Friday brunch has become a weekend tradition in Abu Dhabi and has become synonymous with afternoons spent in stylish restaurants abuzz with chinking glasses and melodic jazz. With more venues putting their own personal stamp on this gastronomic ritual, here’s a handful of quintessential brunch venues – plus a few more offbeat takes on traditional brunch – for you to try.
The Terrace on the Corniche, The St Regis
Friday brunch at The Terrace is vibrant yet elegant and offers a fine spread of all the hors d’oeuvres, seafood, terrines and cold cuts you could ever wish for. Their signature Bloody Mary Brunch here is a real crowd-pleaser and guests can dine on the sunny outdoor terrace or within the elegant dining room. If you have a penchant for something bubbly, you can opt for their free-flowing Laurent Perrier champagne.
From AED 275 for brunch with soft drinks / AED 385 with cocktails and alcoholic drinks / AED 450 with champagne
The Terrace on the Corniche, The St Regis Abu Dhabi Nation Towers, Abu Dhabi, UAE
+971 2 694 4553
Brunch in the Clouds at The St Regis
Gourmands who really want to splash out can book The St Regis hotel’s ‘brunch in the clouds’ – a gastronomic experience that’s hosted on the hotel’s 48th and 49th floors. It takes diners through various themed rooms from a candy cinema to a caviar ice-bar. The culinary journey is reserved for just 50 exclusive guests.
From AED 500 with alcoholic beverages / AED 750 with champagne
The St Regis Abu Dhabi Nation Towers, Abu Dhabi, UAE, United Arab Emirates
+971 2 694 4553
Join the style-conscious weekenders at BU Trinity, a cool and rustic eatery that serves Modern Pan Latin food in a hip and artistic setting. The Friday ‘BUrunch’ menu is a concise but enticing selection of tacos, anticuchos, ceviche, grilled meats and colourful dessert platters. After brunch, retreat to the roof terrace for an expertly-crafted cocktail.
From AED 250 / AED 3550 with house beverages / AED 450 with champagne
Level 4 The HUB, World Trade Center, Abu Dhabi, UAE
+971 2 666 8066
Origins, Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi
The talking point of Yas Viceroy is of course, its location, within the Formula One race track. So it only seems right that the Friday Pit Stop brunch aptly takes on a buffet dining inspired by F1’s international destinations. Guests can select from pasta stations, seafood salads and other dishes from ‘Monaco to Shanghai’. The restaurant gets lively thanks to music by bands such as Aleks and Mike and its laid-back yet modern style is great for families.
From AED 225 for brunch with soft drinks / AED 375 with house beverages / AED 480 with bubbly and premium drinks
Origins at Yas Viceroy, Abu Dhabi, P.O. Box 131808, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE +971 2 656 0000
KOI restaurant and Lounge, Saadiyat Island
This Middle Eastern outpost of the original LA-based haunt is a strong contender in offering Abu Dhabi’s most sophisticated brunch. Dine like the Hollywood set on Japanese-inspired plates such as the miso-bronzed black cod, lobster tacos and signature rolls. If you stretch to AED 495, you can enjoy unlimited glasses of fizz as part of ‘free flow Friday’.
You may need to squint to read the menu under the restaurant’s moody lighting but Koi is worth a visit for the quality seafood. Children under six also dine for free. 12.30-4pm
From AED 295 for brunch with soft drinks / AED 395 with house drinks
Koi Restaurant and Lounge, The Collection with The St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Saadiyat Island, UAE
+971 2 678 3334
Hakkasan, Emirates Palace
A live Peking duck cooking station, Szechuan style wontons and Wagyu beef truffle puffs are just some of the highlights of the Friday Hakka Brunch at Hakkasan. This world-renowned Cantonese restaurant promises a sophisticated setting with Jasmine green tea, punch cocktails and various Louis Roederer and Perrier Jouët champagnes. Dine on their outside terrace or within the Ling Ling Lounge – a chic dining room flooded in moody blue lighting – and make sure you leave room for their pretty desserts.
