Trying to count your calories yet still want to eat out? Well here’s our pick of the tasty low-calorie dishes (400 and under) available right here in the capital that won’t dent your recommended daily allowance… 

1. Basiligo


This online gourmet kitchen offers healthy and wholesome dishes that cater to a range of dietary restrictions (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, etc.) that will be delivered straight to your door. While the menu changes every couple of weeks, the website lists nutritional information (and calorie counts) for each item. Try the moreish cumin-spiced Marrakesh carrots that are chock full of cannellini beans, pomegranates and feta cheese (336 cal, pictured), the roasted sweet potato salad with kale and hunks of almond and hazelnuts (392 cal) or the roasted zucchini quinoa bowl (314 cal).

Mussafah, Abu Dhabi, Sun to Thur, deliveries from 11am to 6pm, Dhs40 to Dhs45. Tel: (02) 5530049.

2. Sushi Central


Last year’s What’s On Awards winner for favourite Japanese offers a selection of low-cal items you can mix and match for a filling meal, with no miso soup in sight. Start with the shredded crab and cucumber salad dressed with tobiko, or flying fish roe, and a ponzu mayo dressing (90 cal) before tucking into the lightly seared tuna tataki, which comes with a cabbage salad and miso dressing (104 cal). And finally, add a salmon and avocado roll (137 cal) to top off the entire meal. Total calories for all of the above clocks in at 331.

Al Khalidiyah, Abu Dhabi, daily 11am to midnight, Dhs32 to Dhs38. Tel: (600) 520007. Taxi: opposite Dana Plaza, Al Khalidiyah.

3. Soulfull Café


Items at this café are rated (from three to five artichokes) based on the “balance of calories per essential nutrients”. Meaning you’ll be able to know quickly how healthy each dish is. But for those of you counting calories the menu also includes full nutritional facts that can be found by scanning the QR code on each item or by visiting the website. Eat the generously portioned kale chicken and halloumi salad, with sundried tomatoes and chia seeds (292 cal, four artichokes) or the grilled veg and halloumi salad with walnuts, pears and eggplant (273 cal, five artichokes).

Golden Tower, Muroor Road, Al Nayhan, Abu Dhabi, Sun to Thur 8am to 11pm, Fri and Sat 10am to 11pm, Dhs33 to Dhs38. Tel: (02) 6433669. Taxi: Near Al Mamoura.

4. The Raw Place

the raw place

For those of you who eschew cooking food altogether, this raw joint serves up a variety of unpasteurised and unprocessed nibbles alongside their well-known cold pressed juices and smoothies. Raw adherents believe cooking or processing food from their most natural form can cause it to lose its nutrients. To sample a raw dish, we recommend the vegan pesto knoodles (340 cal) that will see you tuck into a bowl of kelp noodles swirled in a raw pesto sauce made from basil, spinach, kale, almond butter, cashews and apple cider vinegar and topped with something called “rawmesan”, or nutritional yeast.

World Trade Center Souk, Al Markaziyah, Abu Dhabi, daily 7am to 10.30pm, Dhs38. Tel: (02) 6334677. Taxi: World Trade Center Mall.

5. Fanr


Just in time for those New Year resolutions, check out the recently launched wellness menu at this Saadiyat spot. Featuring organic produce picked from the from the restaurant’s very own garden, the menu includes a range of low-cal dishes such as the quinoa risotto (302 cal) made with green peas and parmesan cheese, poached chicken with bulgur, red pepper and spinach (352 cal) and the pan-seared Norwegian salmon (339 cal) paired with broccoli, cherry tomato and olive salsa. The wellness menu will be available throughout the month.

Manarat Al Saadiyat, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, daily 10am to 11pm, Dhs55 to Dhs72. Tel: (02) 6575888. Taxi: Manarat Al Saadiyat.

6. Jones The Grocer


While this Australian outpost does offer a few paleo-approved, wheat-free, gluten-free and specialty dietary items on the menu already, there are a couple of options worth mentioning for the under-400 club. Be sure to try the roast pumpkin and feta salad (390 cal) with yuzu marinated pumpkin, sun dried tomatoes and rocket leaves, or the spiced lentil soup with crusty bread roll (390 cal).

Pearl Plaza Tower, Al Khalidiyah, Abu Dhabi, Sun to Thur 8am to 11.30pm, Fri and Sat 9am to 11.30pm, Dhs31 to Dhs49. Tel: (02) 6395883. Taxi: Opposite BMW Showroom.

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