Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 4 April 2020

A guide to Abu Dhabi's Al Bateen: where to eat, shop and stay in the historic neighbourhood

Luxury, history and greenery are all found in one of the capital's most exclusive spots

Qasr Al Watan is a cultural landmark of the UAE. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Qasr Al Watan is a cultural landmark of the UAE. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Al Bateen epitomises Abu Dhabi's varied landscapes, with neighbourhoods lush with greenery and manicured gardens. There is the vibrant fishing ports that traces the capital's maritime roots and then there is the hustle and bustle of key hotels and their delectable dining options. For all that on offer, it is no wonder it is viewed as one of the most sought after neighbourhoods in the city.

Eat:

The area caters for the refined diner. While you could run up a high bill in many of the restaurants here, the quality and atmosphere they offer is worth the price. For a great weekend breakfast, it is hard to go past Tashas (1). With its nautical-themed furniture and umbrellas, it feels like you are dining in a Mediterranean village. The menu echoes that vibe with its list of Greek coffees, Spanish lattes and fresh salads. For the true carnivore, the brilliant steakhouse Oak Room (2) at The Abu Dhabi Edition Hotel is a must-visit. Led by British chef Tom Aikens, who steered London’s Pied a Terre to two Michelin stars, the restaurant’s lavish meat dishes complement its decor with leather chairs, moody lighting and hidden entrance.

Since Al Bateen is a waterfront destination, it is also home to a range of great fish restaurants. Fishmarket (3) is a favourite. The InterContinental Abu Dhabi venue is an institution, as it does what any fish market should: it allows you to select your fish, before chefs cook it as you want and serve it with a side of vegetables.

Shop:

Al Bateen is home to two malls that tell the story of Abu Dhabi’s rapid evolution. While Al Bateen Mall (4) has a handful of small fabric businesses and a cafeteria, the building itself is the attraction. Located off Al Falah Street and built more than 30 years ago, it was once a heaving bus station. For a more modern shopping experience, check out Nation Towers (5) on the Corniche. The mall is packed with top brands, as well as one of the capital’s best-looking cinemas.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DEC 5, 2017 Al Bateen Mall, with its dramatic flying canopies, is one of the iconic architecture structures in Abu Dhabi. (Photo by Reem Mohammed/The National) Reporter: John Dennehy Section: NA
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DEC 5, 2017 Al Bateen Mall, with its dramatic flying canopies, is one of the iconic architecture structures in Abu Dhabi. (Photo by Reem Mohammed/The National) Reporter: John Dennehy Section: NA

Do:

Al Bateen also features monuments about the past and future of the UAE. On the Corniche, The Founder’s Memorial (6) is a permanent tribute to Sheikh Zayed, the Founding Father. The centrepiece of the memorial is The Constellation, a public artwork that provides a three-dimensional portrait of Sheikh Zayed, designed using more than 1,300 suspended shapes. Close by, at the Presidential Palace compound, is Qasr Al Watan (7), which opened in March last year. The cultural landmark is home to many examples of Arabic craftsmanship and art, in addition to a public library. You can book a tour as well as dine in one of five in-house venues. While you can take pictures of the general palace grounds, it is forbidden to snap or film security staff or security systems in the palace.

Stay:

Many of the city’s most luxurious hotels are located here. For sheer opulence, you can’t get better than the majestic Emirates Palace (8). If you are looking for a stylish experience, then the New York cool of The Abu Dhabi Edition Hotel (9) is for you. If you are a high-level executive, then The St Regis Abu Dhabi (10) is well suited to your needs.

Plus...

Pleasure is often found in the simplest things, so don’t forget to walk, jog or cycle down Abu Dhabi’s Corniche (11). It is always a rejuvenating experience and a place where you will truly feel the pulse of the city.

Updated: March 22, 2020 07:14 PM

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