Where to eat in Al Bateen

Sample the culinary delights of one of Abu Dhabi’s oldest areas Discuss this article

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Apart from the area known as Qasr Al Hosn, Al Bateen is one of the capital’s oldest inhabited districts, and while the landscape has changed dramatically over the centuries, there’s still plenty of charm to be found here. Redevelopment projects have seen hotels, buildings and a swarm of super-yachts flood in and, with that, comes a whole host of new eateries, too. Old local favourites sit next to modern hotspots, and now you can find everything from Emirati-style grilled fish to healthy salads and über-indulgent desserts. Here’s our pick of the eight top places you need to try…

Art House Café

It might have a fairly standard café menu, with croissants, eggs and burgers featured, but we love the cosy, quirky and colourful interiors at Art House Café, which is why you’ll often find us perched on a pouffe, sipping a goji berry green tea and absorbing all the art-tastic, environmentally-friendly décor and vibes. That’ll be after we’ve had our fill of abstract surrealism at the adjacent Etihad Modern Art Gallery, of course. It’s the kind of place for a creative meeting of minds.
Open Sat-Thu 9am-11.30pm, Fri noon-midnight. Etihad Modern Art Gallery, opposite Al Bateen Mall (02 666 0175).

Belgian Café
We couldn’t very well talk about Al Bateen without mentioning one of the capital’s oldest hotels – the InterContinental Abu Dhabi. Here you’ll find one of our favourites spots around – the Belgian Café. There are a couple of branches in the city, but this is arguably the most bustling and it’s well-known for offering a wide variety of Belgian hops, and plenty of tasty pub grub. First and foremost, we recommend a large bowl of mussels with your choice of sauce and a giant plate of chunky frites (or chips for the uninitiated). This is always a fail-safe place.
Open daily 4pm-1am. InterContinental Abu Dhabi, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street (02 666 6888).

Bu Tafish
If you’re an avid reader of Time Out Abu Dhabi, then you’ll already know we’re big fans of this place. Not just because the Middle Eastern grills and fresh seafood dishes are among the best in the city, but also because of its humble beginnings. Owner Radwan Osman Ishtay Al Tamimi founded the restaurant almost 50 years ago and, since then, it’s become a veritable Abu Dhabi institution. He started off with a stall selling refreshments on the Corniche, which was under construction back then, and through hard work and a spot of luck (His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan gave the expat a helping hand), Bu Tafish was born. We recommend taking a big gathering of friends and family here and enjoying the generously sized seafood platters for a local meal with a difference.
Open daily 11am-midnight. Al Marasy, near Central Bank (02 304 8059).

Byblos Sur Mer
Another deserving entry for the InterContinental Abu Dhabi is this ocean-facing Lebanese spot. The menu is large and varied, taking you through some seriously authentic Levantine cuisine and then some. From the salads to the classic mezze plates, grills and raw seafood options, you can’t go far wrong with anything you choose from here. We’re particularly partial to the lobster kibbeh, shawarma-flavoured spare ribs and the delicious asha cream dessert. Once you’re done with dinner, you can then head upstairs to the lovely bar area, which overlooks the water. It’s no wonder it won our Best Middle Eastern and North African award at the Time Out Abu Dhabi Restaurant Awards 2016.
Open Sun-Thu noon-2am, Fri-Sat noon-3am. InterContinental Abu Dhabi, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street (02 666 6888).

Last but not least on the list from the InterContinental Abu Dhabi is this circus-style hotspot. Representing true Italian cuisine in Al Bateen, Circo has a menu full of signature Tuscan recipes, and the setting is reminiscent of the old-style European circus tents. The food is good, the atmosphere is fun and the décor is certainly whimsical. To top it all off, the servers are super-friendly. The restaurant also happens to offer a great range of deals. From Sunday to Thursday, a business lunch offers two courses for Dhs95++ with soft beverages, while Saturdays sees a brunch-style affair, with prices starting from Dhs185++. Later that evening, from 5pm to 7pm, you’ll get 50 percent off on food and drinks from the light fare menu during happy hour. Sorted.
Open daily noon-11.30pm. InterContinental Abu Dhabi, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street (02 666 6888).

