Enrique Macana: The Man behind the hottest new restaurant in Dubai

La Casa del Tango

La Casa del Tango brings the authentic spirit of Argentinian culture and the rhythms of Tango to the heart of DIFC. The über-chic venue exudes a vibrant and sensual dining experience by combining classic Argentinian cuisine, award-winning cocktails and world class Tango performers.
We got a chance to sit down with the brilliant man behind this new experience and dive deep to get to know all about La Casa del Tango as the slice of Argentina right here in the sun-kissed skylines of Dubai.

Tell us about you & La Casa del Tango…
I’m Enrique Macana and I’m from Buenos Aires Argentina. I started Tango back in 1995 at the age of 13. Ever since I was introduced to Tango, it has been my dream to become a professional Tango dancer.
I am overjoyed at the chance to open here in Dubai. The Tango house concept provides people a place to truly enjoy and cherish the Tango, a highly stylized dance popularized across the world.
In the past two decades, I have traveled to different countries and continents where I explored dance and Tango. Moving to Dubai in 2017, I saw great potential – an opportunity to develop Tango in the city. Unlike in Argentina, when I came to Dubai there was no Tango at all. I felt like I needed a place that is accessible to all, where people across the globe come together to be introduced to this beautiful dance. This is how La Casa del Tango was born, bringing a piece of Argentina to Dubai and bringing Tango into the dance world here in Dubai. I feel like my mission as an artist and as a person is to make something very genuine and authentic and to give the people of Dubai the chance to explore the essence of Tango from Buenos Aires, like how I see it.

Tell us how you felt when you hosted the 2 launch events on 7th & 9th of June 2021. How did it go and what was your favorite part?
An hour before we started the first leg of the launch event, I was in shock as I couldn’t believe that we finally pulled it off! We finished recreating one of the greatest venues for Tango in the world. It was an incredible, beautiful and outstanding feeling.
I can’t describe the feeling in words but to see the décor, the entrance and artists as you entered the place was just magical – a glimpse of Buenos Aires in every corner. The journey across the red carpet really captured the mood along with ambient Tango music and artists such as the dancers and guitar players. You can also see a very beautiful mapping on the entire wall above the restaurant until you reach the huge doors where you enter and start your dining experience. A vivid memory of the event was the impression I got upon entering the enticing venue. It was an authentic feeling from the floor to every little detail that has been recreated – incorporating art deco from the heart of Buenos Aires with a touch of a modern Dubai.

In a difficult market like Dubai, what makes a restaurant flourish? What will make La Casa del Tango flourish?
I think it is genuine. When you are genuine and when you are authentic, you can transport these emotions not only in the dishes or in the drinks but also in the ambience and in the service. It is the authenticity that makes all the difference.

How does your passion for Tango make this restaurant an exceptional experience?
I put all my life in Tango and this is something you can feel and see, the second you enter La Casa del Tango. When you are enjoying your meal or having a drink while watching the shows, you can feel it all. I try to explain this to people. But the only way to fully capture my passion and the feeling I have is to come here to La Casa del Tango and have beautiful moments you’ll experience with the dinner and the Tango show. It will transport you.

What are the important elements you consider when picking/designing the performer’s costumes?
With Tango, there are so many aspects that we consider when picking the dresses and outfits; from the movements, songs and performances – all of these have different velocity. The song could be more on the traditional side or more modern. It could be a Milonga or Tango, or Valse which are all so different and they each need specific designs and styles. So according to the song and the movements, I choose the dresses but it doesn’t stop there. Tango goes back more than 100 years so there are Tango dances and styles from the 20s and from the 40s and then the modern form, whether from the 80s or now. Each era incorporates a different style in their own special way. I try to respect the timings of Tango and also give some variety of modernity of the texture with the lights.

The overall vibes of the restaurants are just amazing, what were your thoughts on the small details from Barista outfits to the table setting. How did you complete that look you envisioned with the detailing?
Upon entering the space, every detail is of importance. We wanted to have that Argentinian touch starting from the costume of the barista, the waiters and everybody you speak to at La Casa del Tango. I wanted to make sure that you have a little touch of Buenos Aires and a little touch of Tango because in Tango there is something elegant with a sensual side. We want to keep it that way.

We all know that nowadays everyone is looking for a unique experience. Tell us about the exceptional, authentic Argentinian experience
The exceptional experience starts with the people you interact with during your time in La Casa del Tango. When you enter, you’ll find that most of the employees and artists are from Argentina bringing more authenticity to the place. Between the chief, the manager, the restaurant manager and myself we make a complete Argentinian team. We aspire to bring the authentic feeling of Argentina. We have staff working in the F&B industry for more than 15 years and I’ve been dancing Tango for 25 years. With all our experience combined, I truly believe we are ready to deliver an authentic Argentinian concept here in Dubai.

The love of food and the love of dance is amongst the top passions of the world. How are you able to fuse them?
I know that people love to eat and people love to dance – fusing these two is a celebration of life.
I believe that when people have a full stomach, they are happy and can better express themselves. What we are doing here is something special and it should be accessible to everyone around the world.

Were there any unusual challenges or advantages to starting a restaurant after the world was in a global crisis for a year and a half?
There were lots of challenges and it was a bit more difficult because of the pandemic as logistics with suppliers and vendors proved to be a real test . But I think we’ve accepted the challenge, worked around it and nailed it. We made it happen.

Has your knowledge of the local market helped with establishing La Casa del Tango in this region?
I was here for three years and another year during the pandemic so a total of 4 years. I got to know more and more about Dubai, the restaurants and how the market is here. I think the most important thing is that I understand how to treat the customers and all the clients. My past 25 years of experience in the field of Tango and in dancing with artists in theatre, has given me an upper hand and better understanding. I already knew how to represent Tango. I used to help my father in my younger years when he was a chef in Argentina. So as a concept, I have experience in both areas and I feel I am the right person to bring both countries together.

What are your future plans for expansion across the region?
We will continue doing what we love: to expand in different places, to do many more shows and continue to increase the presence of Tango. I think that we are ready to expand very soon.
What we will focus on now is to make people happy and to provide unique experiences here in La Casa del Tango. We want people to come in at any time during the day or night and get to enjoy this little piece of Argentina in the same way I’ve experienced it.

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