From AED 245 for brunch with soft drinks / AED 345 with selected alcohol / AED 495 with champagne
Hakkasan Abu Dhabi, Emirates Palace, Corniche Road, Abu Dhabi, UAE
+971 2 690 7739
Las Brisas, Emirates Palace
The brunch at Las Brisas is held outside, by the hotel’s fabulous swimming pool while a live DJ provides the soundtrack. So the ambiance is uber relaxed whilst retaining the luxury you’d expect from the palatial Kempinski hotel group. It’s particularly well-suited for children (or anyone with a sweet tooth) with candy floss and popcorn stations. More savoury highlights include their roasts, shawarma, dim sum and Mediterranean salads – all enjoyed under the shade of manicured palms.
From AED 290 for brunch and soft drinks / AED 350 for house beverages / AED 480 for bubbles
West Corniche Road, Abu Dhabi, UAE, +971 2 690 7999
Giornotte at the Ritz Carlton
Freshly shucked oysters, wagyu beef and an entire room dedicated to cheese are just some of the draws of the Friday brunch at the Ritz Carlton. The light and airy setting at Giornotte – a contemporary Italian villa-style space – is ideal for a relaxed family gathering and children are in their element with candy floss, popcorn and chocolate fountains of the Dolce café. Come evening time, a resident DJ continues the after-party weekend at the hotel’s Sorso bar.
From AED 295 for brunch and soft drinks / AED 395 with house beverages / AED 495 for the bubbly package
PO Box 91888, Al Maqta Area, Abu Dhabi, UAE, +971 2 818 8888
Frangipani at Zaya Nurai Island
Those who splash out on the Friday brunch in Frangipani – the signature restaurant at Zaya Nurai on Nurai Island – are in for a treat. You’ll reach this island bolthole by taking a boat from Saadiyat Island and once you’re there, you have access to tandoori BBQs, Mexican live stations and buffets replete with fresh quality ingredients. Taittinger champagne flows and guests who book for brunch can also use the hotel pool and facilities – think chic day beds, a private sandy beach and splendid Gulf views.
From AED 550 for brunch with soft drinks / AED 650 with alcohol / AED 750 with champagne
Zaya Nurai Island, Sheikh Khalifah Bin Zayed, Zaya Nurai Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE +971 2 5066222
Aqua, Rosewood Abu Dhabi
An intimate set-up and a classy but casual vibe add to the many reasons you should try Friday brunch at The Rosewood, but the USP is without a doubt, its waterfront views. Tuck into eggs benedict on the terrace for the most exceptional city panorama. Or dine inside to be closer to the succulent roasts, chocolate fountains and artisanal tarts. The Rose Buds Brunch for kids (starts from AED 125) makes Aqua a good option for families.
12.30pm until 4pm
From AED 250 for brunch and soft drinks / AED 350 for brunch with cocktails / AED 500 for bubbly
Aqua, Sowwah Square, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Tel: +971 2 813 5550
Zuma, Al Maryah Island
Zuma, the brainchild of the famed chef Rainer Becker, is the go-to Japanese restaurant on Al Maryah Island. You’ll find it wedged in between The Rosewood and The Galleria, Abu Dhabi’s luxury shopping mall and their Friday ‘baikingu’ brunch showcases their winning formula of authentic-but-classy Izakaya-style dining. Expect everything from sashimi to roasted lobster with shiso ponzu butter, with a relaxed, buzzy atmosphere. Menu tiers vary from the ‘healthy’ cleansers option to packages that include prosecco, champagne and Japanese sake.
From AED 345 for brunch and soft drinks \ AED 555 for brunch with champagne, sake and house wine/beer
Zuma, Sowwah Square, Abu Dhabi, UAE
+971 2 401 5900
Crust at The Four Seasons
The lively setting and family-friendly approach aren’t the only draws of Crust, the food on offer on their Friday brunch menu is top notch too. Seafood, roast meat cuts and live cooking stations all feature at this market-inspired restaurant, with mocktails and cocktails to boot. The Four Seasons hotel offers a great range of children’s activities and a ‘Mini Bruncher’ kids menu and Zsa Zsa is a great spot to carry on the weekend revelries.
12pm until 4pm
From AED 275 for brunch and soft drinks and AED 385 for bubbles and cocktails
PO Box 107032, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE
+971 2 333 2222
Words by Lucy McGuire