MICHELIN GUIDE FOOD FESTIVAL: EVERYTHING A FOODIE NEEDS TO KNOW
THE BEST OF THE BEST
The big moment of the weekend: the awards ceremony! A nail biter for local restaurants to see who retained their MICHELIN Selected and MICHELIN Star status, as well as the awarding of special category awards too. Plenty of our favourites remain on the Selected list - hello there, Villa Toscana, Zuma, LPM, Li Jiang and Grand Beirut to name a few - and we were delighted to see Al Farah, Jose by Pizarro, Kopitiam by Chandy’s, Les Dangereux, Mate, Ray’s Grill, terra and Yadoo’s House join their ranks. Erth was newly award a MICHELIN star - becoming only the fourth restaurant in Abu Dhabi to recieve this elite honour.
The Bib Gourmand category - high quality dining at reasonable prices - also saw two new additions, Al Mrzab and Oii, who joined the likes of Otoro and t'azal on the Abu Dhabi offering. A personal favourite for us, the Service Award recognises the talent and teamwork of front of house professionals. The deserving winner was Chandran Thanggaraja of Kopitiam by Chandy’s, recognised for the outstanding and hands-on leadership of his team. The anonymous inspectors praised the genuinely welcoming team, excellent knowledge of their menu and expertise in making recommendations.
The Young Chef Award recipient was commended for managerial skills beyond his years in the running of both kitchen and front of house: Rigers Cuka of Oii. He credited humble beginnings washing dishes at his family restaurant for leading him down the path to a MICHELIN win. Opening of the Year was awarded to Les Dangereux, rated on not just their good looks but their delectable dishes and exciting prospects for the evolution of the restaurant.
To the right upon entry, find a selection of top local vendors: brands known and loved in the region for their quality offerings.
- Dibba Bay Oysters (we’ll never pass these up!)
- Pure Harvest (their tomatoes are top notch)
- UNS Farms (obsessed with their vertical farming concept)
- Yala Kombucha (a Best Bites favourite - check out our reel here)
- Mirzam Chocolates (we thought we’d died and gone to hot chocolate heaven)
Plus, coffee lovers can get your caffeine fix at Nespresso to keep you on your toes all festival long.
FUN AND GAMES
To the left of the entry, beeline for the MICHELIN games area, Bibendum Park. Grab a photo with Bibendum, the MICHELIN mascot, play giant snakes and ladders to win a prize, try your hand at various arcade-style games or just take a breather on the swings and beanbags.
On preview night, a 10-piece band kicked off the dance floor, playing hit after hit. Did we join in a conga line filled with some of the best chefs in the world? Maybe! The weather is just perfect for an al fresco boogie, drink in hand, so wear your dancing shoes (wear them anyway: the festival is on grass, so leave the heels at home!).
Time your visit to coincide with the drone show, currently unfolding several times per evening over the Louvre. The grounds have an uninterrupted view, and it makes for a magical sight as you revel in the magic and mood of a brilliant festival, music in the background and the best food in the region within arms reach.
WHAT WE ARE REALLY HERE FOR: THE FOOD
Choosing a favourite dish at a MICHELIN Food Festival is like trying to choose a favourite child: impossible, and the answer changes every five minutes! While the preview gave us just a taste of what’s to come this weekend - and many of the incredible dishes weren’t on offer yet - it was enough to leave us raving. 99 Sushi’s katsu sando - Wagyu marbling 9 - literally melts in the mouth. All the way from Spain, La Salita’s Sarandonga - rice with cod and prawns - provided a taste and texture explosion that has us chomping at the bit for their full menu. From Hakkasan, Japanese tea smoked Wagyu beef ribs sent us floating to cloud nine. Innovative Norwegian offering Credo - which holds a MICHELIN Star and a Green Star - won in the presentation stakes: shells filled with dainty tomato and scallops, looking like something a mermaid would snack on, and tasting just as good.
