10 of the best restaurants in Abu Dhabi
From Michelin-starred Asian fare to a homegrown, family-run pizza joint…
The diverse culinary offering in the UAE capital means that Abu Dhabi’s best restaurants are as varied as they are unique. From hotel-operated, Michelin-starred show-stoppers, to independent eateries by the city’s top chefs, there’s a handful of top eateries in the capital everyone needs to dine at at least once.
Here are 10 of the best restaurants in Abu Dhabi.
This Japanese fine dining establishment may have been born in the culinary capital of Madrid, but it cemented its name in the UAE. In Abu Dhabi, 99 Sushi feels like an elevated izakaya, with red leathers and wooden ceilings, and a lovely terrace that makes the most of the beautiful waterfront setting. The menu is an uncontrived, perfectly balanced, extravagant in-all-the-right-places, joyful read. The team behind this decadent Japanese fare dare to do things differently, experimenting with flavours and revelling in innovation. The result is dishes such as uni (sea urchin) tempura maki; fake nigiri (with Wagyu tartar on potato croquette); and the standout robata wagyu skewers.
Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi, Al Maryah Island, midday to 3.30pm and 7pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (0)2 672 3333. @99sushibaruae
The promenade at Mamsha Al Saadiyat is lined with a strip of gourmet restaurants that makes it feel like a beautiful stretch of a European Riviera, all gazing out to those crystalline Saadiyat waters. Sitting pretty on one of the bright terrace spaces is Antonia — an uncontrived licensed Roman restaurant, with the chief menu proposition of pizza al taglio (pizzas ‘by the slice’). The inside is casually dressed in shades of red, white and mint, with a similar dress code on the outside terrace. It’s all very simple, leaving the menu to take centre stage. This spot is all about pizza, and it delivers and then some. The 72-hour fermented Italian-provenance sourdough base is a masterpiece. It’s light and airy, puffed up with self-appreciation of its layered earthy flavour. Our flavours of choice? Diavola and the tartufo e funghi.
Mamsha Al Saadiyat, Saadiyat Island, daily midday to 11pm. Tel: (0)2 667 2554. @antonia.uae
Fouquet’s is a renowned Parisian institution, and since its arrival in Abu Dhabi, the restaurant tucked inside Louvre Abu Dhabi has become a staple on the city’s dining scene. An ambassador of European cuisine, it injects fine French flair into an array of dishes that are so good, diners return for them time and again. The venue is elegant and refined, befitting of its iconic location, adorned in shades of regal red and white, lit with dazzling chandeliers that command instant attention. There’s also a lovely alfresco terrace, lined mostly with lounge tables. The food front is lead by culinary mastermind chef Pierre Gagnaire, the gastronomic brains behind the original Fouquet’s Paris, but it’s corporate executive chef Balveer Balkisoon who’s in charge of the day-to-day. The resulting menu pairs French classics with international crowd pleasers: duck terrine, escargot, and Provencal beef stew sit alongside the Fouquet’s burger, burrata and prawn linguine.
Fouquet’s Abu Dhabi, Louvre Abu Dhabi, 12pm to 10pm weekdays, 12pm to 10.30pm weekends. Tel: (0)2 205 4200. louvreabudhabi.com
A restaurant that’s stood the test of time in the capital is Hakkasan. Renowned all over the world as a stylish destination to dine on traditional Cantonese cuisine with contemporary influences, Hakkasan’s interiors blend modern design and traditional Chinese motifs with its dark wood screens, subtle use of lighting and rich quality materials that make the environment opulent yet intimate. There’s also a beautiful terrace that extends down the wing of Emirates Palace, which only adds to the grandeur. On the menu, expect to graze your way through sharing plates such as a colourful array of dim sum, plus signatures such as Supreme Peking duck with caviar, charcoal grilled black cod, and whole lobster with wonton noodles.
Hakkasan, Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental, Sun to Fri, 6pm to 11.30pm, Sat noon to 3.30pm, 6pm to 11.30pm. Tel:(0)2 690 7739. @hakkasanabudhabi
LPM Restaurant & Bar
Prepare to be transported to the pictures shores of the South of France at LPM Restaurant & Bar. In Abu Dhabi, this renowned eatery is found in a lush location on the waterfront at the Galleria Al Maryah Island Mall. While you take in the water and the city skyline surrounded by pretty bougainvillaea and olive trees on the terrace, the interiors offer a bright and breezy setting complete with vibrant artworks and elegant shutters. Wherever you decide to dine, expect to feast on some of the finest flavours of the French Riviera, like a king crab tart topped with caviar, warm prawns with lemon and olive oil, and escargot with garlic butter.
