From five-star restaurants to hidden gems, you will never run out of options of where to eat on Hamdan Street. Here's a list of venues that includes something for every meal, occasion and budget.
Anand al Saeed
There’s no shortage of Indian food in the capital. From fine dining spots that carry the heavy tag of a celebrity chef, to popular chains straight from the subcontinent and everything in between. Anand al Saeed may be a hole in the wall, but its simple, tasty, home-style food ensures there’s a steady stream of hungry diners marching in at all meal times. Service is welcoming and attentive, without being overly friendly and chatty. With a filling meal for two costing under Dhs50, saying it is budget-friendly is an understatement.
Open daily 8am-2.45pm, 5.30pm-10.45pm. Behind Dunia Finance (02 677 5599).
Located at the intersection of Hamdan and Fatima Bint Mubarak streets, Café 302 is an ideal pit-stop for a quick lunch, or a laidback weekend breakfast date with friends. The appealing décor and prettily-plated food, makes it popular with Instagram aficionados. The menu includes the usual café bites. The soups, pastas and the broccoli and kale salad, in particular, are delicious. The restaurant-café also possesses all the necessary ingredients and gadgets to churn out top-quality cups of coffee. Oh, and it sells its quiches at half price after 8pm.
Open daily 6am-10.30pm. Al Maha Arjaan by Rotana (02 610 6666).
The name of the restaurant translates to rice market in Vietnamese. And while you won’t find sacks of the grain strewn around, the décor is reminiscent of an Asian marketplace. Hanging bird cages and lanterns and celadon wares feature in the dimly-lit dining room. The daily happy hour makes it popular with those who shuffle in after a long day at the office to tuck into the signature wasabi prawns. The menu includes dishes from South East Asia and it does a very tasty red chilli and coconut-based salmon curry.
Open daily noon-1am. Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi (02 616 6149).
Quiz an Indian expat about top biryani spots in the capital and you can be sure that Lazeez will figure on the list. Fish, lobster, vegetable, egg, mushroom – there’s every conceivable option, though the chicken and mutton versions are sure-fires. With 20 varieties of the fragrant rice dish, it’s a wonder that there’s room on the menu for other items. But there is. The mahi tikka achari, a fish tikka marinated in a yoghurt and pickling spices is a pleasing starter.
Open daily noon-midnight. Behind E-Max, Neat National Cinema (02 677 7070).
Its big and red street-side signage makes it hard to miss, despite the sparkling name boards of its neighbours. Venture into this bistro and you will find French classics like onion soup, niçoise salad, escargots, steak frites and coq au vin. Its décor is minimal with red chequered tablecloths that match the design of the menus.
Open daily noon-midnight. Mercure Centre Hotel Abu Dhabi (02 633 3555).
This café is just a corner off Hamdan Street, but it’s luscious custard tarts are bound to lure you slightly off the track and through its doors. Located in the World Trade Center Souk, its menu isn’t elaborate and is ideal for a little nibble of Portuguese-style sandwiches, salads and pies. But it’s really the pastel de nata that sell like hotcakes as is evidenced by the well-stocked display cabinet. Flaky pastry that encases a delicious, creamy vanilla filling (that isn’t overly sweet) with a caramelised top – you won’t be able to stop at one.
Open daily 7am-11.30pm. World Trade Center Souk (02 4182458).
The décor at this popular, family-friendly restaurant is modern and casual. The chicken lettuce wraps are fresh, crunchy and juicy all in one bite. The Asian short ribs are another finger-licking wonder. Meaty, sticky and sweet, the dish comes with a refreshing salad. And let’s not forget those dynamite shrimp, that we all know and love.
Open Sat-Wed 11am-11pm, Thu-Fri 11am-midnight. World Trade Center Mall (02 612 0888).
The décor might not be anything to go by, but it leaves the talking to the authentic Chinese food that arrives from the kitchen. The staff are welcoming and happy to assist you navigate through the menu. Or you could take our advice and order the prawns in chilli and garlic that ticks all the required boxes and make a very worthy starter. The gong bao beef main with onion, dried red chilli and peanuts is a wonderful combination of textures and flavour.
Open daily 11.30am-1pm, 6pm-11pm. Mercure Centre Hotel Abu Dhabi (02 633 3555).
One of the Crowne Plaza’s more popular restaurants, this Italian won’t disappoint your cravings for the cuisine. The understated venue serves hearty staples that deliver the tasty goods. Its convenient downtown location makes it an easy go-to for a quick business lunch, while its warmly lit décor makes it a suitable option for a romantic evening. It also has a relaxed Friday brunch.
Open daily noon-11pm. Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi (02 616 6101).
Up & Below
Gaze over our bustling city from this rooftop lounge at Courtyard by Marriott World Trade Center. It serves as a good choice that allows you to sit back and chill out while nibbling on tasty bar bites. Shisha is also available. The venue’s themed nights ensure the entertainment is fresh and that there is something for everyone. Its November plans include rooftop comedy nights, house and techno evenings and Latin dance performances.
Open daily 10am-2pm. Courtyard by Marriott World Trade Center (02 698 2222).
Also in the area
Shop till you drop at this historical landmark that rolled its shutters up back in 1982. No matter what's on your list – bags, clothes, souvenirs, knick-knacks for your home – you are bound to find something you like here.
On the corner of Hamdan and Muroor streets.
Enjoy the wonders of French cinema on the rootop terrace at Mercure Hotel. Organised together with Alliance Française D’Abu Dhabi, there's one movie scheduled each month. And don't worry if the only French words you know aren't polite, each film has English subtitles.
Free, Nov 9 and Dec 14, 8.30pm. Pool Terrace, Mercure Centre Hotel Abu Dhabi.
Julia Ibbini Gallery
Contemporary artist Ibbini is a regular on Abu Dhabi's art exhibition circuit. She's known for her layered pieces of art that combine photographs, paintings and drawings. Each piece is embellished with beads, crystals and varnishes. If you are unable to attend any of her shows, you could always pay her a visit at her studio-gallery.
Open Sat-Thu 9am-7pm. Viewings by appointment only. Du building. www.ibbini.com, Julia.firstname.lastname@example.org (055 609 3775).