Your next culinary crush in the capital is probably in the list below…

Yas Bay and Mamsha Al Saadiyat are two Abu Dhabi destinations set for meatier-ic growth in the next few months. One of the destinations can be found on the southern lip of Yas Island next to the new Hilton and the Etihad Arena, the other is found on the north west corner of Saadiyat Island just a short distance from Louvre Abu Dhabi. Both gastro-grub hubs will be carrying some big names into Abu Dhabi’s imminent dining future.

At Yas Bay

La Carnita

This street-style Mexican eatery conceived and raised in the mighty culinary forge of Toronto. As you might expect, coming from Drake’s backyard, the soundtrack at the Latin cantina’s network of venues is straight up, golden age, hip hop and R&B. This Abu Dhabi outpost follows on from the success of the Dubai location, found at the InterContinental Dubai Marina. As with much of Yas Bay’s ‘coming soon’ collection, we have no firm numbers on an expected due date (although, if we were to guess based on current momentum, lead times and wild conjecture, we’d say Q4 2021). We’re hoping it takes much the same format as its Dubai cousin. Which offers one of the best Taco Tuesdays in the city (three hours unlimited tacos for Dhs150), fiesta brunches, loco ladies’ nights and mixology masterclasses. @lacarnita_dxb

Akiba Dori

Dubai Design District’s (D3) electric Japanese restaurant and pizzeria, is making its way to the new multi-billion dirham Yas Bay development. With its neon stripes, honour badge from the academy of chic interiors, and innovative artworks, we feel Akiba Dori will fit into the neighbourhood seamlessly. This new outpost of the devastatingly cool Tokyoite diner, Akiba Dori is expected to open around the middle of September 2021. The restaurant will be located on Yas Bay’s Pier 71, and will feature a terrace with some pretty incredible skyline views. We’re too early to get confirmation on the final menu but, we have been told to expect some returning favourites from the Dubai collection. @akibadori

The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse Restaurant & Concept Store is coming to Abu Dhabi’s Yas Bay, it’s likely to launch in the last quarter of 2021, it’ll have space for 145 diners and excitingly, it will be licensed. As you might expect from the delightfully and deliberately quirky engine of innovation that is D3, The Lighthouse isn’t your conventional restaurant. Conceived by Hashem Montasser and Hany Bassiouny and launched in 2017, the brand blends a gastro dining experience with a boutiquey retail space. They’ve got a great selection of books, scents and objects of curiosity that make gifts for those people that are ‘really hard to buy for’. The menu is a little bit hipster, and we mean that in only the kindest sense. That guarantees you great breakfasts and top quality coffee, imaginative food creations, health and nutrition will be a strong part of menu identity, and you’ll be able to go vegan if you want. @thelighthouse_ae

Hunter & Barrel

Aussie steakhouse Hunter & Barrel, which recently opened a Dubai location at Vida Emirates Hills, will be bringing a much needed ‘meating place’ to the capital’s new leisure and entertainment district. Here’s what What’s On had to say when they recently visited the Dubai venue:

“The bar area is cool and contemporary with a huge oak table. Dishes are plentiful at Hunter & Barrel, and very reasonably priced, with steak prices starting at Dhs120 for a fillet steak.”

“The Hunter’s sharing platter (Dhs150) comes piled high with some serious comfort food in the form of sticky, smoky chicken wings, lightly battered prawns, spicy calamari and, our favourite, the three cheese dip, served hot and gooey with a helping of fresh-baked pita bread for dunking.”

Rob De Villiers, Middle East Managing Director for Seagrass BHG (the group responsible for Hunter & Barrel), said: “We are excited to share our exceptional charcoal roasted dishes and tender cuts of beef with the greater Yas Island residents and visitors”.


Cannes-born haute hub of gastronomy, Paradiso will also be making its way to the Bay. This UAE outpost of the globally-acclaimed Mediterannean restaurant arrives bolstered with the backing of Michelin-endorsed culinary double act of Nicole Rubi (the woman behind Nice’s La Petite Maison) and Chef Pierre Gagnaire (Fouquet’s). Expect exquisite understated luxury for the interiors (and terrace, if present), pastel tan parasols and a menu of intelligently-tweaked Pan Mediterranean freshness. Speaking about the ‘coming soon’ news, Julien Huel, Senior Vice President Strategy & Development, Barrière Group, said: “The atmosphere and menu are full of truth, full of life, and its chefs are the most simplistic, generous and passionate of adventurers”.

Asia Asia

Asia Asia

Solutions Leisure Group, the team behind Dubai mega hospitality projects such as Lock, Stock and Barrel, STK and Asia Asia has announced that the latter will open in Yas Bay. The What’s On Award-winning pan-Asian restaurant is known for its party atmosphere and excellent fusion of Asian and Middle Eastern flavours. Let’s hope for a gorgeous terrace overlooking the new Bay, too.

The Central

Initial renderings of new entertainment destination The Central suggests that an arcade complex, complete with Pac Man, air hockey and simulators, is headed to the new Yas Bay development. There’s also a retro diner inside, which we predict will serve up a selection of American comfort food. There’s even been (and we stress: Unconfirmed) whispers that it might include a bowling alley.

Lock, Stock and Barrel

Another solid hit from the Solutions Leisure Group, Lock, Stock and Barrel has been the go-to party-into-the-early-hours venue for a few years now. Restrictions-permitting, we can expect live music, ample dancefloor space, and a menu of international bites, including its signature metre-long flatbread at this Yas Bay venture.

