Modern and cosmopolitan, Abu Dhabi is bound to offer memorable encounters with local and international cuisine in breath-taking settings. From desert venues serving traditional food to award-winning restaurants specializing in Chinese, French, Lebanese or Moroccan dishes, Abu Dhabi’s Michelin-starred chefs transform the city into a top culinary destination in these ten great restaurants.
As it name suggests, Marakesh is a Moroccan restaurant located in the center of Abu Dhabi and one of the few of its kind in the city. With opulent interiors, live music and dance performances every night, Marakesh sets up an authentic cultural space for guests to explore the aromatic gastronomy of Morocco. The menu includes a diverse choice of traditional dishes, from couscous to salads, tagines, fish, seafood and meat grills, and gives guests a good introduction into the culinary traditions of Morocco.
Li Beirut is a mandatory stop for all those who enjoy Lebanese food. Highly rated and considered one of the top restaurants of Abu Dhabi, Li Beirut is an award winning restaurant. Delighting its guests with a spectacular view of the surrounding sea, Li Beirut serves traditional and contemporary Lebanese dishes cooked up with a fusion of European influences. The menu itself is a culinary masterpiece, featuring signature courses such as the zaatar crusted rack of lamb accompanied by sweet potato and truffle, the foie gras kebbeh and the decadent honey fudge dessert.
Bord Eau is the place to go for French gastronomy enthusiasts. A top establishment serving contemporary French cuisine, Bord Eau combines fine food and artistic vision, offering signature dishes such as Dover sole a la Grenobloise, Loch Fyne wild salmon and scallop or the tempting chocolate extravaganza. Only fresh ingredients, imported straight from France, are used to create these delicious works of art. Recognized by numerous and prestigious awards, Bord Eau is an unmissable culinary attraction in the heart of thriving Abu Dhabi.
Located in the Abu Dhabi desert, Al Maqam completes and refines the romantic Arabian experience. Part of a luxury complex – Arabian Nights Villages – Al Maqam provides a high-class voyage into the realm of the desert and legends. Its Arabian-style, floor-level seating, hand-made decorations, palm-thatched terrace and live artistic performances create a cultural oasis in the middle of the desert where travelers can enjoy exquisite dishes. From the traditional local Emirati and Arabic recipes to classics of international cuisine, Al Maqam offers a full culinary tour, including cooking lessons and bread making sessions.
Marco Pierre White Steakhouse & Grill, Abu Dhabi | Courtesy of Marco Pierre White Steakhouse & Grill
Run by British celebrity chef Marco Pierre White, one of the youngest of his time to be awarded with 3 Michelin stars, this restaurant is the perfect place for carnivores craving the most succulent of steaks. The Steakhouse and Grill stands out as one of the upmarket culinary spots in Abu Dhabi. Although it mainly focuses on a variety of steak specialties, the menu is extensive and also offers gastronomic treats such as Kelly oysters, Scottish salmon and the mouth-watering Devon and Alaskan crab soup.
With a great panoramic view of Abu Dhabi and the Arabian Gulf offered by its privileged location on the 63rd floor of the Etihad Towers, Quest is one of the most acclaimed restaurants of the city. With inspiration drawn from the world of Asian cuisine, Quest provides guests with an creative interpretation of modern fine dining, ‘blending and recreating flavors from Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and China’. Quest serves up unique specialties that flirt with traditional Asian dishes while reinterpreting them with ingredients of the highest quality.
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Hakkasan provides a high-class experience of Chinese cuisine in an eclectic venue. Enjoying a huge dining hall area, the Abu Dhabi version of the well-known Hakkasan is a singular combination of the modern spirit of the United Arab Emirates and assertive Chinese influence. Talented and visionary, Hakkasan’s chef Lee Kok Hua amazes his guests with signature dishes such as the tantalizing Peking duck with caviar, the succulent grilled Wagyu beef with king soy and a range of other recipes – all imaginatively demonstrating a thorough understanding of the art of culinary creativity.
Villa Toscana is Abu Dhabi’s best place to savor a memorable rendezvous with the richly flavored landscape of Italian cuisine. Enjoying a great location in one of the city’s luxury hotels, Villa Toscana recreates the sophisticated and classy atmosphere of a Tuscany villa with high ceilings and large chandeliers. Offering cooking classes to amateurs and its classic Friday lunches at communal tables, Villa Toscana is a reference point for all those craving an authentic taste of the Italian regions of Tuscany, Umbria and Emilia-Romagna. A prime Abu Dhabi restaurant, Villa Toscana serves up a range of Italian delicacies from crunchy, quick pizzas to highly refined dishes that take two days to cook, such as the highly alluring tagliatelle with lamb ragout and chocolate powder.
Catalan quickly became one of the best restaurants in Abu Dhabi and a treat for all those with a passion for Catalonia’s world-renowned gastronomy. This high-end restaurant takes its guests back in time to the old-style decor and charm of a luxurious European salon in early 20th century Barcelona. With a Michelin-starred chef heading the kitchen, Catalan is a blend of traditional and contemporary, creating a unique dining experience. Guests can choose from an impeccable menu, starring roasted steak of foie gras, paellas or extra virgin olive oil ice cream, or the chef’s special seven-course tasting menu.
A true UAE heaven for music lovers, Jazz Bar & Dining is an excellent choice for those looking to enjoy dinner in a special atmosphere. With a local band playing every night from Sunday to Friday, this Abu Dhabi restaurant is popular with tourists and the expat community alike. The menu offers premium choices from international cuisines, with excellent selections of sea bass, scallops, tiger prawns and fresh salmon, various types of French cheese and exotic desserts such as the lychee light jelly with lime cream and meringue, served with rice paper, a mini fruit strudel and raspberry sorbet.