50 amazing new restaurants that have opened in Abu Dhabi in 2023
How many have you visited..?
Abu Dhabi’s dining scene in an ever-flowing, every-changing torrent of gastronomy that grows in force with every new inundation. And despite the fact that we’re not even halfaway through 2023 yet, we’ve already seen a huge waves of change rocking the scene, these are just a few of our favourite new restaurant and bar drops in Abu Dhabi this year.
This Dubai-based, homegrown gem, a Thai Restaurant run by an Emirati family, has now found its home in Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi. It’s an eatery with a big following in Dubai, built off the back of highly covetous, occasionally unpronounceable, Bangkokkian cuisine — pad krapow, tamarind chicken wings, kanom tom, tom yum and of course mango sticky rice.
Sticky Rice, Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi, 1pm to 11pm, @stickyriceae
Joe and the Juice
Since opening its doors in Dubai in 2022, Joe and The Juice has taken the UAE by storm. And now the cult juice bar has landed in the capital, welcoming visitors in Yas Mall. Abu Dhabi residents can enjoy all of the signature drinks, dishes and coffees that the cafe is so famous for. The extensive menu includes all of the cult classics including their signature shakes, fresh juices and of course the sandwiches and bowls.
Joe and The Juice, Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi, open Mon to Thu 8am to 10pm and Fri to Sun 8am to 12am @joeandthejuiceuae
First opening in Al Wasl, and then a licensed outlet in DIFC, it was only a matter of time before Vibe Cafe made it’s way to the capital. You’ll find it in Khalifa City, a district that’s seen the quality and range of its culinary offering explode over the past couple of years. Love Vibe, is self-styled as more ‘grown-up’ version of its VIBE sisters — and whilst it maintains those brand standard electric aesthetics, other decorative elements present a more sophisticated facade.
Shop 10, Khalifa City Community Market, Khalifa City, Sector 32, 7am to 11pm (Ramadan hours 3pm to 3am). Tel: (02) 622 0393, @lovevibecafe
José by Pizzaro
Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers added a new string to its bow of culinary excellence with the arrival of José by Pizarro, now serving up little plates of paradise. If the name sounds familiar, it’s possibly because José Pizarro is a pretty big deal in the world of gastronomic ambassadorship, showing off the finer points of Spanish cuisine to the world.
José by Pizzaro, West Corniche, Etihad Tower, Conrad Hotel, Abu Dhabi, 5pm to 11.30pm, Tel: (0)2 811 5666, josepizarro.com
Restaurants at Reem Mall
Once fully open – 1.2 billion US Dollar mega project, Reem Mall should sit with around 85 different dining options. Right now you can enjoy the first capital openings of New Shanghai and The Butcher Shop & Grill. Elsewhere you’ll find Eataly, Subway’s swinging footlongs; Papa John’s righteous ‘Za; Mac daddy snacks from McDonald’s; and the sugar dizzying frenzy that comes from Caribou Coffee’s Fudgie-Wudgie.
The brand new and just aesthetically stunning Erth Restaurant at AlHosn operates a menu heavily influenced by local culinary flare. Dishes include deconstructed date cake, luqaimat, Bzar marinated beef short ribs
, wagyu beef striploin, and fresh torched salmon crudo.
Erth Restaurant, AlHosn, Abu Dhabi, 9pm to 2am daily, Tel: (0)58 600 6922, @erth.alhosn
This Parisian-style bistro and boulangerie is another new addition to the dining scene at Yas Mall. An import from Dubai — it offers a wide range of French foodie flair to Champs on. From plats principal such as corn-fed chicken stuffed with comte cheese, turkey ham and roasted ratte potato with mushroom sauce; to more petite bites like watermelon salad with almond, mint and feta — a refreshing salad, perfect for a summers day. Because it’s a bakery you also get oven-fresh crunch baguettes, dainty quaint croissants and ooh la la, chunky tranches of traditional French toast.
La Serre, Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi, Sun to Thur 9am to 10pm, Fri and Sat 8am to 12am. Tel: (0)2 658 5835, @laserredubai
This is the first of three fresh openings overlooking Abu Dhabi’s stunning Eastern Mangroves. It’s a JoKo (Japanese/Korean) izakaya concept from Wawa Dining, with a menu that features a strong crudo, ceviche and sushi showing; Korean tacos; ramen, jjigae, black cod, Wagyu cuts and more. It also holds an exciting secret in its wardrobe in the form of a cool secret bar.
BaTE, Eastern Mangrove, Abu Dhabi, Sun to Thur 5pm to 12am, Fri 5pm to 1am, Sat 1pm to 1am. Tel: (0)2 632 5272, @bateabudhabi
Amano is a very attractive ‘bar and kitchen’ project — the royal hues of whites and blues blend smartly and both the interior and exterior space have been put together under the direction of an eye for style. An additional side benefit is that Amano is located just in front of the Sea Hawk kayak safari terminal, and the gentle stream of intrepid mangrove adventurers provides triple-A people-watching opportunities.
