Abu Dhabi's ultimate brunch guide

The inside track on the city's finest feasts

We have a bit of a hunch that you love brunch – and guess what? We do too.

The Abu Dhabi institution just keeps on getting bigger and bigger every year (along with our waistlines, but we are sure that’s just a coincidence) and we are always left hungry for more.

The UAE capital is jam-packed with fantastic feasts, from decadent dining experiences and blow-out party brunches where the emphasis is on fun as much as food, to pocket-friendly meal marathons and exciting newcomers you just need to stick on your culinary bucket-list.

There is no excuse to have an empty dining diary with so much to cram on your plate, so let’s go brunching once again...

Cheap and cheerful (Dhs200 and under)

Cooper’s Bar and Restaurant
Forget pub lunch, it is pub brunch at one of our favourite watering-holes in the city.

The buzzing British-style venue serves up a double portion of brunching goodness on both Friday and Saturday. The Friday
carvery feast features a wide variety of dishes including roast meats with all the trimmings, plus pies and cakes and live cooking and barbecue stations outside.

The Saturday sequel is a barbecued blockbuster, with top tastes hot off the grill, alongside salads, starters, main courses and desserts. Whichever day you choose (or maybe you are up for both) a great time is in store at Cooper’s.
Dhs165 (soft drinks), Dhs235 (house beverages), Dhs255 (premium beverages), 50 per cent off (kids aged six-12), free (kids under six). Fri noon-4pm; Dhs155 (soft drinks), Dhs190 (house beverages), Dhs220 (premium beverages), 50 per cent off (kids aged six-12), free (kids under six). Sat noon-3pm. Park Rotana Abu Dhabi, Khalifa Park area (02 657 3325).

PJ O’Reilly’s

This Irish favourite pulls out all the stops every Friday. Not only do you get a huge spread of hearty pub grub to tuck into, but there is also free pool access thrown in and live music from the popular Jamra Band and DJ Tintin to enjoy – all for just Dhs200. The Pool Picnic Brunch provides plenty of fun in the sun so soak up the lively vibes (or just soak yourself in the pool) and make the most of a few hours at one of the most welcoming spots in the city. Oh, and they won’t charge you VAT either – even better for you frugal fun-seekers.
Dhs200. Fri 1pm-4pm. Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa Street (800 101 101).

Porters English Pub
You get a whole lot more than just a taste of England at this lively all-you-can-eat treat. While there is a delicious carving station serving up sumptuous slices of prime meats such as roast beef and chicken, diners can also tuck into a host of international flavours such as sushi and sashimi, chicken kebabs, salads and much more. The current seven-piece resident band, YFY, have also built up a strong connection with Porters regulars and keep the party atmosphere in full flow throughout the brunch. The fantastic four-hour packages will set you back as little as Dhs132 – that's top value that we can’t argue with.
Dhs132 (soft drinks), Dhs194 (house beverages). Fri noon-4pm. Grand Millennium Al Wahda, Hazza Bin Zayed Street (02 495 3936).


Party brunches

Blue Marlin Ibiza UAE
There are plenty of things we love about living in Abu Dhabi, and enjoying plate after plate of international flavours while lounging on the beach and listening to the beats of a world-class DJ is pretty high on the list. You can do it every week, too, at the capital’s ultimate dance destination, Blue Marlin Ibiza. The popular beach club’s brunch offers guests the chance to dine in the restaurant area, looking out onto the beach from the terrace or the pristine sands themselves, all while being serenaded by some seriously catchy tunes. The food, including chicken bao, pesto-sprinkled pizza and sushi, is a smash hit, too. Dhs295 (restaurant), Dhs325 (beach/terrace), Dhs550 (bubbly). Sat 1pm-4pm. Golden Tulip Al Jazira Hotel and resort,
off Sheikh Zayed Road, Ghantoot (056 113 3400).

Loca
We have been loco about Loca ever since it launched in the capital’s culinary hub, The Galleria on Al Maryah Island, at the start of last year. It’s been spicing up our dining lives ever since – particularly on a Friday. The fantastic five-hour entertainment extravaganza is packed with funky Latino vibes from a live band, alongside a colourful and flavoursome menu of classic Mexican tastes. The funky décor of the dining space, coupled with the stunning views of clear blue waters looking out onto Al Maryah Island, make it a feast for all of the senses. Don’t be caught in a siesta, make it down to this foodie fiesta.
Dhs165 (soft drinks), Dhs280 (house beverages). Fri noon-5pm. The Galleriah, Al Maryah Island (02 582 3639).

