Come dine with us…
“No man steps into the same river twice”, the Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, “because it is not the same river, nor is he the same person”. The same goes for Abu Dhabi’s dining scene, with the ever-emerging, ever-changing torrent of cuisine growing with each new flood. In just over a month, 2023 has already seen some huge changes, and these are just a few of our favorite new restaurants and bars in Abu Dhabi.
This is the first of three new openings overlooking Abu Dhabi’s stunning eastern mangroves. It’s a JoKo (Japanese/Korean) izakaya concept from Wawa Dining, and it’s very dazzling, still new to the original level of packaging, and we don’t have a menu. But if it follows a similar theme as Wawa Outlet Dubai – you can expect strong sashimi, ceviche and sushi; Korean tacos; ramen, jjigae, black cod, wagyu cuts and more . It also has an exciting secret in its closet. @bateabudhabi
This cozy Korean speakeasy is tucked away in the wardrobe of the aforementioned new izakaya Ba:TE, just like The Chronicles of Narnia. Lit with paper ball chandeliers, it offers a craft bartending menu (including the signature Negroni). @jumaksocialclub.auh
The last new addition to the Eastern Mangrove area, Amano is a licensed Italian restaurant offering authentic European cuisine, themed nights with live music, mixed drinks and more. @amano.me
This Parisian-inspired bistro and bakery has just opened in Yas Mall.Imported from Dubai – it offers a wide range of flavors from French cuisine Champs Elysees exist.from main platform Think corn-fed chicken stuffed with Comte cheese, turkey ham and baked crispy potatoes with a mushroom sauce; to smaller meals like the watermelon salad with almonds, mint and feta—a refreshing salad perfect for summer. Because it’s a bakery, you’ll also get crispy baguettes fresh from the oven, croissants that are sophisticated and rustic, and ooh la la, chunks of traditional French toast. @laserredubai
Known for their specialty coffees, hearty breakfast options, authentic Neapolitan pizza and exquisite pastries, this chic homegrown café now serves piping hot fresh beer at Yas Mall. @houseofjoud_
Kronful, another new addition to Yas Mall, offers a wide variety of Levantine comfort food.
The new and aesthetically pleasing Erth restaurant in Alhosn serves a menu heavily influenced by local cuisine.Dishes include deconstructed date cake, luqaimat, Bzar marinated short ribs
, Kobe beef tenderloin and fresh grilled salmon. @erth.alhosn
Now open in Al Qana, Pavo is a ‘casual fine dining’ restaurant that specializes in fine Mediterranean cuisine – pastas, pizzas, rustic entrees, tempting desserts and acai bowls for breakfast. @pavoabudhabi
Doodle Pizzeria and Eatery
Operates at Cinemacity Al Qana, the largest cinema in Abu Dhabi. The restaurant will serve authentic Neopolitan pizza and other Italian staples. @ Tuya Pizza Shop
This immersive cafe experience is currently breaking Instagram with its stunning underground aesthetic. It’s not just the decor that’s stunning – the menu is filled with tempting pastries, specialty coffees and European favorites. You’ll find it at Al Qana. @cave.tapas
An absolutely massive hub for video games, VR and esports, Pixoul in Al Qana now offers the option of refreshments before and after the button is clicked. We don’t know what the menu includes, but if we had to guess we’d say Elder Swiss ScRolls, Kale of Duty — Modern Waffles, Super Mayo, Counter Steak 2… enough of these food puns? OK, the lettuce leaves are there. @pixoulgaming
Inspired by the flavors of the American East Coast, this fine dining restaurant brings Philly cheesesteaks and messy sliders to Al Qana’s holistic picnic tables.
close record cafe
As journalists, we have mixed feelings when we hear “nondisclosure.” Yes, it’s juicy gossip, but what can we do with it? Nothing until the information enters the public domain, or we’re just burning with the anxiety of it all. Thankfully, the only thing burning in this part cafe part digital art gallery is the sizzling beats delivered by the resident DJ. Find it at Al Qana.
Along with expertly brewed hot beverages, you’ll find La Vena in Al Qana a great place to co-work.
Penelopebistro and american jazz bar
I’m going to come out right away and say, penelopeBrasserie & Jazz Bar Américain at Yas Marina is one of Abu Dhabi’s coolest and most exciting openings for 2022. The short beachfront terrace does a great job of its name, offering an unmistakable Riviera vibe, a sizzling Mediterranean menu, suitably chic cocktails, and unlike some of the other ‘claimants’ in the country, genuine jazz . There’s something particularly sparkling in the bones of Penelope’s, owned by local hospitality legends Layla Kardan (Papillion, Dubai) and Hamdan Al Khafaji (La Carnita), whose concept was conceived by Eddie Ghazal (Canary Club, Dubai). The logo of this all-star trio has been clearly imprinted in the design style of the entire venue.You can read the full review here.
