Marco’s New York Italian
With a cool bar area, lots of retro booth and photos of the man himself covering the walls, the latest Abu Dhabi restaurant from celebrity chef Marco Pierre White is certainly a venue made for Instagram. But this casual yet buzzing venue isn’t just a stylish place to hang out and feel like a slick hipster. The Italian plates are simple (like all good Italian grub should be), expertly made and created with the highest possible ingredients. The pizzas are incredible, and the other American-influenced plates include steaks with barbecue glaze, Boston crab cakes, mighty burgers and a good range of salads. We’re thrilled to welcome it into our already thriving dining scene.
Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Khor Al Maqta (02 654 3238).
Martabaan by Hemant Oberoi
The dining room at this swish new Indian restaurant is a grand and opulent as you would expect from a venue in Emirates Palace, but with comfortable plush pillows and cosy booths, it’s also a welcoming spot for a special meal. The open kitchens mean you can watch the talented chefs at work in the tandoor ovens, and this adds to the anticipation as you wait for your meal. Every dish is presented with real skill and creativity, and it all features the most wonderful flavour combinations. Our favourites include the tandoor-fired paneer wali machi, slow-cooked lamb shank and bay prawns, but really, it’s all sensational.
Emirates Palace, West Corniche (02 690 7999).
Themed around shades of bright blue and yellow, and with one massive wall filled with blue rustic doors, Mazi makes you feel like you are away on holiday at a picturesque Greek island. The plates are just as authentic, colourful and full of flavour as the ones you’ll find in Greece, too, with a relatively short but totally perfect selection of jars, salads, hot plates, signature dishes and desserts – all designed to be shared. This pretty venue is perfect for a leisurely lunch or a relaxed dinner, and Saadiyat Island is all the better for it.
The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi (02 498 8888).
Jones the Grocer
There are many branches of the Aussie chain across the city, but the latest at the Holiday Inn offers a bit more of a heightened experience. There’s a nice bar area and there are some good drinks available. Once you add that to the tasty food, you’re on to a winner.
Holiday Inn Downtown Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed the First Street (02 615 6440).
The original branch of this café at Al Bateen won our Best Café award in 2018 and is Highly Commended in the same category this year. The second venue, in Khalifa Park area, has not made quite the same impression so far but at the time of the awards it’s still early days. The coffee is excellent and the hearty food is lovely.
Al Seef Village Mall, Khalifa Park area (02 632 9599).
There are few words that make our heart sing more readily than ‘budget Indian food’. Kura Kura, near Adnec offers good value Indian cuisine but manages to make it look expensive – and that’s a win in our book.
Capital Tower, Khaeej Al Arabi Street (02 443 3733).
This stylish venue is primarily a nightspot, but we’re also taken by the food available. From unique bar snacks such as crispy sweetbread and mushroom wraps to charcuterie and excellent cheese, you won’t have to make do with a bowl of stale popcorn here.
Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel & Residences Emirates Pearl, West Corniche (02 510 1234).
We’re all for the addition of healthy vegan-friendly and eco-conscious restaurants in Abu Dhabi, and Sweet Greens ticks all three boxes. Not everything is for the calorie-watchers out there, however, and there are plenty of dishes on the menu labelled ‘naughty series’ for those who like to partake in more hearty plates.
The Clubhouse, Rihan Heights (02 633 5563).
Richard Sandoval’s Toro Toro was a colourful slice of Latin America that made an impression when it opened at the back of Jumeirah at Etihad Towers a couple of years back. However, it’s all in the past, as the same venue now houses VaKaVa, a colourful Latin restaurant from Richard Sandoval.
Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, West Corniche (02 811 5666).
Wild & The Moon
An actual 100 percent vegan restaurant, Wild & The Moon is already succesful up the road in Dubai and has a fairly stunning location at Qasr Al Hosn here. Juices, smoothies, alternative milks, lots of avocado… It’s a hipster’s dream.
Cultural Foundation, Qasr Al Hosn, Al Khalidiya (056 188 4073).