Steakhouse Review of Abu Dhabi

In Abu Dhabi we are spoiled for choice when it comes to steakhouses. There have been a few additions in the last couple of years that have made steakhouses more accessible because steakhouses generally expensive and even over priced. By that same token, traditionally expensive restaurants have also re-looked at their menus and are offering cheaper but nonetheless high quality cuts. In doing this round up I learned that just because a cut of beef is expensive does not mean the cheaper options are necessarily poor. It is about personal preference and understanding.

BOA Steakhouse, Eastern Mangroves Promenade.

One of three stand alone restaurants featured here,  BOA’s first anniversary is coming up. BOA has a unique place in Abu Dhabi offering a balance between its American concept and retaining cognizance of the local market. Located in the Eastern Mangroves Promenade, BOA’s terrace is as enticing as its indoor seating options. The finest US beef options are served here along with some amazing side dishes.

Perfect for – Dinner with a group of friends or a couple wanting an edge to their steakhouse experience.
Wow factor – In a city plagued with service issues among restaurant staff, BOA has the luxury of having  David Juillet, the restaurant’s general manager, who brings 25 years experience from a  Michelin starred background in his running of the restaurant. Blessed with an eye for detail and a demand for perfection, it is clear how he has changed the staff culture at BOA.
Must try – The Salmon Gravlax would be at home at any of the handful of fine restaurants in the city. This 
Heirloom beetroot salad with orange and horseradish sauce is a winner. While Master Kobe is on the menu, the best of US prime beef should make its way onto your plate, namely The Grilled 80 days Dry aged New York strip. For something very different, try the white cheese soufflé for dessert.

02 641 1500

Capital Grill, Dusit Thani Hotel.

Housed in the stylish Dusit Thani, Capital Grill, like a few steakhouses listed here, has a bar that serves as a perfect starting place for an aperitif before moving to the dining area to be presented with the menu. The Range of cuts is fairly small with US prime beef, Australian wagyu and beautiful John Stone grass fed beef featured. Capital Grill offers these fine cuts of beef at affordable prices, bringing you  a grill experience in a setting typical of a  steakhouse with a heavy masculine touch, but with a  surprising hint of femininity too. A large open kitchen allows guests to see close up how the chefs are creating their dishes.

Wow factor – it starts off as you walk into the hotel. The only Thai inspired hotel in the city is elegant and luxurious with heavy Thai touches. Nice. Finally, Chef e Cuisine Riane ensures a relaxed and enjoyable evening – you will go back for his vibrant personality alone!
 Must try – Start off with Herb crusted Carpaccio and allow that lime juice to surprise your taste buds. Then, for your main, the John Stone striploin, or even the Wagyu beef burger. Dessert should definitely be the New York cheese cake., for a different cheese cake experience.

+971 2 698 8888
Choice Cut, Novotel Al Bustan Airport Road.

Steakhouses in Abu Dhabi are generally expensive and if one wants to enjoy very good beef, one invariable has to fork out quite a few dirhams. Choice Cut, though in the 4* Novotel on Airport Road has changed that with prices ensuring no major bruising on the wallet. Each steak ordered comes with a choice of potatoes, vegetables and sauce. This is tremendous value. The truth is not everyone can drop 400AED on a steak, and this is where Choice Cut offers a lovely alternative. Service is warm and attentive without suffocating guests. Arrive as a stranger and leave as a friend.

Perfect for – anyone wanting to go out with a group of friends to a steakhouse where one is a bit more conscious of spending money. A relaxed and casual evening is guaranteed.
Must try – Dinner starts with a complimentary salad from the salad bar. For your main course, I recommend the Normande Grass fed beef  Rib eye. French beef is not found on many menus and has a balance between flavor and price. For dessert, it has to be the Chocolate fondant.

+971 2 5016444

Entrecote Café de Paris, Souk Qaryat Al Beri, Al Maqta

This little taste of Paris as I have called it is not a steakhouse per say,  but for their mains, they serve only premium beef. Situated in the Souk between the bridges, it provides an alternative to hotels. The concept at Entrecote Café de Paris is very simple. It is based on the 1930 Café de Paris founded in Geneva and has a single menu offering three cuts of beef. It is a restaurant that is cosy as it is a throwback to the past, making it truly unique in the city. 

Perfect for – someone who really wants a good beef experience but is tired of the traditional manner of the way it is served. A romantic evening out is another possibility.
Wow factor – The clichéd feeling that you have gone off the beaten track, breaking new ground for yourself. Then the sauce of course in which the beef is bathed. Finally, it is a conversation piece.
Must try – Start off with the standard house salad and then for you main, any of the three choices of beef cuts will suffice. I particularly liked the 400 day grain fed Australian Wagyu. For dessert, try their decadent  Chocolate fondant.

02 557 6508

The Forge, The Ritz Carlton

It has an impressive menu with meat cuts from regions as diverse as the US, Australia Canada, France, Wales, Ireland and Argentina. Knowledgeable staff will make your choice less daunting. The Forge offers one of the more intimate high- end experiences, with seating for around 50-60 people.  Young staff ensure a laidback evening with a cool factor. The service is good, with some staff fine exponents of how to engage with guests. Expensive yes, but some things are worth the expense.

