Global grub: eat your way around the World Cup in Abu Dhabi
Explore the cuisines of the teams taking part in football’s biggest tournament in Russia, right here in the nation’s capital
Russia – Russian Kitchen House Cafeteria
Representing the tournament’s host nation, the capital’s House Cafeteria is, perhaps not surprisingly, situated right next to the city’s Russian Embassy, and is renowned for its cheap and cheerful varenyky dumplings.
Hamdan Street, Al Markaziyah, Abu Dhabi, Sat to Wed 11am to 11pm, Thur and Fri 1pm to 10pm. Tel: (02) 6744342. Taxi: Near the Russian Embassy. facebook.com/pages/Russian-Kitchen-House-Cafeteria
Belgium – Belgian Beer Café
Belgium are one of the favourites to win the World Cup (although they were lucky last night against Japan) and the cuisine has a good reputation in the capital – there are now three Belgian Cafés in the emirate, including the original at the InterCon. You’ll find traditional Flemish stew and plenty of beers to choose from, but the classic moules frites is the best dish on the menu.
InterContinental Abu Dhabi, Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi, daily 9am to 2am. Tel: (02) 6666888. Taxi: InterContinental hotel. dining-intercontinental-ad.ae
Argentina – Café Diego
Inspired by footie legend Maradona himself, this is a fitting place to sample South American fare, including huge steaks and a clever football pitch-themed dessert – the venue has TVs, but they only show Maradona highlights on a loop (so no World Cup games). You’ll get more out of the food than fans did the team this World Cup.
Nation Galleria, Al Khubeirah, Abu Dhabi, daily 7pm to 11pm. Tel: (02) 6772344. Taxi: Nation Galleria. allied-brothers.com
Spain – The Warehouse Wine & Tapas Bar
Spanish food is available at one of the city’s newest outlets, where you can share some quirky Mediterranean plates including customisable mac ’n’ cheese, plus grilled octopus and Merguez sausage while wondering how the likes of Diego Costa and Andres Iniesta are already heading home.
Pearl Rotana, Adnec, Abu Dhabi, daily 4pm to 1am. Tel: (02) 3075555. Taxi: next to Adnec. rotana.com
France – La Petite Maison
Pogba, Giroud, Mendy – there’s some big names in the French squad, and there’s some big names in French cuisine in the capital as well. Is La Petite Maison the city’s finest? Tuck into the infamous buratta and superb lamb chops and decide for yourself.
The Galleria, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi, daily noon to 3.30pm, 7pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (02) 6929600. Taxi: Galleria. lpmlondon.co.uk
England – Captain’s Arms
If you’re an England fan, there’s a good chance your tournament will end in a penalty shoot-out in the second round or quarter-finals, so drown your sorrows at the Captain’s Arms with a weekend roast or traditional fish and chips at this classic British pub.
Le Méridien, Al Zahiyah, Abu Dhabi, Sat to Wed noon to 1am, Thur and Fri noon to 2am. Tel: (02) 6446666. Taxi: Le Méridien. thevillageatlemeridien abudhabi.com
South Korea – Manna Land Korean Restaurant
Fans of Tottenham Hotspur star Son Heung-Min and the rest of the Germany slayers will want to head to Manna Land – you can wake up your taste buds with this Korean eatery’s seriously punchy kimchi.
Golden Tower, Muroor Road, Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi, daily 11am to 11pm. Tel: (02) 4466860. Taxi: Near Al Mamoura Building. mannalandkorean.com
Iran – Sadaf
This Iranian buffet, packed with specialities such as chelo kebab and ouzi, will provide sufficient fuel for an evening’s fandom.
Mourouj Hotel Apartments, Muroor Road, Abu Dhabi, daily noon to 3pm and 7.30pm to midnight. Tel: (02) 6413555. Taxi: Mourouj Hotel Apartments. gloria-hotels.com
Saudi Arabia – Saudi Kitchen
Our neighbours made their fifth appearance at a World Cup Finals, and their first since 2006. They played well against Uruguay despite losing 1-0 (after being thumped by hosts Russia) and did bag a morale-boosting win over Egypt, but they’re already out of the tournament. So cheer yourself up at this traditional eatery that serves Arabic classics such as madfoon that are ideal for sharing with friends.
Al Dhafra Street, Al Mushrif, Abu Dhabi, daily noon to 1am. Tel: (02) 6655355. Taxi: Opposite Mushrif Mall. facebook.com/saudicuisine
Portugal – Al Ulya Portuguese Flavours Café
This family run bakery is renowned for its take on Lisbon’s famous custard tart, the pastel de nata – it’s authentic enough that even Cristiano Ronaldo would be impressed.
