Looking for family dining options on your visit to Abu Dhabi?
Are your little ones only happy with nuggets and fries? Or perhaps they are more adventurous and long to try something a bit different? Perhaps your tiny adventurers have trouble sitting still, or maybe they long for a new and immersive dining experience?
Abu Dhabi might have grown quite the reputation for its fine dining scene, but families and casual dining are certainly not forgotten!
Whether you’re looking for a good old faithful that you know will fill your bellies, or willing to try something new, we will take you through some of the best places to eat – with kids – in Abu Dhabi.
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Where To Eat as a Family in Abu Dhabi
Travelling with children can make eating out difficult, especially when you are travelling to a country that you are unfamiliar with. The good news is that the UAE is an extremely family-friendly place. Children are welcomed almost everywhere in Abu Dhabi, although some places are definitely more family-friendly than others.
With fussy eaters and restrictive eating disorders on the increase, it’s important to know that you can travel as a family without worrying about what the kids will eat. The good news is that most restaurants in the UAE have children’s menus or are willing to adapt adult meals to suit smaller and less adventurous appetites.
Whilst your hotel will likely have a buffet restaurant with a range of child-friendly goodies, you’ll probably want to eat out occasionally.
Most shopping malls have food courts containing all of the major fast food chains (including Burger King, KFC and McDonalds) in addition to some healthier and more unusual options. There are also many international chain restaurants in Abu Dhabi, such as P.F Chang, Pizza Express and Nando’s, as well as local chains and stand-alone, family-run restaurants.
In our Abu Dhabi dining guide today, we will take you through our favourite family-friendly places to eat in different parts of the city. To find out the best places for families to eat in Abu Dhabi, keep reading!
Family Dining on Yas Island
Central – Yas Bay
Yas Island’s newest family hangout, Central really does have something for everyone. Not only does it serve up some amazing grub, but there’s loads to keep the whole family busy, from arcade games to a bowling alley.
As well as grown-up drinks and a nice long happy hour, they are the soft drink experts, too, with some seriously colourful shakes, lemonades and mocktails on the menu.
The weekend lineup often includes live entertainment, and they are known for their efficient and speedy service if you are catching a show after dinner at Etihad Arean in Yas Bay.
Open Monday to Thursday 4.00 pm until 12.00 am and Friday to Sunday from 12.00 noon until 2.00 am.
Central, Yas Bay, Yas Island, (tel: + 971 4 423 8311)
Rainforest Cafe – Yas Mall
A great treat for little animal lovers, Rainforest Cafe is all about the experience. Enjoy a stack of fajitas whilst listening to the sound of animals coming to life in the jungle around you. Whilst there is a children’s menu, the adult menu is varied with lots of child-friendly options. Colouring packs are provided, and there’s also a small play area,
Open daily from 12.00 noon until 10.00 pm
Cascade Dining Area, Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi, (tel: + 971 2 566 1999)
This American chain restaurant is a family favourite in Yas Mall. There are some great lunchtime deals; even an evening steak won’t set you back an arm and a leg. The general ambience is relaxed and fun and steps up a gear when the staff do a bit of rodeo dancing. Complimentary bread and peanuts keep you going whilst you wait for your starters.
Whilst this is a great family choice, the restaurant is best avoided by peanut allergy sufferers.
Open daily from 11.00 am until 10.00 pm, 12.00 Midnight on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Texas Roadhouse, Cascade Dining Area, Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi, (tel: + 971 2 492 6650)
A great place if you want to sample Emirati cuisine, Al Fanar is a large restaurant decorated in traditional style with family at its heart. Whilst there’s no children’s menu per se, there are plenty of children-friendly options as well as larger dishes that can be enjoyed family style.
Open daily from 9.00 am until 10.00 pm
Al Fanar Restaurant, Cascade Dining Area, Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi, (tel: + 971 2 877 2272)
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Hickory’s – Yas Links
This may be seen as a controversial choice by some Abu Dhabi residents as service can vary significantly from visit to visit. The food is generally good, and the opportunity to have a beer or a cheeky glass of wine alongside your burger is tempting for many a mum and dad.
