Learn more about the best restaurants and bars around the world
Chloe Vialou-Clark – 12/12/2022
Abu Dhabi’s dining scene, like its towering cityscape, is quickly on the rise. Serving everything from traditional Emirati cuisine and sky-high sushi to pasta with panache, the UAE capital is flying to the top of every food lover’s bucket list in the region.
Ahead of the second annual edition of Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, to be revealed on Monday 30th January 2023 in Abu Dhabi, 50 Best asks Chef Pang Long Chin of Coya in the UAE capital for his own culinary insider tips
Raclette Brasserie & Café
In a nutshell: Finessed French for the first meal of the day
Why go: Journey to Raclette in Abu Dhabi’s Cultural District for classic French fare with ocean views. The glamorous interior, with its warm lighting and luscious greenery, and the comfortable outdoor terrace bring a touch of Parisian luxury to the coastline.
What Chef Pang says: “A breakfast at Raclette is a great weekend treat, especially as it’s located in front of the beautiful Soul Beach. Their scrambled egg served with mushrooms and tossed in a Grana Padano cheese wheel is incredible.”
What to order: The sharing platter with eggs, veal sausage and viennoiserie
Mamsha Al Saadiyat, Al Saadiyat Island
A post shared by Otantik Cafe & Restaurant (@otantikae)
In a few words: Wholesome breakfast bonanza
Why go: Weaving together the finest local produce using traditional culinary techniques, Café Otantik delves into the rich cuisine of the Mediterranean. Located behind the vast Abu Dhabi mall, it’s the perfect spot for breakfast before a day of shopping.
What Chef Pang says: “Their authentic Turkish breakfast is warm, hearty and will satisfy anyone looking for a traditional meal. Always bring someone with you and order the breakfast platter for two.”
You can’t miss: The selection of mini baklava
10th Street, Al Zahiyah, (opposite Abu Dhabi Mall)
Dai Pai Dong
Best day to visit: On Sunday, for the Yum Cha brunch
Why go: Named after a kind of open-air food stall in Hong Kong, Dai Pai Dong offers first-class modern interpretations of classic Cantonese dishes. This glamorous restaurant nestled in the Rosewood Hotel will also host a four-hands dinner with the legendary Vicky Cheng as part of 50 Best’s Signature Sessions dining series in January 2023.
What Chef Pang says: “I love having dim sum here with my friends. The team delivers baskets of steaming-hot buns by trolley to the table and all the dishes are handmade by chefs who originate from the Sichuan province of China. Expect bold flavours and great conversation.”
Why not try: The mixed meat platter with eight-spiced grilled lamb
Rosewood Hotel, Al Maryah Island
Kopitiam by Chandy’s
Best time to visit: Midday for a long, lazy lunch
Why go: Affable chef Chandran Thanggaraja – known as Chef Chandy – opened this passion project to bring an authentic taste of Malaysia to Abu Dhabi. Each element of the cosy venue has been carefully designed to mimic a kopi tiam, a traditional coffee shop, after which the restaurant is named. For the full tasting experience, opt for the nasi lemak, laksa and roti bakar.
What Chef Pang says: “Chef Chandy started selling a traditional dish called char kway teow from his home during the pandemic. Thanks to the high demand, he decided to open a small restaurant.”
Signature dish: Char kway teow (Malaysian stir-fried noodles)
Al Falah Street, Old Pasport Road
What to expect: The perfect pasta party
Why go: Entering Antonia feels as though you’ve just stepped off the bustling streets of Rome. The authentic Italian trattoria boasts pizzas with crackly sourdough crusts and rich, creamy pasta dishes, as well as fresh salads and traditional burrata. Inspired by the tutelage of his grandmother, Antonia, chef-owner Simone Federici brings the Mediterranean to Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island.
What Chef Pang says: “You will never find more authentic pasta in the entirety of Abu Dhabi than in Antonia.”
Look out for: Cacio e pepe pasta
Mamsha Al Saadiyat, Al Saadiyat Island
Dampa Seafood Grill
Tell me about it: Legendary seafood feast
Why go: A culinary tour of Abu Dhabi would be incomplete without a stop at Dampa. The menu – and the table – is packed with the best of the day’s catch, including crab, lobster, shrimp and squid. For a taste of everything, order the ‘Dump-a Sea Feast’, which is accompanied by unlimited rice and your preferred sauce.
What Chef Pang says: “There is no white tablecloth nor standard cutlery here. You are presented with gloves while the dishes are piled on the table. It’s a truly unique dining experience.”
Don’t leave without trying: The Cajun mussels
Fatma Bint Mubarak Street, Al Danah
What’s the vibe? Sleek and stylish Japanese
Why go: Having opened in April 2022, Otoro is relatively new to Abu Dhabi’s dining scene and has been making waves across the Emirate. Governed by a ‘less is more’ approach, the interior is minimalist, while the menu is full of character. Chef Akmal Anuar, of Dubai’s boutique hospitality company White Rice, is behind the launch, and his team are spinning premium Japanese ingredients into gold.
What Chef Pang says: “No introduction needed for this Japanese restaurant. I still dream about the scallop carpaccio with foie gras.”
Look out for: The signature Duo of Handrolls
Al Maqta Street, Al Qana
The upcoming edition of Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, will be announced on Monday, 30th January 2023. To be the first to hear about the latest news and announcements, browse the website, follow us on Instagram, find us on Facebook, visit us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel.