The capital of the United Arab Emirates may be more famous for being the home of some of the world’s grandest accommodations, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center, and its shopping malls, but it is also rising to great popularity for being a gastronomic destination.
As a cultural melting pot in the Middle East, you can find a wide variety of cuisines here. From authentic Japanese fare to traditional North Korean dishes and Instagram-worthy food trends — you will find them all in Abu Dhabi.
But apart from the amazing cuisines and selection of restaurants, there are other reasons why the capital is a fantastic place for a food trip; six of them are discussed below.
1. World-class restaurants offer 5-star rated dishes.
If you are looking to satisfy your cravings for top-rated dishes, you will surely find them in the city. The UAE capital has world-class restaurants that offer everything from highly recommended fusion dishes to the best steak in Abu Dhabi.
These restaurants never disappoint, and you are sure to experience the same reasons why critics and discriminating diners rave about them.
2. There’s something for every budget.
Whatever your budget may be, you will surely find a dining destination that will allow you to have a satisfying meal. There is an abundance of food kiosks, weekend bazaars, and truck stops where food is not just affordable but prepared fresh as well.
Even if you have a limited budget, you can make it go a long way and sample a lot of new food and enrich your gastronomic knowledge.
3. Emirati food is definitely worth trying out.
Although Emirati cuisine is not what many could brand trendy food, it never fails to earn fans after an initial encounter. If you’re from abroad and you are exploring Abu Dhabi, do not miss out on the chance to try Emirati food for the first time, which you can get from a lot of local family-owned cafeterias.
You will surely delight in the unique textures of the ingredients, the vibrant colors of the dishes, the amazing nutritional value (halal food is often healthy), and the rich flavors created by the special herbs and spices used.
4. Food can come with unique experiences.
Abu Dhabi offers desert safari tours that include a special food experience. After a day of exploring the desert and enjoying thrilling adventures such as watching the sunrise on a hot air balloon and a rollercoaster-type of a ride across the dunes in a 4×4, you get to attend a lavish BBQ dinner in the middle of a sandy oasis.
The BBQ dinner alone is worth joining a tour for because Emiratis are experts at BBQ. Plus, you can try camel meat and milk for the first time. To make this food trip even better is the dinner entertainment, which can include a belly-dancing lesson and an enchanting Tanoura dance performance.
5. The food scene quickly catches up with the latest global food trends.
If you like to stay on top of social media to monitor the advent of new food trends, food businesses in Abu Dhabi are one step ahead of you. There are food entrepreneurs based in the city that automatically latch on to these trends and serve them at weekly food fairs or festivals, and weekend markets.
So, if your food trips are not complete without yielding to the lure of Instagram-famous food, forget about your food FOMO because you’ll surely find all the trends for gastronomes in the capital.
6. Themed restaurants are plentiful.
If you like injecting a bit of “weird” to your gastronomic adventure, that is a breeze to do in Abu Dhabi. The city boasts a number of peculiar dining destinations.
Take your pick from a horse-themed cafe to a restaurant that offends you in many ways before serving you the best Sichuan meal of your life, and many more. Dining at these restaurants will surely make your Abu Dhabi visit interesting and memorable.
Indeed, Abu Dhabi is an excellent destination for foodies. It brings the rest of the world to you in a single weekend of food adventure and presents you with new flavors to love and experiences to remember for a lifetime.
Chiara Bisignani is the F&B Marketing Executive at Saadiyat Beach Club. She oversees website maintenance, PR requests, marketing initiatives, and all general guests’ enquiries for the company’s destinations of KOI Restaurant & Lounge, Boa Steakhouse and Caramel Restaurant and Lounge in Abu Dhabi.