Layali Baghdad

Review: Simple but tasty Iraqi fish and meat dishes Discuss this article

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T he past few months have seen several big restaurants open in Abu Dhabi. And as much as we love dining at those places, we enjoy discovering the smaller ones just as much. And we’re pretty chuffed with our latest find, Layali Baghdad.

The no-frills Iraqi restaurant in Khalifa City is a bit of a trek away if you live downtown, but we assure you it’s worth it. And if you live nearby, you really have no reason not to visit.

The service is warm and from the moment you enter the bright, airy restaurant, and we love the traditional Iraqi windows.

As for the food, while there are a few familiar dishes on the menu (ouzi, fattoush, hummus and more), you’ll be rewarded for trying something a little different.

The restaurant’s eponymous salad is definitely worth a look. The bowl of aubergine, tomato and walnut has pomegranate running through it, give it sparkle and a tart kick. The salad is fresh, light and unusual. We try our best to make it last, but we can’t help feasting on it.

When it comes to mains, go for the masgouf. The traditional dish takes some time to prepare, so you’d be advised to call ahead and order it in advance.

It’s traditionally made with carp, though our waiter can tell us now more than that it’s “brown fish”. You can choose different size fish (we go for the smallest at 2.5kg) that come butterflied after being grilled over a dramatic open flame from a barbecue pit near the venue’s entrance.

The skin is crispy, the flesh is delicate and flakes away from the bone. It’s a triumph, and comes served with lentil soup and Iraqi bread, making it quite the feast.

If you can stomach more food, we’d go for the Iraqi kebab. The lamb skewers are some of the most tender, succulent and downright tasty we’ve had anywhere in the capital.

In truth, we over-ordered, but the dishes were so tempting we just had to. You might find yourself doing the same.

The bill (for two)
1x Layali Baghdad salad Dhs27
1x Iraqi kabab Dhs69
1x masgouf (2.5kg) Dhs175
1x large water Dhs12
Total Dhs283

The bottom line
A cosy, spot for delicious Iraqi food.

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: Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi
  • Tel: 02 585 9928
  • Travel: Khalifa City

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