HIDDEN GEMS - AMAZING, AFFORDABLE FOOD
If you're on the hunt for authentic and delicious Malaysian cuisine, look no further than Malaysian-born Chef Chandy's restaurant in the heart of Abu Dhabi city. A small but comfortable and spotlessly clean venue, with beautiful flavours, personable service, large portion sizes and cheap prices, it's an absolute must! Everything on the menu is under AED 38 and we highly recommend the char kway teow - flavoursome pad thai-like flat noodles with a runny egg and hint of spice!
New City Palace (or just City Palace - we're never quite sure!) is a BB community favourite. We love the bargainous (not a word but we're going with it) and beauteous Peking duck, the amazing dumplings - could this be the best place to get dumplings in Abu Dhabi? - and the gorgeous rice and noodle dishes. It's a simple place, with a mama-san who will either make you giggle or make you frown (so part of the place's charm!) and lovely staff who make this one of the best Chinese dining experiences in town. A must try!
For fresh, light and healthy Vietnamese cuisine, Saigon House, located in Abu Dhabi city, serves up traditional dishes at super affordable prices, with friendly waiters adding to the appeal. Dinner for 2 can easily cost you under AED100 and this includes starters and large-portioned mains.
Every Vietnamese pho needs a delicious broth base
and a variety of textures and Saigon House's beef flavoured pho has just that, with the meat and vegetables cooked to perfection adding to the impeccable taste. There's even a lovely hanging swing chair just outside the door, draped in green vines and perfect for that Instagrammable shot!
Boti Street is definitely one of Abu Dhabi's favourite Pakistani restaurants, loved by regulars and newbies to the cuisine like us. It's definitely not a canteen, but rather somewhere to come and dine in and enjoy your food - there's a lot to enjoy.
The truck art on the wall is a great talking point and it's completely affordable. Get a halwa puri for breakfast for just AED15 - what a way to start your day. But that's just the beginning ...
There are lots of dishes that sizzle and the aromas are insane! The mutton biryani comes out piping hot with juicy chunks of mutton, the Peshwari kadai is also a must-try, straight from the oven to the table (in the same kadai it's cooked in) and is absolutely delicious. The reshmi kebab handi is served in a delightful brass bowl: the minced chicken kebabs, are nestled in an oily, rich curry sauce and perfect with ghee rice.
Boti Street is a great introduction to Pakistani cuisine and a fun place to eat out.
Manna land is an interactive and entertaining DIY Korean BBQ experience, with great value-for-money pricing. Feed an entire family of 4 with their big sharing platter style dishes for less than AED 200, with all appetisers and sides served complimentary with your meal. They also have a selection of fresh juices and a delicious range of mocktails to refresh the palate throughout the meal.
What to try? Our favourites have to be the la galbi gui, Korean hotpot and Korean BBQ boneless chicken.
Golden Spoon opened 25 years ago and this family run vegetarian restaurant, serving traditional Indian dishes with some Chinese twists, has since become a household name to many people in Abu Dhabi - and for good reason. It's a vegetarian's dream come true, but even if you're not, this place is a must-visit.
What to order when you go to Golden Spoon? The vegetable akbari, a tomato and onion based curry cooked with fresh vegetables stuffed in papadums, is the kind of dish that gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling: rich, creamy and just enough spice. The vegetable hiryali is a luscious blend of mixed vegetables in a spinach curry which we scooped up every last bite of with the fresh and warm garlic naan bread. The dahi bhalla, a colourful, refreshing yoghurt dish with soft dumplings and a contrast of sweet chutneys and spices, is another favourite.
Sahil, the manager and son of the family, explained to us that his mum works hard behind the scenes to create all the best dishes and firmly believes in creating flavors in every step. This love and attention shines through in every dish.
And the best part? It's SUPER pocket friendly! Main courses range between AED17-28 and naan for just AED3! It’s easy to find and Mawaqif parking is available outside the door.