Where to go, what to eat, how much it costs and what kids’ activities are on offer. These are just a few things the average diner wonders about before stepping into a restaurant for a meal.
The dining options at The World Trade Center are vast. Countless cuisines are on offer and at varying prices. Plus, there are multiple collections of restaurants that call out to hungry patrons: The Souk, The Hub, the Courtyard by Marriott and The Mall’s food court. What is a hungry and confused customer to do?
Well, don’t worry. Time Out has done the hard work and found out the places to go regardless of the occasion or budget.
This pan-Latin restaurant covers the most space of anywhere on this list. With a whopping 440 seats and décor that is modern and fun, Bu! mainly offers dishes from Peru, Argentina, Brazil (and their other neighbours) on an innovative menu. We particularly love its small but totally decadent dessert selection – it’s just like that old adage, good things come in small packages. Vamos!
Open daily noon-3pm, 6pm-2am. The Hub, (02 666 8066).
Fifth Street Café
This place stands out for more than just its signature hanging egg-shaped rattan chairs. Executive chef Saurabh Saxena likes to put his little spin on the home-style dishes he serves. For the aubergine caponata, an Italian classic, he uses baby mozzarella, capers and pine nuts and serves it on a thick slice of crusty wholegrain bread, taking it away from the hearty stew that most know it as.
Open daily 6am-1am. Courtyard by Marriott World Trade Center (02 698 2222).
If you’re on the lookout for a refuelling station to break a hectic shopping spree, then make your way to this popular restaurant. Catchy tunes, chatty guests, affordable prices and high-quality food will energise you for round two. For starters, the dough balls are worth the hype – and their calorie value. Meanwhile, the pizzas come in different shapes, sizes and base thickness. The leggera is thin and crispy with a cut out circle in the middle that is filled with a fresh dressed salad –healthy cheating, if there ever was such a thing. Don’t forget to cool down with a scoop or two of the home-made gelato before you pick up your bags and head out.
Open daily noon-midnight. The Hub (02 444 77 52).
Kababs & Kurries
A curry house had to feature given the concentration of south Asian expats who inhabit the locale. The décor of this Souk resident may not be much to write home about, but its food delivers. The kebabs – specifically the hara bhara, dahi ke kebab and murgh malai tikka – are noteworthy mentions from the tandoor. The Goan fish curry is best enjoyed with a mound of rice. And don’t be afraid to dig your fingers in. It’s how they do it on the beaches of Palolem.
Open daily noon-11.30pm. The Souk (02 628 2522).
Everyone knows that chicken doesn't get much better than at Nando's. The South African chain's famous peri-peri chicken has a reputation that precedes it, and there is little wonder why. Big indoor and outdoor areas can accommodate the droves, who rarely leave disappointed. The chicken is marinated for 24 hours and flame-grilled, meaning it's blackened, crispy and delicious. If you can take some spice then go for the extra hot option, chilli lovers won't be disappointed.
Daily noon-1am. Level 3, World Trade Center Mall (02 304 8190).
This international-cuisine newbie serves a novel take on fusion food (as the name suggests). It combines ingredients and cooking techniques in a respectful tribute to the region. The halwa cheesecake, Wagyu short rib and camel ravioli with truffle are prime examples. A roof terrace and a lounge area mix up the seating arrangement, making it suitable for any occasion.
Open daily noon-midnight. The Hub (02 444 0467).
There’s no shortage of burger joints in the city, but connoisseurs are always vocal about this international chain. Its simple interior lets the food do the talking. We’re fans of the spuds (much to our personal trainer’s frustration) and love the crinkle-cut fries. But it’s the “concretes” that get us weak at the knees. These aren’t just any old shakes. Frozen custard ice cream gets a good whirl around with a selection of chocolate, cake bits and other sauces. Proceed with caution. And don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Daily 11am-midnight. The Souk (02 612 0880).
Shakespeare and Co.
Satisfy more than just a sweet craving with a stopover at this café, one of ten outlets in the city. Its kitsch look is its trademark. Generous portions attract bundles of families who love the place’s varied menu. It has all the ingredients for a lazy weekend breakfast.
Open daily 7.30am-12.30am. The Souk (02 3048178).
A second Indian eatery in the building, but don’t expect to find the usual flavours that are associated with the subcontinent. The restaurant describes itself as Indian-inspired and employs global cooking techniques such as sous vide and teppanyaki. Copper chains and decorative pieces fill up the venue and there’s also outdoor seating. While starters and mains like the soft shell crab pakora, Mangalorean chicken dosa and the 48-hour slow-cooked lamb shank in rogan sauce pique interest, our heart belongs to the desserts. You haven't lived until you try The Break-Up.
Open Sun-Wed noon-1am; Thu-Sat noon-2am. The Hub (02 672 8888).
The central courtyard on the ground floor of The Souk is the main seating area for this Middle Eastern restaurant. There is also a terrace garden option that lets you dine outside. The menu features the usual suspects and the polite staff make it an enjoyable visit. A good breakfast spread will let you hit the ground running in the AM.
Open daily 8am-midnight. The Souk (02 418 2478).
Also in the area
What it lacks in decor it makes up for in the food. Expect authentic Chinese dishes and flavours. If you love your dim sum, you will fawn over the fried chicken dumplings. The sweet and sour chicken is another winner.
Open daily 11.30am- 1pm, 6pm-11pm. Mercure Abu Dhabi Centre Hotel, Hamdan Street (02 633 3555).
A Filipino chain that's popular with its community in the capital. The restaurant’s decor is bright, cheerful and simple and the food that comes out of the kitchen ticks the right boxes. Open up your mind and palate and don't be afraid to try new flavours. Don't just take our word for it, try it yourself.
Open daily 11am-11pm. Opposite Emax, Hamdan Street (02 677 0740).
A good value meal is what you will get at this family-friendly Italian venue. While it does a good job of the classics, it does venture out into more experimental ones, too. Its metre-long pizza can hold as many as four different varieties of toppings. Perfect for sharing.
Open daily noon-11pm. Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi, Hamdan Street (02 304 8214).