On the hunt for child-friendly restaurants in Abu Dhabi? The city certainly has a lot to choose from, but we’ve taken the liberty of finding the very best of the best because your little people are VIPS. Family-friendly restaurants have a tricky balancing act on their hands; there need to be options for kids and it can’t be too formal, but the restaurant still needs to appeal to adults (they are the ones paying, after all). When a restaurant does manage to tick both boxes, the result is the perfect stop-in for a family meal - just what you need after a long day of exploring the city. Sore feet and hungry children don’t end well in our experience.
One of the most important factors when looking for child-friendly restaurants in Abu Dhabi is choice. If there aren’t enough options for the kids, then you likely won’t end up with empty plates and smiling faces. While not every restaurant on this list has a kids' menu, we made sure the ones that don’t one have some child-friendly options too. We're talking things like pizza, pasta, burgers, sandwiches and fried chicken. If that all sounds a little unhealthy, then don’t worry! We’ve thrown in some restaurants with healthy options for all ages too.
On this list, you’ll find a real mix of cuisines, ranging from Japanese to Italian. There’s a huge mixture of settings as well, including sun-soaked beach lounges, cafes with playgrounds and theatrical restaurants that will entertain the group throughout the meal. There are some classier entries too, because we adults deserve a cocktail and some sushi sometimes (especially after a day of waterparks and adventure playgrounds). So have a browse and hit ‘book now’ when you find one you like the look of. That will take you to the restaurant’s page, where you can find out a little more including reviews, menus and how to book.
Arguably one of the first restaurants to bring Japanese food into the global mainstream, Benihana is now one of the most recognisable restaurants in the world. Specially trained chefs perform while they cook, teppanyaki style. Thanks to this, along with a dedicated menu, it’s a brilliant restaurant for kids. Crowdpleasers for the little ones include teriyaki chicken nuggets, shrimp, mini sushi and fried rice. Watch your children’s eyes light up as the chefs juggle knives, draw with eggs and generally entertain the table throughout.
Where: Beach Rotana, Hameem-Abu Dhabi Road
Book now: Benihana
Housed in the mall at the foot of the World Trade Centre, Sugar Factory is a haven for kids. Perhaps best suited to birthdays or end-of-holiday meals, the restaurant serves up everything kids love: burgers, pasta, pizza, mac and cheese, and some pretty spectacular desserts. The main reason people visit, however, is the world-famous King Kong sundae (hence this being more of a treat than the others). This huge dessert features 24 scoops of ice cream, hot fudge, caramel, banana, toasted marshmallows, Reese’s pieces, waffle cones, gummy bears, whipped cream, giant lollipops and sparklers on top.
Where: Third Floor, Mall, World Trade Center, Hamdan Bin Mohammed Street
Book now: Sugar Factory
Globally famous as a great restaurant for kids, Pizza Express had to make an appearance on this list. Your kids will love the selection of starters, which includes dough balls, cheesy garlic bread and potato dippers. Then they can enjoy their own pizza (correctly sized for kids), or go for a familiar pasta dish like carbonara or Bolognese. In case those dough balls at the start weren’t quite enough, be sure to get the dough balls with Nutella for dessert (they’re an absolute winner) or choose from ice cream, profiterole cake and cheesecake.
Where: The Mall, World Trade Centre
Book now: Jazz@Pizza Express
Boasting incredible views across Saadiyat Beach, along with a candlelit terrace and stylish interiors, Beach House certainly has the looks. But when it comes to catering for the little ones, the restaurant delivers there too. Kids here can enjoy a dedicated menu they’re bound to love, featuring the likes of mushroom croquettes, penne with butter or tomato sauce, meatballs, prawns or French fries. After that, the churros are a must, accompanied by chocolate and hazelnut sauces for dipping. Adults, meanwhile, can enjoy an extensive selection of Mediterranean small and large plates, along with a much-needed cocktail.
Where: Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas, Al Saadiyat Island
Book now: Beach House
When dining with kids, opening hours can often be an issue. Thankfully, Leen’s is open throughout the day and most of the evening. If you visit in the morning, you and your family can enjoy healthy options like breakfast bowls and scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, as well as more indulgent options like salted caramel French toast and Emirati pancakes. After midday, the menu goes global, featuring everything from burgers and sandwiches to gyoza and tempura. The service is famously brilliant, so that’s yet another thing you don’t have to worry about here.
Where: The Mall, World Trade Centre
Book now: Leen’s
Jones the Grocer Khalidiya
Jones the Grocer is a deli, cafe and award-winning cheese shop. But, as the restaurant’s own menu says, “little ones matter”. Acting on this principle, Jones offers up a great selection of family favourites the kids will love, including meatballs with garlic bread, crispy chicken mayo burgers, sausages and mash, mini burgers, mac and cheese and fish and chips. If your little ones aren’t so little anymore, there’s plenty more on the menu, including steak, charcuterie boards and soups. Be sure to grab some eclairs before you leave - they’re to die for.
Where: Pearl Plaza Tower, Ground Floor, Khalidiyah Street
Book now: Jones the Grocer Khalidiya
There’s one thing we know for sure: kids like pizza. At Verso, you’ll find plenty of it, along with some more refined dishes for the grownups. While the kids tuck into their Margheritas (or even the pizzetta Americana, which features mozzarella, sausage and French fries), you can enjoy the likes of carpaccio, grilled prawns, steak and black cod. There’s a cracking list of Italian wines too, perfect for unwinding after a day of sightseeing. At the pool bar, meanwhile, you can enjoy a more pared-back version of the menu, including club sandwiches and salads.
Where: Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel & Residences Emirates Pearl West, Corniche Road
Book now: Verso
Perhaps the best entry on this list, Sanderson’s Cafe has it all when it comes to catering to families. This charming all-day cafe boasts an outdoor play area for kids (perfect for working up an appetite), dedicated children’s menu and lovely chilled atmosphere to boot. In the mornings, kids can enjoy eggs on toast, a mini fry-up or pancakes with maple syrup. Later in the day, there’s a little more choice, with options including burgers, pizzas and mac and cheese with hidden veggies. Finish off with an ice cream or bowl of fresh fruit with chocolate sauce.
Where: Andalus Al Seef Resort Salam Street near Khalifa Park
Book now: Sanderson’s Cafe
Marco’s New York Italian
World-famous chef Marco Pierre White has crafted an elegant yet accessible restaurant for his Abu Dhabi site. While there isn’t a children’s menu per se, your kids will certainly find plenty to enjoy here. Kid-friendly options include calamari, burrata or caprese di bufala to start, followed by spinach and ricotta ravioli, gnocchi with tomato sauce or lasagne for mains. There are pizzas too - always a crowd-pleaser, and delicious Italian desserts to finish with, including panna cotta, cheesecake or a selection of gelato.
Where: Khor Al Maqta
Book now: Marco’s New York Italian
Offering something a little more elegant, Jing Asia serves a pan-Asian mix of small and large plates. There’s enough choice that children and grownups will both find something they like. Adults can enjoy sushi, spicy Thai curries and nasi goreng, while kids might prefer the dumplings, spring rolls and teriyaki salmon. The passion fruit and raspberry tart, however, can be enjoyed by all. The dining room is nice and cosy and lunch is served buffet style, making it a great place for family meals.
Where: Crowne Plaza Hotel Yas Island
Book now: Jing Asia
After a busy week of family activities, unwind with this brilliant list of the best weekend brunches in Abu Dhabi.