Where in Abu Dhabi:
Manarat Al Saadiyat,
Saadiyat Cultural District
Tel: +9712 657 5888
Opening times: Sun-Wed 10AM-11PM; Thur-Sat 10AM to midnight.
I remember it clearly: it was our very first weekend in Abu Dhabi and we wanted to ‘see a museum’ (sic). We decided to visit Saadiyat Island, the future location of the Louvre, Zayed Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, where friends told us there was already a great museum open. “And don’t forget to try the restaurant,” they added.
After arriving at Manarat Al Saadiyat and having enjoyed the interesting exhibition (I particularly love the room made of chairs!) we followed our friends’ advice and tried the in-house restaurant.
Fanr has an airy and spacious setting, with both indoors and outdoors seating, and a very contemporary feel, with floor-to-ceiling windows and several art pieces around – of course.
Restaurants inside museums more often resemble university canteens, as they are busy and somehow push you to eat quickly and move along. Fanr is different, because it makes you feel very relaxed and at ease, with no need to hurry up. It is also quite stylish, even though most of the people in it wear casual clothes and big cameras around their neck.
Since that very first time, we have been back many, many times, enjoying both the a/c in the glass-cladded restaurant and the breeze and sound of the water in the Arabic-inspired courtyard.
We did not take photos every single time we went, but my absolute favourite on the menu is the watermelon and feta salad. I can’t even begin to explain how much these two things are delicious together – and I had never thought about it before!
Here W tried his first camel burger (“It kind-of tastes like beef,” he says) and here we brought family and friends when they came to visit. We really like it!
Adding one more reason to visit, they now have weekly Yoga classes (they started them last month).
Every Wednesday the association Yoga Retreats offers two one-hour classes (at 9:30 AM and 5:30 PM), held in the restaurant grounds.
Costs are: 80 AED per session or 700 AED for a series of ten. (To book: Yoga Retreats website).
All the participants in the classes also receive a 20% discount to use at Fanr.
Fanr is really a delightful place. It might be slightly off the beaten track, but its relaxing atmosphere, absolutely delicious food and attentive staff certainly puts it up there, among our favourite eateries in the city.