While the best fine dining restaurants in Abu Dhabi certainly aren’t cheap, they are perfect for special occasions. The definition of fine dining, however, hasn’t really been nailed down. Some argue that fine dining restaurants must have tasting menus, while others define it more loosely, citing white tablecloths, sommeliers, dress codes and the like as sufficient criteria. Regardless, we have a sixth sense for these things, so have rounded up our favourites that fit the bill in our books. So, swap your flip flops for brogues and your trackies for slacks, it’s time to get boujie.
As one might expect, some cuisines lend themselves to fine dining better than others. French restaurants, for example, are arguably the pioneers of fine dining (not to mention the Michelin stars that often come with it). These classy establishments feature impeccable service, hundred-strong winelists and more foie gras than you can shake a stick at. Italian restaurants are a more recent addition to the fine dining scene, but once you see a perfectly plated carpaccio you’ll agree they make the cut. At the other end of the map, meanwhile, Japan has its own kind of fine dining, one of experiential evenings with sushi masters, stunningly beautiful creations and some of the best seafood on the planet.
As such, we’ve gathered a mix of cuisines for you to peruse. We’ve varied location too, although the majority of these restaurants are located in hotels as this allows them to serve alcohol. You’ll notice a Michelin-starred Abu Dhabi restaurant or two, denoting them as part of a small and relatively new group of restaurants to have achieved the accolade in Abu Dhabi. Once you’ve had a browse of the fine dining restaurants below, simply hit the ‘book now’ button below the one you like the look of. You’ll then be taken to the restaurant’s listing page, where you can find out more and book a table.
Founded over 20 years ago, Hakkasan has grown to become a household name in Chinese fine dining. Housed in the stunning Emirates Palace, the Abu Dhabi branch dishes out elegant dim sum, lavish mains and colourful cocktails with style and flair. Diners can sip on smokey umeshu negronis, before feasting on caviar, dumplings, wagyu, lobster and the like. With a Michelin star to boot, this is comfortably one of the best restaurants in the city.
Where: Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi, West Corniche Road, Corniche
Book now: Hakkasan
99 Sushi Bar & Restaurant
If there’s one country that knows its way around fine dining, it’s Japan. 99 Sushi Bar & Restaurant, however, has ascended one step further, earning a coveted Michelin star for the quality of food and service it delivers. Naturally, the food here isn’t cheap, but if you want elegant sushi and small plates in Abu Dhabi, this is the place. Highlights from the menu include A5 wagyu nigiri with chilli oil and garlic crisps, and an o-toro, eel and caviar gunkan. As one might expect, there is a rather stellar sake selection to accompany this top-tier food.
Where: The Galleria, Four Seasons, Al Maryah Island
Book now: 99 Sushi Bar & Restaurant
Boasting stunning interiors, stunning views and stunning food to match, COYA is certainly one of the most beautiful restaurants in the city. But this is by no means a case of style over substance. Here, world-class chefs will take you on a journey to Lima, during which you’ll experience some of the finest Nikkei cuisine in the UAE. Experience exotic combinations like wagyu beef tartare with crispy huayro potato, pickled radish and panca chilli; beef cheek and passion fruit bao buns; or king crab toast with mango, celeriac miso puree and lemon. Finish with the likes of a pina colada popsicle or churros with dulce de leche sauce.
Where: The Galleria, Four Seasons, Al Maryah Islands
Book now: COYA
For something a little more European, Cafe Milano offers some of the finest Italian dining in Abu Dhabi. With a beautiful terrace for soaking in the sun and a glamorous dining room within, this restaurant really has it all. Every dish here has been elevated to heady heights: beef carpaccio features wagyu, quail egg, horseradish mayo and summer truffle dressing, while seafood pasta comes piled high with prawns, octopus and scallops with datterini tomatoes, parsley and lemon for a bit of zing. End your meal on a high with a classic tiramisu or more adventurous ricotta and pear tart with hazelnut and chocolate gelato.
