Eating out in Abu Dhabi

*This post was written in collaboration with Square Meal UAE

When people think of tourism in the UAE, the mind automatically casts towards Dubai. While Dubai looks beautiful, and it certainly one of the world’s number one tourist destinations, having been to Abu Dhabi I can tell you this particular emirate is overlooked. Especially when it comes to food. One of the great things about eating out in Abu Dhabi is that you won’t pay high tourist prices like you would in Dubai. If you are thinking of trying some local food on your trip there, there are a few things you might like to know before you visit. I didn’t blog when I was in Abu Dhabi, but my last big trip was the Philippines and I wrote loads about travelling to the Philippines.

What food do they eat in Abu Dhabi?

Emirati food staples are basically meat (lamb and mutton is preferred over meats like beef), fish and rice. Traditional dishes include Machboos, which is meat and rice cooked in a blend of herbs and spices, Madrooba, which is fresh seafood and Luqaimat, which is a traditional Arabic desert. Oddly enough, the best Luqaimat I found on my trip there was in the Al Reem lounge of Abu Dhabi airport! It was a weird place to encounter such good food, but a nice surprise.

Can I buy alcohol in Abu Dhabi?

It used to be that you could only get alcohol in hotels in places like Abu Dhabi and Dubai. While Dubai has relaxed a lot, Abu Dhabi does have a little bit of catching up to do, but the good news is you can buy alcohol in most bars and restaurants attached to hotels (which most bars and restaurants are in this part of the world). There are also “liquor shops” which serve non-Muslims without you needing a license, scattered around some of the main tourist hotspots.

Where should I eat in Abu Dhabi?

There are a number of great restaurants in Abu Dhabi and depending on your trip length, you probably wont be able to try them all. The best thing to do is use a restaurant finder website to try and find somewhere near where you are staying and will most likely serve the cuisine you are interested in trying. Websites like this will usually also save you the hassle of calling to book a table by letting you do so online.

What should I wear to eat in Abu Dhabi?

Being respectful of the culture is an absolute must if you are visiting somewhere like Abu Dhabi. to be honest, if you don’t want to visit somewhere and immerse yourself in the culture, you might as well go for fish and chips on your local seafront. Traditional Arabic dress for both men and women in Abu Dhabi covers most of their bodies, and although Westerners are given a little bit more freedom, but things like cut off shorts, strappy tops and dresses or t-shirts that show the midriff are off-limits. Men also tend to wear long trousers. You will also find the majority of restaurants here are very luxurious, so you’ll probably want to look smart anyway.


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