McGettigan’s
If you can’t have a good time at McGettigan’s then, well, sorry to be the ones to break this to you, you are probably not that much fun. The Friday feeling lingers on for so long at the Al Raha Beach venue that you really don’t need to go anywhere else. Not only can you have your choice of delicious à la carte dishes, including roast rib of beef with all the trimmings and salmon fillet, plus the prime pickings from the live carving stations and a fresh salad buffet (you might have some greens, you never know), but the music is pumped out throughout the brunch before Barry Casey takes to the stage at 5pm and the Boxtones wow the crowds at 9pm. Can you stick around that long? With a Dhs169 unlimited drinks deal running post-brunch from 5pm to 8pm, there is every reason to hang out longer.
Dhs229 (house beverages), Dhs139 (soft drinks). Fri noon-4pm. Al Raha Beach Hotel, Channel Street (02 652 4333).

Stills Restaurant & Bar
This stylish Yas Island spot really comes into its own on Fridays. A laid-back and sophisticated hangout during the week, once the weekend arrives it transforms into an all-singing, all-dancing party destination. The mega seven-hour Funch (Friday fun brunch) is a plush playground for big kids. Not only do you get a bumper spread of high-quality fare, there is also live entertainment from dynamic DJs Cliff Townley and Chris Smith and the capital’s award-winning house band, The International Playboys, plus you can make your own fun and games by having a go at the Rodeo Bull, giant hops pong, massive Twister, a huge Connect 4 and much more. Brunch runs from 12.30pm until 4pm and you can keep the party going by going for the full-on Funch package, running all the way until 8pm. That’s your Friday sorted.
Dhs261 (12.30pm-4pm), Dhs365 (12.30pm-8pm). Every Fri. Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi – Yas Island (02 656 3000).

New on the menu

99 Sushi Bar & Restaurant
This simply superb Japanese restaurant, brought to Abu Dhabi by way of Spain, has quickly become a firm foodie favourite with us. So the news that our reigning Newcomer of the Year has now launched its very own brunch has left our taste buds tingling in anticipation. The Zeitaku Saturday brunch promises to take diners on a luxurious culinary voyage, taking in 11 (yes, 11) individual courses stretched out over five-and-a-half hours. Don’t make any other dining plans (or any other plans it all really) as this will end your weekend in fine style.
Dhs399 (soft drinks), Dhs499 (premium house beverages and bubbly), Dhs699 (bubbly and Japanese grape). Sat 1pm-6.30pm. The Galleria, Al Maryah Island (02 418 2567).

Cipriani
Being flavour of the month is no bad thing at swanky Italian eatery, Cipriani. The sophisticated Yas Island restaurant is serving up a new Friday brunch called Dolce Vita – but you can only catch it once a month. The set-menu offering, held on the second Friday of every month, boasts a wonderful selection of authentic Italian dishes alongside Japanese cuisine. There will even be a sushi chef on hand to roll out specialities. Delightful dishes on offer include elegant appetisers such as burrata with cherry tomato and taggiasche olives and calamari fritti with tartare sauce, plus main courses such as chicken alla Milanese. The menu will change slightly each month. almon teriyaki. Guests can round off an upscale experience by playing board games into the evening.
Dhs375 (soft drinks), Dhs550 (house beverages), Dhs625 (bubbly). Every second Friday, 1pm-5pm. Yas Marina (02 657 5400).

Filini Garden

You won’t mind being led down the garden path here as some rich culinary rewards are waiting at the end it. The funky alfresco venue has proven a huge hit since swinging open its doors last year and launched its own brunch at the start of 2018 to allow food lovers a chance to soak up even more fun in the sun. You will be happy to linger a while in the idyllic garden setting while a set menu of dishes are brought to your table, accompanied by a small buffet. There are some terrific tastes to enjoy, including a variety of pizzas and pastas and a big choice of seafood dishes. There is live music to enjoy while you tuck into the fine food and take in the lovely views looking out onto the nearby golf course and the brilliant blue waters of the island. All is rosy in the garden.
Dhs200 (soft drinks), Dhs365 (house beverages), Dhs500 (premium beverages). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Radisson Blu Hotel Abu Dhabi, Yas Island (02 656 2000).

