Al Dhafra Restaurant

Middle Eastern in Al Mina & Saadiyat Island

Image by Lindsey Parry Lonely Planet

This aged, flamboyant gem, with its fading Arabian decor and hand-carved furniture, sports a sumptuous majlis (reception room) that has entertained princes and sheikhs over the decades. The lunch buffet offers one of the best opportunities in Abu Dhabi to sample local dishes, including ouzi (baked lamb) and machboos (chicken baked in rice).

It also runs a floating restaurant on board a traditional dhow (8.30pm to 10.30pm nightly) from Al Mina to the Breakwater and back. It's a fun setting for sampling Arabic dishes while sitting cross-legged on sedans and cushions and enjoying stunning views of Abu Dhabi's night-time skyline. It's near the fish market.