10 restaurants in Abu Dhabi

Travelling to Abu Dhabi? Are you looking for a nice resturant? At recent Time Out Restaurant Awards, one of the most difficult categories to choose a winner for was the Best Newcomer. Since this year saw all sorts of trendy cafés, stylish Italians and indulgent new brunches open up, all of which all offered something unique to Dhabi’s diners, we spent weeks pondering (and revisiting, naturally) to decide which was the best. Café Arabia was our eventual winner of course, which led everyone to ask us what other great eateries have opened this year that they might have missed out on. So here are our top ten – if you haven’t visited yet, make sure you do soon!

here you a list of restaurants you can enjoy in Abu Dhabi:

Restaurants: Bonna Annee
Cuisine:  Ethiopian
Details: Al Salam Street opposite Old Blood Bank (02 4912 128)
African restaurants are few and far between in Abu Dhabi, and as for Ethiopian grub – well we’re pretty confident Bonna Annee is the only place you can get served authentic flatbreads and spicy stews. So for a warm, welcoming atmosphere and a genuinely one-of-a-kind dining experience in the capital this is your place. Read our full review here.
Top dish:  Bonna Annee Special (price Dhs 35)
A selection of flavoursome stews and curries which are served up in hearty dollops on a large sheet of bread. It’s also an absolute bargain as we reckon it’s easily enough to feed two and costs a miniscule amount.
Restaurants: Porto Bello

Cuisine:  Italian
Details:  Grand Millennium Al Wahda, Al Wahdah (02 443 9999)
There were two reasons we didn’t have high expectations when we first tried the fare at Porto Bello – the restaurant is unlicensed (very unusual for a European restaurant) and also, the hotels’ Italian eateries in town can be a rather generic experience. Not so at Porto Bello – we were blown away after just a few bites. Classic dishes are given an upmarket touch with the addition of delicacies such as caviar and truffles. But fear not. These aren’t to overcompensate for lack of imagination in other departments – the preparation is of just as high quality as the ingredients, with creative twists on traditional dishes and beautiful preparation.
Top dish:  Pappardelle Porto bello (price Dhs 95)
Perfectly al dente pasta, steeped in a delicate roasted garlic and rocket sauce with pan-fried scallops – sensational.

Restaurants: café Arabia
Cuisine:  Western and Arabic
Details:  Between Al Karama and Airport Road (02 643 9699)
We’ve been raving about Café Arabia since it opened – in fact it was even the winner of this year’s Best Newcomer award. Why? Oh, so many reasons. Firstly the atmosphere, the beautiful décor and the way it’s made itself into a real community hub with artists, musicians and writer’s evenings held there on a regular basis. And the food? Yes, it’s delish. There’s a homemade theme to the recipes, many of which have been contributed by the owners’ family members. The freshly baked cakes, biscuits and other sweet treats are also to die for. What’s not to like?
Top dish:  Arabic Ruz (price Dhs 55)
This rice dish, prepared like a risotto, is exactly what you’d want someone to cook up for you if you were in desperate need of some comfort food – a bowlful of rice with pesto, crunchy chunks of peppers and heaps of seafood.

Restaurants: Yotto
Cuisine:  Japanese
Details:  Yas Marina & Yacht Club, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi (02 565 0050)
Yotto is a stylish as you’d expect a Yas Marina & Yacht Club restaurant to be – soft red and yellow furnishings and pale wooden tables fill the intimate circular restaurant, and touches such as the bonsai trees on each table give it plenty of character. We’ll warn you now, don’t come here for the sushi (tiny and pricey – a bad combination), but stick to the Japanese main courses, which are interesting, sizeable and carefully prepared.
Top dish:  Miso Black Cod (price Dhs 180)
There are a few venues around town that do a sensational take on this classic Japanese dish (Toki in particular) but Yotto’s is impressive too – perfectly cooked fish smothered in a sweet, sticky sauce.