Yas Marina, Yas Island, 6pm-2am daily. Tel: (02) 635 1116, @penelopes.ae
When you think of a plate of delicious food, the first thing that may come to your mind is not the food court but the brand new hidden Yas Mall is all about dispelling these prejudices and now offers a culinary unit in the capital, from casual to fine dining firepower. You’ll find Huna on the ground floor of the mall, towards the main entrance, opposite Hamley’s. Visually, it’s distinctly designed from the mall – subdued lighting and neighborhoods of hawker-style restaurant facades, a unique “Asian Kitchen” area and an Art Deco terrace dominated by open-air Habib Beirut counters. And, full disclosure, it does account for a lot of the dead bodies referenced in the title. Restaurants include HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, BB Social Dining approved by the Crown Prince of Dubai; the second branch of local Mediterranean x Middle Eastern restaurant Tazal, which opened in Al Qana earlier this year; Vietnamese food specialist, Saigon; Mexican street food Master Taco Ville; A-star chicken burgers from Blu Fried Chicken; trendy urbane café offerings from Elixir Bunn; vibrant meat processors from Maxzi The Good Food Shop; regional flare from Habib Beirut; and chic from Philotimos Greek appetizers and kebabs. There’s also Orush’s Hearty Desserts; Al Rifay; Crazy Brownies; Royce Chocolates; Oriental Delight; The Simple Cook; Sugar Cat;
Level 1, Yas Mall, Sunday to Thursday 10am to 10pm, Friday to Saturday 10am to midnight. @hunayas
The headline of the Bollywood Bronx food concept is that the restaurant is committed to using seasonal produce with “precision, great technique and beautiful presentation”. With all the glitz and glamor of its namesake, the culinary flair of fusion dishes and experimental cuisine, presented in a concept that invites sharing, community tasting and extraordinary nights out. Bollywood Bronx is an unabashedly contemporary style with sophisticated shapes and chic designs. The open kitchen offers a dramatic window to watch the fire and spices being poured into your food, the venue’s well-stocked bar offers exotic sips, and the resident DJ’s soft and soulful beats bring Bronx nuances to life The cuisine provides the perfect soundscape pairing.
The Bollywood Bronx, The Hub, Level 6 WTC Mall Abu Dhabi, @thebollywoodbronx
Bord Eau, Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi’s fine dining French restaurant is back. Revel in canal views, a shared deli setting, and exquisite French cuisine from an exquisite menu.
Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi, offers culinary master menus from 20-23 October, with prices starting from AED 448. Tel: (0)2 509 8555. firstname.lastname@example.org
champagne and caviar
When we first heard about the new champagne and caviar bar at the St. One, or someone who pays an extra Dhs6 for guacamole. It’s a permanent pop-up located in the hotel’s Signature 3 Lounge – a one-of-a-kind, as you might infer from the name, champagne and caviar. Then there are the soaring desert-island ocean views, with the bar only open at sunset from 5pm to 7pm. The champagne and caviar bar inside Signature 3 occupies a small space – a Fabergé-style kiosk of wood paneling, gold and glass display cases displaying various caviar tins.read full review here.
The Signature 3, The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Saadiyat Island, 5pm-7pm. Tel: (02) 498 8443, email@example.com
Turquoise at Rixos Marina, Abu Dhabi
The massive “Atlantis on stilts” hotel megaproject opposite the Corniche breakwater is now open. This is good news. In slightly less exciting news, only one restaurant is currently open, and that’s the all-day dining restaurant Turquoise. Once the full fleet of hospitality concepts is o[en, we can expect another nine places to graze and, hopefully, praise. Venues such as Vero Italiano, who’ll be feeding guests with the flavours of southern Europe; The Flame — is all set to start searing prime cuts as the resort’s “five-star” steakhouse; The Bakery Club is designated to deliver diners freshly baked bread, cakes and pastries; there will be an international melange on offer at People’s Restaurant; sweets desserts at Godiva Café; with Cuba Cigar Lounge, Privé Lounge and bar — Anti-Dote rounding out the culinary portfolio.
The much-loved Jumeirah-born restaurant hails from Dubai, and proved so popular in the emirate that it expanded with a second Dubai location in Gate Village, DIFC back in April. The capital-based cousin of Mamafri in Sheikha Fatima Park marks the third installment of the beloved Asian-fusion restaurant. On the menu, diners can fill their bellies with dishes like brioche buns with crispy fried chicken and sambal sauce, Japanese ramen, Malaysian shrimp curry, and kimchi fried rice for a few aromatic examples. The interiors are a sharp contrast to the urban oasis outside, a segmented cocoon-scape of mandoline soundwaves hangs from the ceiling — ignore a few decorative details and we could be in the belly of a blue whale, or the hull of an intergalactic spacecraft. You can read the full review here.
