Dinner and a show is what you will get at this American-Japanese restaurant. The chefs dazzle diners with their long paddles that they use to deliver their creations. But the theatrics would fall flat like a deflated puffer fish if the bites didn’t deliver the goods. Thankfully, that is not the case.
Roll out with: Keiko roll
A trio of salmon, eel and shrimp curl up inside a casing of rice. Strips of avocado and mango lend it a creamy feel as a lashing of spicy mayo adds a knock-out kick. Red and black fish roe garnishes each piece.
Dhs105. Open daily 6pm-11pm. Beach Rotana, Al Zahiyah (02 697 9011).
The hip, beach-front restaurant is known for its high-quality seafood dishes. Each plate is meticulously prepared and served to you in the stylish and elegant dining room. Thanks to the care taken, the sushi, something that relies so heavily on amazing produce and precise presentation, is simply a triumph.
Roll out with: Lobster maki
No prizes for guessing the main ingredient here. The sushi is presented with parts of the crustacean. Orange caviar coats each piece to match the vibrant hue of the shell.
Dhs95. Open daily noon-midnight. Nation Riviera Beach Club, Corniche Road, Al Khubeirah (02 611 0909).
Set in the quaint Venetian Village, the staff at this dining destination greet each diner with a booming welcome on arrival. The scenic spot is ideal for a romantic evening for two, or to celebrate a special occasion.
Roll out with: Wagyu beef with shrimp tempura
Seared slices of Wagyu topped with shrimp tempura rolled in sushi rice. Dots of cream cheese and spicy mayo are the final touches.
Dhs85. Open daily 12.30-11pm. Venetian Village, Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal (02 404 1921).
Yes, we know this is an Arabic restaurant and no, we aren’t suffering from a wasabi-overdose. This Southern Sun offering also includes a sushi menu that comprises the classics and some originals.
Roll out with: Dynamite maki
A signature dish, each log of sushi is coated in tempura batter and fried until crispy. The cylinder is then cut into those familiar rounds and garnished with a dollop of kani mayo that is given the lightest of caramelisation.
Dhs55. Open daily 7.30pm-midnight. Southern Sun Abu Dhabi, Mina Road (02 818 4888).
This eatery belongs to Yas Viceroy’s lucky collection of restaurants that gets to boast about its stellar Yas Marina Circuit views. And if you’re too awestruck to decide on what to eat, the chefs are only too happy to take on the tough task for you.
Roll out with: The Omakase menu
Kazu offers an Omakase menu, which sees the chefs create a special selection for your table based on your preferences and the produce available in the kitchen. It’s a great way to experience some unique dishes and also test just how far your culinary boundaries can go.
Prices vary. Open Mon-Sat 7pm-11pm. Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi, Yas Island (02 656 0000).
The sushi menu might seem a little plain, but the modern execution and presentation makes this restaurant a standout. The dimly-lit tables and chilled-out music make KOI an ideal spot for a relaxed weekend dinner.
Roll out with: Rock ’n’ Roll
A tasty trio of soft shell crab, spicy tuna and baked crab mingle harmoniously under a cover of rice. Its tuna toro and gold leaf garnish tops off this indulgent offering.
Dhs145. Open Sat-Wed 6.30pm-1am, Thu-Fri 6.30pm-2am. The Collection, The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Saadiyat Island (02 678 3334).
The relaxed environs at this modern American eatery bring in groups of friends and families. Its compact menu lists original creations along with popular mainstays. And let’s not forget that focal olive tree that’s been photographed by many a diner.
Roll out with: Crispy sushi
Not your conventional piece, this creation involves slices of tuna resting on fried cubes of tofu; a zingy chipotle mayo is sandwiched between the two.
Dhs45. Open Sat-Wed noon-11.30pm. Thu noon-midnight. Le Royal Méridien, Khalifa Street, Al Markaziya (800 101 101).
Few venues enjoy as good a view of the Grand Mosque as this trendy eatery. Less is more with its minimalist décor and white interiors. Popular in the evenings, the extensive menu offers myriad raw and cooked fish dishes.
Roll out with: Tuna filo
The usual rice or nori wrapping is swapped for a thin, yet flaky cover of filo pastry. The tuna is rubbed with a seasoning mixture of sesame seeds, coriander, ginger and garlic purée. An intoxicating sauce of wasabi paste and Japanese mayonnaise is on the side for the more adventurous diners among you.
Dhs105. Open Sun-Thu noon-3.30am. Fri-Sat noon-2.45am. Souk Qaryat Al Beri, Al Maqtaa (02 558 1117).
