The Surf Café Abu Dhabi
Time Out Says
When a popular venue from Dubai opens in Abu Dhabi, things can go one of two ways. Either we in the capital get all jealous about the fancy places available up the road, or we’re reminded that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
The Surf Café is a popular spot in Dubai’s Umm Suqeim area, where its location near Kite Beach makes the name more sensible. Here in Abu Dhabi, it’s in the middle of a mall, not quite offering the same experience as its big brother.
But while the location might not be quite as evocative, the venue has brought its laid-back charm and sunny attitude to Abu Dhabi. Also, the setting is rather nice, in The Mall at World Trade Center’s Public Square, next to Dome, Shake Shack and the also newly-opened Pancake House.
We’re paying it a visit one weekday lunchtime only a fortnight or so after opening and it’s quite full, with a nice vibe. There’s a warm welcome and while staff are eager to take our orders, they’re not always around when we’re after another drink or to get the bill at the end. We’ll put that down to teething problems rather than any big issue, and it doesn’t spoil our visit one bit.
The menu covers plenty of ground, from healthy breakfasts (there are vegan options, too), salads and burgers and lots of Japanese-centric dishes (there’s a sushi counter, as well as the usual eats).
We’re after something light so focus on the Asian dishes. Between three people we order crispy calamari, edamame beans, spicy tuna tacos, spinach salad and a platter of 15 pieces of sashimi. We could do with at least one more dish to be satisfied, and looking at the next table’s monster burgers, it maybe should have been one of those.
The calamari is excellent and comes with a great spicy dip. The edamame are rsather average and not salted enough. However, the tuna tacos are the highlight, with the diced fish complemented by the punchy sauce. The sashimi is good, though we could have done without the abundance of cooked prawns, which isn’t really what we order sashimi for.
This is a great little spot for a casual bite. It seems Dubai has good taste after all.
WHAT IS IT...
A fresh venue serving breakfasts, burgers, sushi and more
It’s one of the nicest casual spots to open for ages
01 Nov 2018