Siddharta, Zeera and Bushra by Buddha Bar Abu Dhabi

Capital Motion, the team behind Siddharta Lounge Abu Dhabi by Buddha Bar says that it’ll be a “dazzling rooftop playground complete with a Mediterranean menu, clever mixology, jaw-dropping views and state-of-art concept events.” Big statement. But judging by the success of its counterpart in Dubai, it should live up to the hype. We’ve also heard rumblings of two more exciting Buddha Bar concepts (Bushra and Zeera, reportedly with Michelin Star/celebrity chef backing)  making their way to Yas Bay. More to come on

Cafe Del Mar

The original Balearic apres-rave hub, Cafe Del Mar (pictured) is the stuff of Ibizan legend. During its 40 year non-stop party manifesto, it launched an uncountable number of ‘chilled house’ playlists, hosted almost every DJ hall-of-famer, and established itself as an essential strand of the tapestry of the Ibiza music phenomenon. New Cafe Del Mar venues have sprung up in Phuket, Tenerife, mainland Spain, and there’s even one offering warm welcomes and fond farewells at Ibiza Airport. Back in 2015, there was a UAE location penciled in for Dubai, which sadly never got the greenlight, but our neighbour’s loss is likely our gain. The word on the grapevine is that its next Cafe Del Mar adventure will be right here in the capital, at the new Yas Bay development.

At Mamsham Al Saadiyat



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The original Society Cafe, in Dubai’s own chic-eats community, Jumeirah pretty quickly gained a devoted following. It set the glass-ceiling standard for coffee shops in the area and their signature patisseries are still the talk of the town. An Instagram post on the brand’s main channel teases opening in October 2021. We wait with bated breath.

Black Tap

You know what you’re getting with Black Tap. This New York burger chain’s craft bun and shake game is already legendary in the UAE, and currently five joints strong. Captains of burger audacity, their signature stacks, face-sized sandwiches, innovative taste combos, banging line in deep fried pickles and freak shakes that bring all the boys and girls (vibrating from sugar rush) to the yard, Black Tap makes a welcome neighbour wherever it finds itself.

Raclette Brasserie and Cafe

We don’t have much info on this soon to open (if by now, not already open) restaurant other than it’s from the same culinary geniuses, as next door’s Beirut Sur Mer. The name, and terrace furniture suggest a French (or possibly Swiss) style brasserie, offering the famous melted cheese dish that shares a name with the restaurant (and cheese its made from). And we’ll never be too shy to hope for fondue and maybe some mussels on the menu too. @racletteabudhabi

Niri Restaurant and Bar


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A note on this Japanese eatery’s Instagram page says ‘sayonara Yas Mall, konichiwa Mamsha Al Saadiyat’ and as honour graduates from the school of ‘binge watching Kobra Kai’, we can be 65 per cent sure that this means ‘goodbye Yas Mall, hulllllllo Saadiyat’.  Expect a lot more than sushi and ramen (though there is nothing wrong with either of those), Niri is all about providing a fine dining dive into the food haunts of Osaka. And when we head down to try it out, we wil strike first, we will strike hard and we will show our waistlines no mercy.

Antonia Pizza Al Taglio

Proudly showing off some pretty impressive authenticity credentials on the storefront, this pizzeria will be using a base blend born of 50 year old sourdough (which sounds gross but trust us (and Boyle), this is the good stuff) and organic Italian flour. Some quick carb facts for you: Pizza Al Taglio is a Roman variety of the flatbread that literally means ‘pizza by the slice’, it traditionally comes in squares and makes for some epic street eats. And we can borderline guarantee, not a single pineapple slice in sight.

Wake n’ Bake


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The cafe that supplies other cafes with perfect patisseries looks like its getting its own direct counter to face store. They’ve been offering home delivery orders for a while now on Tel: (058) 5420 420 (nice), but it looks like we’ll finally be able to cut them off at the source. Let’s go get that bread.


We know hardly anything about this place, other than the fact it too is likely to serve speciality coffees in — what has fast become the latest cafe trend — an earthy stripped back setting.

The Steak Room

We’re guessing steak? Right? The IG page for this new concept claims it will be taking a “new approach towards meat” — we hope it’s not radically different from the established, cooking it and then giving it to us to eat in exchange for a previously agreed upon sum of money. It maybe a tired tradition, but it works. @thesteakroom

Ting Irie Pon Di Beach

The Abu Dhabi version of Dubai’s popular Caribbean-themed lounge is not open yet, the interior is currently undergoing a thorough Jamaicafication, but when it does, you’ll be able to walk in off the beach at Mamsha Saadiyat. If you’ve already visited the Dubai location, you’ll have some idea of what to expect, and therefore are entirely forgiven for being more than a little excited. It’s all about those good island vibes, soulful reggae music, dancehall bangers, authentic Caribbean cuisine and comes pretty close to replicating carnival feels all year round. This new venture is a skank step closer to its spirit land, being just a few steps away from Saadiyat’s gorgeous Soul Beach. There’ll be no dress code (no pressed shirt, no shoes — no worries) and a terrace space offering island shoreline views, and Arabian Gulf blues. @tingirieuae



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**whispering** Shhhh, you didn’t hear this from us, but we’ve heard reasonably solid rumours that one of our favourite homegrown burger brands, in fact scratch that — favourite burger brands full stop, will be joining the line up. It’s not been confirmed but, apparently there might be a lickle Pickl popping up at some point, somewhere in the vacinity. And it’s getting us a little Nashville hot under the collar.

Images: Provided