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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 Beach Bar & Grill
    #1 of 2,851 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 902 reviewsTripadvisor (902)
    $ - $$ | Bar, European, Contemporary, Healthy
    Nation Riviera Beach Club, Corniche The St. Regis Abu Dhabi, Nation Towers, Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi 60476 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #2
    Madang Korean Restaurant
    #2 of 2,851 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 304 reviewsTripadvisor (304)
    $ - $$ | Barbecue, Korean, Soups, Asian
    Al Ghazal Golf Club, Near Abu Dhabi International Airport Terminal 2, Abu Dhabi 133549 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #3
    The Terrace On The Corniche
    #3 of 2,851 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 1396 reviewsTripadvisor (1396)
    $$ | Contemporary, Middle Eastern, International
    The St. Regis Abu Dhabi, Nation Towers, Corniche Road, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #4
    Kuzbara
    #4 of 2,851 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 578 reviewsTripadvisor (578)
    $ - $$ | International, Mediterranean, Barbecue, Middle Eastern
    Mezzanine Floor, Marriott Hotel Downtown Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #5
    Pool Bar & Restaurant
    #5 of 2,851 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 104 reviewsTripadvisor (104)
    $ - $$ | Bar
    Khor Al Maqta Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #6
    The Grill
    #6 of 2,851 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 199 reviewsTripadvisor (199)
    $$ | Steakhouse, European
    Street 12, Khalifa City A Marriott Hotel Al Forsan, Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi 99999 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #7
    Jones The Grocer
    #7 of 2,851 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 95 reviewsTripadvisor (95)
    $ - $$ | International, Contemporary, Healthy, Australian, Wine Bar
    Lobby Level, Holiday Inn Downtown, Zayed The First Street Near Al Raha Hospital, Madinat Zayed, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #8
    Crystal Lounge
    #8 of 2,851 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 215 reviewsTripadvisor (215)
    $$ | Bar, International
    The St. Regis Corniche, Nation Towers, Abu Dhabi 60476 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #9
    Khayal Restaurant
    #9 of 2,851 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 307 reviewsTripadvisor (307)
    $$ | Japanese, Mediterranean, Asian, Middle Eastern, International, Arabic
    Al Fursan Street, Khalifa City Al Forsan International Sports Resort, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #10
    Black Tap Craft Burgers & Shakes - Yas Mall
    #10 of 2,851 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 426 reviewsTripadvisor (426)
    $ - $$ | American, Bar
    Yas Mall, Ground Level, adjacent to Ferrari World Entrance, Abu Dhabi 51133 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #11
    Jazz@PizzaExpress
    #11 of 2,851 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 457 reviewsTripadvisor (457)
    $ - $$ | Italian, Pizza, Bar, Mediterranean
    Khalifa Street The HUB @ World Trade Center Mall - Level 05, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #12
    Byblos Sur Mer
    #12 of 2,851 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 969 reviewsTripadvisor (969)
    $$ | Lebanese, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
    King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Street Bateen Area, Abu Dhabi 4171 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #13
    Hoi An
    #13 of 2,851 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 461 reviewsTripadvisor (461)
    $$ | Asian, Vietnamese
    Shangri La Hotel, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #14
    Dino's Bistro Italiano
    #14 of 2,851 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 143 reviewsTripadvisor (143)
    $ - $$ | Italian, Pizza, European
    Al Khaleej Al Arabi Street Pearl Rotana Capital Centre, Abu Dhabi 44012 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #15
    Desert Lotus Thai Bisto & Sushi
    #15 of 2,851 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 164 reviewsTripadvisor (164)
    $ - $$ | Sushi, Asian, Thai
    At Ground Floor, Al Bandar Complex Al Raha Beach Area, Abu Dhabi 00000 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #16
    Villa Toscana
    #16 of 2,851 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 1077 reviewsTripadvisor (1077)
    $$ | Italian, Mediterranean, European, Tuscan, Sicilian, Central-Italian, Southern-Italian
    Corniche Rd The St. Regis Abu Dhabi,, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #17
    Shang Palace
    #17 of 2,851 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 508 reviewsTripadvisor (508)
    $ - $$ | Chinese, Asian
    Shangri-La Hotel Al Khaleej Al Arabi St Qaryat Al Beri, Khor al Maqta, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #18
    The St. Regis Bar
    #18 of 2,851 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 199 reviewsTripadvisor (199)
    $$ | Bar, Wine Bar
    Nation Tower, Corniche Road, Abu Dhabi 60476 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #19
    Punjab Grill
    #19 of 2,851 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 476 reviewsTripadvisor (476)
    $ - $$ | Indian, Bar
    Venetian Village, The Ritz-Carlton Grand Canal, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #20
    Parmigiana
    #20 of 2,851 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 134 reviewsTripadvisor (134)
    $$ | Italian, Mediterranean, European
    Corniche Road East Capital Plaza Complex, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »

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