The Village Brunch
Not sure if you have a hankering for Italian, want to gorge on Greek cuisine or fancy a little taste of England? Thankfully, you can have your fill of them all (and much more besides) at this alfresco feast. Set in the scenic surroundings of The Village at Le Méridien Abu Dhabi, this chilled-out affair brings the world on a plate straight to you. The huge array of international dishes come thick and fast to your table, with the only limit being your appetite. Diners are armed with a two-sided card with a green logo on one side (meaning, keep the food coming) and a red label you can use when you need a break from the culinary conveyor belt, just like you’re at a churrascaria. Enjoy the great outdoors here before the summer heat gets turned up.
Dhs139 (soft drinks), Dhs229 (house beverages), 50 percent off (kids six-12), free (kids under six). Fri 1pm-4pm. The Village, Le Meridien Abu Dhabi, Al Zahiyah (02 644 6666).

Maison Beirut
Lebanese restaurants in the capital don’t come any classier than this. Based in the five-star Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Maison Beirut, all decked out in striking bright whites and pinks and colourful artwork, boasts a beautiful indoor dining area. As great as it is inside, you will find it hard to resist stepping out onto the eye-catching outdoor terrace, complete with a wonderfully relaxing water wall, comfortable shaded seating spots and spectacular views of shimmering waters and the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Oh, and the food is great, too. You can savour everything from hot and cold mezzeh to delicious grilled meats and authentic desserts, while the kids won’t be left out either as there is a dedicated buffet area for them and lots of fun activities on offer.
Dhs155 (set menu), Dhs78 (kids aged six-12), free (kids under six). Fri noon-4pm. Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Abu Dhabi
(02 654 3238).

Roberto’s Abu Dhabi
The Italian favourite already has a brilliant Friday feast and now Saturdays are becoming extra special, too. The Al Maryah Island eatery has just launched the Pranzo in Giardino (Lunch in the Garden) brunch and it is one all of the family can enjoy. The restaurant’s pretty terrace is set up with a mock-grass floor, lounge chairs and low tables to provide that perfect afternoon picnic vibe. The tasty menu consists of traditional Italian dishes, including five hot and cold antipasti, a delicious main course from a choice of pasta, risotto, fish, meat or a vegetarian offering, an oyster and mixed drinks bar and ice cream and a chocolate platter to round off the meal. Little ones are well catered for with face painting, colouring stations and balloons among the family-friendly activities.
Dhs245 (mixed drinks), free (kids under 10 ordering from the regular children’s menu). Sat noon-4pm. The Galleria, Al Maryah Island (02 627 9009).

SushiSan
Japanese cuisine is really on a roll in Abu Dhabi – and it’s not just award-winning Zuma who are leading the charge. Laid-back and understated SushiSan, nestled away in the Holiday Inn Abu Dhabi, is a little hidden treasure. It’s Thursday Fusion brunch takes a more relaxed approach to showcasing its array of flavours. There are buffet stations where you can design your own sushi platter, among many more tasty dishes.
Dhs185 (soft drinks), Dhs250 (house beverages), Thu 6.30pm-10.30pm. Holiday Inn Abu Dhabi, Dhafeer Street (800 7874 4726).

Foodie favourites

Asia De Cuba
There is much more to Asia De Cuba (our cover star this week) than just the views (as marvellous as they are). The super-cool Chino-Latino venue serves up a bumper brunch on both Friday and Saturday, complete with a wealth of small plates, such as soft-poached mini eggs Benedict and chilli crab cake bao, a wide selection of ceviches and substantial feeds from the grill, including lamb tenderloin, flank steak and salmon. You can also take part in an interactive ceviche masterclass during the brunch to hone your own kitchen skills. So sit back and relax, soak up the stunning views of the Arabian Gulf from the Corniche and make the most of your weekend.
Dhs250 (soft drinks), Dhs350 (mixed drinks). Fri-Sat 1pm-4pm. Nation Riviera Beach Club, the Corniche (02 699 3333).

