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What to Eat in Abu Dhabi

You'll find all types of cuisine in Abu Dhabi — the city's rise in popularity among tourists has prompted the arrival of everything from Korean fare to Russian specialties. But you would be remiss if you left the UAE without sampling some local staples.

Emirati cuisine is influenced by the country's location: The UAE's seat on the Persian Gulf prompts a heavy reliance on fish, and Middle Eastern spices like saffron, cinnamon, cardamom and turmeric are featured prominently. Other popular ingredients include chick peas, rice, yogurt and meats like chicken and goat. Also, don't be surprised to see camel on the menu, though "ships of the desert" are valued more for their milk than their meat. Some dishes worth sampling include Al Majboos (spiced meat boiled with dried limes and saffron rice) and Al Madrooba (salted fish blended with spices and nuts in a thick sauce and served over white rice).

Although it can be difficult to find traditional Emirati fare in more touristy areas, you'll find several restaurants in Abu Dhabi city's Al Mina district dishing out local cuisine — try Al Arish near the fish market. Or for a more upscale UAE dining experience, head to Mezlai in the Emirates Palace; this restaurant was the first high-end restaurant in Abu Dhabi to specialize in local cuisine. Of course, no dinner would be complete without dessert. Many Emirati sweets shine the spotlight on the country's favorite fruit: dates. Alongside your Gah-wa (strong Arabic coffee), order a plate of ligamat (deep fried batter — similar to doughnut holes — drizzled with date syrup) or bethitha (semolina combined with crushed dates, butter and cardamom).

When planning for dinner on the town, keep in mind that Emiratis eat later than Americans; generally, locals will sit down to dinner around 10 p.m. or later. Also, you should feel free to leave behind a 10 to 15 percent tip, though gratuity is typically factored into the bill.

Find the Best Restaurants in Abu Dhabi

  • #1
    Cabana Bar & Grill
    #1 of 2,658 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 550 reviewsTripAdvisor (550)
    $ - $$ | Bar, European, Contemporary, Healthy
    Nation Riviera Beach Club, Corniche The St. Regis Abu Dhabi, Nation Towers, Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi 60476 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #2
    The Terrace on the Corniche
    #2 of 2,658 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 1133 reviewsTripAdvisor (1133)
    $ - $$ | Contemporary, Middle Eastern, Japanese, Asian, British, International
    Corniche Road Nation Towers, Corniche, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #3
    Sofra BLD
    #3 of 2,658 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 572 reviewsTripAdvisor (572)
    $$ | International, Mediterranean
    Shangri-La Hotel, Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #4
    Crystal Lounge
    #4 of 2,658 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 155 reviewsTripAdvisor (155)
    $$ | Bar, International
    Corniche West Road The St. Regis Abu Dhabi, Nation Towers, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #5
    Azura Panoramic Lounge
    #5 of 2,658 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 340 reviewsTripAdvisor (340)
    $ - $$ | Mediterranean, Asian, Middle Eastern
    The St. Regis Nation Tower, Abu Dhabi 60476 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #6
    Black Tap Craft Burgers & Shakes - Yas Mall
    #6 of 2,658 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 247 reviewsTripAdvisor (247)
    $ - $$ | American
    Yas Mall, Ground Level, adjacent to Ferrari World Entrance, Abu Dhabi 51133 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #7
    Parmigiana
    #7 of 2,658 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 102 reviewsTripAdvisor (102)
    $$ | Italian, Mediterranean, European
    Corniche Road East Capital Plaza Complex, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #8
    Villa Toscana
    #8 of 2,658 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 923 reviewsTripAdvisor (923)
    $$ | Italian, Mediterranean, European
    Corniche Rd The St. Regis Abu Dhabi,, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #9
    Desert Lotus Thai Bistro & Sushi
    #9 of 2,658 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 136 reviewsTripAdvisor (136)
    $ - $$ | Sushi, Asian, Thai
    Salam Street Level 2, cluster 14 at One To One hotel the village, Abu Dhabi 00000 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #10
    Kuzbara
    #10 of 2,658 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 281 reviewsTripAdvisor (281)
    $ - $$ | International, Mediterranean, Barbecue, Middle Eastern
    Mezzanine Floor, Marriott Hotel Downtown Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #11
    Punjab Grill
    #11 of 2,658 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 427 reviewsTripAdvisor (427)
    $ - $$ | Indian, Asian
    Venetian Village, The Ritz-Carlton Grand Canal, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #12
    Nahaam
    #12 of 2,658 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 817 reviewsTripAdvisor (817)
    $ - $$ | European, International
    Jumeirah At Etihad Towers Corniche Rd, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #13
    The St. Regis Bar
    #13 of 2,658 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 174 reviewsTripAdvisor (174)
    $$ | Bar, Wine Bar
    The St. Regis Abu Dhabi Hotel, Al Khubeirah Nation Tower, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #14
    Barfly By Buddha Bar Abu Dhabi
    #14 of 2,658 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 373 reviewsTripAdvisor (373)
    $$ | Japanese, Bar, International, Sushi, Asian
    Abu Dhabi, Al Maqta Venetian Village, Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal., Abu Dhabi 45365 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #15
    Hoi An
    #15 of 2,658 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 369 reviewsTripAdvisor (369)
    $$ | Asian, Vietnamese
    Shangri La Hotel, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #16
    Roberto's
    #16 of 2,658 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 257 reviewsTripAdvisor (257)
    $$ | Italian, Seafood, European, Mediterranean
    Zayed The First St The Rosewood Hotel, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #17
    Jazz@PizzaExpress, Abu Dhabi
    #17 of 2,658 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 337 reviewsTripAdvisor (337)
    $ - $$ | Italian, Pizza
    Khalifa Street The HUB @ World Trade Center Mall - Level 05, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #18
    Chamas
    #18 of 2,658 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 1282 reviewsTripAdvisor (1282)
    $$ | Brazilian
    King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud St InterContinental Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi 00000 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #19
    Angar
    #19 of 2,658 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 562 reviewsTripAdvisor (562)
    $$ | Indian
    Yas Hotel Yas Island, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #20
    The Forge
    #20 of 2,658 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 229 reviewsTripAdvisor (229)
    $$ | Steakhouse, European
    The Ritz Carlton Khor Al Maqta'a, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »

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