The island is about to get a big culinary boost…

We’ve already looked at the tantalising community of A-List dining destinations coming to Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island (hopefully) later this year.

Not to be outshone, Saadiyat Island — home of culture, white sand beaches and gnarley cornflower corduroy waves, is flexing its own culinary muscles with an influx of taste-making dining concepts.

Mamsha Al Saadiyat is a gorgeous new residential project from master developers Aldar. Found on the north west corner of the island just a short distance from Louvre Abu Dhabi and behind one of our favourite seafront set-ups, Soul Beach. In addition to drool-worthy seaview apartments, the complex also houses a veritable gastro-cache of restaurants and cafes, some open, some coming soon, all within flip-flopping distance of the beach.

Coming soon

Society

 

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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. @antonia.pizza

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.

Ethr

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

Rumours

 

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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.

Already open

If you can’t wait for all this good stuff to open (the majority likely in Q4) this is what’s already on offer in the community:

Beirut Sur Mer

This stunning Levant restaurant has already opened its doors and offers an impeccably dressed interior, electric ambiance. terrace space with dreamy Saadiyat surf views and a connoisseur’s tour through big Middle Eastern flavours.

Mamsha Al Saadiyat. Tel: (02) 546 4004, tablecheck.com

Alkalime

This healthy eating cafe comes from the culinary imagination of Nagham Al Zahwali. The menu focuses on dishing up plates of alkaline-inducing, organic produce that tastes great and helps promote gut health. Whilst not exclusively plant-based there is a stong collection of vegan and vegetarian options on the menu.

Mamsha Al Saadiyat. Tel: (054) 449 1547, @alkalime_uae

Ten 11 Beach

Popular capital cafe boutique, Ten 11 has recently branched out here (March 17, 2021) with their first beachfront location. Get those same speciality brews, a menu full of artisanal, Middle Eastern hues and now with added spectacular views.

Mamsha Al Saadiyat. Tel: (600) 533 339, @Ten11cafeuae

Coffee Architecture

Nooran Al Bannay has created a collection of coffee houses that celebrate the art and ritual of great coffee. Equipped with upper tier pour varieties and preparations, you’ll also find dainty pastries, cookies, brownies and brioche to complement your caffeinated quaffing.

Mamsha Al Saadiyat. Tel: (055) 446 3433, @coffee_architecture

What else is there..?

 

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Coming soon is a new cycling studio called Stryd, and a cryo centre unashamedly named, Stay Young.

Images: Aldar/What’s On Archive/Instagram