The main draw to this golf club venue is, however, the stunning outdoor terrace with views across the golf course to the crystal clear water and mangroves beyond.
This has long been a family favourite in Abu Dhabi, even before a small play area was added, as there is a large lawn on which children are free to play within eye sight. There’s also a children’s menu, which contains a variety of kids’ favourites.
The overall experience makes this one of the best family dining venues in Abu Dhabi during the cooler months.
Open daily from 6.30 am until 12.00 midnight.
Hickory’s Restaurant, Yas Links Golf Club, Yas Island, (tel: + 971 2 404 3077)
Family Dining on Saadiyat Island
Saadiyat Island is home to multiple luxury family resorts that line Saadiyat Beach, as well as a modern dining and lifestyle venue, Mamsha which opens up multiple dining venues, many with fabulous ocean views.
Hamilton’s at the Saadiyat Rotana
A great place for families with older children and teenagers, Hamilton’s has a British pub-like feel. You can catch your favourite sports teams here while dining on meter-long hot dogs and gourmet burgers. There are also sharing plates of tasty nibbles and carefully curated charcuterie boards on offer, not to mention a range of delicious desserts.
Open Monday to Friday from 4.00 pm until 2.00 am and Saturdays and Sundays from 1.00 pm until 2.00 am.
Hamilton’s, Saadiyat Rotana Resort, Saadiyat Island, (tel: + 971 2 697 0125)
Whether it’s a juicy tower of a burger or a fully loaded shake that you’re after, then Black Tap is the place to be. With its popping playlist and award-winning eats, this is a great place for tweens and teens.
Open daily from 12.00 noon until 12.00 midnight.
Black Tap Restaurant, Al Mamsha, Saadiyat Island, (tel: + 971 2 446 5128)
Alkalime Healthy Restaurant
A great little spot by Soul Beach in the Al Mamsha Development, Alkalime specialises in healthy, tasty organic food. There’s plenty for vegans and people with lactose and gluten intolerances. The children’s menu is small and comprises of almond-crusted chicken nuggets and healthy chicken noodles, but these are two great dishes that seem to go down well with younger guests.
There’s a range of milks on offer, including almond, coconut and soya, to complement a variety of lovingly crafted hot drinks. The cakes and desserts are delicious without being too sweet, and the views across the beach are simply gorgeous.
Open 8.00 am until 10.00 pm Sunday to Thursday and 9.00 am until 10.00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
Alkalime Healthy Restaurant, Al Mamsha, Saadiyat Island, (tel: + 971 54 449 1547)
Family Dining in Downtown Abu Dhabi
British Japanese/Korean-inspired chain restaurant Wagamama try hard to get it right for families. They have a dedicated kids’ menu designed to get children used to more than nuggets and French fries, and they also provide activity packs and children’s chopsticks.
They are well known for their quick service, meaning that nobody gets whingey while they wait.
Occasionally, Wagamama also runs children’s cookery classes. These must be booked in advance, so don’t forget to check the Wagamama website before you visit.
Wagamamas is also an excellent choice if you’re concerned about food allergies and intolerances; these are clearly marked on their menu, and the staff are well-trained. Gluten-free noodles, for example, are available.
Open Monday to Thursday from 11.00 am until 11.00 pm and from 11.00 am until 12.00 Midnight on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Wagamama, level 3, Abu Dhabi Mall, Abu Dhabi, (tel: + 971 2 679 7466) – new branches also just opened in Khalifa City and Reem Mall
The Cheesecake Factory
A fantastic family dining restaurant with an extensive menu and large portions. This American chain is very popular with residents. Don’t feel bad for sharing dishes at the Cheesecake Factory; their dishes are truly enormous.
