Abu Dhabi Restaurants and Dining
(Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, UAE)
Abu Dhabi's varied dining scene is truly multicultural, with traditional Arabian eateries sitting alongside American style fast-food restaurants and Japanese sushi bars. While trying the local fare comes highly recommended, visitors needn't stick to Middle Eastern food for the duration of their stay in Abu Dhabi.
Unlike other more strict emirates, Abu Dhabi allows the sale of alcohol in licensed hotels and restaurants, meaning visitors can enjoy a glass of wine with their meal. Late night street side dining is also on offer in the souks.
When to Eat / Opening Hours
Throughout the city of Abu Dhabi you will find a large array of restaurants, cafés and fast food eateries available at all hours of the day. Local delicacies and delights are found all over the city served from street stalls and carts.
Generally dining establishments in the city open for lunch between Monday and Friday from 12:00, or for dinner from 18:00 onwards. Some of the large international hotels have restaurants serving food throughout the day until all hours. Fast food outlets also serve food from the early morning until late at night. Alcohol is usually only served at hotels and exclusive venues.
What to Eat
With a large variety of ethnic backgrounds in the city of Abu Dhabi, the selection of cuisines is endless. You will find Mexican, Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Thai, Korean, Pakistani, Persian, Italian, French and Vietnamese. There are also numerous fast food restaurants such as McDonald's, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Hut.
International hotels serve a variety of flavours with the Hard Rock Café and Planet Hollywood being particularly popular in Abu Dhabi. Local Middle Eastern restaurants are spread all over the city and serve fresh and tasty delights, including 'sharwarmas' (a type of meat sandwich), dips and delicious sweets.
Where to Eat
Being so close to the sea, there is an abundance of seafood restaurants both international and locally flavoured. In the centre of downtown Abu Dhabi you will find numerous Arabic seafood restaurants with smoked and grilled fish cooked with local herbs and spices, giving it a delicious flavour.
For a special night out, Prego's Italian Restaurant located in the Rotana Hotel serves superb authentic pizza, pasta and meat dishes. There is a comprehensive wine selection to accompany your meal and notable anti-pasto appetisers. Live music is usually played most nights to ensure a great atmosphere for romantic dinners.
Situated in the Al Ain Palace Hotel is one of the finest Japanese restaurants in Abu Dhabi, known simply as the Zen. You will find a traditional Japanese dining experience with fantastic décor in an impressive restaurant layout. Enjoy the fresh sushi and sashimi appetisers prepared by world-class Japanese chefs and traditional saki shots afterwards.
For a look and taste into the true Arabic cuisine of Abu Dhabi, head to one of the numerous souks (markets), where you will be able to try some delicious local flavours and dishes. The Arabic sweets and pastries are particularly tasty, but also high in calories. Fresh pita bread with lamb and chicken (sharwarma) are particularly tasty snacks.
Behind the Baynunah Tower in the downtown area is the Arabian Palace, which is a budget friendly and delicious Arabic restaurant that is busy with locals and tourists alike. Traditional 'shisha' smoking is popular with numerous different flavours of tobacco to try, from apple to strawberry and lemon with mint. From the restaurant you can enjoy a great view of Abu Dhabi's buildings and lights.
If you want to drink alcohol with your food, you will need to choose an international dining venue or one inside of a hotel. Some other establishments serve alcohol, such as exclusive golf clubs.