LPM Restaurant and Bar, The Galleria Al Maryah Island, Mon to Fri 12pm to 4pm and 6pm to 11pm, Sat and Sun 12.30pm to 4pm, 5pm to 11pm. Tel:(0)2 692 9600. @lpmabudhabi
Marmellata might look like a bit of a ‘plain Jane’, but it packs a load of heart, soul and delicious pizzas you don’t want to miss. The eatery is located in Mina Zayed and was brought to life by father-son duo, Raj and Sebastian Dagstani. When you pull the doors open to Marmellata, you feel simplicity, energy and action: think royal blue aprons and napkins, white uniforms and porcelain. The restaurant hosts guests at just eight tables indoors and several more on the outdoor patio. While it originally only served single slices of pizza, operations swiftly expanded, and their menu now revolves around five main pizzas (priced at Dhs75 each) and a selection of focaccias. Marmellata really shines in the topping department, many of which have been given a local touch with ingredients like mushrooms grown in the local desert and figs from Liwa.
Marmellata, Shop 25-A, Mina Zayed, 5pm to 8.30pm Wed to Sun, Tel: (0)55 802 9355, @marmellatalove
A traditional English steakhouse with the sounds of British rock n roll, Oak Room is the perfect destination to sample the best beef from around the world while being surrounded by the warmth of the oak-panelled surroundings. It’s a sleek steakhouse that’s won multiple What’s On awards thanks to its smart decor, slick service, and of course a menu of food and drink that’s – pardon the pun – a cut above. The premium steaks are the star of the show, with an array of well-priced cuts starting from the Dhs250 mark, and ranging all the way up to Dhs1,000 for an A5 Wagyu striploin.
Oak Room, Al Bateen, Mon to Fri, 6pm to midnight, Sat 12.30pm to midnight, Sun 12.30pm to 5pm. Tel: (0)2 208 0000. @oakroomabudhabi
Set in a row of waterfront-facing restaurants, there’s a stripped back, modern Izakaya feel to Otoro. The interiors are light and neutral and except a few strategically placed plants, the walls remain largely bare. We love the way all tables and booths are neatly arranged around the impressive show kitchen, and those looking for a front row seat for the culinary action can even perch up on stools at the counter. This is inventive Japanese cuisine at affordable prices: fresh salads and sushi are just as impressive as the array of specials, like kushiyaki’s and the melt-in-the-mouth shabu shabu burger. Otoro is a near faultless debut for chef Akmal Anuar in Abu Dhabi, with simple, fuss-free cuisine expertly executed in a way that lets the best-in-class ingredients do the talking.
Otoro, Al Qana, Abu Dhabi, 12pm to 11pm daily. Tel: (02) 886 9995, otoroabudhabi.com
Based in the capital’s home of unabashed elegance, Emirates Palace, and dressed to impress with grand interior design, Talea puts a regal spin on upscale Italian dining. The concept comes from the Michelin-honoured Chef Antonio Guido, and presents a menu built around the theme of “Cucina di Famiglia,” – family-style cuisine. The restaurant features a fairy tale terrace, hemmed by the grand columns of the Palace’s facade, and offering romantic views across the Corniche’s dreamy blue yonder. Alongside a top-tier collection of artisanal pizzas and expert-curated handmade pasta options, you can expect a glittering assembly of more rare Italian gastronomic gems. Great plates infused with the raw passion and sophistication of Milanese and Puglian cuisine, dishes such as osso buco – a rich, slow-cooked tender stew, and vitello tonnato, the prefect dish for Abu Dhabi’s forever summer – a ‘freddo‘ preparation of fine tranches of veal in a tuna-caper sauce.
Emirates Palace, W Corniche Road, Tue to Sun 12.30pm to 10.30pm, closed Monday. Tel: (0)2 2 690 7999, mandarinoriental.com
Contemporary Japanese izakaya-style dining aficionados, Zuma are masters at their craft, and have been drawing crowds in the capital since opening their doors on Al Maryah Island in 2014. This vibrant spot is worth visiting not just for its eclectic and experimental Japanese cuisine, but also the equally gorgeous interiors. Dark timber, leather furnishings and stone elements make the restaurant feel particularly special, further cemented by the excellent service, and the menu is the jewel in the crown, serving up quality sushi and sashimi that’s firmly among the best you can get in the city.
Zuma, Al Maryah Island, Mon to Fri, noon to 3.30pm, 7pm until midnight, Sat from noon to 4.30pm, 7pm to 1am, Sun from noon to 4pm and 7pm to 1am. Tel: (0)2 401 5900. @zumaabudhabi