The restaurant’s prompt delivery service ensures hungry customers get their order before it gets a little too fishy. Just be sure you don’t leave it untouched for too long, though, stale sushi isn’t pleasant.
Roll out with: Mr Men & Little Miss Boxes
A special promotion pack, this 42-piece box carries a variety of pieces including spicy tuna, salmon tataki and veggie California rolls.
Dhs195. Delivery hours, daily 11am-11pm (800 220).
The pocket-friendly brand is known for its delicious menu and efficient delivery service in the city. It recently opened its fourth outlet out at Yas Central, thus spreading its reach even further across Abu Dhabi.
Roll out with: Summer salmon chirashi
A refreshing salmon, kiwi and mango tartare seasoned with a Mediterranean dressing, sandwiched between two layers of Japanese rice. Salmon roe is used to garnish.
Dhs32. Open daily 11am-11.45pm. Near Commercial Bank of Dubai, Khalidiyah Street, Al Khalidiyah (60 052 0007).
This chain is popular for its healthy alternatives – swapping white rice for brown – and even lists a tropical fruit sushi on its menu. Some of its dishes are delicately presented, posing prettily for the shutterbugs.
Roll out with: Sushi burrito
The frontrunners from two popular cuisines – Japanese and Mexican – come together. Sushi Counter has not one but four different types for you to pick from. Chicken, salmon, tuna and aubergine are the mainstays of each one.
From Dhs32. Open 11am-11pm. Al Bandar, Al Raha Beach, Al Raha (02 555 0547).
The latest offering in Japanese cuisine, this wallet-friendly restaurant sits on the ground floor of the Holiday Inn on the Old Airport Road. It’s been around for a couple of months now and is already gathering a steady following. The décor is full of reds and browns and includes dining booths and a lengthy community table.
Roll out with: Dynamite tempura roll
Crispy tempura shrimp cosies up to asparagus and avocado. Spicy mayo and cream cheese add flavour. More avocado covers each piece, along with red fish roe.
Dhs35. Open Sun-Fri 11am-11pm. Holiday Inn Abu Dhabi, Embassies District, Old Airport Road (02 304 8387).
Impeccable service in a polished venue are the order of the day. The multi-cuisine restaurant also seems to have mastered the art of fusion cooking and has some innovative dishes. Its sushi bar enjoys the distinction of rolling together some curious creations.
Roll out with: Rocky Mars Roll
The standard casing of sushi and seaweed is filled with the contrasting textures of cream cheese and crispy fish skin. Marinated salmon tops the invention.
Dhs50. Open daily 6pm-1am. Park Rotana Complex, Eastern Ring Road, Khalifa Park Area (02 657 3333).
One of the older Japanese restaurants in the city, the restaurant’s décor is modern, but not as flashy as you may find at some of the others on this list. The well-trained, humble chefs behind the sushi counters are happy to help you navigate through a menu that includes traditional and contemporary dishes.
Roll out with: All about rolls
Why settle for one when you can have four types of sushi all on one platter? This dish lines up an assortment of California rolls, double shrimp, triple salmon and panko rolls. We’re sure you’ll find something to like.
Dhs118. Open daily noon-3pm, 6.30pm-11pm. Hilton Abu Dhabi, Corniche Road, Al Khubeirah (02 681 1696).
Tori No Su
An elegant restaurant at the towering Etihad Towers near the Corniche. The staff are attentive and friendly, while the tasty food is elegantly presented, making it a popular destination for sushi lovers and those looking for something authentically Japanese.
Roll out with: Soft-shell crab sushi
Crunchy bites of soft-shell crab paired with egg, cucumber and spring onion, topped with a drizzle of mayonnaise.
Dhs55. Open Sun-Thu noon-3.30pm, Fri-Sat 7pm-11.30pm. Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, Corniche Road (02 811 5666).
The Yacht Club
The InterContinental has cemented itself as one of the capital’s landmarks. And over the years, it’s proved itself as a high-quality culinary destination for hungry diners in the city. The Yacht Club is popular as a nightlife destination, but dishes out some nifty grub
to keep the party going.
Roll out with: Salmon poke nori taco
Okay, so we’ve cheated. This doesn’t look like a piece of sushi and it probably isn’t. But its crispy seaweed taco shell will lull you into believing it is a distant relative of the Japanese staple. Give this dish a try and we’re sure you’ll forgive us.
Dhs50. Open Sun-Tue 5pm-1am, Wed-Thu 5pm-3.30am. Fri noon-3.30am. InterContinental Abu Dhabi, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street (02 666 6888).
