What Meaning “sunset” in Thai, Sontaya sits in the St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, a once uninhabited stretch of coastal desert, now a world-class cultural hub.
The food It’s hard to find better Thai food in Abu Dhabi. For lunch, order the herb-infused tom kha soup, or leave room for tamarind-topped golden sea bass for dinner. Veg options are plenty; be sure to try Sontaya’s signature red tofu curry.
The view Eat while floating over glittering pools in a wood-panelled pavilion, and look out over the Arabian Gulf – especially striking in sunlight with its turquoise waves and frame of palm trees.
The vibe The cheerful, welcoming atmosphere of daytime, quintessential of beachside resorts, blends into the enchantment of candlelit island at dusk – a perfect ambience for a special-occasion dinner.
St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Saadiyat Island
What The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi’s fine-dining gem, whose name “beautiful river” reflects its location on the edge of the turquoise Grand Canal.
The food Watch chefs prepare South East Asian dishes in an open kitchen – order the vegetable jade dumplings and scallops fried in a spicy sauce and wrap up the meal with lemongrass crème brûlée for dessert. Impeccable service means each course will flow seamlessly into the next.
The view From a seat of plush red cushions, enjoy a view of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque across the moonlit canal, its white domes and pillars bathed in blue light.
The vibe A live DJ playing ambient beachy house sets a tranquil tone for the evening, and Abu Dhabi’s style-conscious crowd is out in force on the weekend.
The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal
What Journey to the 74th floor of Jumeirah at Etihad Towers for a refined, tea-steeped afternoon at the highest lookout in the city.
The food The highest of high teas at this European-inspired café includes a poached prawn and avocado baguette, and rich cranberry shortbread to satisfy the sweetest tooth. Complement the food with a fitting blend of tea or a glass of champagne while you gaze at the sun-scorched city below.
The view From this bird’s-eye vantage point, absorb an uninhibited panorama of Abu Dhabi’s skyline, the Corniche, and the dazzling Arabian Gulf – especially striking in the morning light.
The vibe The classy but comfortable ambience allows you to settle in and relax – well-heeled tourists are the prime clientele here.
Tower 2, Level 74, Jumeirah at Etihad Towers
What In the Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi is this nautical-themed restaurant that feels like the inside of a yacht and serves up light plates on its waterside patio terrace.
The food Enjoy Mediterranean delights and traditional cataplana-style seafood. Try the home-smoked sea trout, served with keta caviar, and spiced yellow-lentil soup flavoured with roasted cashews, yoghurt and cumin.
The view Floor-to-ceiling windows treat guests to a view of soft white sand, rows of palm trees and aquamarine waves. Across the canal, skyscrapers gleam in the Arabian sun.
The vibe Bright sunlight illuminates modern and refined décor, making this a great spot for daytime dining for families and young travellers.
Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi, 10th Street, Al Zahiyah Area
What The highest rooftop bar in Abu Dhabi. If the city hasn’t impressed you yet, the view from the 25th floor of the Marriott Hotel will.
The food Brunch packages offer Arabic and international assortments, including meze with tahini sauce and grilled Moroccan skewers served with flatbread and cucumber pickle. For dessert, try the caramel-topped sticky date pudding. Be sure to spice up brunch with a house cocktail.
The view From the Marriott’s rooftop, absorb the stunning sight of skyscrapers below and sprawling blue sky above. Kick back in deck chairs beside teal pools, extra enticing in the desert heat.
The vibe The blend of a bright pink and yellow colour scheme, crisscrossed strings of lights, and aesthetic dish presentations attracts young tourists looking for good times and new friends.
Marriott Hotel Downtown, Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street
What Located at the Emirates Palace, this spot is worth a visit for anyone craving a taste of Italy’s sun-kissed vineyards.
The food Traditional Italian specialities and Mediterranean-sourced ingredients make you feel like you’re dining on a balmy Tuscan terrace. Start with the caprese classica, creamy mozzarella served with pesto and tomatoes on the vine. Main courses include house-crafted buffalo ricotta and spinach ravioli.
The view Aside from the gorgeous marble architecture of the Emirates Palace, Mezzaluna sits in a stone courtyard with palm trees and fountains and a view of white sand and sparkling sea.
The vibe The restaurant’s grandeur, captivating views and Italian air make for a special and intimate atmosphere.
Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi, West Corniche Road
Asia de Cuba
What In the prestigious Nation Riviera Beach Club on the Corniche, this distinctive restaurant made its debut in 2015 and has been enthralling patrons ever since.
The food Explore new flavours in modern Chino-Latino cuisine. For something light, enjoy a red quinoa salad with grilled vegetables and saffron yuzu vinaigrette. Or satisfy a hearty appetite with wok-seared aubergine and plantain ragu, served with crispy capers and garlic chips.
The view Most striking in daytime, relish the sight of soothing blue waves and chic décor on the gorgeous beach deck and lounge. To escape the heat, settle back on comfy cushions and enjoy the restaurant’s unique interior design.
The vibe Vibrant and upbeat, Asia de Cuba’s innovative menu and energetic atmosphere invite foodie friends to try out a new flavour mix.
St Regis Abu Dhabi, Nation Riviera Beach Club, Corniche Road