Pocket-friendly hidden gems to try in Abu Dhabi
Named after the capital of Indonesia’s West Java province, Bandung brings authentic and pocket-friendly Indonesian food. It has the classic South-east Asian favourites we all love to love and we recommend going hungry as their portion sizes are huge.
The mie goreng and nasi goreng (AED22-35, depending on your choice of protein) is perfect for every fried rice & noodle lover, with that street food charm and flavour to match.
They also do varieties of Indonesian BBQ, fish, egg and soya bean dishes, with their top notch ones to try being their telor balado (fried egg with chilli, AED16), sate ayam (chicken satay, AED20), ikan asam manis (fried fish with sweet & salty sauce, AED38) and their mixed fruits with ice dessert, which is both refreshing and the perfect sweet finish (ice campur, AED20).
Price: Feed a family of 4 for under AED100
Open: 11AM - 12AM
Contact: 02 645 2008
This Korean favourite might not win awards for its interior beauty but upon taste, it’s no wonder people flock to this little eatery. With a stove hidden in each table, you can opt for a hot-pot/cook-your-own meal or go simple with a massive bowl of Korean-fried chicken. This sticky-sweet goodness had our table oohing and ahhing in pleasure.
With 8 private booths and tasting menus available, you can taste your way around Korea. The dishes we tried ranged from AED56 – AED68 so perhaps a little steep for a true hidden gem but the dishes are totally worth it.
Open: 11AM – 11PM
Contact: 02 642 3399
Love Bosnian food - or at least think you might like to give it a try - put Bosnian Hut on your list! Balanced between Eastern and Western cultures it's probably most closely related to Turkish and Greek cuisines. Dishes are somewhat (pleasantly!) meat-based - although there are some really good vegetarian options too - served with simple veg and potatoes or bread with a light, spiced sauce.
Must-tries are the klepe, small meat-filled potato dumplings in a creamy sauce and the cevapi, small juicy meat kebabs. The beautiful, spiralled pita (AED35) is to die for and a must-order dish as is the amazing meaty burek pastry (AED35). Get a rice pudding to finish! (AED21)
Open: 12PM – 12AM
Contact: 02 566 6215
AIRPORT RD, AL WAHDA
Bubble tea seems to be popping up all over the shop, but Bliss Tea on Airport Road is one of the OGs. With a delightful array of flavours to choose from as well as seasonal specialties, this is a fab place to slake your bubble tea thirst.
The teas range from AED17 to around AED25 (and the 15% BB+ discount is icing on the cake!) We love the crème brulee with tapioca pearls, which is actually blowtorched to perfection in front of you. With this cool little bit of food theatre adding to its charm, we love Bliss tea for great bubble tea in Abu Dhabi.
Time: 12PM – 11PM
SALAM BOMBAY VEGETARIAN
MBZ, AL DANAH, NAHYAN CAMP
With a few branches across Abu Dhabi, it’s clear that this vegetarian restaurant has a good thing going, mainly due to its quality food and reasonable price point. We really enjoy our meals there.
For snacks, we opt for pav bhaji (a thick vegetable curry served with a soft bread roll), paneer pakoda (cottage cheese marinated in spices and then deep fried - yummm!), and for mains, we recommend the massive maharaji thali, which is a selection of small veg dishes served on a round platter.
Salaam Bombay is well known for its chaat as the ingredients are fresh, and the paani puri, which is a deep-fried breaded cup filled with potato, onion, or chickpea and delicately spiced with tamarind chutney, chilli powder and chaat masala, is especially is delicious. Although they only serve it from 4 PM - it’s definitely worth the wait!
Don’t leave without trying the delicious masala chai!
Price: A meal for 2 for under AED120
Daily | 7 AM - 11.30 PM
You heard it here first, we think we’ve found one of the best phos in Abu Dhabi and we would never gate-keep such a brilliant find!
Stepping into the colourful and clean restaurant, guests are greeted with bubbly hellos, quick service and shown to a table that's surrounded by traditional Vietnamese art.
The signature pho bat da hot pot (AED55) is an experience all on its own: the waiter brings your ingredients tableside and prepares the dish in front of you - beware the pho bowl is piping hot! The flavour itself is incredibly comforting, with beef and bone broth-esque savoury notes that keeps you going back for more.
We also recommend the traditional tra sua tran (Pho Ha Noi's answer to bubble tea!, AED20) and tra dao cam sa (peach, orange and lemongrass tea) to complement your meal. Feeding two people for under AED150 is a win in our books!
Open: 11AM - 11PM