Something we truly miss about travel is the scrumptious food! A variety of delectable dishes, local and international cuisines and, of course, eating at world-class restaurants helmed by celebrity chefs. Being homebound during the pandemic has left us reminiscing about the pure joy of travelling and experiencing new cultures, cuisines, and friendships along the way.
But times are-a-changing and we are slowly but surely gearing up to take to the skies once again. And when we do, one of the first places on our must-visit list is Abu Dhabi, not only for its proximity to India (four-hour flight), but also for its wide array of appetising food options to suit all palates.
If you are a typical Indian family that loves to bond over food, wine and gupshup, then Abu Dhabi is the place to visit.
The best of Emirati cuisine: Visiting a city and not trying their local food is a sin like no other. If you who are interested to get a real taste of local Emirati culture and flavours of Abu Dhabi, fret not as there are a plethora of restaurants to check out. One such budget-friendly place is Meylas at Al Raha, ranked as one of the best places to eat Emirati cuisine. Some must-try dishes include khabees, fareed and machboos. Another great place for a traditional Emirati meal is Mezlai at the Emirates Palace Hotel. With beautiful décor and ambience that showcases the best of Arabia, Mezlai is famous for its lamb machboos and fresh khubz (pita bread) – which many describe as heavenly!
Middle Eastern delicacies: When you’re in Abu Dhabi, you have to try the falafel, hummus and freshly baked khubz from Café Arabia, rated as one of the best cafes in Abu Dhabi. Located opposite Umm Al Emarat park, this Insta-worthy cafe has something to suit every palate – from a cosy weekend lunch to a business meeting. Don’t forget to try their breakfast menu, especially their milkshakes!
For something more high-end, head to Tean in Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort. Treat yourself to traditional Levantine style grilled spiced meats and seafood dishes, and the Turkish coffee and homemade saffron and cardamom ice cream are not to be missed. Beirut Sur Mer Restaurant is one of Abu Dhabi’s latest hot spots, sitting along the pristine shores of Mamsha Al Saadiyat. Here you can indulge in a delightful culinary escape to Lebanon.
If you are looking for a more historic setting, visit Almayass Restaurant which is located in Sheraton Hotel, one of Abu Dhabi’s oldest landmarks. Situated in the tourist club area, this Lebanese-Armenian restaurant offers generations-old recipes, taking you on a journey through time.
A melting pot of Asian flavours: From sushi made by Japanese chefs to authentic Thai curries that channel the true essence of Thailand, Abu Dhabi offers an impressive variety of Asian cuisine. For an idyllic evening out, head to Sontaya at the St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort. The romantic vibe set against the picturesque landscape of the Arabian Sea is truly magical. Another classic not to be missed is Zuma, the award-winning fine dining Japanese restaurant that serves to impress. The miso black cod is world-renowned, and the sushi is some of the best in the city. It is also a fantastic location for a set business lunch or night out with friends.
Ciao Italia!: If you’re someone with a relaxed palette and prefer comfort food, then Italian cuisine is a sure bet. Villa Toscana at the St. Regis Abu Dhabi offers an extensive menu with a balanced choice of Italian deliciousness. With friendly staff, the minestrone soup and homemade ricotta gnocchi are highlights, alongside sea bass fillet and aubergine parmigiana. Villa Toscana also offers several gluten and dairy-free options.
Street food in the capital: Shawarma, manakeesh or good old Indian chaat, Abu Dhabi knows how to satisfy the chatpata, fast food generation of food lovers. Easy on the pocket with an unbeatable variety, you must try the famous Levant specialties of shawarmas, manakeesh or Lebanese pizza at Man’oushe Street in Najda, which is open 24 hours. For a taste of Indian chaat and jalebis, visit Indian by Nature, also in Najda.
If your mouth is watering by now, and the travel bug in you is itching to venture out to some place fun and exciting with a wide range of food options, start planning your trip to Abu Dhabi.