Mandilicious - selected malls in Abu Dhabi and Dubai

In my very first blog post a year ago, I looked at mall food in Abu Dhabi and lamented the fact that while there are plenty of junk food choices, there are not that many more wholesome options which retain a very casual feel. That link is here:

On a recent visit to the Bawabat Al Sharq Mall in Bani Yas, I stumbled across Mandilicious, an Arabic restaurant that specializes in serving mandi, a dish that originates from Yemen but is incredibly popular in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. Having lived in Saudi Arabia for 5 years, I grew to love mandi, especially when made the authentic, albeit laborious way, of cooking everything in a covered hole so that all flavors are trapped. Mandi, for those who don't know, comes from an Arabic word meaning 'dew'. This is because the meat is so moist and tender - Mandi is basically rice, spices and either meat or chicken.

Relaxed traditional seating
A lot of their business is take away and delivery, but they offer a traditional floor style set up where you can eat in truly Arabian style. This really sets Mandilicious apart from the other food court outlets, while being super affordable. For the less adventurous, it is also an easy way to access traditional Arabian food without venturing too much into the unknown.

There are so many options. I am tempted to get the Madfoon,  a traditional Emirati dish known for its slow cooking method and the Camel Mugalal, boneless camel meat served on your favourite kind of rice. In the end, though,  we order a combo meal of Mutton mandi, mutton soup, vegetable tabeekh and a salad.

A substantial meal for 3 people. 
Mitsuki loved the chance to enjoy mandi in a mall. 
Mandi up close
For dessert, my preferred one was not available, so instead of the  Omani halwa we had Date Fatta, a dense buttery date and walnut crumble. I  would have enjoyed some coffee with this, so that is something they might want to look at.

Date Fatta
Mandilicious is highly recommended because there is more to life than a burger and a happy meal. I think for those who have never tried mandi, they will enjoy the novelty of sitting on the floor in Arabian fashion. In having mandi, you are also having a slice of Arabian culture. After all, you can find the other food court items anywhere. Mandi is something you have to try, so why not start at Mandilicious?

The low down

Abu Dhbai: Bawabat Al Sharq Mall, Madinat Zayed Shopping Centre
Dubai: Times Square Centre, Arabian Center, Lamcy Plaza, JAFZA Foodcourt 2
800 81 81 81

Our meal for 3 cost 50Dhs. 

                                                                  Pictures thanks to Nokia Creative Studio on my Nokia 1520

Brandon Stoltenkamp