Where: Four Seasons Abu Dhabi, Lower Lobby Level, Al Maryah Island
Book now: Cafe Milano
Another restaurant with amazing views in Abu Dhabi, Cipriani is perched on Yas Island and overlooks the whole marina. There’s an expansive terrace too, where diners can gaze up at the night sky and out across the water. On their plates, meanwhile, they’ll find elegant Italo-Japanese fare such as salmon tartare with lumpfish roe, vitello tonnato, grilled wagyu ribeye with braised herbs or marinated Alaskan black cod with hajikami and yuzu miso. To drink, sip on bellinis, spritzes and the like, or mocktails like a passion mojito or booze-free punch.
Where: Building 1 Yas Marina, Yas Island
Book now: Cipriani
If you’re after something a little more native, Kamoon is the place for you. The restaurant is housed in the ever-popular Rotana on Corniche Road and boasts mesmerising vistas of the Arabian Sea. Here, diners can enjoy Middle Eastern staples like hot and cold mezzah, as well as charcoal-grilled dishes like tender lamb, marinated chicken, aubergine or a mixture of the three. Those who prefer their food to come from the sea can instead enjoy lobster, hammour, king prawns, calamari or whole seabass. Round off a magical meal with an authentic dessert like knafeh or a platter of Arabic sweets.
Where: Kamoon Restaurant Corniche Road, Al Khubeirah
Book now: Kamoon
Some would say the French were the first pioneers of fine dining. If you subscribe to this school of thought, you should definitely get booked in at Fouquet’s. This restaurant hits all the right notes: white tablecloths, chandeliers and, of course, snails. Kick things off here with caviar, which comes with blinis, eggs, capers, sour cream, onions and chives. From there, sample delicacies like foie gras terrine with rhubarb chutney or a classic onion soup. Mains follow a similar style, with options like beef tartare prepared tableside, sole meuniere or a showstopping chateaubriand with bearnaise to share.
Where: Louvre Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island
Book now: Fouquet's
Al Meylas is the most laid-back entry on the list, although still very much a five-star fine dining experience. It’s the perfect place to stop in for elevated dining with options like lighter salads, hearty soups, hot and cold mezzeh selections or clay pot butter chicken with bread and saffron rice. There’s an amazing and varied array of desserts here too, including beautiful layer cakes, tiramisu, chocolate eclairs and more. Even the dining room itself is spectacular, with cream and white furnishings and excellent views across the bay.
Where: Four Seasons, Al Maryah Island
Book now: Al Meylas
Talea by Antonio Guida
This might be the only fine dining restaurant that also serves pizza. Talea, by renowned chef Antonio Guida, offers fine dining at its, well, finest. Start with a classic bruschetta, here topped with confit tomatoes, Cantabrico anchovies and stracciatella; roasted octopus with potato and pistachio; or a slow-cooked egg with black truffle. The pasta is all made in-house, topped with the likes of slow-cooked lamb, white veal ragu or even Canadian lobster with tomato and oregano. For your secondi, you’ll find hearty options like turbot, wagyu striploin or salt-crusted seabass. Even the pizza here is elevated to fanciful heights, like a black charcoal base topped with burrata and Iberico beef ham.
Where: Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi, West Corniche Road
Book now: Talea by Antonio Guida
We had to squeeze in one more Japanese spot, this time a more convivial, buzzy joint called Otoro. Named in honour of the sought-after cut of tuna belly, the restaurant dishes out elegant sushi platters, small plates and larger plates hot off the robata grill. Diners can sample nigiri like hamachi, wagyu or the titular otoro, and have the option to add caviar, truffle or even foie gras if they so wish. Elsewhere, there are fried treats like chicken wings, wagyu tempura or prawns with garlic mayo, as well as larger plates like spicy Korean lamb chops with pear or seabass with potato salad and flying fish roe. Finish with a matcha tiramisu topped with azuki beans, creme brulee or dark chocolate tart with butterscotch.
Where: Al Maqta' Street, Rabdan, Al Maqta'
Book now: Otoro
If you’re one for the finer things in life, be sure to scope out these Michelin-starred and Michelin-approved restaurants in Abu Dhabi too. For something properly luxurious, why not have a look at private dining rooms in Abu Dhabi?