Googling two words, “italian” and “abu dhabi”, we Italians discover that to be Italian in Abu Dhabi is deeply linked to the World of Eating, and please note, with capital E. Proud of that, we know that before or after, someone will ask us:
Do you (Italian) guys know where are great places where eating out in Abu Dhabi?
Living in Abu Dhabi in a pretty “gipsy way” for long time, and being a classic Italian fan of eating with capital E, I had the chance to go often out for eating, so I discovered some interesting facts about eating in Abu Dhabi and some interesting places. First of all, I discovered that eating out in Abu Dhabi can also be fun. In this post, we will start from very general, but basic information.
Eating out in Abu Dhabi: information, impressions and suggestions
Abu Dhabi Cuisines – In Abu Dhabi are represented allIn Abu Dhabi are practically represented all the most famous culinary traditions of the world, from the A of Arabic and American to the V of Vietnamese. But you will not find easily the “authentic Emirati cuisine.” At least, I’m still looking for that. If you have found it, please let me know. Or if you would invite me, I will be happy to accept and in return I can cook a fabulous pasta for you.
Where are great places to eat in Abu Dhabi?– Generally speaking, in Abu Dhabi you can have decent and good food quite everywhere: in the sophisticated restaurants located at the multi-stars hotels as in several “eateries”, even when sometimes the first impression from the outside is not exactly motivating to go inside. But I experienced hat, some of these “eateries” are great discoveries, for the quality and the taste of the food, and for the bill also.
Cleanliness of restaurants in Abu Dhabi– The controls on hygiene and food quality in Abu Dhabi, as far as I know and in my experience, are quite thorough. In many “restaurants”, you will not find the tablecloth, and in place of napkins you will find a box of kleenex. Do not be picky on these details: usually, tables, cutlery and glasses are clean.
Eating in Abu Dhabi: how much does it cost? – There are different price ranges for eating in Abu Dhabi and reasonable or cheap prices are not necessarily an indication of poor quality. You can have a look at the local newspapers, as Time Out Abu Dhabi, What’s on or Abu Dhabi Week , which often inform about the offers of the day, “meal deal” theme nights and vouchers and coupons to get discounts.
Drinking in Abu Dhabi – Alcohol consumption and the choice of the restaurant are two factors that usually affect the final bill, and in Abu Dhabi in a very significant way. If you drink a bottle of wine, even if it is not Italian or French wine, or even just a couple of glasses, your bill will literally rise, even if the prices remain quite in line with the prices we are used to in Europe and in Italy.
Alcohol consumption in Abu Dhabi is only allowed in the places licensed to sell alcohol. Basically, they are restaurants and bars within the hotels, accessible also to those staying in a different hotel from the one in which the restaurant is located (See also general information on alcohol consumption in Abu Dhabi ).
Restaurants in Abu Dhabi not licensed to sell alcohol, usually are cheaper. Among them, many offer a “local” cuisine, meaning by this very general term, Middle Eastern culinary traditions, and in particular the famous and delicious Lebanese cuisine. If you like, Indian food in Abu Dhabi is usually very cheap.
Drinking water in Abu Dhabi – The local bottled water comes to cost up to 4 times cheaper than imported water! When I discovered this, I started to explicitly ask for local water. Then, I recently read of a campaign “pro local water”, launched in Dubai (Idrinklocal.com), which in my opinion is worth to read, in order to get some useful information which can motivate to ask for local instead of imported water.
Tipping in restaurants in Abu Dhabi – Tipping in restaurants in Abu Dhabi is not mandatory nor required. In many restaurants in Abu Dhabi, you pay a service fee (typically 10%) and a tourism fee (6%).
Pizza in Abu Dhabi
Let’s answer to another frequent question asked to Italian expats: Did you have chance to eat a good pizza in Abu Dhabi??
My answer is yes, and at least a couple of places. My personal test has been done on the simple Margherita, and I also had the pleasure of finding it with the base of whole wheat flour, light and tasty, with “organic” ingredients, and in the version of “pizza al metro” also.
The price varies, mainly for one reason: if you go in a very nice place which serves wine and beer, you have to expect a higher price, if you go at a “simple pizzeria” without the license for selling alcohol, the bill is lighter.