Barfly by Buddha-Bar
If you are looking to get your Friday chill on, look no further than this vibrant Venetian Village venue. Dubbed the only Neo-Baroque mystic-lounge concept in the city (no, we are not sure what it means either, but the place is seriously cool) Barfly by Buddha-Bar remains one of the hottest destinations in the city, day or night. Take a picturesque stroll along on a Friday afternoon and you will see the kitchen team in all their gastronomic glory. Diners are greeted by a fleet of chefs taking command at a line of food stations, serving up everything from sumptuous sushi and sashimi to delicious crispy duck pancakes. There are
a good choice of main course dishes, too, which can all be enjoyed while listen to the beats of a top DJ. The wonderful views of The Abu Dhabi Grand Canal stretching out before you are hard to beat, too.
Dhs225 (soft drinks), Dhs325 (house beverages), Dhs425 (bubbly). Fri 1pm-5pm. Venetian Village, The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal, Khor Al Maqta (056 177 7557).

BOA Steakhouse
This sleek and stylish restaurant is one of the best steakhouses in the city – but its Friday Mangroves Guild Brunch is about much more than just prime cuts. The elegant sit-down affair, which features à la carte dishes served at your table as opposed to the usual foodie free-for-all, allows the venue’s top kitchen team to showcase all of their skills. While the juicy steaks are great, diners can also sample superb seafood and a fine line in desserts. Whether you choose to eat in the elegantly-decorated dining area or out on the terrace, with its excellent views of the Eastern Mangroves, you are in for a treat.
Dhs345 (soft beverages), Dhs455 (house beverages), Dhs595 (bubbly). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Eastern Mangroves Promenade,
Sheikh Zayed Street (02 641 1500).

Café Milano
This trendy Four Seasons Hotel restaurant serves up a different dining experience every week – each with a little sprinkling of Italian inspiration. The Viaggio in Italia Saturday brunch puts a spotlight on cuisine from a different region of Italy every week, allowing diners to savour delicate tastes such as handmade pasta, fresh seafood and salads with weekly specials. With beautiful waterfront views on offer from the terrace, this is a feast for all of the senses.
Dhs235 (soft drinks), Dhs300 (house beverages), Dhs75 (kids aged six-12), free (kids under six). Sat noon-4pm. Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi, Al Maryah Island (02 333 2444).

Coya Abu Dhabi

There is never a bad time to visit Time Out Abu Dhabi’s Best Restaurant, but we suggest you definitely clear a few hours on a Friday. The classy Peruvian eatery, which recently celebrated the first anniversary of its opening in the capital, has freshened up its already tasty brunch. Diners can enjoy even more of the venue’s award-winning bites, from causa amarillo with crabmeat, and waygu rib maki with wasabi to the new bao of veal belly with barbecue sauce and a great collection of fresh ceviches and anticuchos. Brunch guests can each select a main course, ranging from grilled chicken or salmon and spicy beef to a sea bass cazuela, a delicious Peruvian stew with corn purée. The best restaurant in Abu Dhabi really is a must visit.
Dhs198 (soft drinks), Dhs318 (house beverages), Dhs428 (sparkling). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. The Galleria, Al Maryah Island
(02 306 7000).

Frangipani
There aren’t many brunches that you need to get a boat to, in fact, we can only think of this one. From start to finish, the offering at Frangipani is a cut above most Friday feasts. The all-day dining restaurant at the ultra-luxury Zaya Nurai Island is a bright and airy place to dine, but it’s not just confined to the venue itself. You can wander around the island, enjoy the white sands, take a dip in the azure waters (and have a go on those oversized swings that stand out in the Arabian Gulf). We absolutely recommend this one for a getaway one weekend, it feels like you’re a million miles away from city life. The food is great here, too, with a focus on organic and artisanal ingredients and flavours from the Mediterranean, India, Asia and the Middle East. Don’t just take out word for it, head to the island before it gets too hot.
Dhs550 (soft drinks), Dhs650 (house beverages), Dhs750 (bubbly), half price (kids four-12), free (under fours). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Zaya Nurai Island (02 506 6222).

Giornotte
Okay, so you might not immediately think of an all-day dining venue when you are rackling your brains to come up with the city’s very best brunches. But Giornotte, housed inside the opulent Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi bucks the trend – and then some. The tremendous Friday feast won our Best Brunch award in 2016 for good reason. The culinary extravaganza takes over a whole wing of the vast hotel and features a multitude of live cooking stations serving up excellent cuisine from all over the globe. You can go on an international tasting tour here without even dusting off your passport, taking in the delights of Mexico, Asia, Indonesia and much more. Live music keeps the vibe nice and lively, too. This is still one of the very best brunches in the capital.
Dhs295 (soft drinks), Dhs395 (house beverages), Dhs495 (bubbly). Fri 1pm-4pm. The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal, Khor Al Maqta (02 818 8282).

