Al Arish

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There’s something more than a little wacky about Al Arish. Maybe it’s the fish tanks that double up as tables, the gaudy Aladdin’s cave-esque décor or the shot glass of date cappuccino diners are presented with on arrival. But whatever it is, the effect is surreal. Part of the Al Dhafra Tourist Village, Al Arish is aimed squarely at tourists, and while we certainly wouldn’t suggest that it offers anything remotely like an authentic local dining experience, it is one of the few restaurants that serve a selection of Emirati dishes as part of a buffet. Staff are happy to walk you round the tables of salads, main courses and desserts, explaining which dishes are specific to the Gulf region, including fish assida, which can only be described as porridge-like, as well as gesheed, dried shark with added spices. Unfortunately flavours are, on the whole, bland and underwhelming, with textures for the most part rather stodgy. The salads and desserts fare much better, and the traditional Arabic coffee, complete with golden flask (fallah) and small Arabic cups (finjaan), is a great way to end the meal. Al Arish offers a fun experience if you’re new to Emirati food or have guests in town, but those with a more discerning palate for local grub probably wouldn’t want to foot the considerable bill.

By Time Out staff
Time Out Abu Dhabi,

Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.


  • Location: Al Meena, Abu Dhabi
  • Tel: 02 673 2266
  • Travel: Meena Street

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