French flair meets Japanese flavour at this new Abu Dhabi restaurant…

While Abu Dhabi’s famed culinary destinations such as Yas Bay, Yas Marina, The Galleria Al Maryah Island and Mamsha Al Saadiyat never fail to deliver when it comes to creating an impression with eager diners, culinary enthusiasts, and food critics, how often have we discovered a gorgeous new dining concept in the city, that really hits the spot and makes a mark?

The latest chapter in the story is Le Bistro by Salmontini – a seafood restaurant born in Dubai – taking up residence inside Le Royal Meridien, which is perhaps not the most well known destination for foodies in the capital.

Media: supplied, What’s On archive

We arrive for their all-you-can-eat evening (Dhs139) and are immediately drawn in by the sight of a vintage Vespa greeting diners out front. Once seated by friendly staff, we begin with the spicy crispy salmon salad served in two neat lettuce cups. What makes a seemingly unassuming starter an instant hit is its condiments – togarashi seasoning with its seven Japanese spices, spicy mayo, and tempura crumbs making this so much more than your average starter.

Next, we’re served the signature smoked salmon, and we bite in with high expectations. These paper-thin, near see-through slices are barely smoky – ideal for the true salmon connoisseur. For our next course, we’re served the Suzuki sea bass and a side of salmon carpaccio. The Suzuki is a nice and tasty seabass dish, while the carpaccio of thin slivers of yellowtail features a welcome kick of despacio sauce.

Warmed up with the Suzuki, we’re inclined to try more rolls. Enter a serving of the Salmontini roll, and with it, a burst of flavour. Truffle, we’re looking at you. Also a part of the cast are avocado, tenkasu and you got it, smoked salmon. The volcano maki, on the other hand, packs apple, mango, cucumber, tuna, and yellow tail with a dash of unagi sauce. Did we mention this was all-you-can-eat?

For beverages, Le Bistro by Salmontini stocks a great selection of wines and classic cocktails, but we opt for the Mango Mule. A fruity spin on the classic from Russia, this mocktail is also served in a signature metal mug, and makes for a refreshing sip that’s ideal for summer evenings.

Le Bistro is charming in its aesthetic: simple, classy, narrow, and steps away from the heart of the city – but secluded just enough so the buzz doesn’t interfere with your evening.

What’s On verdict: These guys play an all-round game really well, whether it is salmon, steak, or sushi you seek.

Le Bistro by Salmontini, Le Royal Meridien Abu Dhabi, Al Danah, Abu Dhabi, 8am to midnight, daily. @lebistro_bysalmontini