Green shoots

Time Out Abu Dhabi - - INSIDE -

It’s Jan­uary, so we might as well pre­tend we’re go­ing to be healthy, if only for a few weeks. Here are some good eats to en­joy.

We’re Àrm be­liev­ers in never turn­ing down a tasty plate of food, but even we have to ad­mit we over-in­dulged dur­ing the fes­tive pe­riod. So, de­spite the fact we hate to fol­low the crowd, we’ve been on a quest to track down the best healthy dishes in the cap­i­tal. Of course, we’re not en­cour­ag­ing you to cut cheese­burg­ers out of your life for good (we would never, ever do that to you) but once in a while we all fancy some­thing that’s a bit kinder on the waist­line, but still tastes great. So while you’re still work­ing off the last of the tur­key, here are our favourite guilt-free treats in the city...

Bar­ley salad at Afya

Hip­sters may still be deeply ob­sessed with quinoa, but we still like to opt for a dif­fer­ent base to our sal­ads ev­ery now and again.

Bar­ley has so many health beneàts: it can help lower blood pres­sure and choles­terol lev­els, as well as build and main­tain a healthy bone struc­ture. Yet the best bit is sim­ply how it tastes. This nu­tri­ent-packed dish also con­tains all the best veg­eta­bles in­clud­ing beet­root, cauliáower, as­para­gus, cour­gette and let­tuce. → Dhs67. Open daily 6am-11.30pm. Traders Ho­tel Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi, Al Maqta (02 509 8555).

Veg em­panadas at Ameri­gos Mex­i­can Bar & Restau­rant

We be­lieve Mex­i­can food is one of the great­est cuisines in the world. With na­chos,

en­chi­ladas, fa­ji­tas and more to choose from, plus all the gua­camole you could wish for, the menu at Ameri­gos Yas Is­land is full of colour, spices and authen­tic flavours. The only prob­lem is that most Mex­i­can plates can be a bit short on veg­eta­bles, so it’s a good job we have the em­panadas de veg­eta­bles as an op­tion. Stuffed with mush­room and sweet­corn, it makes any New Year’s res­o­lu­tions to cut down on meat so much eas­ier to stick to.

→ Dhs48. Open daily noon-1am. Park Inn by Radis­son Abu Dhabi Yas Is­land (02 656 2000).

Pan-seared scal­lops at Aquar­ium

As well as be­ing a joy to devour, scal­lops also have the added bonus of be­ing to­tally healthy. Not only does Aquar­ium boast fan­tas­tic views of Yas Ma­rina, but it also spe­cialises in pro­duc­ing bril­liant seafood, too. It’s got its pan-seared scal­lops down to a fine art, and we’re a lit­tle bit in awe of them. Served with a vi­brant green broc­coli purée and sweet cherry toma­toes, it’s the kind of dish you wish would never end.

→ Dhs189. Open daily noon-1am. Yas Ma­rina,

Yas Is­land (02 565 0007).

Tuna tartare at Bel­gian Café Yas Is­land

As well as Bel­gian spe­cial­i­ties such as steam­ing pots of mus­sels, steak frites and roast meats, this friendly pub also serves up some Eu­ro­pean dishes that are a bit more on the lighter side. The tuna tar­tar fea­tures chunks of fresh fish mar­i­nated in a sweet and spicy ap­ple and horse­rad­ish sauce. It’s served with rocca leaves and a crunchy baguette, be­cause carbs are al­ways a good idea, even in Jan­uary.

→ Dhs98. Open daily noon-2am. Radis­son Blu Abu Dhabi Yas Is­land (02 656 2000).

Mar­i­nated hamachi sashimi at Beni­hana

This tep­pa­nyaki-style restau­rant is per­haps best known for its the­atri­cal cook­ing de­mon­stra­tions, as well as its su­perb se­lec­tion of sushi and sashimi. It goes with­out say­ing that all of the seafood op­tions are healthy and packed with good­ness, how­ever our favourite has to be the hamachi sashimi. Joined by del­i­cately sliced as­para­gus, cel­ery, av­o­cado, car­rots and baby spinach, it helps you get well on your way to your five-a-day, too. → Dhs92. Open daily 6pm-11.30pm. Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi, Al Zahiyah (02 697 9011).

Niçoise salad at Bent­ley Kitchen

This stylish Ital­ian restau­rant some­how man­ages to make ev­ery dish it pro­duces a work of art. Its take on the clas­sic Niçoise salad is thank­fully no dif­fer­ent. You’ll find plenty of greens (beans and baby gem let­tuce), pro­tein (quails eggs and pep­per-crusted tuna) and even carbs in the form of new po­ta­toes. It’s all fin­ished off with black olives, cherry toma­toes and le­mon olive oil.

