Getting to experience the culinary marvels of different places is one thing one truly misses about travel. You miss the rich variety of cuisines both local and international in addition to eating at all those funky restaurants helmed by celebrity chefs known for their experiments. Hemmed inside the confines of our homes, we can only reminisce about the impact eating and travel have had on our minds.
Be that as it may, we are slowly but surely gearing up to take to the skies once again. Once that happens, one of the first places food lovers and gourmands must surely visit is Abu Dhabi. The happening UAE capital is not just a four-hour flight away from India in addition to promising an epicurean extravaganza if you so much as wish. Want Eggs Benedict for breakfast and the best dim sums for dinner? The city’s got you covered. Feeling like some authentic Iraqi kebab? You’ll get it. As Indians, we are no strangers to bonding over food, wine and chit chat, and Abu Dhabi is the destination to it now. Here’s why:
The Best of Emirati Cuisine
Visiting a city and not trying their local food is a sin like no other. If you who are interested to get a real taste of local Emirati culture and flavours of Abu Dhabi, fret not as there are a plethora of restaurants to check out. At the very budget-friendly Meylas at Al Raha, ranked as one of the best places to eat Emirati cuisine, try khabees, fareed and machboos. Another great place for a traditional Emirati meal is Mezlai at the Emirates Palace Hotel. With beautiful décor and an ambience that showcases the best of Arabia, Mezlai is famous for its lamb machboos and fresh khubz (pita bread), which many describe as heavenly.
You cannot come to Abu Dhabi and not try the falafel, hummus and freshly baked khubz. And one of the best places to try it at is Café Arabia, rated as one of the best cafes in the city. Situated just opposite Umm Al Emarat park, this Insta-worthy cafe has something to suit every palate—from a cosy weekend lunch to a business meeting. Don’t forget to try their milkshakes as part of their excellent breakfast menu.
Those looking for something more high-end, Tean in Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort is the answer for you. Treat yourself to classic Levantine-style grilled spiced meats and seafood dishes. The Turkish coffee and homemade saffron-and-cardamom ice cream are not to be missed either. Another recent hotspot for foodies in Abu Dhabi is the Beirut Sur Mer Restaurant, sitting along the pristine shores of Mamsha Al Saadiyat. Here you can indulge in a delightful culinary escape to Lebanon.
And then, something for the history lovers. The Almayass Restaurant, located in Sheraton Hotel, one of Abu Dhabi’s oldest landmarks in the tourist club area, is a Lebanese-Armenian restaurant known for its recipes handed down from generations.
If you’re someone who prefers comfort food, then Italian cuisine is a sure bet. Villa Toscana at the St. Regis Abu Dhabi offers an extensive menu with a balanced choice of Italian deliciousness. With friendly staff, the minestrone soup and homemade ricotta gnocchi are highlights, alongside sea bass fillet and aubergine parmigiana. Villa Toscana also offers several gluten and dairy-free options.
Relish Asian Flavours
From sushi made by Japanese chefs to authentic Thai curries that channel the true essence of Thailand, Abu Dhabi offers an impressive variety of Asian cuisine. For an idyllic evening out, head to Sontaya at the St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort. The romantic vibe set against the picturesque landscape of the Arabian Sea is truly magical. Another classic not to be missed is Zuma, the award-winning fine dining Japanese restaurant that serves to impress. The miso black cod is world-renowned, and the sushi is some of the best in the city. It is also a fantastic location for a set business lunch or night out with friends.
Street Food in the capital
Shawarma, manakeesh or good old Indian chaat—Abu Dhabi knows how to satisfy the chatpata, fast food generation of food lovers. Easy on the pocket with an unbeatable variety, you must try the famous Levant specialties of shawarmas, manakeesh or Lebanese pizza at Man'oushe Street in Najda, which is open 24 hours. For a taste of Indian chaat and jalebis, visit Indian by Nature, also in Najda.