Abu Dhabi’s culinary scene reflects the diversity of its multicultural population. Discover a plethora of tastes through many ethnic cuisines, such as Indian, Lebanese, Thai, Persian, and many more. With everything from upscale restaurants to informal street food sellers, Abu Dhabi has something to offer every taste.
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Abu Dhabi, being a seaside city, has a bounty of fresh seafood. Savour seafood specialities such as Sayadiya and Samak Tannour, as well as juicy prawns, lobster, and ham. To enjoy the catch of the day, visit the fish market or seaside dining establishments.
Explore the real Emirati food, where classic delicacies like luqaimat (sweet dumplings), harees (slow-cooked wheat and pork), and majboos provide a window into Abu Dhabi’s rich culinary history. Taste the delicacies that have been handed down through generations as you explore the local restaurants.
Abu Dhabi’s must-try cuisine and beverages
Three adjectives would best sum up Abu Dhabi’s traditional cuisine: delicious, fragrant, and rich. Due to their widespread appeal, you have probably had falafel, hummus, and shawarma, but there are a few additional delicacies that you really must have when visiting the United Arab Emirates.
The national meal of the UAE, Khuzi, is a great place to start. Over a bed of spicy rice, a chunk of roasted lamb is garnished with nuts, veggies, and raisins. A rich taste is produced by the spices, which are usually cardamom, saffron, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Furthermore, even though it’s usually reserved for special events, many restaurants include it on their menus all year round.
Do you have a sweet tooth? We suggest purchasing some luqaimat, a well-liked Ramadan delicacy. These are doughnut-like fried balls that have been flavoured with cardamom and saffron and then coated in date syrup. Their crunchy but doughy texture and sweet syrup will please any sweet taste.
Balaleet, a traditional breakfast meal in the area, combines tastes of both sweetness and savoury. For a salty contrast, thin vermicelli noodles seasoned with sugar, almonds, pistachios, rose water, and cinnamon are topped with an omelette made of eggs.
Saloona is a substantial stew made mostly of meat, usually beef, chicken, lamb, or even fish. It is simple yet delicious. The beef gets tender in a well-seasoned broth that includes vegetables, onions, garlic, and coriander that have been sautéed. Usually, bread or rice goes with it.
The creamy, sweet delicacy known as esh asarya is the most popular dessert in Abu Dhabi. It resembles a cheesecake because the toasted bread base is drenched in orange blossom, rosewater, and lemon juice before being coated with cream. When sprinkled on top, pistachios add a crunchy texture that pops against the rest of the desert.
Where in Abu Dhabi to Dine
Discover Abu Dhabi’s classic souks and food marketplaces, such as the Mina Fruit and Veg Market and the Al Mina Fish Market. Talk to the merchants, try some fresh vegetables, and learn about unusual items that are used in foreign and Emirati cuisines. The cuisine culture of Abu Dhabi is tasted in these lively marketplaces.
In Abu Dhabi, there are a lot of food-related events occurring all year. These events, which include worldwide celebrity chefs, cooking demos, and tasting sessions, showcase Abu Dhabi’s rich food culture. Events range from the yearly Abu Dhabi Food Festival to thematic culinary events.
Abu Dhabi is adopting the farm-to-table movement, supporting sustainably produced food and locally sourced products. Savour the tastes of Abu Dhabi’s natural wealth and support the region’s agricultural community by visiting organic farms and eateries that place a premium on fresh, locally grown products.
The top eateries in Abu Dhabi
You won’t have to travel far to satisfy your appetite in Abu Dhabi, thanks to the wide variety of eateries available. There are many options to fit your tastes and budget, whether you wish to eat al fresco in the desert or have a classy dinner in a modern restaurant.
- Li Beirut
- Bord Eau
- Al Maqam
- White Steakhouse & Grill Marco Pierre
- Toscana Villa
- Dining & Jazz Bar
Experience eating in a way that fully immerses you in Emirati culture. Take part in a Majlis-style meal, savour a traditional Bedouin feast on the desert, or enrol in a heritage-inspired gourmet class to master the craft of cooking Emirati cuisine from scratch. For those who enjoy good cuisine, Abu Dhabi is a haven, with a diversified culinary scene reflecting the city’s rich history and culture.
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