Perfect for – someone seeking a wide variety of beef options served by professional staff  and does not want a stiff ambience.
Wow factor – it is The Ritz. Walk through the glorious lobby and just stand there taking it all in. It is sheer luxury, and when you step into The Forge, you still feel luxury, but it is more relaxed.
Must try – the Beef tartar prepared table-side is more than just theatre. Intense flavours persist. For your main forego the usual high end cuts that you will find in abundance here. Go with the Argentinian tenderloin prepared under the watchful eye of Argentinian Chef de Cuisine Gerardo. End your evening with the Alitato  which is a Valrhona Dark Chocolate Soufflé with a choice of Vanilla or Truffle Ice Cream !

The Foundry, Southern Sun

The Foundry surprised everyone by winning the What’s On Steakhouse of the Year in 2014. The Foundry shows the possibilities that exist with all day dining restaurants as it changes cosmetically at night time to become a steakhouse. Place mats make for white crisp linen, a different entrance is used and of course the lighting plays its role in the transformation. The décor is warm and inviting.  Expect different music as well, making the whole visit almost like going to a different restaurant. Not overtly masculine. Service that is honest and attentive awaits you.

Perfect for – Someone seeking quality on par most restaurants at an excellent price.
Wow factor – go to The foundry in the day time for a coffee and then go for dinner at night. Manner in which the restaurant metamorphoses is something you have to behold. Also, the booths are able to close, giving you privacy in an  unprecedented  way in a steakhouse in Abu Dhabi.
Must try – Start off with the Angus beef tartar, prepared at your table. For the main course, you can choose from a range of premium options including Grade 9+ Blackmore, the latter the best priced in the city. Or try the Milk fed veal from Holland. For dessert, look no further than the Deconstructed cheesecake.

+971 8184888

Marco Pierre White Steakhouse & Grill, The Fairmont Hotel

This is a very intimate steakhouse that offers highly personalized service. It is a steakhouse that has traditionally been perceived as high brow and expensive, but the new menu suggests an accessible experience while at the same time offering that typical MPW emphasis on great food with superb beverages. It is a supremely stylish restaurant. Experience a hands-on manager and see how he infuses his staff with passion and enthusiasm. Finally, it offers  a very intimate evening as the restaurant caters for around 50-60 people.

Perfect for – a romantic celebration or a group of friends wanting to go out for a late night premium burger.
Wow factor – when you have a restaurant manager who is a qualified sommelier, it is no surprise that The Spectator has awarded you 2 Glasses – undoubtedly the finest beverage list in the city. Of course, there is also the Marco Pierre White factor – there are not many celebrity chef restaurants in Abu Dhabi. Even though the menu has some very good entry items, it has retained a ‘place to be seen’ feel.
Must try – Ask the manager to provide a pairing for your dinner. Then, start off with the Premium beef tartar and for your main go for either the Angus Beef Gourmet burger experience or a well-priced Master Kobe.. Dessert has to be the Toffee pudding!

+ 971 2 654 3333 

Meat Co, Qarayt Al Beri Souk, Al Maqta

As the name suggests, this is a serious destination for meat lovers. Its ultra relaxed setting away from a hotel is quite appealing because it offers  a genuinely relaxed restaurant while serving the highest quality of beef. Meat Co has a very strong beef selection that includes the usual grain fed and dry aged Australian and American cuts, but extends to the fields of New Zealand and Argentina from where you can enjoy grass fed beef. An evening here need not be expensive, although if you want to splurge you also have that option.

Perfect for – post work drinks at around 6, enjoying the views of the canal leading to a laid back dinner.  A birthday surprise awaits guests.
Wow factor – as a South African concept, you are in for an experience like no other with that signature African hospitality. The two mangers work in tandem, casting their spell of joy on guests. Expect a fine beverage list that includes some marvelous South African offerings.
Must try – Start off with the Boerwors, a South African classic served with pap, and follow this up with The Natural Grass-fed Argentinian Pampa Humeda Bred beef. End the evening with the another taste of South Africa, the deliciously sweet Malva Pudding.

971 2 558 1713

The Park Bar & Grill, Park Hyatt Hotel & Villas on Saadiyat Island

It is a very stylish restaurant that offers a high-end experience in a relaxed setting. While it feels luxurious, the menu prices suggest an experience that is accessible. Set on Saadiyat island, it feels like a get away on itself.  The name is rather apt because it does not see itself exclusively as a steakhouse, but a Grill that is adept at offering something from the sea and land. This is one of its major strengths because it really does both exceedingly well.

Perfect for – a special, even romantic dinner for two people.
Wow factor – it is the Park Hyatt. Dining in one of the most beautiful properties in the city is reason enough to try this. The restaurant itself is understated and full of soul and warmth thanks to the lighting. Then of course fairly newly arrived Executive Chef Guillaume Joly is shaking things up at the hotel, making some wonderful changes to the menu.
Must try – Start off with the Yellow fin tuna carpaccio and follow it
up with  the 21 days dry aged Spanish striploin because it is less obvious and still has that novel appeal. Or go to the sea and have the Omani lobster.  Round off your night with the Warm chocolate pudding.

