A Foodie’s Guide to Saadiyat Island: 5 Best Dining Spots

A Foodie’s Guide to Saadiyat Island: 5 Best Dining Spots

There are plenty of reasons to visit Saadiyat Island. Between being home to the best beach in Abu Dhabi, the city’s cultural hub, and a natural haven for wildlife, most people will take any excuse to pop over for a day trip to or a weeklong staycation in this beautiful place.

However, for foodies always on the lookout for new and exciting dining experiences, Saadiyat Island presents one more irresistible draw. The island’s diverse dining scene is like a siren song, luring travellers and locals with a lovely melody of smells, classic flavours, and new tastes.

No matter what you’re in the mood for, from light brekkies and brunches to glorious multi-course feasts, you can find it on Saadiyat Island. Here are five of the best restaurants that every foodie should add to their must-eat-there list:

1. Niri Restaurant & Bar


You might be tempted to walk into this Japanese dining spot solely for its gorgeous views of the turquoise blue Gulf waters and snow-soft sand in Mamsha al Saadiyat, a bustling promenade lined with cafes, restaurants, hypermarkets and boutiques. But it’s the authentic and delicious flavours of Niri Restaurant & Bar that will keep you coming back for more. 

This neighbourhood yakitori joint, sushi bar and highball pub features a menu that is as diverse as the diners it attracts. The star of the show is undoubtedly their fresh seafood offerings, with highlights like the melt-in-your-mouth toro sakusaku nori, a delectable blend of fatty tuna and seaweed crackers in a briny, smokey sauce, the miso grilled sea bass, a perfectly cooked and marinated fish served over a banana leaf, and their sesame soya beef, a main course of tenderloin steak, sweet soya and sesame dressing. 

Grab a seat at the counter to watch the chefs masterfully prepare your meal or a table on the outdoor terrace to take in the stunning sunset over the Gulf. 

2. Ting Irie Saadiyat Island

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If you’re looking for a Jamaican restaurant in Abu Dhabi that’ll hit all the Caribbean soul food, reggae music and party vibes right on the mark, Ting Irie is it. The Saadiyat Island branch of this popular Dubai eatery is a rustic, beach-front venue with a relaxed and fun-loving ambience, perfect for a laid-back lunch with family and friends or a spicy, dance-filled dinner date. 

The menu is packed with classic Jamaican dishes like jerk chicken, ackee and saltfish, curry goat, oxtail, and Jamaican patties. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you’ll also find plenty of flavorful options in the ital (the Rastafarian plant-based diet) section, like the curry veg and jerk eggplant risotto

Pair your meal with any of Ting Irie’s signature rum and coconut-based cocktails screaming summer in a glass, like Coca-Rita Get Toast’d or Marley’s 7 Sons, and finish it off with their warm chocolate tart topped with fresh dulce de leche ice cream.

3. Antonia Saadiyat Island

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Named after owner and chef Simone Federici’s grandmother, Antonia, is an intimate and charming Italian restaurant with a passion for authentic, home-style cooking. This means generous portions, sourdough-baked pizzas, handcrafted oil and garlic al dente pastas and suppli, Roman fried rice balls with melted stringy mozzarella and ragu filling, all made from scratch with the finest ingredients. 

In true Italian style, you’ll also find “pizza al taglio”, or pizza by the slice, a tradition of Rome’s street food that Antonia is bringing to Abu Dhabi. This way, you can easily grab a quick bite on the go and try different varieties of their amazing pizza toppings.

Meat lovers will especially enjoy pizza options like the diavolo, a spicy salami choice, and the pancetta e patate, a mouth-watering mix of smoked bacon, mozzarella, scamorza cheese and potato, as well as pasta dishes like the classic tagliatelle alla bolognese.

For vegetarian or vegan diners, Antonia also has many veggie-based pizzas and pastas. Indulge in options like the ortolana, tartufo e funghi and margherita pizzas, or savour the rich flavours of ricotta and spinach ravioli and gnocchi alla sorrentina pastas.

4. Beirut Sur Mer

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With Beirut right in the name, you can already tell that this Saadiyat Island eatery will be serving up some delicious Lebanese fare. Beirut Sur Mer is a waterfront spot with fantastic sea views and bold, contemporary Mediterranean decor that sets the mood for Lebanese dining by the sea the minute you step in.

Here, you’re sure to come across all your favourites, from traditional breakfast dishes like foul medames (broad beans with garlic, cumin, tomato and onions) and shanklish (a type of cheese) to hot-off-the-grill meat skewers like shish taouk (chicken) and kafta (minced lamb with spices and parsley), and a variety of fresh, flavorful cold and hot mezzes like hummus, baba ganoush as well as tabbouleh and fattoush salads.

And as a nod to its seaside location, Beirut Sur Mer also offers excellent seafood options, such as crab, shrimp, octopus and more, all cooked with a Lebanese twist.

5. Raclette Brasserie & Café

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Raclette Brasserie & Café is a slice of Parisian charm also located in Mamsha al Saadiyat. Its decor, with its wicker lights, lush green plants and French bistro-style furnishings, coupled with its terrace with  breathtaking sea views, makes for an Insta-worthy venue. 

But it’s the classic French dishes with a cheesy Swiss influence that make this spot stand out. Raclette, the star dish of this restaurant, is a traditional Swiss-style cheese that’s melted and scraped onto potatoes, bread or meat from a large wheel and served alongside a variety of other delicious toppings like cured meats, gherkins, pickled onions and more — a must-try for sure.

You can also savour French seafood, meat, and chicken favourites like sea bass provencal, steak frites, and coq au vin, as well as decadent desserts like profiteroles, crepe suzette and tarte tatin, all while sipping on one of the best selections of grapes in the city. 

Pack Your Appetite and Head to Saadiyat Island

Believe it or not, this list barely scratches the surface of all the amazing food options on Saadiyat Island. 

To truly experience the culinary scene of this oasis, you’ll just have to pack your appetite, head over there, and start ticking off restaurants one by one. Don’t forget to bring your friends and family along, because food is always better when shared with a side of laughter and good company. 

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