Amano, Al Kheeran, Eastern Mangrove, daily midday to 11pm. Tel: (055) 128 8635, @amano_easternmangroves
New Restaurants at Rixos Marina Abu Dhabi
Currently, it’s only serving at Turquoise (the all day diner), People’s Restaurant (also all day dining but make it poolside), Lobby Lounge (a lounge in the lobby unsurprisingly), the bakery club (boulangerie/patisserie), and antedote bar. Amongst the coming soons, we can look forward to Verso Italiano (Mediterranean classics), Flame Stakehouse, and Isla Beach Bar.
If you’re familiar with Al Qana, you’ll know this waterfront destination is any coffee lovers paradise. Alongside many other cool outlets, Cave Cafe has made quite an impression on the local foodie scene, with a plethora of audaciously-aesthetic menu items that will make your Instagram pop! What to order? The guacamole and salmon tostada, Spanish omelette or the cheesy brioche. Yum.
Cave Cafe, Al Qana, open daily 9am to midnight. @cave.tapas
I’m going to come right out and say it, Penelope’s Brasserie & Jazz Bar Américain on Yas Marina is one of the coolest, most exciting Abu Dhabi openings of 2022. That short waterfront stretch of terrace performs a Herculean effort in accounting for its name, serving unmistakably Riviera vibes, a red hot Mediterranean menu, suitably chic cocktails and unlike some other ‘claimants’ in the country, actual jazz. Penelope’s has some particularly glittery marrow in its bones, it’s owned by locally-based hospitality legends Layla Kardan (Papillion, Dubai) and Hamdan Al Khafaji (La Carnita), and is a concept conceived by Eddie Ghazal (Canary Club, Dubai). And the mark of this All-Star trio is already clearly stamped into design touches across the venue. You can read the full review here.
Yas Marina, Yas Island, 6pm to 2am daily. Tel: (02) 635 1116, @penelopes.ae
Huna food hall
Food halls probably aren’t the first destinations that come to mind when you’re in the mood for a plateful of fancy food, but the brand new Huna at Yas Mall is all about dismantling those prejudices, with a Gourmet-Unit of casual-to-fine dining fire now serving in the capital. You’ll find Huna on the ground floor of the mall, towards the main entrance, opposite Hamley’s. Visually, it cuts a sharp design split from the mall — with softer lighting and a hawker-style community of restaurant fronts, a distinct ‘Asian Kitchen’ section and an Art Deco terrace dominated by an alfresco Habib Beirut counter. Restaurants include BB Social Dining, Tazal, Saigon, Taco Ville, Blu Fried Chicken, Elixir Bunn, Maxzi The Good Food Shop, Habib Beirut, Philotimos. There’s also the lush dessert of Orush; Al Rifai; Crazy Brownie; Royce Chocolate; Orient Delight; Simply Chef; SugarMoo; and Bella Delizioso.
Ground floor, Yas Mall, Sun to Thu 10am to 10pm, Fri to Sat 10am to midnight. @hunayas
House of Joud
This chic homegrown cafe, known for speciality coffees, big breakfast options, authentic Neapolitan pizza and dainty pastries now has a piping hot fresh brew at Yas Mall. @houseofjoud_
Another Yas Mall newbie, Kronful is home to a strong range of Levantine comfort food.
Now open at Al Qana, Pavo is a ‘casual-premium’ restaurant featuring a focus on refined Mediterranean cuisine — pasta, pizzas, rustic mains, alluring desserts and Açaí bowls for brekkie. @pavoabudhabi
Graffiti Pizzeria & Trattoria
Operating out of Abu Dhabi’s largest movie theatre, Cinemacity Al Qana. The restaurant will be dishing authentic Neopolitan pizzas alongside other Italian staples. @graffitipizzeria
The absolutely massive eGaming, VR and Esports hub, Pixoul in Al Qana now comes with the option of pre and post button-bashing refreshments. We have no idea what the menu includes but if we’d have to guess we’d say Elder Swiss ScRolls, Kale of Duty — Modern Waffles, Super Mayo, Counter Steak 2… Had enough of these food puns? Ok, lettuce leaf it there. @pixoulgaming
Inspired by flavours from the east coast of the USA, this refined diner is bringing Philly cheese steaks and messy sliders to the ensemble picnic table of Al Qana.
Off Record Cafe
As journalists we have mixed emotions when we hear ‘off record’. Yes it’s juicy gossip, but what can we do with it? Nothing until the information enters the public domain or we simply combust under the anxiety of it all. The only thing combusting at this part-cafe-part-digital-art-gallery, thankfully, are the red hot beats supplied by the resident DJ. Find it at Al Qana.
La Vena Cafe
In addition to expertly brewed hot beverages, you’ll find Al Qana’s La Vena to be a super chilled destination for coworking.
A brand new smokehouse at Al Qana – Meat Moot, is now serving up premium meat dishes and non-limp brisket