As graduation looms in the near future, many seniors are realizing the implications of their parents descending on Abu Dhabi — they must become expert tour guides in a matter of days.
At The Gazelle, we understand that the pressures of finals, essays, packing, job searching and apartment hunting are enough to drive most seniors crazy, so we have compiled a list of some secret — and not so secret — places that are musts for parents and crucial to say goodbye to for seniors of the Class of 2014.
Where to eat
Maroush Restaurant has been an NYU Abu Dhabi student favorite for years thanks to its delicious food and even better prices. Take your parents there for some hummus, falafel and tangy fattoush and enjoy the Lebanese cuisine. A short distance from the Downtown Campus, it is perfect for a quick and delicious lunch.
Saudi Kitchen VIP is perfect for parents who want to get acquainted with food from the Gulf. Sit on the ground, use your hands and dig into the mounds of rice, chicken and lamb. Don’t miss the sweet kanafeh cheese pastry for dessert.
Golden Spoon is the hot spot for vegetarian Indian food in the city. Take your parents there to have some great Indian food, and remember the cultural exchange that happened over centuries between the Indian and Arabian peninsulas.
For parents with a more flexible budget, Turquoiz Beach Restaurant and Lounge at the St. Regis on Saadiyat has a beautiful ocean view, some of the best seafood in Abu Dhabi and shisha. However, it is outdoors, so we recommend an afternoon excursion.
Ingredients restaurant at the Eastern Mangroves Hotel has a special weekend brunch menu every Friday. This delicious mid-morning feast is served from four different kitchens at the hotel and has a beautiful view of the mangroves. Take a walk along the Eastern Mangroves Promenade after brunch.
What to do
The Women’s Handicraft Center has been a haven for women’s arts and culture preservation and propagation in Abu Dhabi. Over 40 women from all around Abu Dhabi practice their handicrafts here between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. each day. You can watch them create date palm tree baskets, woven carpets from sheep and goat fur, kandoras and jellabiyas. Find out more information from our coverage on AD Secrets.
Sama Tower’s friendly neighbor, Madinat Zayed, certainly has its quirky finds, but it is also home to many places for textile, custom-made Arabic jewelry and tailor shops to make your own shirts or dresses, shops for cheap scarves and rugs and plenty of abaya and kandora shops where your parents can pick up a local outfit.
Take a tour of theFalcon Hospital
and see how the beautiful birds are cared for. Housed in a five-star facility, these birds certainly live a life of luxury. Make sure to call ahead and book an appointment from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
If you are fishing for adventure check out the Zayed Port also known as Mina Port, home to the new fish market, plant and carpet souks. Have a delicious lunch at the port, get fresh fish grilled in one of the food stands and pair it with a freshly sliced coconut. Between the heat and the smells, we certainly recommend an early morning peruse of the fish market.
Where to view Abu Dhabi
Check out this beautiful view of Abu Dhabi while enjoying high tea at the Etihad Towers. Dress to impress between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., but be prepared to spend on your tea and biscuits.
For shisha and a view, there is really no other place to go but Mirage Marine. For parents curious about shisha but who are not smokers, try the Shiazo shisha, a shisha made with no tobacco, in one of their many flavors.
Another café with a view, La Fontana provides both city and water scenery. Go during the afternoon, enjoy some shisha and watch over the coastline of Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi’s city skyline is most beautiful at night, when the tower lights shimmer over the Arabian Peninsula. For 120 AED per person, take a two-hour dhow dinner cruise ride and view the city from the water. It leaves at 9 p.m. and includes a three-course meal.