This place is serving some of the best food in the capital right now

With so many restaurants in Abu Dhabi, you can’t help but wonder how some of them survive.

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When trying to decide where to dine out with friends and family, the list of options is seemingly endless no matter what your cuisine choice.

One restaurant that’s always stood out on that front for its authentic Italian cuisine is Filini. And after undergoing a beautiful renovation, and changing its name to Filini Garden, the restaurant and its extended lounge and terrace now offer a modern and trendy setting to boot. With a new, young chef leading the culinary team, it seems they’ve upped their game.

Located next to Radisson Blu Yas Island Hotel, a separate entrance leads you past a Vespa and under a trellis tunnel dotted with white chandeliers that opens up into a courtyard with plenty of greenery, a water feature and industrial style light bulbs adding a romantic touch.

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Wrapping around the outdoor dining area is a beautiful terrace with sofas among Savannah style grass overlooking the golf course. It’s a great place to catch the sunset and enjoy sundowners with electric lounge beats setting the mood.

A separate lounge menu offers cicchetti, Venice’s take on tapas, with small dishes like bruschetta with tomato, mushroom and asparagus and a platter of tender and peppery chargrilled Mediterranean vegetables. The fritto misto is a hit too, although we’d prefer more calamari than bait fish as the calamari is some of the best we’ve had and there’s only a couple of pieces in the bowl.

The main restaurant menu itself is typically Italian with just enough dishes to choose from without overdoing it: there are starters, pizzas, pastas, meat dishes and desserts. The simplicity is reflected in the food itself: the lasagne arrives on its own, a fuss free dish with comforting layers of beef bolognese and pasta topped with grilled mozzarella. The chef caters to special diets, too, so if you’re gluten intolerant you can still enjoy a hearty bowl of spaghetti with a choice of sauces and vegetables, perfect for a chilly winter night.

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Save room for dessert though: the classic tiramisu is served as a cup of light and airy mascarpone layered with coffee-soaked biscotti and topped with bittersweet cocoa powder. Equally as sweet and moreish is the chocolate fondant, which oozes dark chocolate at the mere sight of a spoon. Served with a glass of chocolate milkshake, it’s a dessert-lover’s dream.

With fresh ingredients, authentic cuisine, a chilled vibe, friendly service, an expansive terrace and one-of-a-kind views, Filini Garden is certainly on to something and will no doubt give the competition a run for its money.

Need to know: 

Location: Filini Garden, next to Radisson Blu Yas Island Hotel, Yas Plaza
We say: A hip hangout with great food
Cost: AED 288 for two
Opening times: Sun-Wed 5pm-1am, Thu-Fri 5pm-2am
Contact: 02 656 2000, facebook.com/filinigarden

WORDS Rachael Perrett

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