This iconic restaurant has more than a few of Time Out’s Restaurant Awards, now standing proud in its cabinet. Top-quality, impressive food, impeccable service and chic décor are three big, bold ticks. What’s more? The Japanese izakaya-style dining room boasts stunning views of the city’s skyline.
Roll out with: Duo of nigiri
Pieces of salmon aburi with mentaiko sauce, ikura and shiso, alongside seabass with oscietra caviar, yuzu and shaved white truffle.
Dhs96 (salmon nigiri), the price of the sea bass nigiri is truffle-dependent. Open (lunch) Sun-Thu and Sat noon-3.30am, (dinner) Sat-Wed 7pm-midnight, Thu-Fri 7pm-1am. The Galleria, Al Maryah Island (02 401 5900).
1 If you’re not comfortable with a pair of chopsticks, use your fingers. A fork is a no-no.
2 When eating nigiri it is recommended to let the side with the fish hit your palate first, so you don’t get an overwhelming taste of rice.
3 Pickled ginger works as a palate cleanser and should be eaten after the sushi.
4 It is likely that the waiting staff at the restaurant might call out traditional greetings each time a customer walks in. Don’t jump!
5 Sushi makes for a lousy takeaway. It is best eaten fresh, not five hours later.
6 Place your chopsticks on their rest, not upright in your rice bowl (this resembles incense sticks that are used during funeral rites).
Mark your calendars: sushi nights in the city
Barfly by Buddha Bar
The unlimited buffet, Sushi Social, also includes salads, desserts and grape.
Dhs165. Every Sun 8pm-midnight. Venetian Village, Grand Canal (02 404 1951).
Prep yourself for a tough week with SushiSan’s special promotion. A pair of set menus are offered that include two types of traditional Japanese drinks, a sushi platter and appetisers.
Dhs99. Every Sun and Mon, 6pm-11pm. Holiday Inn Abu Dhabi, Embassies District, Old Airport Road (02 304 8387).
Not one but two evenings, so you can really get your fill. The extensive buffet includes sushi, sashimi and other delicacies, not forgetting dessert.
Dhs149 (soft drinks), Dhs199 (house beverages). Every Mon and Wed 7.30pm-11pm. Southern Sun Abu Dhabi (02 818 4888).
Make an evening of this unlimited sushi, sashimi and maki buffet with eats prepared to order by the guys in charge.
Dhs162. Every Wed 7pm-11pm. Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara (02 656 1000).
Terrace on the Corniche
Roll into the weekend with the Steak & Sushi brunch here. An extensive buffet that includes the best cuts of meat from around the world and fresh hand-rolled sushi.
Dhs195 (soft drinks), Dhs295 (house beverages). Every Thu 7pm-11pm. The St Regis Abu Dhabi, Nation Towers (02 694 4553).
Fresh, unlimited boats of sushi, sashimi and nigiri wait for you at this Japanese restaurant, all at a bargain price.
Dhs130, Dhs160 (house beverages and traditional Japanese drinks). Every Sat 8pm-11pm. Le Royal Méridien, Khalifa Bin Zayed Street (02 674 2020).
Enjoy the restaurant’s signature sushi plates with your gang. Seating options include the restaurant’s chic lounge, or the sushi bar if you are curious about how your dinner is made.
Dhs130 (soft drinks), Dhs195 (traditional Japanese beverages). Every Sat 6pm onwards. Park Rotana Abu Dhabi (02 657 3333).
How to make sushi rolls
1. Place a sheet of nori on the bamboo mat and scoop up half of the rice in your hands and gently form into a log shape.
2. Using wet fingers, gently push the rice outwards to the edges and corners of the nori sheet.
3. Place the ingredients on top of the sheet of rice as shown, to ensure your roll looks picture-perfect.
4. Roll the bamboo mat away from you and over the fillings, using your thumbs to roll and your fingers to hold the filling in place.
5. Gently press on the top and sides and use a knife to cut the rolls in half, and continue slicing each half to make five separate pieces.
6. Place the rolls on a plate and serve with wasabi, pickled ginger and soy sauce for a truly authentic Japanese experience.
Know your roll
An oblong-shaped rice morsel topped with raw fish.
A seaweed cone filled with raw fish, rice and vegetables.
Two or three ingredients wrapped in a sheet of seaweed and then rice.
Two or three ingredients encased in rice first and then seaweed.
Sushi rice, usually served in a bowl, topped with veggies or fish.
A small heap of sushi rice topped with veggies, roe or fish, wrapped in seaweed.