→ Dhs65 (Dhs45 with­out the tuna). Open Sat-wed noon-1am; Thu-fri noon-2am. The Gal­le­ria, Al Maryah Is­land (02 626 2131).

Acai and Greek yo­ghurt su­per bowl at Ca­bana Beach Bar & Grill

If you’ve ever been lucky enough to visit Greece, hav­ing yo­ghurt for break­fast will pro­voke mem­o­ries of sunny morn­ings and bright blue seas. Or even if you haven’t, the com­bi­na­tion of the flavours in the acai and Greek yo­ghurt su­per bowl, along with the views over the Cor­niche will make this a break­fast you’ll never for­get. Fea­tur­ing mashed berries, goat’s cheese, mango, straw­ber­ries, chia seeds and pis­ta­chios, it’s fruity, creamy, crunchy and full of vi­ta­mins.

→ Dhs90. Open daily 10am-11pm. Na­tion Riviera Beach Club, The St. Regis Abu Dhabi, Na­tion Tow­ers

(02 694 4553).

Goma Wakame at Cho Gao

This beau­ti­ful pile of greens is ab­so­lutely packed with min­er­als and vi­ta­mins. The Ja­panese seaweed has so many health ben­e­fits, while the flavours are ac­cen­tu­ated by the re­fresh­ing le­mon dress­ing. Sprin­kled with toasted se­same seeds it’s a mar­vel­lous creation that goes per­fectly with so many of the other Asian de­lights found on the var­ied menu at Cho Gao Crowne Plaza.

→ Dhs60. Open daily noon-1am. Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mo­hammed Street, Al Markaziyah (02 616 6149).

Kale y manchego at Dusk

All veg­gie lovers know that there’s noth­ing like a lovely kale salad, and you can devour this one right by the white sands of Zaya Nu­rai Is­land. How­ever, that’s not the only thing the Mex­i­can restau­rant’s sig­na­ture salad has go­ing for it. The nu­tri­ent-filled green leaves are also given a sweet and salty bite by the ad­di­tion of manchego cheese, goji berries, wal­nuts and dried cran­ber­ries. All in all, the flavours are as lovely as the set­ting.

→ Dhs67. Open daily 5pm-1am. Zaya Nu­rai Is­land

(02 506 6274).

Oc­to­pus carpac­cio at Filini gar­den

Ital­ian food is al­ways bril­liant (and yet of­ten so thor­oughly straight­for­ward). But with most dishes based around carbs and cheese, it’s not ex­actly the ob­vi­ous cui­sine to choose when you’re try­ing to be healthy. How­ever, Filini Gar­den has al­ways like to put its own so­phis­ti­cated spin on things. As well as crispy piz­zas and cheesy lasagnes, the Ital­ian eatery also of­fers guilt-free plates such as its oc­to­pus carpac­cio. Fea­tur­ing thinly sliced oc­to­pus and fin­ished with a clas­sic le­mon dress­ing, crushed black pep­per and rocket leaves, it’s sim­ple but de­li­cious.

→ Dhs56. Open Sat-wed 4.30pm-1.30am; Thu 4.30pm-am, Fri 12.30pm-2am. Radis­son Blu Abu Dhabi Yas Is­land (02 656 2000).

Poached black cod at Finz at Beach

With fresh seafood served in a fine-din­ing set­ting, it’s not hard to be healthy at Finz. If you’re try­ing to go to­tally fat free and even avoid the but­ter-seared scal­lops, the poached black cod should be top of your list. Flavoured with braised fen­nel, rocket leaves and crushed cashew nuts, it’s ev­ery health-con­scious diner’s dream.

→ Dhs150. Open daily 12.30pm-3.30pm, 7pm-11.30pm. Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi, Al Zahiyah

(02 697 9011).

Fish taouk at Flooka

It can of­ten be a chal­lenge for seafood lovers to know where to start when it comes to the ex­ten­sive menu at Flooka. You might opt to have the catch of the day grilled, baked or bar­be­cued to your lik­ing, or choose a few plates from the huge se­lec­tion of hot and cold mezze. But the most health-con­scious and flavour-packed dish has to be the fish taouk. It in­cludes mar­i­nated pieces of king fish in a le­mon, gar­lic and olive oil dress­ing.

→ Dhs61. Open daily, noon-mid­night. East­ern Man­groves Prom­e­nade, Dhafeer Street (02 441 8244).

