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Editor’s Picks: The very best restaurants in Abu Dhabi

From restaurants to bars, these are the best dining experiences in the capital.

The FACT Dining Awards Abu Dhabi 2023 saw 49 awards given out across 25 categories covering more than 150 hotels and independent restaurants.

The annual awards are a celebration of the capital’s vibrant food and beverage scene, where winners are awarded based on both public votes and critics’ opinions. Each category features two awards, the BEST and the FAVOURITE. The BEST is the editor’s choice, decided by the FACT editorial team and an independent panel of industry experts, whilst the FAVOURITE is determined through an online public vote.

Without further ado, here are your 2023 winners:

All Day Dining
Vendôme at Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental

Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental, Abu Dhabi is home to world-class dining concepts. Vendôme proves the point as it showcases local as well as international cuisine. The team pride themselves on using fresh, seasonal produce. Sit on the terrace and start your day off in style. The breakfast is one of the best in the capital, and includes live cooking stations that will get your mouth watering.

brunch in Abu Dhabi

Casual Dining
Din Tai Fung at The Galleria Al Maryah Island

Din Tai Fung has a loyal following across the world, UAE and FACT – so much so that the Publisher is a big fan. Sure, it’s a chain, but it’s a brilliant one. Din Tai Fung started life in Taiwan in 1980, and now has restaurants across the world from Sydney to Singapore. The restaurant has made its mark on the Abu Dhabi dining scene, and now we can experience those world-famous handmade dumplings, baos, buns, noodles, shumai, soups and wontons.

best restaurants in Abu Dhabi

tashas at Al Bateen Marina

Come for the breakfasts (which are served until 6pm), and stay for the speciality coffee. The FACT team love tashas, whether it’s for a virgin cocktail with friends or a spot of remote working, the ambience is oh-so chilled. Plus, the breakfast options are some of the best in the UAE – the hummus toastie with rocket, avocado, roasted feta and poached egg hits the spot.

best restaurants in Abu Dhabi

Afternoon Tea
Episodes at Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental

Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental recently rebranded and is back in sophisticated style. Episodes afternoon tea is a traditional experience, which takes place in the heart of the palace. The menu includes a selection of fine teas from around the world, and the choice of different tea journeys. The gourmet sandwiches are created with seasonal ingredients, and the artisanal scones are freshly baked each day.

indoor activities in Abu Dhabi

Beach / Pool Bar
WET Deck at W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island

W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island knows how to put on a party, and that’s evident at the WET Deck. The pool bar has been created with the brand’s signature style and is great for swimming and schmoozing. Located on a rooftop, it boasts views overlooking Yas Marina Circuit, which are unrivalled in the capital. Oh, and DJ Mark Ronson once played at the venue.

fantastic Abu Dhabi

Lock, Stock & Barrel at Yas Bay

Lock, Stock & Barrel is a cool hangout that is famous for its live music, delicious food and party vibes. With happy hours and buy-one-get-one-free offers, this is a great value-for-money option. Plus, it’s the kind of pub where we take our mates and a drink or two turns into an evening out.

best restaurants in Abu Dhabi

La Cava at Rosewood Abu Dhabi

When only wine will do, head to La Cava. The highlight is the wine cellar which has more than 1,000 labels of wine. Look out for the chamber for cigars and premium whiskeys. The menu includes hot and cold bites, from Duck Rillette to Grilled Octopus. If you want the full experience, book the private dining option in the cellar.

UAE this week


Iris at Yas Marina

A classy night out can start and end at Iris. Popular as a post-work hangout, it’s great for light bites, artisan drinks and live music from local and international DJs. Oh, and the Yas Marina views are stunning, too.

restaurants in Abu Dhabi

Ting Irie at Mamsha Al Saadiyat

Ting Irie has been leading the way when it comes to Caribbean cuisine in the UAE. The team are not ones to play it safe and offer a fresh, modern take on the cuisine. Popular on the weekend – make sure you book – it describes itself as food for the soul. Plus, there’s music for the feet, as the soundtrack includes dancehall, hip-hop and reggae.

new restaurants

Al Fresco Dining
Beach House at Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel & Villas

Sangrias by the sea are a winning combination at Beach House. The relaxed Mediterranean-inspired restaurant at Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel & Villas serves a mix of Italian, Spanish and Middle Eastern cuisine. Enjoy dishes including pastas, risottos and fish dishes ranging from beef tagliata to a seafood platter.

restaurants in Abu Dhabi

Buddha-Bar Beach Abu Dhabi at The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort

If you’re in the mood for, well, everything, then Buddha-Bar Beach Abu Dhabi hits those spots. Experience a fusion of influences at this funky venue – Mykonos meets Maldives meets Asia and so on. Eastern and Western touches are brought together across its music, food and drink. Ceviche, dumplings or sushi? Yes, yes and yes.

restaurants in Abu Dhabi

Catch at St. Regis at The St. Regis Abu Dhabi

Oysters, sushi, crabs and caviar make this a haven for seafood lovers. Catch is a sophisticated spot to enjoy top-quality seafood, sushi and sashimi. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any classier, it also hosts dining collaborations – most recently it was a wine pairing with M Chapoutier. We’ll raise a glass to that.

