Although there are only three months left in the year, there's plenty to get excited about as a number of openings are on the cards in Abu Dhabi.
Din Tai Fung and fitness studio Barry's have already opened in the capital, both at The Galleria Al Maryah Island, while Central, a food and entertainment venue with arcade games and bowling, has opened at Yas Bay, among other restaurants and establishments.
So, whether it's casual dining or a gaming hub or even a new cinema space, here's what to look forward to before next year.
The popular Lebanese restaurant will open its first outpost in the capital on Al Najda Street in a space of 603 square metres, split over two storeys, with a capacity for 190 diners. This is the brand’s fourth location in the UAE after outlets in Dubai’s Hessa Street, City Walk and Al Warqa City Mall. The Dubai restaurant has gained quite a fan base since it popped up on Hessa Street. Offering a taste of Beirut in a laid-back setting, the restaurant is famous for its shawarmas, hummus and grills.
Saudi Arabia’s popular broasted chicken brand Al Baik is coming to the capital. Set to open at Al Wahda Mall, this will be its fifth branch in the UAE after outlets in Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman. In addition to the broasted chicken, expect items such as the jumbo shrimp, fish fillet and falafel. It is expected to be the largest branch of Al Baik in a space of 883 square metres.
BB Social Dining
The celebrated Asian restaurant will open at Rosewood Abu Dhabi on Al Maryah Island. BB Social Dining is the brainchild of Alex Stumpf, the head chef behind Peyote in Dubai. The restaurant is known for forgoing the traditional menu format and opts to categorise dishes based on the four Bs — baos, bowls, barbecue and bites.
Expect dishes such as chicken bang bang (a steamed and toasted bun filled with crispy chicken and topped with Parmesan cheese), duck ramen and truffled rib eye. The restaurant was ranked No 33 on Mena’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
La Serre Bistro & Boulangerie
The Parisian-style restaurant is opening a branch at Yas Mall after it closed its Downtown Dubai location in April after almost a decade. This comes along with the outlet's plans to expand, with new branches set for Jumeirah, Dubai Design District and Mall of the Emirates. La Serre has since become famous as a breakfast spot, but also a popular bistro, boulangerie and fine dining establishment.
The menu is billed as French-Mediterranean but encompasses a wider range of more southerly-inspired items. Expect dishes such as butternut risotto with Parmesan cream; roasted salmon, pilaf rice with almonds and butter sauce; and lamb rack cooked in sous vide served with green pea puree and celeriac couscous, almond and dried fruits.
The family-run Thai restaurant has plans to open in Yas Mall. The popular establishment in Jumeirah Village Circle is a favourite among Dubai residents and offers a taste of authentic Thai cuisine. There is a regular menu as well as one especially for vegans. Dishes to expect include seafood soup, chicken dumplings, Thai green curry and mango and sticky rice ice cream.
Pixoul Gaming, a massive esports and virtual-reality gaming complex at Al Qana in Abu Dhabi, is nearing completion. It will be at the 2.4-kilometre waterfront destination, aiming to attract gamers to the capital by offering something for everyone. Casual gamers will be able to play consoles, while those who are more serious hobbyists will be able to enrol in the certified Esports Academy, a first in the region, or enjoy the broadcasting studio where they can live-stream using the latest technology.
Snow Abu Dhabi
The much-awaited snow park at Abu Dhabi’s new Reem Mall may be nearing its opening. Reem Mall's last Instagram post shows a nearly completed Snow Abu Dhabi. When it does open, it’s going to be the largest indoor snow park in the world. Expect two giant slides called Ice and Floes Toboggan Race and Grauppel's Summit Escape and rides such as The Entry Plaza, Flight of the Snowy Owl, Magic Carpet, Polar Express Train, Crystal Carousel and more. There will also be dining options including The Lodge Restaurant, Grotto Amphitheatre, Ice Cafe, the Party Room and VIP Room.