1 House of Fraser Looking for some perfectly posh PJs for your little one? An adorably cute baby gift from the UAE’s own Babybling line? With 100,000 square feet of shopping spread over four floors, this upmarket department store is the mall’s anchor and well worth a wander. It also marks the first time the venerable British department store has expanded outside of Europe.
2 Hello Kitty Spa All things are pretty or pink at this mother-daughter spa, also a first for Abu Dhabi. Tucked away in a corner of House of Fraser, it’s a little girl’s dream come true. Kitty Queens and their Kitty Princesses can sign up for a variety of packages including the BFF Package for two, which includes getting your nails done, a blow dry, facial or make-up session, a cupcake and a drink, all for Dh510. Its mani-pedi, the most popular service, is priced at Dh160.
3 Liquid Nutrition’s fresh, raw almond milk Another Montreal company that launched 10 years ago and quickly expanded to 100 stores across Canada, the US and the Bahamas. Not only is Liquid Nutrition one of the rare UAE companies making almond milk for use in its smoothies and meal replacements (the Early Bird is Dh29), it also offers a full range of healthy-sounding stuff including wheatgrass shots (also a rarity, and for Dh12 if you dare).
4 Banana spring rolls at P.F. Chang’s This place packs them in at its Dubai locations for good reason. Expect a queue at the first Abu Dhabi location, too. But for something you really can’t get anywhere else, try the banana spring rolls (Dh35). They’re divine. Take a banana, roll it in cinnamon and sugar, then wrap it in a wonton and fry it. The spring rolls are delivered crisp and warm, with a scoop of ice cream in the middle, drizzled in caramel sauce and garnished with fresh berries.
5 MBCo’s classic steak sandwich It’s among the bestsellers at this charming restaurant, offering thick slices of beef, aubergine and cheddar cheese (Dh39). The Montreal Bread Company is a Canadian restaurant franchise that first popped up in the UAE in Dubai. Like most of the eateries in the WTC Mall, this one has a great outdoor patio.
6 Leghilà This Italian handbag company recently had to pull its B Bag, which looked (and sounded) very much like the coveted Hermès Birkin. Lawsuits were threatened and Leghilà has since taken it off the shelves, but there are still plenty of fun handbags on offer at the company’s first boutique in Abu Dhabi. Two reasons why these neoprene handbags (starting at Dh2,000) are special: they come in almost illegally bright colours and are, drum roll please, washable.
7 Koolkids This is not an average play area – it could well be the poshest in Abu Dhabi. It’s bright. It’s big. And there’s lots for kids to do, with an impressive arts and crafts room, a massive play structure for climbing and sliding, a soft play area for the little ones and an Xbox 360 room for bigger kids. Two other bonuses set Koolkids apart: there’s no sensory overload due to booming music and flashing lights and there’s a cafe inside for parents and caregivers. Dh30 per half hour.
8 Limited Edition Opticals
Every mall has them, which is no surprise, given how much the people of the UAE love and need their sunglasses. But this store, as its name states, features actual limited editions from the likes of the label A-Morir (think Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Katy Perry). If you’ve been contemplating adding a third or fourth pair to your collection, but want something other than aviators, this might be the shop for you. Price available on request.
9 Chocolate Bar The name says it all and since there are already six locations in Dubai and one in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi has long been overdue. Alison Nelson’s first Chocolate Bar in New York City’s West Village launched in 2002 and has since become an international franchise. One look at the frozen mini ice cream sandwiches circling a cup of warm milk chocolate sauce (Dh45) will have you planning a visit.
10 Nando’s With the opening of the first Nando’s in the capital, fans of the Afro-Portuguese chain’s Peri-Peri Flame Grilled Chicken will no longer have to travel to Dubai for their fix. Spread over 6,000 square feet and located next to the cinema, the 200-seater indoor and al fresco restaurant has charming interiors with large terracotta pots, paintings and a clay wall carved in a pattern reminiscent of the mud huts of South Africa. The intimate outdoor section is shaded with olive trees. The intimate outdoor section is shaded with olive trees.