Restaurants: Essence
Cuisine:  International
Details:  Beach Rotana Tourist Club Area (02 697 9000)
Thought Abu Dhabi didn’t need any new brunch venues? So did we, until Essence opened its doors in the summer. The heart of the brunch is a spread of Arabic and western main courses (including some ultra-fresh seafood), which is supplemented with cuisine from Brauhaus and Benihana, meaning fresh sushi and roasted German meats are on offer too. Dessert can only be described as epic, with towering piles of cakes, chocolate-dipped fruits, and sweets there for the stuffing. This is a must-visit if you’re into brunches that are more about enjoying quality meal than overdoing it on endless drinks (these are quite pricey – be warned).
Top dish:  The orange chocolate fountain
Ok, this isn’t the top dish exactly, but you’ve just got to try the orange chocolate fountain…

Restaurants: Cipriani
Cuisine:  Italian
Details:  Yas Marina & Yacht Club, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi (02 565 0050)
Given its background and international standing, this restaurant hasn’t made quite the impact it should have done on Abu Dhabi’s dining scene – maybe it’s the out-of-town location, or more likely it’s because you don’t get quite enough bang for your buck. But in spite of those spoiling factors, Cipriani still has a real sense of occasion, so if you have something special to celebrate and don’t mind forking out – well the steaks are mammoth, the desserts heavenly and the vibe is still super-stylish.
Top dish:  Wagyu ribeye steak (price Dhs 280)
Like your meat simple? This is as straightforward as it gets – a huge slab of premium steak, so large the corners hang off the side of your plate. That’s it. Tuck in!

Restaurants: Kababs & Kurries
Cuisine:  Indian and Arabic
Details:  Yas Marina & Yacht Club, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi (02 565 0050)
Kababs & Kurries is unique in that it’s the sole restaurant occupying the middle ground between the backstreet curry houses of Abu Dhabi’s downtown, and the super-expensive Indian fine dining restaurants. At K & K, you’re served creative Indian dishes (the menu contains one of the best selections of vegetarian food in the city) in an atmosphere that’s intimate and rather grown up, despite the rest of the Souk at Central Market having more of a family vibe.
Top dish:  Chandani Malai kofta (price Dhs 42)
Cottage cheese dumplings come in a thick gravy made from dry mango and garam masala, and topped off with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds. These gave the creamy sauce a sweet tang that made the flavours explode.

Restaurants: Jimmy’s Killer Prawns
Cuisine:  Sea food
Details:  Mushrif Mall (02 450 0300)
One of the most promising new eateries to open up at the Mushrif Mall, Jimmy’s Killer Prawns specialize in their namesake seafood but do so in a down-market, get-your-hands-sticky style. For our money, this is a nice change from the rest of the city’s far more formal seafood restaurants.
Top dish:  Oceania Platter (price Dhs 239)
This mammoth plate holds everything from the obligatory prawns to calamari, mussels, steak strips and chips. Big enough for two.

Restaurants: Biancorosso
Cuisine:  Italian
Details:  Y Tower, Al Nahyan Area (02 658 4244)
We don’t know how they’ve done it, but within just a few short months of opening (in a rather hard-to find location, to say the least) Biancorosso have already managed to generate a loyal crowd of customers who just can’t get enough of their simple pizzas, pastas and salads. The casual atmosphere, bright red décor and friendly staff gives the place an easy going feel, while the Italian fare gives much pricier restaurants in town a real run for their money. Pizzas are big and topped with mouthwatering combinations, the pastas arrive with a bread, pie-style covering (sounds odd but it’s good!) and just to finish off the carb-fest, they also give you bowls of deep fried pizza dough balls to nibble on which taste truly sinful. A great new spot.
Top dish:  Pizza ai funghi (price Dhs 40)
What to choose? At the moment we’re hooked on the mushroom pizza, because all the elements are just-so. Crispy base, stringy cheese and salty mushrooms, done to perfection.

Restaurants: Bloomsbury’s
Cuisine:  Pasticceria
Top dish:  Rasberry Dream (price Dhs 12)
Details:  Al Wahdah Mall (02 643 8610)
We’re more than spoilt for cupcake choice in Abu Dhabi, but Bloomsbury’s really stands out from the crowd, managing to make an absolute artform out of the simple sponge and frosting combo. The setting is quirky and colouful and the cakes are, needless to say, terrific. Generous mountains of icing sit on top of soft, sweet sponge and the flavours are creative and fun. Choose from their Luxury or Boutique styles for a sweet treat.

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One thought on “10 restaurants in Abu Dhabi

  • 17 Dicembre 2011 at 15:14
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