31 cheap Abu Dhabi dinners

We've found a month's worth of cheap places to eat in Abu Dhabi... Comments

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2 Café Layali Zaman: ‘Baguette’ may be plastered above the door, but Dhabians know it as Café Layali Zaman. Making sure the weather is charitable, pull up a chair outside, though indoors is no second best. Start off with a fresh fruit juice – guava is our particular poison – and let the smell of sweet shisha waft across your nostrils. The usual Lebanese tapas arrives in no time. The stuffed vine leaves are just the right side of bitter, the houmous smooth and tasty and babaganoush worth an award. A shish taouk is just Dhs20 and a range of Arabic teas complete the experience. For atmosphere alone, it’s worth a trip.

3 Lebanese Flower: Eye-poppingly tasty and always buzzing, the Khalidiyah branch in particular feels like some rustic kitchen. It’s probably one of the dearer Lebanese outfits, but a shish taouk with houmous, soup and a glass of juice will still only set you back Dhs49. Meanwhile, a cheerful man wanders the restaurant dishing out huge discs of fresh, hot Lebanese bread like some benevolent king. Forget the fries, they’re always lousy, but the kebabs are succulent and delicious.

4 Istanbouli: The difference between Lebanese and Turkish cuisine is probably about 1,000 calories. Just add cream and yoghurt appears to be the motto. At least that’s the case at Istanbouli, a clean, friendly cafeteria where Turkish gentlemen are usually to be found in hot debate in the corners. The menu reveals a variety of creamy kebabs, starting with the habitual dish of grainy, but delicious soup. The tahini kebab, in particular, is very good, and even if the houmous is a little bland, there is more than enough here to make you want to come back.

5 Hatam Al Tae: Not the overpriced, mall-friendly Hatem, but rather a cheerful little independent gaff. A sign above the door promises ‘famous Persian food’, and while we’re not sure if this place is world-renowned, it is cosy and looks pretty sharp for a backstreet restaurant. The Iranian fare is also delicious. The menu is laden with kebabs, which arrive juicy and just the right side of charred. Be sure to top the basmati rice off with a pat of butter and inhale the subtle fragrances that make this cuisine so special.

6 Marroush: Essentially a drive-by takeaway, Marroush has fed the addiction of many a shawarma fanatic in the city. It’s also the Lebanese Flower’s fiercest rival. The decor might err on the side of efficiency, but the food is consistently satisfying. A fanfare of half-a-dozen bowls of olives, houmous, chillis and pickles accompanies even the smallest order. The kebabs are tasty – the lamb khishkash especially is well-spiced, juicy and brilliant. Dinner for two is unlikely to break Dhs70, but unless you speak Arabic you will find yourself pointing at things and mouthing ‘yes’ a lot.

7 Safier Al Sham: A no-fuss Lebanese eatery with walls draped in rugs (useful for hiding stains) and loud Arabic music screaming out of the TV – it isn’t exactly romantic, but it is cheap. Their one-kilogram mixed grill, at just Dhs80, is enough to feed an army and the meat is tender and delicious. Stay away from the French menu, however – croque monsieur should surely never be made with kebab meat. If all else fails, just grab a shawarma, a Nutella pancake and a ‘cock drink’ (we think they mean ‘coke’) for just over 10d’s and relax.

By Gareth Clark, Hallie Engel and Jon Wilks
Time Out Abu Dhabi,

User reviews:

Posted by: James Cox on 06 Jul ' 11 at 18:01

Al Ibrahimi (just west of the Sands Hotel on Hamdan Street) now costs 51 dirhams for the buffet. It is a great feed. The lahori fish is very tasty and there is plenty of chicken and rice. Vegetarians are also well catered for and the pudding options include chocolate mousse and crème caramel.

Posted by: Lenka on 29 Sep ' 09 at 06:00

I can't believe the Lebanese Mill does not figure anywhere on your list of restaurants or good deals. It's opposite to Pain Quotidien. It has awesome food for prices that make you want to invite everyone, as well as quick, friendly service, also take away. For cooler months there's a garden seating.

Posted by: Editorial team on 03 Sep ' 09 at 06:52

Hi Rae Berry

Thanks for your comment.

All of the restaurant names act as a link to the main review of that restaurant. Just click the restaurant name and you will be able to get all of the contact information you need.

Hope that helps

Posted by: Carey on 01 Sep ' 09 at 14:34

Some great ideas. But where are the restaurant addresses ??????? Where and how can you find them ? I'm hungry !

Posted by: Rae Berry on 22 Jul ' 09 at 02:07

The Cheap Eats review is great but fails to provide a contact number of address and hence its not possible to find out where to find the restaurant.

Posted by: izzeddin on 19 Jul ' 09 at 07:33

usually i am dining at AUTOMATIC in ABUDHABI , and i tried most of the restaurants in your list , i found AUTOMATIC the best of all especially KEBAB, TIKKA, TABBOULEH, SHESH TAOOK and many more in a cheaper prices than anywhere else!. I advise you to visit it and try there tasty grills.


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