Koi
It’s not just Zuma (more about that classy venue later) where the joys of Japanese cuisine are showcased. Far-Eastern flavours are also celebrated in style at Koi, part of the swanky dining collection at The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort. Tradition is married with modernity at a brunch that benefits from a snazzy setting and friendly service. The Koi-Fu Friday brunch features six courses, all brought to your table, including beef tataki, salmon tartare, maki rolls and more substantial feeds such as sticky-sweet barbecue spare ribs, tender wagyu short ribs and beautiful black cod. Even if you can’t make it on any given Friday, there is a chilled-out Saturday evening Gochiso brunch you can check out instead.
Koi-Fu Brunch: Dhs345 (soft drinks), Dhs455 (house beverages), Dhs515 (sparkling), Dhs595 (French bubbly). Gochiso Brunch: Sat 7.30pm-10.30pm. Dhs345 (soft drinks), Dhs455 (house beverages), Dhs515 (sparkling), Dhs595 (French bubbly). The Collection, The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi (02 678 3334).

Sontaya
If you are after a brunch that wows, then look no further than Sontaya. This gorgeous venue is a place to take someone you are keen to impress. Set among a series of floating pavilions looking out onto the beach and across the turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf, it is an awe-inspiring sight. The fine food cooked up at the Asian Fusion brunch is good enough, though, to ensure your gaze returns to your plate. The brunch showcases dishes spanning the South-Eastern portion of the continent, including prawn and chicken dim sum, duck spring rolls, Thai green curry and crispy wok-fried chicken. Whenever you are in the mood for a romantic brunch for two, you really should give Thai a try at Sontaya.
Dhs290 (soft drinks), Dhs415 (house beverages and pool and beach pass). The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi (02 498 8443).

Tamba
The innovative Indian eatery’s Lazy Lunch actually looks quite hard work – if you’re one of the staff here that is. The friendly team make the marathon meal concept – featuring more than 20 dishes split into bites, street eats, a selection of main courses and a medley of desserts – seem quite effortless though. Their sterling service means we, the diners, can be as lazy as we like. The array of starter dishes are pretty light, leaving plenty of room for the delicious mains such as chicken biryani and tender, 48-hour slow cooked lamb shank with rogan josh. The awesome food is served with a sense of fun and theatre befitting of one of the funkiest restaurants in the city. Don’t be lazy about checking it out.
Dhs195 (soft drinks), Dhs295 (house beverages). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. The Hub at The Mall, World Trade Center Abu Dhabi,
Al Markaziya (02 672 8888).

The Foundry
The Southern Sun’s signature steakhouse restaurant has been a prime cut above much of the culinary competition for years and its Friday brunch has been successfully ‘Raising the Steaks’ even further. The popular Friday feast was given a revamp last year, adding even more variety to its ample offering.
The juicy steaks might get you through the door, but there are plenty of other brilliant bites to keep you coming back for more, including a raw bar, a make-your-own-burrata station and even a fizzy drinks station for when you fancy taking a softly-softly approach to brunch. There’s so much to try that you could end up biting off more than you can chew – but you’ll have plenty of fun doing so.
Dhs259 (soft drinks), Dhs339 (house beverages), Dhs389 (bubbly). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Southern Sun Abu Dhabi, Al Mina Street, Al Zahiyah (02 818 4888).

Zuma
No A-Z of Abu Dhabi’s best brunches could ever be complete without the inclusion of Zuma, and not just because it starts with
a Z. The perennial award-winner has been a heavyweight presence on the capital dining scene since opening its doors back in 2014. The sophisticated Japanese restaurant scooped the Best Brunch gong at the Time Out Abu Dhabi Restaurant Awards thanks to a simply stunning selection of dishes. From edamame, sashimi and tempura shrimp to raw fish, grilled meats and the ever-popular black cod, there is a plethora of incredible tastes to savour. Zuma still sets the standard for others to follow.
Dhs345 (soft drinks and mocktails), Dhs445 (Italian bubbly), Dhs 555 (French bubbly and Japanese short drinks).
Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Al Maryah Island (02 401 5900).

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