Things to Do

This isn’t your typical food festival

Culinary innovation returns to the capital.

Even a raging pandemic couldn’t put a damper on it in 2020, and now it’s back – Abu Dhabi Culinary Season. For the uninitiated, this annual six-week celebration of innovative food concepts and experiences spans the capital, this year returning for its third edition from 18 October until 9 December. As for what to expect? 

The return of the Food Forward series, for starters. Running from 19 to 23 October, it will comprise four days of experiential supper clubs and exclusive dining experiences. We’re told that a follow-up programme will follow suit later in the season, with culinary masterminds Anthony Demetre and Faisal Naser already set to whip up something special at Emirates Palace.

Anchoring the 2021 season, meanwhile, is the immensely popular Chef’s Table series that promises to go big this year. Expect to see the likes of LPM Restaurant & Bar, COYA Abu Dhabi, Villa Toscana, Hakkasan, Buddha-Bar Beach Abu Dhabi and Beirut Sur Mer participate through everything from exclusive menus and entertainment to masterclasses and collaborations with Emirati chefs. Abu Dhabi Culinary Season will also mark the city’s growing gastronomic diversity with the launch of much-loved concepts like Paradiso, Bushra and Akiba Dori taking up residence at the new Yas Bay development on Yas Island.

Elsewhere, a partnership with Gaggenau will pay homage to Emirati craftsmen, weaving together elements of heritage, luxury and gastronomy at The Craftsmanship Dinner at Louvre Abu Dhabi. And if six weeks of foodie experiences won’t quite suffice, a circus-themed afternoon tea at Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers will kick off on 1 November and continue well into the new year. 

So is Abu Dhabi the next leading global dining destination? Well, considering the city will soon play host to the inaugural celebration of MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants – the first new regional list of ranked restaurants announced by the 50 Best organisation in almost a decade – we’d say yes.

GO: Visit https://abudhabiculinary.ae or follow @abudhabiculinary on Instagram for more information.

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Samia Qaiyum
A textbook third culture kid with a perpetual thirst for adventure, Samia Qaiyum specialises in travel and culture, having lived in five countries and travelled to 34 others – just don't ask her to define the word 'home'.

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