BBQ Al Qasr

Upscale barbecue restaurant at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi Reviews

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Who on earth has macaroni and cheese for a starter? That’s just ridiculous. Well, dear reader, there is nothing so ridiculous that we won’t do it for you – you are welcome.

Don’t be fooled by the BBQ part of the name of this restaurant, this is nothing like your back yard blow out or an all-you-can-eat ribs joint. This is grilling, Emirates Palace style. Fair warning: all of the seating is outside, so whatever the weather you’ll feel it, but it’s worth visiting for the stunning view of the water and of the Palace itself. Wait staff are professional, accommodating and just friendly enough without being overly familiar.

So let’s go back to the food and the bizarre macaroni and cheese starter. Served with a creamy truffle sauce we did not feel even the slightest bit guilty about polishing off almost the entire portion – which was huge, incidentally. The truffle sauce elevated the humble kids’ dish into a work of art. Superb. We also ordered the shrimp popcorn which was nice, but paled under the shadow of pasta, cheese and truffles. The shrimp were tender inside their crispy coating and were served with a zingy mango jalapeño salsa and a zesty chimichurri that teased the taste buds in a delightful manner.

For our first main we looked to the ‘Slow Smoke’ section of the menu and selected the mackerel skewer which is a whole fish marinated in sea salt, lemon and herbs, smoked over green fresh wood and grilled over an open fire.

The taste of the herbs mingled with the smokiness of the green wood smoke and leant the fish a fantastic aroma that teased the palate before the stronger taste of the mackerel asserted itself, demanding another bite and then another just to try and catch that elusive flavour. Served with a range of sides including a surprisingly spicy corn bread and wonderful bowl of garlic mash, the slow smoke dishes are a meal to themselves.

The centre cut fillet steak, on the other hand, demanded extra sides. Steak always benefits from being cooked over an open flame, and the grill-masters at BBQ Al Qasr really are artists. The perfect charred and chewy exterior gave way under the knife to a medium-rare centre that was so tender it was almost creamy. We were a little surprised that the smoked blue cheese topping accompanying the steak consisted of three fat slabs of blue cheese rather than a sauce, but by no means were we disappointed. Creamy spinach on the side was made something extra special by the fried egg on top, but unfortunately the grilled polenta proved the evening’s only sour note.

Stuffed to the very tips of our fingers we bravely fought through the pain to eat a few bites of the caramelised lemon tart, which was one of the finest we’ve tried and cleared the palate.

BBQ Al Qasr is a treat and no mistake, eat your fill and then relax with a shisha and the view. Perfection.

The bill (for two)
Macaroni and cheese Dhs70
Shrimp popcorn Dhs100
Mackerel skewer Dhs130
Centre cut fillet steak Dhs270
Blue cheese topping Dhs40
Polenta with Parmesan Dhs25
Creamy spinach Dhs25
Caramelised lemon tart Dhs75
Total (excluding service) Dhs735

By Time Out Abu Dhabi 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: Ras Al Akhdar, Abu Dhabi
  • Tel: 02 690 7999
  • Travel: Corniche Street
  • Website | Send mail

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User reviews

  • Users voted this restaurant most suitable for: Romantic

User reviews:

Posted by: Raza on 04 Jul ' 10 at 16:31
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Its good overall

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