Ask a Chef

Updated: Nov 17, 2019

Shopping local farms, liquid nitrogen-prepped pesto, prowling festivals for ingredients, no frills grilled fish, steaming hotpots, and hand-pulled noodles – Yalla asks the Emirate’s best chefs' favourite local food experiences.

Jan Frederick Westhuizen, Specialty Outlet Chef at Rodeo Grill, Beach Rotana

Theo Rouvnas

Executive Chef at Eat Greek Kouzina


“My Mediterranean neighbour, Roberto's, offers true Italian flair: cool vibes and authentic Italian food in such a modern restaurant. Here, you can enjoy a traditional perfect pizza with a pesto theatrically prepared tableside using liquid nitrogen at -196 degrees.”


Ta Van Ninh

Chef De Cuisine at Hoi An – Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi


“One of the things that I like to do in Abu Dhabi in my time off is to take my family to Seven

Hotpot, a Chinese restaurant located near Al Wahda Mall. My family loves the food there for its quality, and it also has great value for money.”


Rohan Patil, Executive Sous Chef, Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche

Rohan Patil

Sous Chef at Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche


“There are small Indian restaurants hidden on every street corner in the city offering dishes from every region in India. The subcontinent’s very essence and strong flavours paired with the vibrant street energy and socialising, remind me of special memories in my hometown.”

Jan Frederick Westhuizen

Specialty Outlet Chef – Rodeo Grill, Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi


“Fire wood, quality meat, and marinades are essential to braai. Everything is grilled on fire wood, distinguishing it from regular BBQs. I usually buy the Ina Paarman’s braai goods found in SA WAY. Also, a good braai needs great company which is found at our Friday Beats & Meats.”



Lee Kok Hua

Executive Chef at Hakkasan


“I often go to Off the Hook Seafood Restaurant, I like the simplicity of the way they present the food. There is a lot of emphasis on the freshness of the ingredients, and homemade sauce also is one of their signatures which enhance the flavour of the taste, a fair and

reasonable price.”


Matthew Goodlet

Executive Chef at Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort


“Dragon Bao Bao in Al Marzikiyah has some of the best hand pulled noodles in the capital. Authentic ingredients, intimate - with only four tables in the restaurant and amazing value, with dishes priced around AED20.”


Francois Leo, Executive Pastry Chef, Emirates Palace

Francois Leo

Executive Pastry Chef at Emirates Palace


“A great way to taste the true flavours of Arabia is a visit to Aldar Sweets. Their Arabic desserts are divine, but their manakeesh is a savoury morning snack that is fast but much nicer than ‘fast food.’ I also love to buy produce from Greenheart Farm in Sharjah. Though it’s not in Abu Dhabi, this farm is worth a day trip.”


Louis Badenhorst

Executive Chef at Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara


“Joining the Liwa Date Festival every year provides me with the opportunity to learn more about the historic and symbolic role that this distinctive fruit plays in the Emirati culture and integrate it into new culinary creations.”


Stewart Bell

Executive Pastry Chef at St Regis Abu Dhabi


“I really love Tawa Bakery and Café in Al Muneera. They do very nice gluten free desserts, breads, and other dishes without sacrificing the taste and texture, which usually happens when most chefs use gluten-free ingredients.”


Idin Asmitha

Executive Sous Chef at Anantara Eastern Mangroves


“Before every cooking class I conduct, I escort my students to Al Mina Fish and Vegetable Markets where we enjoy learning about the wide array of UAE’s fish and then together, we select the freshest ingredients for the recipes we intend to prepare.”

Yousef Jalajel Specialty Outlet Chef at Finz, Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi

Ricky Rimenda

Executive Sous Chef, Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi


“From hidden gems to fine dining experiences in luxury hotels…It’s a tough call, but my favourites are Sari Rasa Indonesian restaurant and Carluccio’s in Eastern Mangroves as my first choice. I simply love Italian food and could eat their Seafood Linguine, Diavola Pizza and

Tiramisu any time of the day.”


Yousef Jalajel

Specialty Outlet Chef at Finz, Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi


“Not Finz?! I am the Specialty Outlet Chef to one of the top seafood restaurants in Abu Dhabi, and you want me to choose another place?! Well, my third home would be Baladna Restaurant in Al Zahiyah Area. A small restaurant that fits a maximum of seven guests with everything cooked in a tray, home-style. It takes me back to Jordan, to our dining room with us brothers gathered around the table and the aroma of the food mesmerizing us from the kitchen, that’s how it feels!”

Johannes Tafel

Chef de Cuisine Sayad at Emirates Palace


“I enjoy simple fresh food. Though there are many nice grocery stores, I prefer going to the Mina Fish Market to get the best catch of the day and cooking it for friends is my favourite weekend activity.”



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