The French fine-dining outlet is now open in the capital. But is it actually any good?

La Petite Maison is a big deal in the UAE – the Dubai branch of this brand (you’ll also find it in London, Istanbul and Miami) has been crowned Restaurant Of The Year on more than one occasion by our friends at What’s On Dubai. Now, it’s opened at The Galleria on Al Maryah Island, and the good news is that the high standard of service and food that has won it so many gongs up the road has transferred successfully to the capital. La Petite Maison Abu Dhabi is very, very good indeed.

What’s On visited four days after its official opening in the middle of October on a Saturday night. The place was packed, and the atmosphere was vibrant – La Petite Maison serves high-end food, but it’s not snooty or exclusive. It’s fun. The waiters sing Happy Birthday to guests with noisy gusto and pretty much every diner applauds at the end of the song. The slick, friendly staff are constantly rushing around, but in a controlled fashion – it’s not annoying at all, it adds to the vibe. The classy décor is all whites, creams and greys and it’s incredibly romantic here in the evenings, when the lights are low. It feels like you’ve been transported to a bustling café in Paris.

The food is inspired by France’s Nice region, so there’s touches of Italian influences in some dishes, but much of it is traditionally French, and you don’t get more French than snails in garlic butter for a starter.

The classic dish was perfectly executed – the meat soft and not too chewy, yet decadent and rich. Even more impressive was the signature starter, an insanely mellow and creamy burrata served with tomatoes. For the main, try the duck à l’orange – the orange glaze was just right, not too sweet and not at all overpowering.

Veggies will also find a few dishes to like here – the Rigatoni pasta with mushrooms was impressive, especially considering it’s a simple dish of double cream with onions. It’s one of the best pasta dishes we’ve tried in the capital.

Desserts also impressed – the cheesecake was so smooth it cleansed the palate, while the warm chocolate mousse was a delight, if a little messy – it was a bit rich for one of our party, but chocolate lovers will be in heaven.

La Petite Maison has hit the ground running – it’s doing everything right from day one. Carry on like this and we have a feeling even more awards will come.

The Galleria, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi, daily noon to 3.30pm, 7pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (02) 6929600. Taxi: Galleria.

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