If kids would like their own plates, the children’s menu is large and varied. Whatever you do, make sure that you have enough room to share at least one slice of the venue’s signature cheesecake. Slurp!
Open Sunday to Thursday from 10.00 am until 11.00 pm and from 10.00 am until 12.00 Midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
The Cheesecake Factory, Galleria Mall. Al Maryah Island. Also located in Yas Mall, Yas Island.
Dino’s Bistro Italiano
An authentic Italian restaurant in the middle of Abu Dhabi that’s family-friendly too! The restaurant is relaxed, yet lively, and the food is of good quality. There’s a range of pasta and pizza to choose from, some delicious main courses, and lots of yummy desserts, including some excellent gelato.
Open daily from 12.00 noon until 3.30 pm and from 6.00 pm until 11.00 pm.
Dino’s Bistro Italiano, The Pearl Rotana, The Capital Centre, Khaleej Al Arabi Street, Capital Gate Area, (tel: + 971 2 307 5551)
Located in Al Seef Village Mall, Sanderson’s serves up all sorts of yummy fayre. There’s a great kids’ menu featuring homemade nuggets and fries, ham and cheese toasties, spaghetti bolognese and good old fish and chips, all priced at a reasonable 35 AED. Some great options for adults include homemade pie of the day, poke bowls, and sea bass with tamarind and chilli.
The really great thing about this boutique cafe is its children’s outdoor play area – great for those cooler winter days, this is the perfect dining spot to head to in Abu Dhabi with young children.
Open daily from 8.00 am until 10.00 pm
Sanderson’s, Al Seef Village Mall, Al Seef Area, (tel: + 971 2 222 1142)
Dolci & Capricci
Okay, the downtown branch of this Abu Dhabi family favourite has closed, but under the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in the Souk Al Jami, there is a little-known secret….Whilst it is much smaller than its downtown predecessor, there is a branch of this simply perfecto pizzeria.
Famous for its homemade ice cream and stupendous bombolini, Dolci and Capricci also serve up authentic pizza and pasta dishes. This is a great place for the family to eat after a visit to Abu Dhabi’s most famous building.
Open Sunday to Wednesday 9.00 am until 10.00 pm and Thursday to Sunday from 9.00 am until 11.00 pm.
Dolci & Capricci, Souk Al Jami, Al Maqtaa, Abu Dhabi, (tel: + 971 2 546 0755)
With venues around the city, Paul is a great place to eat any time of day. The casual French bakery atmosphere gives for a relaxed experience. A dedicated children’s menu includes all-day dining options like turkey and emmental toasties, chicken fingers and pizza galette.
It’s also a great place for a quick coffee and cake, with a full range of French-style pastries, tarts and mouth-watering gateaux on offer. Colouring packs are also provided.
Opening hours vary by location, but most outlets are open daily from 9.00 am until 11.00 pm.
You will find Paul in the Galleria Mall, Abu Dhabi Mall, Al Wahda Mall and Yas Mall.
A home-grown alternative to Paul, many local residents would tell you that they are the ‘same, same but different’. There are branches across the city and in many residential neighbourhoods, making La Brioche a popular choice for residents.
There’s a tempting selection of cakes and pastries as well as full breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus. The children’s menu includes pasta, grilled chicken and chips and burgers as well as fruit salad and their signature cute and delicious Bruno bear biscuits.
There are branches across the city, including Abu Dhabi Mall, Khalidiya Mall, Shams Boutik Mall, Marina Mall, Al Wahda Mall and The Galleria Mall.
Opening times vary, but branches outside of malls tend to open at 7.00 am and close at 11.00 pm whilst those inside malls tend to open at 9.00 am and close at 11.00 pm.
Thinking outside the box – Umm Al Emarat Park
The beautiful Um Al Emarat Park is a great place for family dining. Whilst the park does not allow you to take in your own picnics, there are loads of great food outlets within the park itself.
