With 12 locations around the world, Hakkasan is one of the best-known names in modern, high-end Cantonese cooking. Its two London restaurants, in Mayfair and Hanway Place, each currently hold one Michelin star.
Here in Abu Dhabi, the chic Chinese restaurant is housed, rather fittingly, in the city’s renowned Emirates Palace. Inside, its every bit as sultry as the brand is known worldwide for.
From a menu filled with impressive dishes, its dim sum are the stuff of legend, nestled in steaming baskets like shiny precious gems, and filled with treasures of the sea such as lobster, abalone and royal king crab.
Can’t choose? Book in for the brunch to try a bit of everything, with a menu that takes you on a tasting trip through Hakkasan classics.
Emirates Palace (02 690 7739).
Martabaan by Hemant Oberoi
HE’s A MAN who has cooked for some of the most powerful people in the world, including international royalty and heads of state ranging from Barack Obama to Prince Albert of Monaco. And not long ago Hemant Oberoi was threatening to retire.
Luckily for Abu Dhabi, the celebrated master chef, World Gourmet Club alumni and grand chef of the legendary Taj Group of Hotels (for four decades, no less) is not done showing the world what he’s capable of. Martabaan opened in June 2019, bringing what it describes as ‘contemporary-classic’ Indian fine-dining to the Emirates Palace, with star dishes including varqui crab and masala chai crème brûlée. A must-try.
Emirates Palace (02 690 7999).
Chef jean-georges vongerichten may have dozens of restaurants to his name, but he’s still perhaps best known for his Jean-Georges restaurant in New York, which currently holds two Michelin stars.
In Abu Dhabi, Market Kitchen is a culinary force to be reckoned with. The trendy restaurant interiors with an air of effortless cool belie the complex flavours created by the hardworking kitchen. Expect familiar dishes, elevated. Think pancetta and spicy ricotta pizza, ahi tuna steak with almond sauce, house-made pasta with broccoli pesto...
Head down on Mondays for ladies’ night, where there’s 50 percent off food and free-flowing drinks, or for the new De‘vine’ Friday brunch, launched in September 2019. You won’t regret it.
Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi (800 101 101).
Namak By Kunal Kapur
Indian celebrity chef Kunal Kapur has more than just five series of MasterChef India judging under his belt. The chef and restaurateur has previously held positions at The Claridges Hotel New Delhi and Leela Kempinski in Gurugram, in addition to hosting a number of food travel series.
Namak (literally meaning ‘salt’ in Hindi), at Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi, is the chef’s latest venture, and sees him bring contemporary Indian flavours to the capital. Experience them in the form of dishes such as saag burrata, Kerala fried chicken and roganjosh strudel. Intrigued? You absolutely should be.
Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi (02 304 8380).
Marco Pierre White
Marco Pierre White Steakhouse & Grill And Marco’s New York Italian
Gordon Ramsay’s Mentor famously handed back his Michelin stars, but he remains one of the world’s best-known chefs, and with the recent opening of Marco’s New York Italian, now has two restaurants in Abu Dhabi.
At the award-winning Marco Pierre White Steakhouse & Grill, quality cuts feature alongside dishes such as fresh crab with melba toast, potted duck and Mr White’s fried haddock and triple-cooked chips.
The opening of Marco’s New York Italian sees the chef bring the chain to the region for the first time, serving up a more casual dining experience blending the two cuisines.
Fairmont Bab Al Bahr (02 654 3238).
Vakava Pan Latin Grill & Lounge
Once a professional tennis player, Richard Sandoval has long since made a name for himself for his way with Latin ingredients, fused with international flavours. His company, Richard Sandoval Hospitality, now has more than 40 concepts under its belt, in locations from Arizona to Tokyo, Mexico to Serbia.
After closing Toro Toro, the Mexico City-raised chef has burst back on to the Abu Dhabi dining scene with VaKaVa Pan Latin Grill & Lounge, where you’ll encounter familiar plates of ceviche, tiradito, anticuchos and tacos. Little has changed in terms of the restaurant setting, from the giant bull to the vibrant interiors. Head here for a lively evening meal.
Jumeirah at Etihad Towers (02 811 5666).
Todd English’s Olives
TEXAS-born william Todd English has run restaurants from New York to Manila, but Olives was the first brand he put his name to. While the Charlestown original closed in 2013, the celebrity chef’s award-winning (and seriously stylish) Abu Dhabi eatery is still going strong, serving up his unique interpretation of Mediterranean cuisine. Star dishes include veal ossobucco agnolotti, pan-seared black cod, crab carbonara and an eclectic mix of rustic flatbreads, with toppings such as fig and bresaola.
Venetian Village, The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal (02 404 1941).
Oak Room, Alba Terrace and Market At Edition
AT the age of 26, Tom Aikens became the youngest British chef ever awarded two Michelin stars, during his tenure as head chef at London’s Pied à Terre. Today, his Tom’s Kitchen brasserie in Chelsea has become a go-to for brunch, while the chef is also set to open a boutique restaurant in Belgravia before the end of the 2019. Abu Dhabi is fortunate to have not one, but three Tom Aikens eateries – all housed within The EDITION Abu Dhabi. Head to the Oak Room for steal, Alba Terrace for Mediterranean sharing plates and Market for lazy breakfasts.
The EDITION Abu Dhabi (02 208 0000).
Rasoi By Vineet
The first Indian chef to earn two Michelin stars, Vineet Bhatia hardly needs introduction in the UAE. But it was only in 2019 that the Mumbai-born master brought his famed Rasoi brand to Abu Dhabi. At the time of writing, the restaurant was still promising to be “opening soon”, with Bhatia teasing behind-the-scenes work on the restaurant’s launch to his social media followers. In a message to Time Out Abu Dhabi, the chef declared “I’ve always loved Abu Dhabi and have been longing to open here for a decade.”
Expect contemporary Indian cooking from one of the nation’s most revered chefs. You don’t want to miss this.
Opening soon. Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, jumeirah.com.
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