Samurai Japanese Restaurant

A well-priced Japanese restaurant in Abu Dhabi
  • +6

Time Out Says

Red neon lights indicate you’ve found Samurai, an independent Japanese restaurant on a corner opposite the Corniche Maternity Hospital.

Inside, the décor is just as brash, and its bright red walls and black furniture won’t be to everyone’s taste. But at least it’s made an effort. An Oriental screen hides an office area, and noren – Japanese curtains that hang to the waist – block off the toilets. The curtain for the ladies’ depicts a geisha.

On one side of the room there is a yatai, or food stall, which seems authentic. It has a tiled roof, from which Japanese fabric hangs, and is decorated with noh theatre masks. This food stall serves as the restaurant’s sushi bar, so you can sit on stools at the counter to watch chefs slicing sashimi.

On our visit, a handful of staff are sitting and joking around near the entrance. But we’re seated promptly by a friendly waitress – who then hovers two inches from our elbow while we browse the menu. Another comes out of the kitchen eating.

The menu is extensive, so you can choose from sushi, sashimi, noodles and noodle soup, barbecued meat and grilled dishes. All of the dishes are thoroughly explained on the menu and come with pictures to help you choose.

We order the Philadelphia roll, and receive six or seven plump rolls with a generous filling of soft cream cheese and avocado, which are draped with smoked salmon and decorated with dill. The maguro sashimi – raw tuna – is fresh and comes in slices as thick as our little finger on a bed of shaved daikon, or white radish.

The ebi tempura is a hit, as the deep-fried prawns are as long as our outstretched hand and piled on top of our plate. The batter is light and crispy, and not at all oily. It comes with the usual fish-based stock tempura is meant to be served with, although we’re surprised to find it is hot.

Our unagi kabayki, or grilled eel, is served with the skin underneath and in a sweet teriyaki sauce. There’s too much sauce which, is sickly after a while, but it’s tasty nonetheless.

We ask for the tenderloin teppanyaki to be well done, but it arrives charred, black and dry. The final nail in the coffin comes when the air conditioning unit above our head drips into it.

Instead, we order the tori teppanyaki, or grilled chicken, which comes with vegetables – but we’re concerned when they ask us how we want the chicken cooked. We ask for it to be cooked thoroughly, and it arrives hard.

The bottom line? Extra training for the staff would be welcome here. Until then, stick with the fish dishes. We ask for the bill, and are pleased to find it comes under Dhs280.

The bill (for two)

Philadelphia roll Dhs45
Maguro sashimi Dhs32
Prawn tempura Dhs55
Unagi kabayki Dhs40
Tenderloin teppanyaki Dhs60
Tori teppanyaki Dhs40
Total (excl. service) Dhs272

By Time Out Abu Dhabi staff  | 11 Nov 2014

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Payment OptionsCash, Credit Card
CuisinesJapanese, Sushi
Dress CodeCasuals
Show number +971 2 676 6612
Abu Dhabi, Al Markaziyah, Meena St

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