No. FiftySeven Boutique Café
A stylish star by the marina is this elegant café that churns out Instagram-worthy plate after Instagram-worthy plate #nofilternecessary. Following the successful launch of a supper club, the owners opened this beautiful, modern restaurant. Find the likes of burrata scrambled eggs and activated charcoal pancakes in the breakfast section, next to chilli-lime baked salmon and quinoa butter chicken throughout the day. More hearty options include the deep-fried mac and cheese or lobster roll. And don’t you dare leave without sticking a fork into the signature “Ermahgerd” dessert – toffee crumble, cream and roasted marshmallows. Yes please.
Open daily 9am-10.30pm. Al Marasy, behind Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (02 441 6100).


A newcomer to Abu Dhabi, Switch was originally founded in Dubai and is most famous for its epic camel burger. Here, it’s certainly one of the coolest new openings the city has seen lately – the venue itself is stunning and seriously modern, while the menu features an array of fun culinary creations (some of which include camel). Tabasco cola chicken wings, anyone? Dr Pepper short ribs? We’re dreaming most of the tasty sliders and Kinder Melt dessert.
Open daily 10am-midnight. Al Bateen Wharf Retail and East Marina (02 556 5556).

Another cool new opening that’s made its way over from Dubai is this charming, marina-facing café. For breakfast, lunch and dinner, there’s plenty of flair on the menu to keep you coming back for more. And healthy foodies in particular will rejoice at the sight of these dishes. Alongside the heartier sandwiches and Mediterranean-inspired plates, you’ll find buckwheat flapjacks, a chia breakfast bowl and plenty of salads, including a kale and pearl barley creation, plus a colourful array of freshly squeezed juices. Whether you’re on a diet or not, you’ll find something to tickle the tastebuds at tashas. To read more on their awesome paella dish, turn to page 34.
Open daily 8am-midnight. Unit B02, Marsa (02 445 0890).

The Bagel Bar
We’re going to go super-casual here and throw in The Bagel Bar for good measure. Because who doesn’t enjoy a hearty bagel every once in a while? Whether you fancy a breakfast variety, something vegetarian or even Maui-inspired, this down-to-earth sandwich shop and coffee house has what you’re craving and offers plenty of value for money. The dieters will be pleased to know the menu boasts calorie counts (but don’t let that put you off, non-dieters). Got more of a sweet tooth than a health conscience? The seriously indulgent dessert menu will keep you busy for a while.
Open daily 7am-1am. Al Marasy, behind Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (02 665 1442).

The Coffee Club
Yes, we know it’s a well-known international chain of coffee shops and that’s not usually our bag, but for a mid-morning pick-me-up we can’t get enough of the delicious caffeine-based drinks here. Masala chai, ice caramel latte, sparkling frappés – you name it, they’ve got it, along with a large selection of international café fare that has wide appeal. Egg dishes, pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, salads – like we said, you name it.
Open Sat-Wed 7.30am-11pm, Thu-Fri 7.30am-midnight. Al Bateen Wharf Retail and East Marina (02 222 1266).

The One Café
We love any excuse to wander about the aisles of THE One, ogling the creative furniture from this home-grown brand. And what better excuse than a pre- or post-shopping bite at its very own café? The menu offers a sense of theatre, taking you through the “Opening Scenes”, “Warm-Up Acts”, “The Dressing Room” up until the “Grand Finale”. That same sense of drama is seen in the choice of ingredients and presentation, too. Overall, it’s a real international mix of flavours, ranging from burgers and salads to curries and quesadillas, and all the bread is freshly baked in-house. You could also hang around for the “Mat-Tea-Nee”, the afternoon tea.
Open daily 8am-9.30pm. THE One showroom, Shaikh Zayed The First Street (60 054 1007).

Yet another new opening to hit the marina is this stylish international café, with comfortable indoor and outdoor seating. You may have seen its decadent Kit Kat brownie featured in our Bite Me section recently, but the kitchen offers plenty more than that. Besides the regular array of classic café mains, there’s a breakfast menu with a Middle Eastern twist and we’ve got our eyes on those black truffled eggs served on toast. If you’re more of an all-you-can-eat type person, then you’ll be glad to know the restaurant also boasts an open salad bar and a frequent breakfast buffet.
Open daily 8am-11.30pm. Al Bateen Wharf Retail and East Marina (02 635 5050).

By Time Out Abu Dhabi staff
Time Out Abu Dhabi,

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