After ten months of voting, the winners of the FACT Dining Awards Abu Dhabi 2023 have been decided.
The FACT Dining Awards Abu Dhabi 2023 saw 49 awards given out across 25 categories covering more than 150 hotels and independent restaurants.
The primary objective of the FFACT Dining Awards Abu Dhabi is to acknowledge excellence within the food and beverage industry in the capital. The winners were chosen through a combination of public votes and the evaluations of industry critics. So, without further ado, here are the 2023 winners.
All Day Dining
Graphos Social Kitchen at Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island
Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island’s all-day-dining restaurant, Graphos Social Kitchen, redefines the way we think about day-to-night dining. Offering a plentiful buffet of international favourites, from live stations for dim sum and sushi to quirky salads presented in flower pots. The multi-levelled restaurant space is colourful, welcoming, and offers a unique breakfast, lunch, and dinner experience.
Central Abu Dhabi at Yas Bay
Burgers, beats and bowling set the tone for Central. The hip hangout is great for small and big kids, as you feel like you’re travelling back in time. Battle it out on the old arcade machines or win cuddly toys. The burgers include The Boston with American cheese and grilled pineapple; The Caribbean with jerk chicken; and The Mushroom with breaded mushroom.
Brunch & Cake at Marsa Al Bateen Marina
If you always have room for dessert, then you’ll want to visit Brunch & Cake. The café may have started in Spain, but it feels like the UAE is its second home. The venue serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, but it is famous – as the name suggests – for its cakes. Choose from fresh breads, desserts and pastries, from a Tiramisu to Victorian Sponge.
Observation Deck at 300 at Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers
You’ll have your head in the clouds at Observation Deck at 300. The café is located on the 74th floor of Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers, and has a 360-degree view of the capital. Nab a table by the floor-to-ceiling windows, which let in lots of light. The high tea includes tea blends, freshly grounded coffee and sweet treats.
Beach / Pool Bar
Nasma Beachfront Bar at Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas
Nasma notches up another FACT Award, as it’s a favourite among the team. The sea views are epic and the vibes are effortlessly cool. Whether you want to chill on a beanbag, sit on a swing or rest in a private cabana, the beach bar is a vibrant spot to enjoy drinks, shisha and the sea. The Caribbean beats will help you get into the groove.
McGettigan’s at Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi
When you’re after some Irish charm, head to McGettigan’s. The pub is great for sports and live music, and includes classic pub grub. Look out for special themed nights: Burger and Beyond, Unlimited Wings Night, Weekend Drunch and McG Sunday Roast.
The Warehouse Wine & Tapas Bar at Pearl Rotana Capital Centre
Winner of Best Bar at the Fact Dining Awards Abu Dhabi 2020 and 2022, The Warehouse Wine & Tapas Bar offers a great reason to visit every day of the week, as there are offers to suit your budget and drinking needs. Settle in the industrial chic interiors and order terrific tapas, then you just have the tough decision about which glass (or, of course) bottle of wine to order.
Siddharta Lounge by Buddha-Bar at Yas Bay
Siddharta Lounge by Buddha-Bar knows how to raise the roof. Located on the rooftop, the bar serves Mediterranean tapas and fun cocktails. Oozing relaxed yet chic vibes, it also boasts views of Yas Bay Waterfront.
Market Kitchen at Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi
Market Kitchen brings together food from all across the world. Whether you want food from Doha, Mexico City or Vancouver, the team are ready to serve you. The signature dishes include Crispy Tuna Sashimi, Soy Glazed Beef Short Ribs and Truffle Pizza. Don’t leave without checking out the Attic, which is upstairs and serves drinks.
Al Fresco Dining
West Bay Lounge at Radisson Blu Hotel & Resort, Abu Dhabi Corniche
When it comes to locations, the spectacular sunsets and soft sea breeze make West Bay Lounge a winner. Come for the Mediterranean fusion, as it includes everything from lobster linguine to baked sea bream. Stay for the al fresco fun – you can make a day and night of it, as there are water sports, pools, zip lines and an adventure park.
Valgerand at Mamsha Al Saadiyat
It’s not often you can enjoy Nordic-inspired cuisine and Estonian cooking techniques in the UAE. Valgerand’s menu includes Chicken Liver Mousse, Grilled Bone Marrow and Toast, and Potato Rosti and Swedish Skagen Salad. Plus, there are hearty soups, which range from Creamy Roasted Carrot to Nordic Seafood.
Fishmarket at InterContinental Abu Dhabi
You may well smell Fishmarket before you see it. An institution in the capital, it has been running since 1989. The menu-less restaurant might scare some people, but trust us you will love the personalised experience. All you have to do is choose your fish and vegetables from the counter, then watch as Chef Luthfi and his team cook them to suit your tastes.