Ya­sai Soba at Frangi­pani

When you’re mar­vel­ling at the views of the post­card-per­fect Zaya-nu­rai Is­land, it’s very easy to have a bliss­ful time no mat­ter what you’re eat­ing. But your trip to this is­land es­cape can be made all the bet­ter with a bril­liant bowl of ya­sai soba. This fas­ci­nat­ing Asian dish fea­tures soba noo­dles, veg­etable broth, beansprouts, spring onions, as­para­gus, shi­itake mush­rooms, bok choy, tofu and broc­coli. We’re go­ing to need a big­ger bowl.

→ Dhs95. Open daily 7.30am-9.30pm. Zaya Nu­rai Is­land (02 506 6274).

Acai bowl at Gos­sip Café

This is cer­tainly one of the pret­ti­est break­fasts we’ve ever seen. Topped with fruits, seeds and ed­i­ble flow­ers, there’s def­i­nitely an un-writ­ten rule stat­ing that you need to pho­to­graph it from ev­ery an­gle be­fore tuck­ing in. It’s also packed with an­tiox­i­dants and con­tains a per­fect sweet and nutty blend of blue­ber­ries, straw­ber­ries, rasp­ber­ries, ba­nanas, acai, al­mond milk and al­mond but­ter. It’s sure to put you in a good mood for the rest of the day.

→ Dhs55. Open Sun-thu 7am-11pm; Fri-sat 7am­mid­night. The Gal­le­ria, Al Maryah Is­land (02 677 7520).

Tan­doori broc­coli and mush­room at Indigo

In­dian food is known for hav­ing plenty of veg­e­tar­ian op­tions, but that doesn’t mean that the calo­rie count isn’t of­ten very high. How­ever, when you go for the tan­doori broc­coli and mush­room at the Beach Rotana’s Indigo restau­rant, there’s no need to worry about the dam­age it will do to your waist­line. Pro­vid­ing a great source of nat­u­ral en­ergy and fi­bre, the spicy flavours are coun­ter­acted with a cool yo­ghurt dress­ing.

→ Dhs72. Open daily 6pm-11.30pm. Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi, Al Zahiyah (02 697 9011).

Jumbo shrimps at Joe’s Crab Shack

Seafood can be in­cred­i­bly healthy as long as you choose the right things, and there’s noth­ing at all naughty about the chopped salad at Joe’s Crab Shack. Topped with huge, meaty jumbo shrimps and fin­ished with slabs of creamy av­o­cado, red potato and roasted al­monds, it’s ev­ery bit as fill­ing and sat­is­fy­ing as any of the other mains on the menu. It’s also fin­ished off with a fab­u­lous bal­samic vine­gar dress­ing.

→ Dhs82.95. Sat-wed 10am-11pm, Ma­rina Mall, Ma­rina Vil­lage (04 705 9747).

Amore salad at Lips

There’s quite lit­er­ally so much to love about this vi­brant salad, partly be­cause it uses

only the tasti­est flavours such as av­o­cado, sweet­corn and to­mato. The in­gre­di­ents are of the high­est qual­ity, too, and the juicy shrimps are a to­tal sen­sa­tion. The fi­nal flour­ish is a driz­zle of the chef’s spe­cial herb dress­ing (we’re still work­ing on get­ting the recipe from him, don’t worry).

→ Dhs46. Open daily 9am-mid­night. Ma­rina Mall, Ma­rina Vil­lage (02 681 8191).

Mar­ket Green Earth Burger at Mar­ket

There must be few things more pleas­ing in life than be­ing able to en­joy a burger while know­ing that it’s ac­tu­ally good for you. Fea­tur­ing a chick­pea and shi­itake mush­room patty, sat­is­fy­ing aubergine rel­ish, vi­brant muham­mara and a chunky layer of hal­loumi, this burger isn’t just good for you be­cause it’s got the words ‘Green’ and ‘Earth’ in its name. It’s just as fill­ing as a cheese­burger, but with­out the guilt.

→ Dhs70. Open daily noon-3pm, 6pm-9pm. The Abu Dhabi Edi­tion, Al Ba­teen Ma­rina (02 208 0000).

But­ter­fly chicken at Nando’s

If you’re in the mood for fast food but want to do it the healthy way, then you can’t do much bet­ter than Nando’s. There’s a huge range of sal­ads on the menu, but the but­ter­fly chicken is just as nu­tri­tious (as long as you go for some not-so-naughty sides of course). The suc­cu­lent dou­ble chicken breast comes with a crispy skin, and you can fin­ish it off with a three-bean salad, corn on the cob or char­grilled veg­eta­bles.

→ Dhs62. Open Sat-wed 11am-mid­night; Thu-fri 11am-1am. The Mall at World Trade Cen­ter Abu Dhabi, Hamdan Street (02 631 0002).