Save room for dessert: sprinkled amongst the abundant savoury offerings, you’ll find decadent tiramisu at Talea by Antonio Guida, while all the way from France, chef Pierre Chirac of La Scene (ahem, two MICHELIN stars) is serving up lemon and yuzu tart - with finger lime and olive oil - and three other sweet delights. The dance of flavours in every bite has us shaking our heads and asking ‘how?’. The creativity and ingenuity amongst the chefs are nothing short of what you would expect at an event of this calibre, and yet still manages to astound: emulsions, foams, gels, a demi-glace injected into crispy pie crust via a giant syringe, concoctions that trick the eyes and confuse the taste buds.
DRINKS AND DIRHAMS
The question on many lips: yes, there is a pop up bar! Complete with rooftop views across the water and the Louvre, it’s a perfect spot to position yourself for the drone show if you ask us! Offering three cocktails (AED55 each), wine and sparkling (AED55/AED85) and Asahi beer (AED40), you will be well looked after. Eira is pouring delightful mocktails, so stop by for some thirst-quenching action in the afternoon sun.
How much are we paying for these world-class dishes? Prices range from AED40-AED160 across the various restaurants, and there is a LOT to try. We suggest taking some friends along - sharing is caring, and your eyes will be bigger than your stomach with all the superb food on offer.
SPECIAL GUEST CHEFS
Distinguished local and international chefs and industry professionals taking part include:
- Lee Kok Hua (Hakkasan , Chinese cuisine, One MICHELIN Star, Abu Dhabi)
- Luigi Stinga (Talea by Antonio Guida, Italian cuisine, One MICHELIN Star, Abu Dhabi)
- Thinus van der Westhuizen (99 Sushi Bar, contemporary Japanese cuisine, One MICHELIN Star, Abu Dhabi)
- Alvin Leung (Bo Innovation, innovative cuisine, Two MICHELIN Stars, Hong Kong)
- Heidi Bjerkan (Credo, Scandinavian cuisine, One MICHELIN Star, MICHELIN Green Star, Trondheim)
- Jimmy Lim (JL Studio, Singaporean cuisine, Three MICHELIN Stars, Taichung)
- Pierre Chirac (La Scène, modern cuisine, Two MICHELIN Stars, Passion Dessert Award, Paris)
- Supaksorn 'Ice' Jongsiri (Sorn, Southern Thai cuisine, Two MICHELIN Stars, Bangkok)
It is a delight to wander from outlet to outlet, and see the face of renowned chefs smiling back at you: passionate about what they are serving as they rub shoulders with their contemporaries from around the globe.
We love this one: foodies will have the chance to join six exclusive masterclasses, each focused on a different type of flavour – sweet, savory, bitter, sour, umami and spicy – and led by a passionate and skillful chef.
MICHELIN STARS TABLE
Want to treat yourself and go all-in for an exceptional foodie experience? Enjoy a four-hand dining experience in Fouquet’s Abu Dhabi. From December 8-10th, three different chef pairings from a local and international MICHELIN Star restaurant will present a 6-8 course menu, based on Asian/European/contemporary cuisine.
Tickets to this dining experience are available at AED750 per person (excluding beverage pairing). Each Chef’s Table ticket will include free entry into the Festival.
TICKETS AND PRICES
Ticket price: AED100 (free access for children under the age of 12). Tickets can be purchased HERE
If you're an art lover as well as a food lover, snap up an exclusive bundle ticket for access to the Food Festival and Louvre Abu Dhabi for just AED130.
Dishes: dishes range in prices from AED40 - AED160.
*This is a cashless event, all payments at the event are to be made via credit/debit card.
By car: Louvre Abu Dhabi is located on Saadiyat Island and is easily accessible by car. However due to limited parking spaces, we recommend you grab a taxi or alternative transportation for a great arrival experience - it was busy even on preview night, and remember - the parking is also shared with Louvre patrons.
By taxi: You can easily take a taxi to the park from anywhere in Abu Dhabi or Dubai, with the added bonus of being able to take advantage of the bar if you are inclined and not worrying about driving home.
By public transport: Louvre Abu Dhabi Park is easily accessible by public transportation with multiple bus routes available from across the city.
By water taxi: Feeling fun? You can get a water taxi from Marsa Mina Terminal to Louvre Abu Dhabi. Running until 9.15PM, tickets can be purchased on-site. There are parking lots at the Cruise Terminal, so you can Park & Ride for an arrival experience with a difference via the water.