Abu Dhabi weekend guide

Pan Asian
Dai Pai Dong at Rosewood Abu Dhabi

Dai Pai Dong is a master at modern Cantonese food. Chef Dong brings sixteen years of experience as well as passion to the restaurant. Cutting no corners, there is a dedicated hot pot, dim sum and vegan menu. If like us you want to try everything, we’d recommend the All You Can Eat Street Style Lunch on weekdays. Your stomach will thank us.

restaurants in Abu Dhabi

Latin American
Maté at Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel & Villas

It’s all about meat, glorious meat at the Argentinian steakhouse with a Lebanese twist. The funky décor includes pictures of Che Guevara and Freida Kahlo, and an open kitchen with fire cooking. The menu includes dry-aged beef, ribeye, T-bone and tomahawk meats. Plus, the desserts range from an Argentinian Cheesecake to a Dulche De Leche Volcano Cake.

Maté Abu Dhabi

Middle Eastern and North African
Em Sherif Sea Café at Rosewood Abu Dhabi

Located in Rosewood Abu Dhabi, the fine dining Lebanese restaurant is the first of its kind in the UAE. Open for lunch and dinner, the menu ranges from meat cuts to seafood. The highlights include Raw Red Sea Bream, Shrimp Proveciale and Whole Roasted Cauliflower. The venue is an elegant spot with white tablecloths and a smart service.

Em Sherif Sea Café

Butcher & Still at Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island

Butcher & Still is a must-visit in Abu Dhabi and won FACT’s Restaurant of the Year in 2022. Regardless of whether you’re a steak person or not, the venue is so impressive with its 1920s Chicago speakeasy vibes. We’re talking soft leather seats, dark wooden floors and a flawless service to match. The menu includes prime cuts of American beef and Prohibition-era cocktails.

restaurants in Abu Dhabi

Paradiso Abu Dhabi at Yas Bay

Nicole Rubi and Pierre Gagnaire have come together to create this gem of a restaurant. Transporting relaxed Mediterranean vibes to the Middle East, the menu includes pasta, pizza, meat and fish dishes, which range from a truffle pizza to sea bass steak. Dine on the terrace, which has been designed by the Italian architects Vudafieri-Saverino Partners.

Paradiso Abu Dhabi

LPM Restaurant & Bar at Al Maryah Island

Whenever we visit the multiple FACT Dining Award winning LPM Restaurant & Bar, it’s a masterclass in French fine dining. The brand has foodie fans across the world, as it has been serving customers in Hong Kong, London, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. The Al Maryah Island restaurant is beautifully romantic and is situated directly on the promenade with tranquil sea views. 

LPM Abu Dhabi

Zeera by Buddha-Bar at Yas Bay

Located in Yas Bay, Zeera by Buddha-Bar is a funky, fun restaurant. The menu takes traditional Indian dishes and adds a modern flair. The menu includes chaat, starters, soup, tandoor and grill dishes. The mains include a Malai Lobster, Patta Macchi sea bream, and Raan 24 Carat lamb leg. Plus, there are old-school desserts, which range from Carrot Halwa to Gulab Jamun.

restaurants in Abu Dhabi

Talea by Antonio Guida at Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental

Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental, Abu Dhabi recently opened Talea, and it has already been awarded one MICHELIN Star. Emirates Palace is a multiple FACT Dining Awards Abu Dhabi winner, and Talea has impressed us with its elegant Italian flair. With Antonio Guida at its helm, the highlights include burrata, chilled veal in tuna-caper sauce, ravioli and stewed veal shanks.

Abu Dhabi in September

NIRI Restaurant & Bar at Mamsha Al Saadiyat

NIRI Restaurant & Bar is led by a trifecta of talent: Managing Director Imad Obeid, Head Chef and sushi master Yasuyuki Takemoto, and Chef Omaka Orubu. Probably the most elevated dining concept in Mamsha Al Saadiyat, it offers instant appeal from the moment you enter into the stylish, minimalist interior. Make like FACT’s Editor-in-Chief, and order the clams, scallops or the wagyu tataki.

September in Dubai

Saturday Brunch – Casual Dining
Garage at W Abu Dhabi Yas Island

You might get FOMO when you try to visit the W Abu Dhabi Yas Island’s brunch. The event can be booked up one month in advance, so find a slot in your calendar now. Located on Yas Island, the venue overlooks the racetrack. The highlights include the live stations, DJs and roller skaters – yes, really. Plus, there is a tart van for all your dessert needs.

The B.I.G. – Brunch In Garage

Saturday Brunch – Fine Dining
Zuma at Al Maryah Island

When the words “Zuma” and “brunch” are in the same sentence, our stomachs start rumbling. This FACT favourite excels at whatever it turns its chopsticks to, which is why we can’t help falling in love with its Saturday brunch. A must-visit in Abu Dhabi, the dishes are served straight to your table and include the famous miso marinated black cod, jumbo tiger prawns and spicy beef tenderloin.

New Year's Day in Abu Dhabi

Les Dangereux at Mamsha Al Saadiyat

If you’re after some daring dining, then head to Les Dangereux. Created by Chef James Soo Yong Kim, it is a fine dining restaurant with a difference. Ditch the traditional starters, mains and desserts, and opt for the tasting menu which features caviar, oud-smoked churros and plenty of surprises.

new restaurants in Abu Dhabi

Restaurant of the Year in Abu Dhabi
NIRI Restaurant & Bar at Mamsha Al Saadiyat

NIRI Restaurant & Bar has been created by an experienced team, which hails from some of the world’s best restaurants. The fine dining, yakitori concept is loved by the FACT team. So take a seat at the sushi counter or highball bar, and prepare to be seriously impressed.

September in Dubai

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