An explosion of flavours is coming as the city’s premier foodie event returns
Food, drinks and entertainment come together as the capital welcomes back one of its biggest annual festivals.
Now in its fourth serving, Taste of Abu Dhabi returns from 9th to 11th November for a three-day mouth-watering spectacle for casual and adventurous food fans.
World-renowned chefs, the capital’s top restaurants, thrilling cooking competitions and a pop icon are all featured on the menu this year.
To whet your appetite, here’s a sampler of what to expect at this year’s festival.
With over 75 signature dishes on offer, Taste of Abu Dhabi is a one-stop destination for foodies to sample cuisine from some of the city’s finest restaurants as they pop up at the festival.
Once again, this year’s restaurant line-up will highlight the growing diversity of cuisines in the capital. Participating outlets include Flooka, Desert Lotus, The Grill, Bu!, Roberto’s, Hickory’s, Melius, Sho Cho, Leopold’s of London, Sushina, Café Sushi and Toro Toro.
Each restaurant will be serving up small portions of their signature dishes so you can get a taste of what Abu Dhabi’s restaurants have to offer, all in one place.
This year’s festival boasts the biggest number of Michelin starred chefs, with seven top names making an appearance, including chef Richard Sandoval of Toro Toro and six others in the new Extraordinary Italian Taste Pavilion.
A new addition to the festival, the Italian pavilion will highlight the best of the Mediterranean country with chefs Tony Lo Coco, Rosanna Marziale, Errico Recanati, Paolo Gramaglia, William Zonfa and Nicola Fossaceca each dishing out top-notch cuisine live for foodies.
A series of entertaining activities will also take place here, including fresh pasta and burrata making, an acrobatic pizza chef and live lemon sorbet making – delizioso!
Visitors to Taste of Abu Dhabi can also meet and mingle with celebrity chefs like Reza Mahammad, Jenny Morris, Shelina Permalloo and Sanjeev Kapoor at the Etihad Chef’s Theatre.
Doing what they do best, the seasoned chefs will perform culinary challenges, demos and tutorials, where they’ll dish out trade secrets as well as tasty food.
From Europe to Asia, some of the world’s finest chefs will also be on hand as part of the returning Taste the World with Etihad Airways.
Carefully selected for their culinary talent, the visiting chefs will showcase the finest dishes from around the globe in live demonstrations. Featured chefs include Dean Parker from The Manor in London, Eric Räty from Hong Kong’s Café Gray Deluxe, Gregory Marchand from Frenchie in Paris and Nathan Sasi from Sydney’s Mercado.
If you’re feeling inspired by the world-class chefs and think you’ve got the chops, then you can brandish your skills in the Al Ain Dairy and IKEA Cooking Challenge.
Cook alongside celebrity chefs and fellow cook-off competitors for a chance to take home prizes – but you’ll have to get past the judging panel first.
The kids will be taken care of at the Les FanFans Kids’ Zone, especially designed to keep little ones entertained. An array of fun activities are in store – parents, don’t be jealous – including bungee jumping, inflatable soccer darts, a zip line, bouncy castle, arts and crafts and more.
Parents, meanwhile, can relax at the family-friendly Carriage Premier Lounge, located near the play area, which is exclusive to Premier Lounge ticketholders.
You’ll get unlimited access to the lounge, two soft drinks and three food vouchers. After getting your fill of food and finding inspiration from the festival’s restaurants and chefs, check out The Shopping Village where you can browse foods and ingredients, kitchen products and even homeware, as well as visit the teams behind a local nursery, nail salon, gym, toy store, art centre and more.
True to Taste of Abu Dhabi style, this year’s festival will include live performances from artists across various genres, who will add extra flavour to the festivities.
Kicking things off is pop icon Tony Hadley, former member of the 80s hit group Spandau Ballet. Sing along as Tony serves up memorable classics such as ‘Gold’, ‘True’ and ‘Only When You Leave’, as well as new singles from his upcoming solo album.
Don’t forget that this year, the new Golden Circle option offers an exclusive spot in front of the main stage for VIP and Premier Lounge ticketholders to watch Tony’s performance on 9th November.
Also on stage are a slew of UAE-based talent, including the multi-instrumental jazz folk group Jaye and Foe, Italian swing band Mark Zitti ei Fratelli Coltelli, festival regulars 4TheMusic, ‘party band’ quartet The Maplejacks, acoustic duo Down Home and young London producer DJ Krish.
Adding star power this year is Goldierocks, the international DJ, broadcaster and host of the weekly global radio show The Selector, who will join the festival’s team of presenters.
Be a VIP
Enjoy the best seat in the house at The Hub VIP Lounge. The private section offers comfortable seating where you can mingle with friends and put your feet up in between shopping, dancing and dining. VIP ticketholders get unlimited access to the lounge as well as fast-track entry to the festival. There’s a private bar in the lounge, plus you can enjoy two complimentary drinks and three food vouchers to try more dishes from participating restaurants.
Need to know:
What: Taste of Abu Dhabi Where: du Arena, Yas Island
When: 9th-11th November
Timings: Thu 4pm-11pm, Fri noon-11pm and Sat noon-10pm
Cost: From AED 65, free for children under 12 years old
Contact: For a full schedule of all activities, demos, entertainment and more, visit: tasteofabudhabi.com, ticketmaster.ae
WORDS Ferdinand Godinez