As well as the restaurants by the main entrance, including Farmer’s Bistro and Parker’s, Green for Life by the children’s play Park on the far side of the grassed area is a great place to dine al fresco while the kids play. There are various other outlets, including a Movenpick ice-cream chalet as well as seasonal food trucks.
Um Al Emarat Park is located in the Mushrif area of the city. You will find the entrance on 15th Street.
4 Fun Cafes To Try in Abu Dhabi
Art House Cafe
A great little place in Al Bandar with indoor and outdoor seating. It is a fantastic spot for breakfast or lunch and for you and the kids to get creative. Painting a plate while you wait for your food comes with a small fee if you want to take your creation home, or you can leave it at the cafe for others to enjoy.
Dishes include traditional Arabic shakshuka as well as amazing pancake stacks for breakfast, a variety of salads, healthy bowls wraps, burgers and sandwiches for lunch, as well as more substantial main courses. There’s also a tempting array of desserts as well as an extensive list of hot drinks, juices, smoothies and milkshakes.
Open daily from 9.00 am until 11.00 pm
The Art House Cafe can be found in two locations: Al Bandar in the Al Raha Beach Area (tel: + 971 2 546 6876) and Al Bateen (tel: + 971 2 666 0175)
Attention all cat lovers! If you fancy spending some time with some new feline friends, head to the cat cafe in Al Muneera. Entry is 45 AED for adults and 35 AED for children for one hour. There is a range of hot and cold drinks, cakes and chocolates on offer but no other food. Still, a great option for little people who simply love cats!
Open daily from 8.00 am until 10.00 pm
Meow Cafe, Al Muneera, Al Raha Beach, Abu Dhabi, (tel: + 971 2 681 4088)
Boomah Owl Cafe
A coffee and cake place with a difference, Boomah also gives you a chance to meet its 9 resident owls. The cafe is split into two zones separated by a glass wall. If you would like to meet and pet the owls, a charge 70 AED for adults and 50 AED for children applies.
Open daily from 2.00 pm until 10.00 pm
Boomah Cafe, Al Seef Village Mall, Al Seef Area, (tel: + 971 2 441 9041)
DICE Board Game Cafe
The perfect hot or rainy afternoon retreat with the kids, the DICE Board Game Cafe in Sheikha Fatima Park near the Corniche is a super fun indoor cafe for gamers of all ages.
With over 400+ board games, grab a family classic like Monopoly to settle in for the long haul or try one of their trendy newer games for some fast-paced action and plenty of laughs.
Oh, the food isn’t too shabby here too! Order via app, and plenty of great finger bites and some seriously delicious speciality coffee on offer with their baristas.
Open daily from 2.00 pm until 1.00 am, Friday and Saturday 2.00 am
Dice Board Game Cafe, Building 3, Sheikha Fatima Park, Abu Dhabi
More than just a lunch… Abu Dhabi Brunch!
As well as the general service offered by the venues highlighted in our article, there are numerous family-friendly brunches on Saturdays at hotels and restaurants around the city.
Brunches are a phenomenon with elaborate spreads of every sort of food imaginable and a range of entertainment. Some branches are aimed at adults, whilst others have a more family-friendly focus.
You will certainly not be short of a feed during your time in Abu Dhabi. It is a very family-focused city with restaurants and cafes all over the city that look to cater specifically to the family. More and more are realising the importance of mixing food with family vibes and creating a relaxed social atmosphere.
There are so many more restaurants in Abu Dhabi that we haven’t been able to fit into our list – let us know in the comments if you’ve found another favourite we should include!
Before you go… Important things to consider when planning a trip to Abu Dhabi
- Pop into our essential planning information page; it includes everything you need to know about getting around Abu Dhabi, a handy guide on what to pack and top tips for first-timers on the dos and don’ts, laws, and customs in the UAE.
- Don’t forget to pack your travel insurance!
- Discover the best places to stay in Abu Dhabi, or bag a bargain on your accommodation here:
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