Mamafri, Sheikha Fatima Park, Al Bateen, now open. @lovemamafri
The duo of Cipriani Dolci’s in Dubai have become must-visit mall eateries, and now the chic Italian concept is bringing a slice of Venetian charm to Abu Dhabi with the opening of Cipriani Dolci Marina Mall. Marina Mall, located just off the Corniche, took to Instagram to share that the third UAE branch of Cipriani Dolci was now open within its perimeters, inviting diners to enjoy a ‘great selection of Cipriani classics.’ A luxurious take on the Italian Pasticceria, guests can expect decadent favourites from torta di cioccolato, ice cream freshly whipped to order, lemon tart, tiramisu and more. A must-try at all Cipriani’s is the vanilla meringue cake, so we can’t wait to dig our spoons into this capital dessert in Abu Dhabi. Read the full review here.
Cipriani Dolci, Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi, open Mon to Thurs 10am to 10.30pm and Fri to Sun 10am to 12am, Tel: (0)50 903 9722, @ciprianidolci
Em Sherif Sea Café
Em Sherif made a dazzling capital debut at West Bay earlier this year, and now its sister venue — also a luxurious Beiruti import — Em Sherif Sea Café has now landed in Abu Dhabi. You’ll find it at refined house of style, Rosewood Hotel Abu Dhabi on Al Maryah Island, offering dreamy waterfront views, a sophisticated Lebanese-Mediterranean design theme and a menu populated with award-winning Levantine cuisine. Highlights from the kitchen include the raw red sea bream; shrimp Provençale; samak rass asfour; whole roasted cauliflower in tahini and spicy pickled walnut dip; and hindbeh bil zeit. If you prefer your meals styled with a more meaty cut — the restaurant also comes complete with its very own beef bar offering a selection of grilled fare, prepared a la minute including aged cote de boeuf, ribeye, striploin, and Wagyu tenderloin.
Rosewood Abu Dhabi, Al Maryah Island, daily 1pm to 11.30pm, @emsherifseacafe.abudhabi
The Lillet Sundown Bar
The second entry in this polished pairing, is the brand new alfresco poolside haunt, Lillet at The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal. It’s got Ritz Riviera chic in its design DNA, with Parisian style furnishings, Cote D’Azur beach club vibes, a liver DJ curated soundtrack — and views over the infinity pool and the hotel’s lush gardens. Its specialist subject is craft mixology, offering a range of clever beverages for that elevated sort of sundowner session. The menu goes hard on modern Mediterranean classics and there’s a special ‘Aperitif’ experience (the details of which are still TBC) available daily between 7pm and 10pm.
The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal, 11am to 10pm. Tel: (02) 818 8203, firstname.lastname@example.org
Despite the fact it’s been open since February of this year and that it’s co-helmed by one of the UAE’s best known Emirati chefs, Faisal Alharmoodi alongside super talented Syrian pastry chef Fadi Kurdi — there’s a fair chance you won’t have heard about Let’s. It’s been busy, often booked out in fact — purely on word of mouth of it being one of Khalifa City’s best polished hidden gems. And it’s because of this whispered reputation along with the allure of a menu that lines up all-day breakfast dishes back-to-back with innovative Emirati fusion concepts — that my internal curiosity gauge was pushed over the line from ‘you have my attention’ to ‘this sounds like a job for me’. You can read the full review here.
Khalifa City, 8am to midnight. Tel: (02) 886 7740, @lets.uae
Now open at Marriott Al Forsan, UVA is a brand new wine bar and lounge —and it brings a further dimension of sophistication to the hotels F&B portfolio. Weekly promotions include Winesday, Aperitivo, and there’s also a ladies’ night. The menu goes hard on charcuterie and sharing plates with options including green olive pistachio tapenade, single pan chorizo, garlic mussels, crispy corn tacos, and meatballs.
Marriott Al Forsan, open Wed to Sun 4pm to 1am. Tel: (02) 201 4131, marriottalforsanlife.com
Din Tai Fung
The denizens of dim sum. If you’re a fan of Chinese food, there’s a strong chance you’ll already be well acquainted with Din Tai Fung. The brand began its journey in Taiwan, but the appeal was enough to see it spread to 12 countries worldwide. Two separate branches in Hong Kong have even been awarded Michelin stars. Din Tai Fung offers a range of Taiwanese and Chinese food, occasionally with an occidental twist. Their often open-kitchens are probably perhaps best known for a range of flavour-filled dim sum. Dumpling devotees can knock chopsticks against meat, seafood and veg wontons, potstickers, shumai and juicy Chinese buns. But what really brings the boys and girls to the yard is the signature collection of XiaoLongBao, 18-fold puckered pastry wraps packed with juicy bundles of mutton or chicken and crab, served with a selection of dipping condiments. And Abu Dhabi’s first location recently
The Galleria Al Maryah Island @dintaifungae
The first Montauk Boutique Cafe & Restaurant opened in Al Bateen in March last year and has been treating the capital’s coffee connoisseurs to a ‘Hamptons-inspired’ experience ever since. The new Yas Mall location follows through with that same energy, along with a menu made for the Instagram age, beautiful breakfasts, extravagant mains and interiors fit for fashion mag shoots.
Yas Mall @montaukabudhabi