Though Abu Dhabi is known for its art, unforgettable skyline, and abundance of shopping malls, dining out is king so make sure you plan ahead to visit any of the hottest tables in the city or top destinations.
‘Oli mazi’, or ‘all together’ is an endearing Greek social principle, and Mazi Abu Dhabi is the capital’s tribute to the notion of togetherness people feel when sharing a meal. The fare is described as the reinterpretation of old-time classic recipes, but the décor and guiding philosophy is thoroughly modern so come together with friends and come hungry—very hungry! The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi, 02 498 8888
A Dignified Curry House
Abu Dhabi’s massive sub-continent population means a sprawling Indian food scene that’s nothing short of a Bollywood symphony of fantastic flavours. A Yalla favourite is the Punjab Grill, which has a lovely neighbourhood feel with sidewalk tables for al fresco eating. Venetian Village, 02 449 9839
An Elevated Tea
If you have limited time in the capital and want to combine the Afternoon Tea ritual with a bird’s eye view of the city, zip up to the Observation Deck at 300 at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers for an unforgettable afternoon’s view. Not only are the tea and cakes tops, but the views of the city from level 74 are unparalleled. Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, 02 811 5666
An Italian Rendezvous
Villa Toscana is Abu Dhabi’s go-to business lunch to savour the richly flavoured landscape that is Italian cuisine. Set in one of the city’s most illustrious addresses, Villa Toscana recreates the sophisticated and classy atmosphere of a Tuscany villa with high ceilings and large chandeliers, and its business lunch is one of the shockingly best deals in town!
The St. Regis Abu Dhabi, 02 694 4553
Memorable Mosque Views
Whether it’s your first time or your fiftieth, few are unimpressed with nighttime mosque views at Li Jiang. And, what better way to immerse yourself in the local culture than with dim sum in the shadow of the city’s most famous tourist attraction. The restaurant also serves memorable pan Asian offerings if dim sum’s not your jam.
The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, 02 818 8888
Dine as the Locals Do
Mezlai serves delicious Emirati food, with such signature specialities as lamb madfoon and prawn biryani. It’s worth a visit if your heart is set on experiencing traditional food in the lap of luxury. Emirates Palace, 02 690 7999
Up Your BBQ Game
With its tents on the sand, this is the closest you can get to the sea without getting your feet wet. BBQ Al Qasr doles out divine grilled fare in the utmost of elegance. Few diners depart unimpressed. Emirates Palace, 02 690 7999
Dine À La Française
Bord Eau is the spot for French gastronomy enthusiasts. The restaurant combines fine food and artistic vision, and the menu is seasonal, so expect to be treated to an elegant evening affair anytime you drop into this French eatery.
Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, 02 509 8888
While there are many spots in the capital that boast stunning views but the best for sea and star gazers is Buddha-Bar Beach Abu Dhabi. Nothing on this vibey terrace impedes your views of the azure waters off Saadiyat Island. So, order some tapas and sundowners for us near the sunset saxophonist—we’ll be there in 5.
The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, 02 498 8888