Sweet potato av­o­cado toast at Park House

Av­o­cado on toast is one of those break­fast dishes that never, ever gets old (well, in our opin­ion any­way). But if you’re try­ing to cut down on bread in 2019 (or you’re just to­tally en­am­oured with any­thing that in­volves sweet potato), now you can en­joy a gluten-free ver­sion of the sta­ple dish at Park House on Reem Is­land. The per­fectly poached eggs, creamy av­o­cado, chilli flakes and chia and flax seeds (for an ex­tra boost of nu­tri­tion) are lay­ered on top of a sweet potato ‘toast’. It’s pos­si­bly even bet­ter than our usual mas­sive slab of sourdough.

→ Dhs48. Open daily 8am-10pm. Reem Cen­tral Park, Reem Is­land (55 736 8127).

Quinoa bowl at Pearl Lounge

There’s of­ten a false feel­ing that the health­ier op­tions are less en­joy­able, which clearly couldn’t be fur­ther from the truth when it comes to this scrump­tious plate. The com­bi­na­tion of cured or­ganic salmon, edamame beans, se­same seeds and poached eggs is ab­so­lutely flaw­less, and gym go­ers will love the ex­tra pro­tein boost pro­vided by the quinoa. That should keep you go­ing while you’re per­sonal trainer barks orders at you.

→ Dhs98. Pearl Lounge at Grand Hy­att Abu Dhabi Ho­tel and Res­i­dences Emi­rates Pearl, West Cor­niche

(02 510 1234).

Or­ganic quinoa salad at Pizza Di Rocco

Turn­ing down the of­fer of pizza can be an ex­tremely painful ex­pe­ri­ence. But the blow is some­what soft­ened when the al­ter­na­tive is this colour­ful bowl of good­ness. Quinoa is the trendi­est su­per­food around for good rea­son. It’s packed with pro­tein, it’s fill­ing and it tastes great, too. It’s fin­ished off with spring onion, pine nuts, raisins, av­o­cado, cherry toma­toes and driz­zled with a re­fresh­ing olive oil and lime dress­ing.

→ Dhs41. Open 11am-mid­night Fri-tue, 11am-2am Wed-thu. Var­i­ous lo­ca­tions in­clud­ing Salem Steet, Al Dhafrah (800 76226).

In­salata di caprine at Spac­canapoli

Some­times you can fin­ish off a salad and end up feel­ing al­most as hun­gry as be­fore you started. But there’s no dan­ger of that hap­pen­ing when you try this lovely dish from ca­sual Ital­ian restau­rant Spac­canapoli. The chefs at the Crowne Plaza eatery mix wal­nuts, crunchy ap­ples, baby spinach and mixed let­tuce with plenty of creamy goat’s cheese. It’s all fin­ished off with a bal­samic salad dress­ing, which might just be the best bit of this lovely bowl of food.

→ Dhs49. Open daily noon-11pm. Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mo­hammed Street, Al Markaziyah (02 616 6149).

Smoked burrata at The Foundry

Okay, so cream and cheese might not be

100 per­cent healthy. How­ever, we think that the smoked burrata from classy steak­house The Foundry still qual­i­fies for a place in our new de­tox diet plan. The creamy soft cheese just con­trasts so won­der­fully with the crispy let­tuce, green beans, radishes, beet­root, car­rot and cherry toma­toes. Not only does this dish con­tain a de­light­ful col­lec­tion of fresh gar­den veg­eta­bles, but it’s also pre­sented im­mac­u­lately as well. It’ll make your pal who went for the steak, chips and mac ’n’ cheese go green with envy.

→ Dhs65.00. Open daily 6am-10.30am, noon-3pm & 7pm-11pm. South­ern Sun Abu Dhabi, Al Mina Street, Al Zahiyah (02 818 4888).

Sweet potato av­o­cado toast at Park House

Bar­ley salad at Afya

Tuna tartare at Bel­gian Café Yas Is­land

Pan-seared scal­lops at Aquar­ium

Niçoise salad at Bent­ley kitchen

Acai bowl at Gos­sip Café

Ya­sai Soba at Frangi­pani

Kale y manchego at Dusk

Oc­to­pus carpac­cio at Filini Gar­den

Mar­ket Green Earth Burger at Mar­ket

Jumbo shrimps at Joe’s Crab Shack

But­ter­fly chicken at Nando’s

Amore salad at Lips

Or­ganic quinoa salad at Pizza Di Rocco

In­salata di caprine at Spac­canapoli

Smoked burrata at The Foundry

Quinoa bowl at Pearl Lounge

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