There is lots to choose from when eating out in Abu Dhabi. From fast food to smart hotel restaurants; from authentic Arabic cuisine to western style chains. Whatever your taste, you will find something to suit you.
Arabic Food in Abu Dhabi
As you would expect, there are many restaurants serving Middle Eastern food, from Lebanese and Egyptian to Turkish and Persian. Visit the friendly and inexpensive Lebanese Flower (two outlets in the city), which serves lashings of hummus or baba ganoush with Arabic bread, grilled meat and salads. If you want fast food, try Just Falafel, or one of the numerous small shops selling takeaway shawarma (slices of spit roasted meat in bread). But note that alcohol is not normally available in Arabic restaurants.
International Food in Abu Dhabi
Around 85% of Abu Dhabi’s population consists of workers from other countries. This means that you can find just about any style of food you like, from sushi and Italian to more unusual cuisines such as Filipino or Ethiopian. The larger hotels tend to have a choice of restaurants, often including international buffets. Many hotels have cocktail bars where you can buy a snack or a light meal. Western style coffee shops and fast food chains may also be found in the shopping malls.
Hotels in Abu Dhabi serve a whole range of international food
Alcohol is only available in hotels. Hotels tend to be more expensive than other restaurants, and they will include service charges and tourist taxes in the final bill (typically adding 16% to the advertised prices).
Friday Brunch in Abu Dhabi
‘Friday Brunch’ is an institution in many Middle Eastern cities, allowing expat workers and visitors to relax in style. Brunches may last several hours in the middle of the day and are usually held in hotel restaurants, so that alcohol can be served. Typically the cost covers unlimited food from a buffet as well as drinks (often including wine, beer or cocktails as well as soft drinks). Reservations are advisable, Check what is included in the price before you book (don’t forget the extra taxes and service charge if it is in a hotel).
Arabic style food as part of a Friday brunch at Sofra
Sofra, at the Shangri-La Hotel, serves an impressive array of Arabic, Asian and European food, and includes cocktails in the cost. ‘Selections’ (in the Intercontinental Hotel) is a good choice for families: it includes a candy floss station and there is free access to the beach afterwards. There is also the Cho Gao (Malaysian), in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, or the excellent but inexpensive Cafe Arabia which serves Arabic and continental food (no alcohol).
For more listings of restaurants in Abu Dhabi, look at the Time Out website.