Japanese food and entertainment in Abu Dhabi Reviews

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For more than 60 years, Benihana has been the first name that springs to mind when you are keen on taking your family or friends to a lively restaurant to celebrate a special occasion and receive excellent service with great bang for your buck. Abu Dhabi’s very own Benihana is certainly no exception.

We arrive at Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi and head straight to Benihana; we know right where it is. We have been there many times before. It already is our go to spot to celebrate special days. If you aren’t familiar with the chain, Benihana is an exhibition-style restaurant, which offers guests a true feast for the senses. Masterful, and often comedic, chefs demonstrate their skills nightly on hibachi tables where a full-range of unique and traditional dishes are cooked to order.

We make a reservation informing the staff members that we are celebrating a special occasion, and when we arrive, they have clearly made note. It’s busy, but have reserved one of the best tables in the house for our party.

From start to finish, the service is exemplary and the place is hopping. As we peruse the menu, we watch other tables’ meals begin. There is clapping, plumes of fire and laughing all around. We want what they are having because it sounds so fun.

We order Roy’s special roll and dynamite roll to start and their famous hibachi chicken with a side of fried rice and the black cod teriyaki
as mains.

We are brought the chain’s signature salad and delicious onion soup immediately. We devour them. The dressing on this salad is something else. The table is cleared, and the show begins.

The chef rolls his cart to our table, and hilarity ensues. These chefs are funny. While it’s an act with which we are quite familiar, it’s funny nonetheless. Mostly because they are well trained chefs, and with no exception, every chef we have ever had here seems dedicated to making our evening memorable.

We are served sushi rolls as the chef jokes and preps his teppan (griddle). Benihana’s signature roll, Roy’s special roll, is a flavourful combination of eel, salmon, shrimp, tempura, avocado and crab stick with sweet and sour miso sauce. The volcano roll is composed of crispy salmon skin, crab stick, cucumber, spring onion, avocado on the outside and served with spicy mayonnaise and teriyaki sauce. Our only complaint is a common one with such rolls: they are too large to eat in one bite so we are left attempting to slice, tear or bite our way through the large slice which is inelegant.

Our chef gets the party started with large plumes of flames as he fires up the grill. All entrees are served with a combination of fresh mushrooms, onion and courgette, as well as hibachi shrimp. He serves each small delight with style, and sometimes with a toss over-the-shoulder and onto our plates. Another time, he lobs a shrimp straight into our waiting mouths; he never misses.

He starts the mains, cracking jokes and singing as he grills. We cannot disengage for even a split second for fear we miss a portion lobbed at us. This is a place where diners are rarely glued to their phones with the exception of filming the fun show to share with friends on Instagram.

He prepares the chicken hibachi and the cod simultaneously. The chicken looks and eventually tastes divine; it is the right thing to order at Benihana. Sadly, the very expensive black cod is the wrong thing to order. The delicate, oily fish is not suited to this style of cooking and is a bit mangled once plated. It tastes ok, but it’s a bit too pricey of a fish to receive so battered. Having said that, the spicy shrimp, flavourful chicken, handfuls of hot vegetables and pillows of steamed rice thrown in for good measure carry the meal.

The food is not nearly as good as the show the chefs put on, but we have come for the stirring renditions of ‘Happy Birthday’ – in both English and Japanese – and the wacky antics, such as its ‘catch the flying shrimp in your mouth’ game. We have come to Benihana expecting to have fun and that’s exactly what we are given.

The bill (for two)
Miso soup Dhs30
Dynamite roll Dhs85
Roy’s special roll Dhs100
Hibachi chicken Dhs110
Hibachi fried rice Dhs35
Cod fish teriyaki Dhs160
Total (excl. service) Dhs520

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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