No cuisine is perhaps as diverse as Mediterranean food. Geographically speaking, the cuisine is an amalgamation of flavours derived from a variety of cultures – including Turkey, Greece, Italy, Egypt, Spain and the Levant – with each contributing native ingredients and unique cooking methods into the mix.
But at the centre of this diversity is a common fondness for both freshness and flavour.
Bringing this concept to the masses in Abu Dhabi is Café Otantik.
With a huge floor space that accommodates a large number of guests, the restaurant is difficult to miss, and, much like its menu, is designed to cater to a diverse clientele.
The interior emits both an earthly and chic feel with its wooden tables and chairs, cushioned couches, marbled flooring and few wall decorations that give a minimalist touch.
A glass wall provides natural light from the outside, making the interior even more bright and spacious.
The restaurant takes pride in sourcing its ingredients abroad to ensure each dish’s authenticity.
You certainly won’t be short on options, either. Dishes range from Levant favourites such as manakish and fattoush to Turkish pide, Caucasus staples like shish kebab, Greek treats such as lamb chops and more. There are also pasta and pizza options in case that’s what takes your fancy.
We recommend sticking with the more Arabic style dishes.
The Adana kebab, minced lamb served with bulgur wheat and grilled bell peppers, is a great starter – the meat is tender and wonderfully juicy.
The princess kebab is a winning main course. A grilled tender sirloin steak is mixed with eggplant and peppers, topped with melted butter, which blends perfectly with the meat’s subtle spice.
It’s a generous portion so best ordered on an empty stomach, or shared with a friend. The dish is served with freshly-baked bread – literally out straight of the stone oven – which is a warm and comforting side, served with garlic butter and olives.
If all that is not enough and you still have room for more, we recommend the mixed grill, a platter of lamb chops, lamb and chicken shish kebab and beyti kebab, served with rice. Grilled to perfection, it’s ideal for meat lovers.
By combining mouth-watering Mediterranean food with pleasant presentation and smooth service, Café Otantik is a great display of Mediterranean cuisine.
Need to know
Location: Otantik, 10th Street, Al Zahiyah
We say: A mixed bag of delicious flavours inspired by the Mediterranean
Opening times: Daily 9am-2am
Cost: AED 225 for two
Contact: 02 681 2294, otantik.ae
WORDS Ferdinand Godinez