backstreets of Adliya – does ‘theme’ with a capital ‘TH’ and manages to pull it off.

On the night we arrive, we walk through a courtyard laden with discarded Viva Zapata-style props to be greeted by our immaculately white-suited host for the evening. A newcomer to Paco’s (shocking, I know), I eye the wall-mounted sombreros with a sense of intuitive dread as the smiling singer flashes a look that threatens mandatory karaoke to come. But Paco’s is a popular place where large tables of revelers pack the main room, and the atmosphere is bustling and vibrant.

We’re given our menus and begin the task of whittling down the 60-plus main courses to a manageable couple. The breadth of dishes is slightly bewildering so, while working our way through bowlfuls of complimentary nachos, we skip to the specials: smoked BBQ ribs, and a shredded meat burrito.

As we wait, we take note that the servers are efficient and friendly, topping up beverages and clarifying orders with practised ease – the first of many skills they demonstrate throughout the evening.

We’re happy to say, despite the restaurant’s busyness, our food arrives in good time and looks mouth-watering. The ribs are mammoth-sized and beautifully glazed, accompanied by steamed vegetables and potato wedges. The meat falls effortlessly from the bone and boasts a satisfying crispness – ribs should always be big, sticky and juicy, and Señor Paco’s tick all three boxes with ease. Likewise the cauliflower and zucchini – which are so often over-steamed – are perfectly al-dente, and a blast of paprika gives life to the wedges.

Size seems to be a recurring theme as my burrito could easily accommodate a family of four under its capacious tortilla, and comes smothered in sour cream, rich sauces and refried beans. Despite the array of tempting flavours, the smokiness of the meat cuts through the dish nicely and the combination of ingredients is perfect with none of the stomach-filling stodginess that can mar a poorly-constructed burrito.

Perhaps unfairly, there seems to be an assumption related to Señor Paco’s that it’s the atmosphere and not the food that makes it worth the visit.

Although neither of the mains were spectacular, they were well-cooked, balanced and flavourful – certainly worth coming back for and easily as good as other Mexican restaurants on the island.

As we finish our food the fun really starts. While some restaurants try to manufacture atmosphere with loud music and desperate entreaties from house bands, the musical duo at Señor Paco’s let the mood build organically. First an older couple begin to tentatively salsa in the corner, and in a flash the dancefloor is full of twisting and twirling bodies enjoying the Latin rhythms. The waiters have no choice but to join the dance, ghosting skillfully through the throng with laden plates aloft. As she catches our eyes again, the singer earns our eternal gratitude by accepting our frantic head-shaking when offering us the mic, and all the while – like the ringmaster at some gastronomical circus – the man in the immaculate white suit circulates approvingly. Theme restaurant? Sure, but take it as a compliment Señor Paco’s.

We’ll be back soon, and next time I’ll wear the sombrero.

The bill (for two)
1x BBQ ribs BD7
1x meat burrito BD6
Service charge 15%
Gov levy 5%
Total BD15.7

By Time Out Bahrain staff
Time Out Bahrain,

Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.


  • Location: Adliya, Manama
  • Tel: 17 725 873
  • Travel: Adliya

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User reviews

  • Users voted this restaurant most suitable for: Romantic

User reviews:

Posted by: Amel Gashgari on 12 Jan ' 13 at 22:31
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Best margarita in Bahrain

Posted by: Bader Adel on 21 Jan ' 12 at 18:47
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

well, my first bite of the appetizer was really amazing and delicious... the meal that i ordered was just very flawless. According to the decors and appearance, its quite attractive and resplendent. i love the style
The only thing that bothered me was one the one of the staff didn't take our orders properly.. :(

Posted by: H Gero on 31 May ' 11 at 09:18
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

So much fun, friendly staff, great music, great atmosphere

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