Your guide to the best outdoor restaurants in Abu Dhabi

Dine al fresco and check out the best outdoor restaurants in the city, as revealed at the Time Out Abu Dhabi Restaurant Awards 2018.

Your guide to the best outdoor restaurants in Abu Dhabi

Before the summer sun comes along there's no excuse not to enjoy life outdoors. 

The cooling comfort of the AC will be ready and waiting in the months to come.

With so many great venues around Abu Dhabi to enjoy a bite al fresco, what are you waiting for? 

Here are the best outdoor restaurants in Abu Dhabi to make the most of the weather from the Time Out Abu Dhabi Restaurant Awards 2018

Winner 

BBQ Al Qasr
You’d be hard-pushed to find a more enchanting setting in the capital, on the sands outside the Emirates Palace.BBQ Al Qasr is one of the most romantic spots to take your significant other to for a special occasion. A collection of gazebos scatter across the beach-front property and radiate a dim glow to set the mood. The curtains furl in the winds, adding to the dreamy vibe. And with the opulent Emirates Palace as the backdrop, it sets quite the scene for a night out. The food, as the name suggests, weighs heavily on grills and barbecues, with a few starters and salads to boot. The selection of prime cuts are sourced from Australia, Ireland and the US. You will also notice the steep figures listed against some of the options. But know that your willingness to spend big will be suitably rewarded. The meat is top-quality, well-prepared and comes with a side of your choice. Just make sure to leave room for dessert, as no romantic meal is complete without the sweet course. It’s an absolutely faultless experience.
Emirates Palace, Corniche Road West (02 690 7999).

Highly commended 

Buddha-Bar Beach
The Time Out Abu Dhabi team has been to Buddha-Bar Beach quite a lot since it opened. Too many times, probably, as there are lots of other places to check out after all. However, the dreamy views, super-cool soundtrack and really rather ace Asian food keeps pulling us back. It’s perfect for visitor season and for those who have people to show the best of the capital to, what sums up life here more perfectly than a chilled-out beach bar in a luxurious resort, overlooking the turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf? This world’s first permanent Buddha-Bar Beach has made waves since arriving on the shores of Saadiyat. The Asian-infused menu is carefully curated and easily makes this place worth a visit for lunch or dinner alone (the lobster dumplings are little bites of joy). The venue is beautiful, as well. There are plenty of places to sit, from the lounge-style bar area to the pair of sushi counters and the elegant dining room, to the sprawling outdoor terrace, which flows over two floors. Judging by the fact that this stylish bar is almost always busy, we’re not the only ones who love what the people at Buddha-Bar Beach are doing. This really is a super addition to the capital.
The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi (02 498 8888).

Filini Garden
First things first, Filini Garden is a gorgeous venue. From the moment you arrive, you can’t fail to be impressed by the picture-perfect spot at Yas Island’s Radisson Blu Hotel – from the lush green foliage of the entry tunnel you meander through, to the kitsch bicycle with a floral basket at the reception desk.
It doesn’t stop there either, as soon as you step into the lounge you’ll be wowed by the view. This picturesque spot has wide-ranging vistas across Yas Links and out towards Al Raha Creek. We recommend arriving early to have a sundowner in the mellow lounge area before dinner – the sunset views are simply stunning. Top views, comfy seats and trendy décor and a menu filled to the brim with all the Italian classics you’d expect – pizzas, pastas, salads, grills and more. The food is more than a match for the setting, with the brilliant burrata our personal highlight.
Radisson Blu Abu Dhabi, Yas Island (02 656 2000).

Shortlisted 

Beach House
Beach House is a laid-back seaside spot offering great views of the waters lapping the shores of Saadiyat Island. But it’s not all about the Instagram opportunities here as the Mediterranean-inspired menu is full of picture-perfect plates, with a conscious effort being made to source all the ingredients responsibly.
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas, Saadiyat Island (02 407 1138).

Blue Marlin Ibiza UAE
Everyone’s favourite Balearic-inspired beach club is best known for its weekend parties where the music is as cool as the swimwear-clad clientele. However, you’d be foolish not to sample the culinary offerings, the best being the sharing plates, including the excellent padrón peppers, crispy squid and maki rolls.
Golden Tulip Al Jazira Hotel & Resort, Ghantoot (056 113 3400).

Flooka
Abu Dhabi’s natural wonder of the Mangroves is such an idyllic place to while away an afternoon and after a spot of kayaking, we often plot a course for Flooka, a classy seafood restaurant that’s as calming as its environs. For a true taste of this promenade venue, try the fillet of the day, which is always cooked with care and paired with fresh vegetables.
Eastern Mangroves Promenade, Al Salam (02 441 8244).

 

Iris Yas Island
Get your glad rags on and head out to Yas Marina for a sophisticated soirée in Iris’s sensational outdoor area. The new Friday brunch is sure to be a major draw but if you’re in the mood for something a little less full on, grab a table overlooking the water and dive into some of the tremendous tartares and ceviches.
Yas Marina, Yas Island (055 160 5636).

Pacifico Tiki
This Polynesian-themed haunt adds a real splash of colour to Al Bandar. The food menu matches the locale, with ingredients of a good quality and the execution always accomplished. The Cuban sandwich is undoubtedly our go-to, while the business lunch deal is a real bargain.
Al Bandar Marina, Al Raha Beach (02 556 6090).

Sho Cho
This Japanese eatery also has a thriving nightlife scene, with DJs spinning top tunes for the capital’s cool crowd. The food is foremost in Sho Cho’s thoughts, though, with the mixed sashimi platter not only its best seller but also so fresh you’d think the fish had jumped straight out of the sea and on to your plate. Check it out.
Souk Qaryat Al Beri, Bain Al Jessrain (02 558 1117).

Sontaya
Sontaya has long been in our good books for offering us a wealth of wonderful cuisine in a setting that oozes calm and relaxation. Should be unable to decide on your starters, Sontaya’s Selection gives you a sharing plate that gives you an insight into the chefs’ craft, while the pan-seared Vietnamese sea bass fillet is a real delight.
The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island (02 498 8443).

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