On the hunt for cheap restaurants in Abu Dhabi? We hear you, and we’ve pulled together this handy guide to help you find Abu Dhabi’s best cheap eats.
We spend plenty of time talking about the very best restaurants Abu Dhabi has to offer, and often, that leads us towards the expensive, award-winning, fine dining trailblazers. But spare a thought for the other end of the spectrum, because the best affordable restaurants in Abu Dhabi are, arguably, just as important. A city needs those special celebration and date night spots but even more important are the cheap eats - the restaurants you can visit once a week for your favourite snack, or visit after work with a few friends without having to worry about booking weeks in advance or budgeting half your bank account for.
Despite the city’s famously glitzy reputation, good cheap eats in Abu Dhabi aren’t all that hard to find. The standard of food here is actually pretty good and most people in the city tend to have their favourite affordable and late night spots. Whether it’s a freshly-baked lahmacun, a tasty manakish from one of the city’s numerous Lebanese bakeries, a late night shawarma or a hot, steaming bowl of pho, the city has a huge range of affordable international treats hiding among its many streets.
We’ve tried to pull together a little range of different cuisines in our guide to cheap eats in Abu Dhabi - this list includes some of our favourite Korean, Indian, Lebanese, Turkish and Italian restaurants! Scroll down to take a look at our picks, and remember - you can click through and book the restaurant directly from the page if anything takes your fancy.
What: Authentic Armenian restaurant Lahmajoon is the place to be for heavily-stuffed mega-wraps, as well as fresh baked lahmajoons, Armenian baked treats and sandwich combos. Comforting, delicious and seriously great value - one lahmajoon is lunch sorted and you can do it for around the 10 AED mark.
Where: Al Jathibeyah Street, Najda
Book now: Lahmajoon
What: We love Hankook’s no-frills, authentic Korean menus, which include page after page of delicious soups, rice bowls, barbecue plates and all your favourite Korean snacks. Yes, there’s fried chicken galore too, and the prices are really excellent given the quality and generous portions.
Where: Al Nahyan Defence Road, Al Nahyan
Book now: Hankook
What: The bright red capitals of Lebanese Mill’s restaurant front are easily recognisable in Al Danah, an inside you’ll find a super-affordable Lebanese Grill, with a large menu that ranges from hot and cold mezze to salads, soups and loads of charcoal grill and barbecue dishes. At just 7 AED for a chicken shawarma, Lebanese Mill is unbeatable value.
Where: 417 Fatima Bint Mubarak Street, Al Danah
Book now: Lebanese Mill
What: We have a special place in our hearts for good pizza, and Antonia is one of our favourite pizza joints in Abu Dhabi, offering great pizza by the slice as well as an assortment of other Italian comfort dishes. Don’t be fooled by the accessible prices - these slow-proved sourdough pizzas are the real deal, and the toppings are excellent too.
Where: Turquoise Building No .9, Mamsha Al Saadiyat, Alsaadiyat
Book now: Antonia
Dampa Seafood Grill
What: Dampa Seafood Grill has long been a cheap eats favourite in Dubai, and now it brings all its awards to Abu Dhabi as well. The unique Filipino seafood menu is outrageously good value - go for the signature ‘seafood dump’ dish, where you get a literal mountain of seafood piled laughably high on the table. The stripped-back interiors are very cool as well.
Where: Ground Floor, Centurion Star Hotel, Deira
Book now: Dampa Seafood Grill
Pasha Turkish Restaurant
What: Pasha is both affordable and cheerful, but there’s nothing ‘cheap’ about this brilliant Turkish spot - the team makes everything in-house from meat marinades to breads, and it is reflected in the delicious food. We have a particular soft spot from their fresh-baked pides and lahmacun, which arrive at the table still smoking from the raging hot oven.
Where: Behind Shining Towers, Mubarak Bin Mohammed Street, Al Khalidiyah
Book now: Pasha Turkish Restaurant
Shawaia Al Bahar
What: If you’re looking for a budget option for a load of friends or family and you still want to make a splash, we highly recommend Shawaia Al Bahar’s huge seafood platters, where the team literally pour buckets of beautiful fresh seafood over rice and leave you to devour amongst yourselves. Go hungry.
Where: 53-55 Mohammed Bin Khalifa Street, Al Nahyan
Book now: Shawaia Al Bahar
What: Ethiopian food often features in cheap eats guides around the world, partly because of the heavy veg-focus of Ethiopian cuisine, but also because of the nature of the meal itself. Bonna Annee is nothing special to look at, but the food is so good it has made the World’s 50 Best Discovery List. Order a range of dishes (make sure you get the doro wat) and they’ll arrive on a platter of injera - an Ethiopian fermented flatbread.
Where: Al Salam Street, Al Zahiyah
Book now: Bonna Annee
If you've managed to save a bit of cash at these cheap eats, maybe consider spending it at one of Abu Dhabi's more glamorous spots! These great romantic restaurants in Abu Dhabi are worth checking out, or alternatively, we think these lovely lot are Abu Dhabi's best fine dining restaurants.