Spread across islands and inlets and bordered by the Arabian Gulf, Abu Dhabi is one of the most picturesque capitals in the world. Weekends in the city are, more often than not, serene and sun-soaked, and a fantastic way to enjoy them is by enjoying a brunch in Abu Dhabi. From French feasts at chic waterside venues to sultry nighttime affairs at Michelin-starred restaurants, here are the most elevated brunches in Abu Dhabi for 2023.
Friday brunch in Abu Dhabi
Hakkasan Abu Dhabi
Still glowing from its recent bestowal of one Michelin-star, Hakkasan Abu Dhabi remains one of the city’s most in-demand fine dining spots. On the first Friday of the month, the elegant restaurant hosts a special evening brunch, where guests can enjoy a prix-fixe menu specially created for the occasion. The perfect chance to sample Hakkasan’s world-famous menu at an attractive price, the evening soiree includes signature dishes like the supreme Peking duck with caviar, dim sum, the salt and pepper squid, and Jasmine tea-smoked wagyu beef ribs, plus a selection of unlimited cocktails and beverages.
Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi; first Friday of the month from 8 pm to 11 pm; from AED348, hakkasan.com
Saturday brunch in Abu Dhabi
Zuma Abu Dhabi
Much like its world-famous Dubai outpost, Zuma Abu Dhabi offers a gloriously indulgent and elevated brunch experience. One of the most sought-after Saturday tables in the city, Zuma Abu Dhabi’s brunch takes place in its soaring dining room bathed in natural light – making it a year-round spot. With live cooking stations, self-serve options and a la carte dishes, guests will be able to enjoy Zuma favourites like the famous miso marinated black cod (wrapped in a hoba leaf) grilled Australian wagyu ribeye with truffle mayo and juicy jumbo prawns, along with sushi, sashimi, tempura, salads and other delightful dishes. A bulging dessert station includes sorbets, ice creams, cakes, chocolates and tropical fruits, while beverages span a fantastic selection of wines and Japanese-style cocktails.
Al Maryah Island; Saturdays 12:30 pm to 4 pm; AED495 soft, AED595 house, AED695 sparkling; zumarestaurant.com
Vendôme (temporarily closed)
For an upscale event with the little ones in tow, there are few better places for brunch in Abu Dhabi than Emirates Palace. As the city’s most luxurious and revered hotel, the palatial resort has myriad dining spots, and one, the Vendôme, plays host to a delightful family affair every Saturday. From the team behind Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai‘s ‘Family Fest’ and Palazzo Versace‘s ‘Into the Jungle’ brunches, the Enchanted Brunch at Vendôme is a vibrant and indulgent affair, with a sumptuous buffet, live cooking stations and a mind-boggling array of cuisines, from pizza and pasta to seafood, Asian cuisine, steaks and desserts. Allowing adults to sit back and enjoy, the brunch offers arts and crafts, games, face painting, balloon bending and even an appearance for a few Disney Princesses – plus a mini buffet, especially for little ones.
Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental; Saturdays 1 pm to 5 pm; AED350 soft, AED450 house, AED550 sparkling and cocktails, AED650 champagne. Children four to 12 AED150, children under three free or charge. mandarinoriental.com
BB Social Dining
BB Social Dining has long been captivating diners in Dubai, gaining the approval of discerning foodies – and also the Royal Family as a chic and more relaxed spot in the city’s stylish DIFC district. In May, the brand opened BB Social Dining Abu Dhabi, bringing the same beautiful interiors and creative menu to the UAE capital. The Saturday brunch at the new restaurant is one of the most low-key, affordable and elegant in the city, perfect for those who want to enjoy good food and good drinks, without writing off their day. In a bright and spacious dining room surrounded by colour and greenery, diners can enjoy barbecue dishes, bao buns, sushi and dim sum, with highlights being the beef tartare, chicken shakshuka, and, for vegetarians and vegans, the delicious crispy sprouts, cauliflower popcorn and kale tabbouleh.
