My husband loves Arabic/Lebanese cuisine, so when there’s a new Arabic restaurant to try out, he’s always excited about it. We headed over to Zaytinya, which is located in Al Seef Mall, very close to the mangroves in Abu Dhabi.
We headed there for dinner around 9pm. Although we had reservations, it was not packed and people who came after us were just as quickly seated as we were.
The restaurant has a lovely ambiance; its dimly lit and has beautiful paper-like light fixtures throughout the ceiling, which give off hues of purple. There’s an open kitchen, so you can see the chefs in action. It’s great for a date night and they’re also very family-friendly.
I went with my husband and baby Khalifa and they were very kind to us from start to finish. The waiters kept passing by, trying to keep Khalifa entertained– he definitely enjoyed their company!
After being seated in a booth, our waiter brought out the menu and with his recommendations, we chose our dishes for the night.
First came the drinks. I ordered Paradise, which is a mocktail mix of orange, lemon, strawberry and mint. It was very fruity and almost smoothie-like. My husband got the Avocado, and it contains milk, honey and avocado. It’s creamy and a great drink to go with dinner or even by itself.
They served us a fresh Fattoush salad, which came before the appetizers. This was probably my favorite thing of the night– it had just the right flavors and the perfect start to the meal.
For appetizers, we had Batata Harra and Mushroom Lamb Fillet Cubes. The Batata Harra is a traditional dish in this region, and Zaytinya stayed true to taste. Its made of diced potatoes and various spices. It was cooked perfectly and not too spicy. The dish of Mushroom Lamb Fillet Cubes was something that I’ve never tried before, and it was a delicious combination. The dish is made from chopped lamb, mushrooms and onions, all sautéed together.
For mains, my husband ordered the Zaytinya Mixed Grill. It’s a very hearty dish. Along with shish tawook and lamb cubes, there’s also chicken kababs, beef kababs, and four very generously stuff arayes bread. This dish could easily be shared by two people.
My dish was also a lot bigger than I expected. I ordered the Prawns and Hammour Sayyadei. On the dish, there is a large filet of hammour fish and a row of shrimp all laid on top of saffron rice. It comes with a brown gravy sauce. The food is so filling and the portion sizes are so huge for both main dishes, so I would definitely suggest you come starving!
We both could hardly finish our meals, so we got our leftovers for takeaway. After taking away our plates, the waiter brought us a white tea with ginger to help us digest; they must really know how filling their dishes are because this tea definitely helps!
Dessert wasn’t even on my mind, but the waiter surprised us with a couple of Zaytinya’s house favorites– the Muhallabia and Roz Bil Laban. Both were light, creamy and the perfect touch of sweetness to end the meal.
- Staff/Service: 5
- Ambience: 4
- Food: 3.5
- Presentation: 4
- Cleanliness: 5
- Value for money: 5
Overall Rating: 4.4
Worth Trying?: Zaytinya’s staff and service is impeccable! If your looking for a hearty Arabic meal, this is your spot. The dishes are very large and can easily be shared unless your very, very hungry!
For more information, call Zaytinya at +971 (0) 2 447 4489.