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2-Day Culinary Tour

The international influence in Abu Dhabi is perhaps best reflected in the dizzying array of culinary options in this Middle Eastern metropolis. Visitors need not travel far for classic Italian fare, or sweets and treats from a French chef who perfected his pastry skills at multiple Michelin Star culinary properties. Meanwhile, hotel restaurants such as Li Jiang at The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal offer visitors fantastic food, handcrafted beverages and stunning views.

Four tidy servings of noodles topped with colorful garnish and set on silver-gray plate with gleaming chopsticks



  • Queens of Clubs.

    After years of running a traveling dinner-event club, two Emirati girlfriends opened No.57 Boutique Café for their culinary fans who preferred to frequent one place for
    reliably inventive options (like activated charcoal pancakes). Go traditional for your first meal of the trip — shakshuka, eggs baked with chickpeas, peppers, chilies and onions — but be sure to save room for the signature dessert with a name lifted from a thoroughly American meme, the Ermahgerd (toffee crumble, cream and roasted marshmallows).

  • Line Up Some Dates.

    Wander the Al Mina fruit and vegetable souk to find an array of imported exotic foods and locally grown produce. Sample the different dates — some shops sell 40 varieties — and roasted pistachios before buying your favorites to snack on or ship home as gifts.

  • Make a Mezze.

    The patio at Flooka, with its view of the gulf and mangroves, is made for a long, lazy lunch, so opt for a set menu and several dishes of seafood mezze for the table to sample and share, along with mint lemonade.

  • Feast Your Eyes, Too.

    The Louvre Abu Dhabi opened in November with loaned works including van Gogh’s self-portrait and Whistler’s painting of his mother, but the building by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel is its own work of art. Grab an iced coffee in the open-air café that sits under the museum’s huge, star-filled dome that weighs as much as the Eiffel Tower.

  • As the World Churns.

    Cool off with an exquisite Poire Belle Hélène treat — vanilla and chocolate ice creams, pear, hot chocolate sauce, Chantilly cream and almond flakes — at Dolce, the Italian-style café featuring sweet delights from Executive Pastry Chef Laurent Allereau.

  • Rush Menu.

    Speed demons flock to Yas Island, home of the world’s fastest roller coaster (from zero to 150 mph in less than five seconds at Ferrari World) and a Formula 1 auto racing school (at Yas Marina Circuit). Finish off your evening with gourmet pizza and tapas at Diablito. Try the Trufa-Blanca — a white pizza served with goat cheese, mushrooms and white truffle oil.



  • Café Couture.

    You’ll need energy to browse the bevy of boutiques inside the two-story, 8-square-acre Galleria on Al Maryah Island. Start with Salmone Affumicato (smoked salmon on lamb lettuce salad with lemon pan brioche and sour cream) and fresh-squeezed orange and carrot juice on the soothingly chic terrace of Emporio Armani Caffé.

  • Sugar Rush.

    Don’t slow the shopping spree; grab one of the limited-edition cupcakes of the day at Magnolia Bakery, an outcropping from the bake shop in New York City’s West Village.

  • Gourmet Dining.

    Enjoy an eclectic dining experience at Almaz by Momo, where the lounge setting makes you feel like you’re miles away from a mall. The authentic Moroccan food provides the perfect midday pick-me-up. The tagines and coucous dishes are the stars of the show, and the menu as a whole complements the cool, contemporary vibe.

  • Every Day Is Hump Day.

    Artsy coffeehouse villa Café Arabia offers an intriguing menu, as well. If you’re not up to trying the camel burger, opt for house-made cakes and desserts and an espresso, or pick up some camel milk chocolate as a souvenir.

  • Go for a Wok.

    The medley of Southeast Asian dishes at Li Jiang includes several wok-fried options: vegetables, chicken, lamb, prawns, scallops or hamour fillet. Any would make a wonderful main course — and for dessert, don’t skip the lemongrass crème brûlée, or lychee and rose vacherin.

  • Midnight Mezzeh.

    Wrap up your visit with a sampling of cold mezzeh at Mijana, which serves traditional Arabic cuisine with a contemporary Lebanese twist until 1 a.m. (and shisha until 2).