Photo by Nicole Lopez Del Carril/The Gazelle
The Sama Tower halls are ringing once again with optimistic beginning-of-the-semester chatter while suitcases are unpacked and gifts exchanged. For students returning from around the globe, and especially those students coming from semesters away from Abu Dhabi, many want a taste of the Arab world again. What says “Welcome home” better than some piping hot manakeesh?
“The first thing I’m doing when I’m back, is grabbing some of the best cheese bread in the city,” senior Neelgon Safdar said.
Safdar’s secret spot, already frequented by a few NYU Abu Dhabi manakeesh connoisseurs, is Al Farah Pastry and Grill. With a wide selection of manakeesh — a type of Lebanese pizza — including zaatar, imported cheeses and meats, Al Farah is a must first stop for all returning Abu Dhabi students.
Safdar arrived with her family in September 2008 and, with her brothers, would explore her neighborhood looking for a salty snack. When she discovered Al Farah, she immediately fell in love.
“I know it may be cheesy, but I love their cheese manakeesh, it is some of the best I’ve tried,” she said. “Now, whenever someone in my family wants some, we call up my father who brings us a large order for the full family.”
In addition to the manakeesh, the shop has fruit smoothies, falafel and hummus that can be enjoyed outside on the patio. It is a perfect place for students who want a pleasant place for an afternoon read.
Now that the January weather has pacified the usually sweltering city, take advantage of the cool breeze and walk over to Al Farah. It is located behind Crowne Plaza Hotel on Hamdan Street. From Sama Tower, walk out the Electra Street doors and turn right. Walk past the Hamed Center to the first intersection and turn left, walking in the direction of the Corniche, toward the Gift Tower and Starbucks on Hamdan. Walk on the east side of the road with Farook International Stationery on your right, housed in a red-tiled building, and turn right immediately after Farook. Walk straight down the row of shops and behind the Crowne Plaza is Al Farah Pastry and Grill.