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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 2,810 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 877 reviewsTripAdvisor (877)
    $ - $$ | Bar, European, Contemporary, Healthy
    Nation Riviera Beach Club, Corniche The St. Regis Abu Dhabi, Nation Towers, Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi 60476 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #2
    Madang Korean Restaurant
    #2 of 2,810 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 278 reviewsTripAdvisor (278)
    $ - $$ | Barbecue, Asian, Korean, Soups
    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 2,810 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 1393 reviewsTripAdvisor (1393)
    $$ | Contemporary, Middle Eastern, International
    Corniche Road Nation Towers, Corniche, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #4
    Kuzbara
    #4 of 2,810 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 578 reviewsTripAdvisor (578)
    $ - $$ | 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
    The Grill
    #5 of 2,810 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 179 reviewsTripAdvisor (179)
    $$ | Steakhouse, European
    Street 12, Khalifa City A Marriott Hotel Al Forsan, Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi 99999 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #6
    Pool Bar & Restaurant
    #6 of 2,810 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 100 reviewsTripAdvisor (100)
    $ - $$ | Bar
    Khor Al Maqta Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #7
    Crystal Lounge
    #7 of 2,810 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 203 reviewsTripAdvisor (203)
    $$ | Bar, International
    The St. Regis Nation Towers, Abu Dhabi 60476 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #8
    Jones The Grocer
    #8 of 2,810 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 89 reviewsTripAdvisor (89)
    $ - $$ | 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 »
  • #9
    Khayal Restaurant
    #9 of 2,810 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 296 reviewsTripAdvisor (296)
    $ - $$ | Japanese, Mediterranean, Asian, International, Arabic
    Al Fursan Street, Khalifa City Al Forsan International Sports Resort, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #10
    Black Tap Craft Burgers & Shakes - Yas Mall
    #10 of 2,810 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 441 reviewsTripAdvisor (441)
    $ - $$ | American, Bar
    Yas Mall, Ground Level, adjacent to Ferrari World Entrance, Abu Dhabi 51133 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #11
    Hoi An
    #11 of 2,810 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 472 reviewsTripAdvisor (472)
    $$ | Asian, Vietnamese
    Shangri La Hotel, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #12
    Jazz@PizzaExpress
    #12 of 2,810 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 462 reviewsTripAdvisor (462)
    $ - $$ | Italian, Pizza, Bar, Mediterranean
    Khalifa Street The HUB @ World Trade Center Mall - Level 05, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #13
    Dino's Bistro Italiano
    #13 of 2,810 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 134 reviewsTripAdvisor (134)
    $ - $$ | Italian, Pizza, European
    Al Khaleej Al Arabi Street Pearl Rotana Capital Centre, Abu Dhabi 44012 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #14
    Desert Lotus Thai Bisto & Sushi
    #14 of 2,810 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 161 reviewsTripAdvisor (161)
    $ - $$ | Sushi, Asian, Thai
    At Ground Floor, Al Bandar Complex Al Raha Beach Area, Abu Dhabi 00000 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #15
    Villa Toscana
    #15 of 2,810 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 1049 reviewsTripAdvisor (1049)
    $$ | Italian, Mediterranean, European, Tuscan, Sicilian, Central-Italian, Southern-Italian
    Corniche Rd The St. Regis Abu Dhabi,, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #16
    Shang Palace
    #16 of 2,810 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 506 reviewsTripAdvisor (506)
    $ - $$ | Chinese, Asian
    Shangri-La Hotel Al Khaleej Al Arabi St Qaryat Al Beri, Khor al Maqta, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #17
    Punjab Grill
    #17 of 2,810 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 473 reviewsTripAdvisor (473)
    $ - $$ | Indian, Bar
    Venetian Village, The Ritz-Carlton Grand Canal, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #18
    The St. Regis Bar
    #18 of 2,810 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 198 reviewsTripAdvisor (198)
    $$ | Bar, Wine Bar
    Nation Tower, Corniche, Abu Dhabi 60476 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #19
    Bord Eau
    #19 of 2,810 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 314 reviewsTripAdvisor (314)
    $$ | French, European
    Al Khaleej Al Arabi Street Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #20
    The Bayshore
    #20 of 2,810 Places to Eat in Abu Dhabi
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 283 reviewsTripAdvisor (283)
    $ - $$ | International, Bar, European
    Al Khubeirah InterContinental Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi 4171 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »

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