BBQ Al Qasr
Due to reopen in mid-October, BBQ Al Qasr offers dining on the beach and let’s face it, there’s no better way to say “I love you” than with fresh sea air in your lungs and sand in your frites. The food menu is predominantly steak and grilled fish, and you can cosy up inside pagodas looking out over the Gulf. The paths are lit with lanterns and there are decorative fires – mic drop, you’re done.
Open daily 1pm-midnight. Emirates Palace, West Corniche Road (02 690 7999).
Beach House Rooftop
Saadiyat Island has some of the best beaches and sunsets in Abu Dhabi. The Park Hyatt’s Beach House is perfectly placed to make the most of that. Get comfy on the sofas and enjoy your other half’s intelligent repartee (or just smile and nod, it’s up to you) as the sun disappears behind the horizon. There are cool mixed drinks as well as shisha and a soft sea breeze – it’s a place to fall in love at all over again. Beach House Rooftop is due to reopen later in the year, check back on for updates.
Open daily 6pm-midnight. Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas, Saadiyat Island (02 407 1138).
Not only is this restaurant fancy and French, which pretty much has you covered, but on the 14th of every month this Shangri-La venue celebrates Valentine’s Day. Bord Eau is decked out to resemble a restaurant by the River Seine as it welcomes couples for an evening of fine food and romance. Dine on a specially crafted three-course menu that comes with a bottle of grape, and there is a caricaturist. Even more cringey (sorry, we mean lovely), there’s a prize for the evening’s best-dressed couple.
Oh, you guys.
Open Sun-Fri, 6.30pm-11.30pm. Between the Bridges, Shangri-La Hotel (02 509 8555).
Butcher & Still
Maybe you want to eat here – the food is excellent – or maybe you just want to go for a refreshing beverage. Either way, this prohibition-era-themed, meat-feast of a restaurant is a wonderful place to take that special someone. The front terrace looks out over the city’s skyline, and if you can’t get enough of each other, you’re well placed to head on to The Galleria. There is also a solid selection of mixed drinks. Just saying.
Open daily 4pm-2am. Four Seasons Abu Dhabi, Al Maryah Island (02 333 2700).
Blessed with a beautiful location overlooking Yas Marina and the F1 Circuit, Cipriani is your little taste of Florence in Abu Dhabi – it was designed by a Florentine architect. The food is Italian with a small Japanese taster menu thrown in, and the views are cracking. If you can’t afford that trip to Italy, this is the next best thing. Romantic with a capital “R”.
Open daily 6pm-midnight. Yas Marina, Yas Island (02 657 5400).
Fish, fish, and more fish. And that’s not just your partner looking for compliments. Middle Eastern seafood restaurant Flooka has an excellent location next to the Mangroves National Park. Watching life float by from the picturesque wooden terrace is about as romantic as it gets. Take a few million pictures of the pair of you enjoying dinner for Facebook and, well, that’s true love in action, isn’t it?
Open daily noon-midnight. Eastern Mangrove Hotel & Spa by Anantara, Eastern Mangroves Promenade, Dhafeer Street (02 441 8244).
First of all, you’re taking your partner to flashy and expensive Emirates Palace – they will feel very loved and important. As a plus, they could also be blinded by all the gold everywhere, which means you may appear far more attractive than usual. Secondly, Asian eatery Hakkasan has great food and feels opulent. It’s rich, dark and almost mysterious, just like the man your wife wishes she’d married.
Open noon-4pm, 6pm-2am. Emirates Palace, Ras Al Akhdar (02 621 0708).
A popular spot for a beverage, KOI is an LA import with the ambience of a nightclub, but the service and food of a five-star restaurant. You’re spoiled for choice with a traditional Japanese menu, a dedicated sushi bar, lounge and terrace. The modern, bamboo-strewn and dimly-lit interior is sophisticated, and your husband or wife will no doubt be relieved that you think they would fit in here. The music also sets an upbeat tone, so there’s no excuse to drift off when your loved one starts talking about that annoying work thing again.
Open Sat-Wed 6.30pm-1am, Thu 6.30pm-2am, Fri 12.30pm-4pm, 6.30pm-2am. The Collection, The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Saadiyat Isalnd (02 678 3334).
Sontaya is Thai for sunset, which is a little bit twee, but also kind of cute and there’s no doubt your other half will love it (unless you married someone with a marble heart, and in which case, why?). Escape the headache of city life for the intimate setting of The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort. Sit on floating pavilions, take in the beach and Gulf views and start counting up those marriage brownie points. The food is top-notch southeast Asian and the vibes are, well, sunsety. It’s romance incarnate.
Open daily 12.30pm–4pm, 6.30pm–11pm. St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Saadiyat Island (02 498 8888).
Our Best Romantic from last year’s Time Out Restaurant Awards sits atop Le Royal Méridien and revolves, so the earth will seem like it is quite literally moving as you gaze into your spouse’s eyes. There are high-end steaks and fresh fish, and a whole host of cute starters to feed each other with. We recommend the lobster mac n cheese. There is also a lounge bar with a decent selection of grape.
Open Sun-Fri 5pm-1am. Le Royal Méridien, Khalifa Street (02 674 2020).