Top 5 Casual Eats in Abu Dhabi…so far!

There are so many amazing restaurants in Abu Dhabi but sometimes you just want something without fuss or a dress code but that still hits the spot.

Approaching our 6 month anniversary in Abu Dhabi I thought I would do a quick list of my favourite casual eateries!  It will be interesting to look back on this in another 6 months time and see how much its changed.

1. Salt

Salt is a food truck serving burgers, fried and milkshakes.  The burger order comes as two sliders, if you order a double it will come with two patties in each slider.  The burgers are made from 100% Wagyu beef and come with cheese, original salt which is a Salt special sauce and pickles on a butter bun.  My order of a single or double is dependent on how hungry I am but I always order a lotus shake on the side.  Lotus is a brand of Belgian biscuits and the milkshake comes with this insane biscuity caramel sauce that is truly amazing.  I just recently discovered that they do Lotus Sundae’s too so my waist band is seriously going to suffer!

On top of the fact that the burgers are amazing and the lotus shakes are to die for, the location beside Umm Al Emarat park means you can go for a walk around the park after you’ve filled your face and not feel quite so guilty about the calorie intake.

Location: Umm Al Emarat Car Park, 8th Street Abu Dhabi

Hours:  11.00am – 2.00am

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2. Cho Gao

When we arrived in Abu Dhabi in August we were staying at the Crowne Plaza on Hamdan street. Being completely new to the city and in the sweltering heat of the desert in August we didn’t want to venture too far on our first night to find food so we decided to eat at one of the hotels restaurants.  I was in the mood for Asian so we went to Cho Gao, a pan Asian restaurant with cool cocktails and an ever cooler ambience.  The lighting is low with beautiful paper lanterns and the restaurant has a Japanese feeling but the menu is wide and includes dishes from Vietnam, Singapore, Japan and Indonesia.  My absolute favourite dish here is the Vietnamese noodles, D always goes for the duck pancakes which are exceptional but I can’t stray away from my favourite.  We have tried most of the starters and they are all good but the dim sum is amazing.

They also have a great cocktail menu and ladies night on Saturday and Sunday where the ladies can enjoy four selected cocktails for free!

Location:  Crowne Plaza Hotel, Hamdan Street, Al Markaziya, Abu Dhabi

Tel: 02 616 6149

3. Amerigos

When a friend asked me to join her for some Mexican food my first reaction was, ‘MEXICAN……in the Middle East!’ but boy was I wrong!  I met her in the very relaxed Amerigos at the  Park Inn Hotel on Yas Island and we were escorted to a beautiful table outside beside the pool.  For me the ambience here is just amazing because its super casual and relaxed but you are still sitting beside a pool in February in 22 degrees at night so it always make me feel like I’m on holidays!

Since the first time she took me there I have been back at least 20 times, every time I pick a visitor up at the airport I take them to Amerigos just to ease them into the way of life in Abu Dhabi and everyone loves it.  I have two firm favourites on the menu.  If I just want something small I get the Tacos Baja which is two small tacos with battered hake, shredded cabbage and chipotle mayo on flour tortillas or if I’m hungry I get the Divorciados Fajitas which is a combination of beef and chicken strips, bell peppers and onions served on a sizzling platter accompanied with pico de gallo, sour cream, guacamole and flour tortillas.  Both dishes are delicious and I just wish I had room to eat both in one sitting!  I am excited to try the Friday brunch here one weekend and will write a review when I do.

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Another thing I always order when I come here is a Beerita, what could be better than a frozen margarita poolside in February…..a frozen margarita with a corona in it of course!

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Location:  Park Inn by Radisson Hotel, Yas Island

Tel: 02 646 2412

4. Leopolds of London

Im not generally a fan of franchise restaurants or ‘mall restaurants’ as I call them but sometimes you just have to ignore your inner snob and try things out.  There are lots of LOL’s around the city but we go to the one in the Boutik Mall in Al Reem as its close to where we live and it has a beautiful outdoor area.  The menu is big, the food is fresh and its a nice casual spot where you don’t have to worry about what you’re wearing or making a reservation.

The Fish and Chips and the Chicken and Ham Pie are firm favourites in our household.

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Various locations: click here

5.Sushi Maru

This little hidden gem located on level 1 of Abu Dhabi City Golf Club is a real find.  I play golf at the club and didn’t even realise it was there until my 4th visit!  The menu is varied with everything from salad to fried chicken , soup and of course sushi.  The crunchy dragon roll and the spicy fried chicken are two of my fav from here.  The staff are super friendly and efficient and I love that this place is a favourite for the Asian population…thats how you KNOW its good….well that and the amazing flavours!

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Location: Level 1, City Golf Club, 19th street, Al Mushrif

Tel: 050 137 8180