Tasty Japanese style food, just avoid the sushi Reviews

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Not the place to go for an authentic Japanese experience, Benihana at the Beach Rotana is an American franchise that was founded in Florida circa 1964, and the primary pull is most assuredly their renowned teppanyaki grill.

Chefs cook before diners on an open flat-grill and incorporate all manner of fun tricks and japes involving knives, spatulas, shrimp tails and eggs while they cook a variety of meat, fish and vegetables to everyone’s liking and with great flare. It’s a party atmosphere and no mistake, with punters crowded in together around the grills and the entertainment taking in you, your wife, your kids and the party of four businessmen that were sat at your grill. Though there are some small tables around the room, the restaurant is noisy and vibrant – perhaps not the place for that romantic date you’ve been planning, but excellent for a birthday with a few friends.

There is also a sushi bar so we took a punt and ordered a few of our favourites. To start we had the tuna tataki, a mighty fine salad featuring seared tuna sliced over mixed lettuce leaves and a wonderful tataki dressing that was delightfully fragrant and teased with ginger, soy and lime flavours. This was followed by some salmon sashimi, yellow tail and red snapper nigiri and a portion of spider rolls. The salmon was delightful, fresh and creamy; it’s always a winner. Sadly the nigiri was inedible due to a very heavy hand wielding the sugar spoon when it came to seasoning the sushi rice. Shame. The spider rolls didn’t fare much better, since they were made with the same rice and had the added joy of both a sweetish ‘spicy’ mayonnaise as well as a honey mustard sauce.

Still, we didn’t go hungry because our dining companion very kindly ordered the mother of all teppanyaki combos – the Benihana surf and turf, featuring lobster tail and fillet mignon served with soup (miso or onion), salad, vegetables and rice – so there was plenty to go around.

The miso soup was a little heavy on the spring onions, but that is our only gripe. The salad was delicious with a zesty ginger and soy dressing. The lobster tail and beef were astoundingly good. The lobster was simply prepared without being drowned in sauce or seasoning. The chunks of steak were completely free of all fat and cooked to a perfect medium rare, just as we like it. Each bite was tender and soft and incredibly juicy, served in a barely there sauce that we’re sure largely consists of butter and soy sauce and with dipping sauces on the side, it was difficult not to succumb to gluttony. Vegetables cooked on the grill were crunchy and delicious, but frankly took up too much stomach space when there was melt-in-your-mouth steak to be had.

The teppanyaki combos include ice cream for dessert, of which we managed to force down a spoonful.

Go to Benihana, but go hungry and in a feisty mood to banter with the chefs. And don’t order the sushi.

The bill (for two)
Benihana surf and turf Dhs209
Hibachi rice Dhs32
Tuna tataki Dhs52
Salmon sashimi Dhs62
Yellow tail nigiri Dhs42
Red snapper nigiri Dhs30
Spider roll Dhs78
Total (excluding service) Dhs505

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: Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi, Al Zahiyah, Abu Dhabi
  • Tel: 02 697 9011
  • Travel: Tourist Club Area
  • Website | Send mail

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User reviews

  • Users voted this restaurant most suitable for: Business lunch

User reviews:

Posted by: Paul on 13 Feb ' 11 at 12:22
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Another great night at Benihana’s. Love the teppanyaki, this is not just a meal but an experience where the chef ensures everyone leaves having had a great time.
We found the food, atmosphere, ambience and price all good. Can’t wait for our next night out here.

Posted by: Gala Marseiile on 21 Nov ' 10 at 16:14
  • Best for: Business lunch
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

terrible... no taste, no service, messy

Posted by: Naseem on 11 Mar ' 09 at 14:19
  • Best for: Business lunch
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

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