Capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi overlooks the Persian Gulf. And with many glittering skyscrapers, it provides some stunning views from its finest restaurants. The country has a growing foodie scene, rising to match the opulence and lavishness of its restaurants and most wealthy residents; Abu Dhabi now hosts an annual six-week food festival from 1st November to 15th December, celebrating both Emirati and international cuisine. The Michelin Guide currently lists 42 of the city’s restaurants, with three holding the coveted Michelin Star accolade. Read on to find out more about this trio of top eateries.
Talea by Antonio Guida
Tuck into traditional Italian fare in the “Cucina di Famiglia” style, at Antonio Guida’s Talea. The chef made his name in Milan (presiding over a two Michelin Star restaurant there), before bringing his European finesse to the Middle East. He recently opened this venue within the Emirates Palace, offering seating for 14 at the bar, 52 covers in the indoor dining room, an 18-seat private dining room and a gorgeous al fresco terrace overlooking the sea, that caters to 56 diners. With soaring columns, Arabian archways and artworks depicting scenes of life in Italy, it’s a grand venue with a fresh feel.
Just around the corner from Talea, Hakkasan occupies 16,000 square feet of the Emirates Palace. The brand has its flagship restaurant in London, but the styling — by Gilles & Boissier — incorporates Emirati motifs while remaining on brand. Dark lattice wood panels and backlit blue walls envelop the interior diners, while outside, the large terrace enjoys a backdrop of the palace grounds. Plus there are private dining rooms and a private entrance, for VIPs needing a little more exclusivity. Along with an a la carte menu, Hakkasan provides a Friday brunch and a Saturday lunchtime dim sum menu.
99 Sushi Bar
Of its sister restaurants across Spain, in Dubai and in Rabat, the 99 Sushi Bar in Abu Dhabi is the only one to hold a Michelin Star. It serves Japanese haute cuisine in moody, sophisticated surroundings beside the waterfront at The Galleria Al Maryah Island. Stop by during the day for a multiple-course business menu and to experience the outside-in feel accomplished via a living wall and huge picture windows of the lake. Or arrive by night, when the restaurant has little illumination, other than the glow of red feature lighting and an amber-like underlit bar. The food here includes sushi classics, along with avant-garde recipes – and be sure to try 99’s take on cheesecake.
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