Want to get healthy and sort out your diet this year? The good news is you don’t have to stick to bowls of lettuce when dining out in Abu Dhabi if you’re trying to lose weight. Here’s some of the most colourful, creative and tasty bowls of veg you can get in the capital, all tested and approved by Team What’s On
01. Buddha bowl at Raw By Nolu’s
Nolu’s newest outlet focuses on healthy dishes, and What’s On was particularly impressed by its Buddha bowl, from the superfood bowl section of the menu. It’s a mix of kale, edamame, avocado, broccoli, carrots and sesame, and you choose a base (we opted for cauliflower rice), a protein (tofu) and dressing (coconut curry). Served warm, the flavours work well together and it’s presented with style. For an extra Dhs10 you can add salmon to your bowl (above).
Al Seef Village Mall, Khalifa Park, Abu Dhabi, daily 9am to 11pm, Dhs70. Tel: (02) 4448080. Taxi: Al Seef Village Mall. Nolusrestaurants.com
02. The Vietnamese at Easy Bites
This outlet in Al Nadja has become a lunchtime choice for Team What’s On, in particular for their excellent selection of salads on offer (they have 14), especially the Vietnamese, which comes with pulled chicken, rice noodles, mint, coriander, carrot ribbons, Chinese cabbage, sesame seeds, peanuts and celery with sweet chili soya dressing. Fresh and filling but doesn’t pile on the calories.
Salam Street, Al Nadja, Abu Dhabi, daily 9am to 10pm. Tel: (02) 6448440. Taxi: near Suzuki Showroom, Salam Street. easybites.ae
03. Quinoa salad at Toro Toro
The Latino heavyweight has been quite the hit since it launched in the second half of 2017, and even its salads show thought, creativity and flair. You can’t go wrong with the restaurant’s quinoa salad, served with roasted veg and canary bean hummus. It’s tart and zesty and the already decent flavours improve with each mouthful.
Jumeirah At Etihad Towers, Al Khubeirah, Abu Dhabi, daily noon to 3.30pm, 7pm to midnight. Tel: (02) 8115882. Taxi: Etihad Towers. torotoroad.com
04. Roasted chickpea at 1762
The Dubai import serves very good food that impressed What’s On last year and its Abu Dhabi branch, which opened in the second half of 2017, has quickly become a hit with nearby office workers.
The salads are bold because of the variety of ingredients used, but it’s one of their more simple ones that impressed us on our visit. The roasted chickpea salad (corn, courgette, sundried tomato dressing) has a moreish, almost curried flavour to it.
Al Ain Tower, Abu Dhabi, Sun to Thur 8am to 6pm. Tel: (800) 1762. Taxi: Al Ain Tower, near Rotana Mall. 1762.ae
05. Pomelo salad at Cho Gao Marina Walk
What’s On has not had trouble scoffing a lot of the dishes at this new outlet at the InterCon but we were surprised when we left waxing lyrical about one of the starters. The best appetiser on the menu is the pomelo salad, a Thai dish with chicken, prawns, chili jam, lime, peanuts and coriander. It’s a light, fresh, zesty little number and is a welcome alternative to some of the heavier fried dishes on offer.
InterContinental Abu Dhabi, Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi, Sat to Wed 6pm to 1am, Thur and Fri 6pm to 2am. Tel: (02) 6666888. Taxi: InterCon. dining-intercontinental-ad.ae
06. Kale and quinoa at Berri’s
The Al Muneera hangout can boast a Hollywood celeb following at its Los Angeles branch, and we imagine its healthy salads are one reason the likes of Mariah Carey have been clocked there. In Abu Dhabi, check out the kale quinoa salad with dried fruit (apricots, cranberries), hazelnut, Gorgonzola and balsamic; it is a sweet, zesty delight. Some might want to ditch the Gorg for a more subtle cheese such as feta, but while strong, it’s a key element of the dish.
Al Muneera Beach Plaza, Al Raha, Abu Dhabi, daily 11am to 11pm. Tel: (02) 6439555. Taxi: Al Muneera Beach Plaza. facebook.com/berriscafeuae
07. Italian basil pesto courgette noodles at Basiligo
Basiligo is a delivery service based in Mussafah that has recently opened its first branch proper in Abu Dhabi, on Reem Island. The emphasis here is on healthy dishes and clean eating, and they do a mean salad. We’re big fans of its colourful Italian basil pesto courgette noodles, with Romano cheese. One of the great things about Basiligo is a menu that lists dishes that are gluten free, low carb, low fat and suitable for vegans.
Boutik Mall, Al Reem Island, Abu Dhabi, Sat to Thur 10am to 10pm. Tel: (02) 5530049. Taxi: Boutik Mall. basiligo.ae