+971 2 407 1234

Ray’s Grill, Jumeirah at Etihad Towers.

Jumeirah at Etihad Towers recently entered the steakhouse circle with its introduction of Ray’s Grill, a contemporary steakhouse. The menu offers some fabulous options which include the highest quality of beef from John Stone to  Master Kobe, and for the ravenous, the Australian 1824 Tomohawk. An impressive 14 choices of side orders will ensure that your beef is not alone on the plate. A unique menu item is definitely the slow roasted pork belly. And don’t forget they offer a mustard trolley.

Wow factor – Jumeirah boasts some of the city’s top dining destinations, so there is naturally a halo effect when it comes to Ray’s Grill.  Located on the 63rd floor, you are also afforded a stunning view of the city’s ever changing skyline, even more impressive at night. Therestaurant manager who also serves as the hotel’s beverage manager, and as is the case in  a number of steakhouses, is able to offer magical  pairings with your dinner.
Must try – Kick off your evening with their Pan seared foie gras. For mains, you will be spoilt for choice  with 12 different cuts to choose from. The Master Kobe, while expensive, has beautiful marbling. And worthy of the extra Dirhams. Dessert? Well, there can be no other but the indulgent death by chocolate dessert, Ultimate chocolate.

+971 2 811 5666

Rodeo Grill, Beach Rotana Hotel

The re-launched Rodeo Grill has made quite an impression already. Its famed Josper Grill has brought a new dimension to the way your beef is prepared and then tastes. Its innovation of a meat master who comes to your table and explains toy you the different cuts of beef is brilliant both as a gimmick but also to educate diners. Rodeo Grill is at the top end of pricing , with some exceptional cuts of beef, including Australian beef ranging from grade 7-9+, the highlight being the Grade 9+ Blackmore Wagyu.

Perfect for – high powered crowds who want to relax in luxurious leather and feel pampered and spoilt.
Wow factor -  The presence of a restaurant manager who is also a sommelier will ensure an all-round good evening. Also, the idea of a meat master is very smart indeed and unique. This is one of the nicest innovations I have come across.
Must try - Trio of Duck with Spicy mango is a very compelling starter and it includes pan seared foie gras and terrine. For your main you have quite a few options, and Rodeo Grill’s signature beef, the Blackmore Wagyu Grade 9+ is highly recommended. From a selection of 9 desserts, the Classic crème brulée should make it on to your plate.

+971 2 697 9000

Stratos Revolving Lounge Bar and Grill, Le Royal Meridien Hotel.

It has been quite a phenomenal 6 months for Stratos as it replaced the old tired restaurant atop Le Royal Meridien Hotel. Stratos has become associated with luxury, but they have a menu with very competitive prices. They are big fans of John Stone, although there is also fine splattering of grain fed options, including three pricing options for the Master Kobe Grade 9+. Low lighting, luxurious sofas and other seating choices ensure an ultra chic evening in the city’s only revolving grill and lounge.

Wow factor – Executive Chef Justin Galea has transformed F&B at the hotel, but he has poured even more of his soul into Stratos. Seek him out if you find him one night and have him share his vision of the restaurant, food in general and life and how to live it. Also, having a fine cut of beef in a revolving restaurant is a big wow. Finally, with Stratos still very much an unknown among people,  you will have bragging rights with your friends the next day.
Recommended – Start the evening with Loch fine oysters  in the lounging area before moving to your dining table. Then choose one of  four John Stone menu options prepared using the Josper Grill. Finally, if you looking for something different, make the Strawberry posset your dessert for the evening

800 101 101

55&5Th, The Grill at St Regis Saadiyat  Island.

The reigning Timeout Abu Dhabi Steakhouse of the year, 55 & 5th, The Grill is opulent and luxurious, but tastefully so. High ceilings and exquisite light fittings make this restaurant simply sumptuous on the eyes. While there is an option to sit on the terrace, inside the restaurant seats around 60 making for a very intimate dining experience. The menu is typically steakhouse, in that it is very compact but with some excellent choices. As much care is taken with cooking and presenting your choice. A pricey option, but how often do you ask someone to marry you or celebrate the conception of a baby?

Perfect for – It is definitely an occasion restaurant – a proposal, a birthday, an anniversary or just a treat for that someone special in your life.
Wow factor – Luxe! Also, the chef de cuisine is extremely creative and plates dishes immaculately. Be guided by him as far as the menu goes and you cannot go wrong. Finally, there is a feeling that you part of a  rich St Regis tradition as embodied in the name of the restaurant.
Must try – Start with the Organic Beetroot and cheese fixtures; simple but flavoursome  and what presentation! Follow this up with the Grade 9+ Tajima Full blood Wagyu striploin,  one of the nicest beef cuts I have had. Finally, dessert should be the Chocolate soufflé. Of course.

+971 249 88001

 Brandon Stoltenkamp