Muroor Road, Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi, daily 8am to 11pm. Tel: (02) 5838727. Taxi: Opposite bus station. facebook.com/AlUlyaCafe
Japan – Kaizen
Heartbreak for the Japanese against Belgium last night. Discuss how unlucky they were while eating sushi and grilled robata dishes at this What’s On Award-winning eatery that used to be called Inakaya.
Venetian Village, Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal, Abu Dhabi, daily 12.30pm to 11pm. Tel: (050) 1089119. Taxi: Venetian Village. venetianvillage.ae
Switzerland – Manuel
There’s a savoury menu at Manuel, but in truth, it’s all about the Swiss chocolate and cocoa-laden sweet treats. Can the Swiss team put on a sweet performance against Sweden tonight?
Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi, Sun to Thur 9am to 11pm, Fri and Sat 9am to midnight. Tel: (02) 6333383. Taxi: Marina Mall. manueluae.com
Egypt – Studio Masr
It’s all about the mixed grill at this movie-themed restaurant, which will distract you from the drama around star striker Mo Salah’s injured shoulder – even his return wasn’t enough to see the team into the second round of this year’s tournament.
Various locations including Yas Mall, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, Sat to Wed 10am to 11pm, Thur to Fri 10am to midnight. Tel: (02) 5650580. Taxi: Yas Mall. cdlc.ae
Tunisia – Le Parisien
The name sounds French, but many of the dishes here are North African. The menu is long but it’s the daily specials, such as fish with cous cous, that impress.
Al Zahiyah, Abu Dhabi, daily 10am to midnight. Tel: (02) 6790901. Taxi: Behind Al Diar Capital Hotel. leparisien.ae
Morocco – Almaz By Momo
Expect a contemporary update on Morocco’s traditional tagines and pastries at this stylish diner, plus singing staff that add to the vibe.
The Galleria, Abu Dhabi Global Market Square, Abu Dhabi, daily 10am to 1am. Tel: (02) 6767702. Taxi: Galleria on Maryah Island. momoresto.com
Mexico – Loca
Get your friends together to share some inventive guacamole iterations, fajitas and chimichangas and bemoan that defeat to Brazil.
The Galleria, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi, daily noon to 2am. Tel: (02) 5823639. Taxi: The Galleria. locauae.com
Brazil – Chamas
With 16 different cuts on offer at this churrascaria, the red and green cards to signal ‘more food’ or ‘a breather please’ will come in very handy when cheering on the likes of Paris Saint-Germain striker Neymar.
InterContinental Abu Dhabi, Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi, daily 6pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (02) 6666888. Taxi: InterContinental hotel. dining-intercontinental-ad.ae
Germany – Brauhaus
One of the pre-tournament favourites (until they were beaten by Mexico and Korea), and the outlet in the Beach Rotana is the most popular German restaurant in the city. Expect plenty of classic Bavarian brews and dishes such as white sausages with pretzel and mustard.
Beach Rotana, Al Zahiyah, Abu Dhabi, Sat to Wed noon to 1.30am, Thur and Fri noon to 3am. Tel: (02) 6979011. Taxi: next to Abu Dhabi Mall. rotana.com
Sweden – Ikea
Forget the flatpacks and make a beeline for the Scandi store’s meatballs and Dhs1 ice creams instead, while you wonder if this team can go beyond the second round.
Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, Sun to Thur 10am to 11pm, Fri and Sat 10am to midnight. Tel: (02) 4935888. Taxi: Ikea Yas Island. ikea.com
Australia – Jones The Grocer
You’ll likely queue for weekend breakfast, but the coconut pancakes and avo toast are well worth it. While there, you can discuss just how bad the team’s new home kit is. Just what is going on with those sleeves?
Various locations including Pearl Plaza Tower, Al Khalidiyah, Abu Dhabi, Sun to Thur 8am to 11pm, Fri and Sat 9am to 11pm. Tel: (02) 6395883. Taxi: Next to Oryx Hotel. jonesthegrocer.com
Peru – Limo
Don’t expect any matches to be shown at this upmarket venue, but if you watch Peru in action and fancy trying the cuisine, it doesn’t come more authentic than here. Opt for citrusy ceviches and fresh seafood tiraditos at the city’s original high-end Peruvian, plus perhaps the city’s strangest dish – a liquid pizza.
Bab Al Qasr Hotel, Al Khubeirah, Abu Dhabi, daily 5pm to 1am. Tel: (02) 2053003. Taxi: Bab Al Qasr, next to Etihad Towers. babalqasr.com
Eagle-eyed readers will know there’s 32 teams at the World Cup, but only 21 on our list. That’s because these countries are not represented in the capital’s culinary scene: Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Iceland, Nigeria, Panama, Poland, Senegal, Serbia, and Uruguay. So if you’ve got a few dirhams spare and want to start a restaurant, there’s a few niches available.