Rosewood Abu Dhabi, Al Maryah Island; Saturdays 12 pm to 4 pm; AED 249 soft, AED399 house, AED499 sparkling. rosewoodhotels.com
Abu Dhabi’s exclusive private island retreat delighted well-heeled diners across the capital earlier this summer when it announced the launch of its new Saturday brunch. Accessible only by boat from the mainland, the paradisaical private island resort feels more like the Maldives than the UAE, with its warm turquoise waters, white sands and luxurious private pool villas. Those looking for an Abu Dhabi brunch with a difference can head to the resort’s Frangipani restaurant, where an elegant buffet includes seafood, Mexican-inspired dishes and sushi, alongside access to the resort’s beautiful beachfront and swimming pool – plus a kids’ club for the little ones.
Nurai Island, Saturdays 12:30 pm to 4 pm; AED600 soft, AED700 house, AED900 sparkling; nuraiisland.com
Located alongside the peaceful waterfront of Al Maryah Island, Cafe Milano is located at the Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi. The sophisticated Italian fine dining spot is known for its beautiful ocean views and old-world Italian Riveirea aesthetic, alongside its authentic Italian menu. Its Saturday brunch is a serene and laid-back affair, where guests can dine by the ocean – or inside the light and stylish dining room – and enjoy homemade pasta, fresh seafood and other specialities from the Washington DC-born restaurants.
Four Seasons Abu Dhabi, Al Maryah Island; Saturdays 12 pm to 4 pm; AED295 soft, AED395 house, AED95 children five to 12 years old; cafemilano.ae
Spread across a glossy, pillared dining room and outside onto a canopy of fairy lights, Giornotte at The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi is a nod to old-world, five-star luxury but with a more homely, approachable feeling – perfect for elevated family occasions. Taking place every Saturday, the Mediterranen-inspired buffet brunch includes a foie gras station, pasta corner – where a giant cheese wheel churns out unctuous, glossy portions of spaghetti – and a fabulous dessert station.
The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi; Saturdays 1 pm to 4 pm; AED350 soft, AED450 house and sparkling, AED650 champagne; morecravings.com
Sunday brunch in Abu Dhabi
LPM Restaurant & Bar Abu Dhabi
LPM Abu Dhabi’s La Vie En Rose brunch is one of the most upscale and stylish options for brunch in Abu Dhabi, taking place on a Sunday in the restaurant’s chic Al Maryah Island location. Born in London, the restaurant brings French Riveira vibes to the UAE capital. Sitting outside on the waterfront terrace or indoors in the classically French dining room, Guests can enjoy a selection of starters, including scrambled eggs, salmon carpaccio and LPM classics like Escargots de Bourgogne and beef tartare, before moving onto a choice of main – again, from LPM classics like Grilled Sirloin Steak and mushroom risotto, plus a choice of side dish. The sumptuous affair climates with a choice of one dessert, including cheesecake and French toast with spiced cream.
Al Maryah Island, Sundays from 12 pm to 4:30 pm, AED375 soft, AED450 with cocktails and wines, AED575 with sparkling.
Tom Aikens’ commanding Oak Room is known across the capital for its traditional Sunday roast and supreme cuts of steak, housed in the chic Abu Dhabi EDITION hotel at Al Bateen Marina. More of a lunch than a strictly traditional UAE brunch, the restaurant’s lavish Sunday comprises five courses of signature delights like Aikens’ classic sourdough and Marmite butter, kale salad, chunky beef tartare, delicious local Dibba Bay oysters. For mains, diners can choose from the classic roast beef striploin, a chicken roast, lamb pie or vegetarian salt-baked celeriac, or, for tables of four or more, a Beef Wellington to share. The main event comes with traditional Yorkshire pudding, crispy roast potatoes, cauliflower cheese, roast vegetables and as much gravy as one desires. Save space for dessert, and sweets include the famous sticky toffee pudding, British artisan cheeses and a warming peach and pear crumble.