Hakkasan Abu Dhabi at Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental
Hakkasan Abu Dhabi previously won Best Pan Asian restaurant at the FACT Dining Awards Abu Dhabi 2020 and in 2022, and was awarded one MICHELIN Star. Now, it has excelled again in this category. With more than a decade under its apron, the restaurant is located inside the world-famous Emirates Palace. We’d recommend nabbing a spot on the terrace, which has views of the Abu Dhabi skyline. Then all you have to do is decide between the world-famous dishes, which include Peking duck, dim sum, soups and salads.
COYA Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island
Go on a culinary journey at this FACT favourite, which combines Japanese, Chinese and Spanish cooking techniques together. Once you’ve tucked into the flavoursome tacos, maki rolls, slow-cooked beef ribs or just about anything here, you’ll understand why we rate it so highly. The Peruvian powerhouse is a must when in Abu Dhabi.
Middle Eastern and North African
Tean at Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort
Humble Levantine cooking is elevated to a thing of beauty at Tean. Whether you’re after chicken shawarma or kibbeh bill laban, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to local traditional dishes. Plus, when a place has ten hummus options ranging from prawn to lamb, you know it has its Middle Eastern specialism down to an art.
Oak Room at The Abu Dhabi EDITION
It’s not often that a steakhouse labels itself as rock n roll, but when it is as effortlessly cool as Oak Room, we can why. The renowned restaurant may have photos of rock bands on the wall but it puts classic British food in the spotlight. The menu includes salmon wellington, lamb saddle and striploin of beef. Plus, there’s a Bloody Mary trolly.
Oii at Al Qana
Oii has been making a name for itself in Abu Dhabi’s dining scene. The Portuguese restaurant was recently featured in the MICHELIN guide. Located in Al Qana, the décor boasts a clean, contemporary aesthetic. Plus, the dishes include Beef Cheek Milanese with saffron risotto, Lobster Piccata and Smoked Chicken Souvlaki.
Penelope’s Brasserie & Jazz Bar Américain
Created by restaurateur Hamdan Al Khafaji and musician Layla Kardan, Penelope’s Brasserie & Jazz Bar Américain only opened last year but has already made a name for itself. Located in Yas Marina, guests can enjoy classic cocktails, sharing-style French Mediterranean cuisine and, of course, jazz musicians. Plus, it comes with the FACT Editor-in-Chief seal of approval.
Namak at Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi
Namak is a vibrant venue with bright green seats, orange walls and ornately carved wooden doors. Serving Indian dishes from across the country, it draws on traditional cooking techniques. All of the plates are beautifully presented, and the breakfast buffet keeps us coming back for more.
Marco’s Italian at Fairmont Bab Al Bahar
Say ciao to Marco’s Italian. Created by the celebrity chef Marco Pierre White, the venue transports you to the Italian coast. Settle into the bright and airy space, and make your way through Italian classics. The menu spans starters, salads, risotto, pizza, meat and fish. The pizzas include a Bufalina, Margherita and Quattro Stagioni. The pasta includes Fettuccine Alfredo, Lasagne and Ravioli Burrata.
Zuma at Al Maryah Island
Zuma has notched up multiple accolades at the FACT Dining Awards Abu Dhabi. If it’s good enough for FACT’s Editor-in-Chief, it’s good enough for you. Follow his lead and order the chutoro tarutaru kyabia zoe of fatty tuna belly adorned with Oscietra caviar and slathered across a buttery miso bun. You won’t regret it.
Saturday Brunch – Casual Dining
Sim Sim at Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas
Sim Sim is a hip and happening spot for brunch. The offering ranges from Asian to Middle Eastern dishes, and live stations where you can watch the chefs at work. The brunch was one of the first places to put premium packages in a premium area, so you can feel like a VIP.
Saturday Brunch – Fine Dining
Nahaam at Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers
Those with a taste for the finer things in life will want to try Nahaam’s popular brunch. The chic yet casual poolside venue comes to vibrant life each weekend. The restaurant prides itself on its extensive food offering, live entertainment and excellent service.
Sticky Rice at Yas Mall
FACT are loyal fans of Sticky Rice, and were excited to hear that it was expanding from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. We got a First Look at the restaurant and were impressed with the venue. The homegrown brand was created by Amena Rakkuson, also known as Mama by the team, who brought her love of Thai food to the UAE. The menu covers salads, soups and stir fries. The Thai specials include hoi pad prik pow, khai chiao, kai yang skewers, and kai tohd boi.