Even though there is no doubt that going to one of the many big shopping malls in Abu Dhabi will see you sorted with everything you need, I think it is also good to support local shops – also because sometimes they hide more than a bargain and a few unique pieces.
I have already written about Abdul Karim, the wonderful shop inside Mina Centre.
Family Mart is similar, as it has a lot of the same tableware ranges, but I would classify it as a ‘superstore’ because it also sells a lot of other items, such as beauty products, make up, clothing, small furniture… you name it.
I could not find an official website for this store, but here is a map. In any case, it is easy to find as it stands right next to the big Toy’s R Us and Ace Hardware stores, sort-of in the same block as Royal Furniture, on Mina Port.
I bought several make up products here – you can get lovely nail polish which is of great quality and costs only a few AED, and of course many baking/cooking tools.
Something I particularly like of this shop is the extensive range of dinnerware and glassware. They also literally have everything you might need for your home, from barbecue tools to small appliances, plus disposable glasses and trays in all the shapes and sizes you can imagine – just perfect for a party. They also have a lot of Arabic coffee pots, traditional coffee sets and other local items. I just love this shop!
Meena Center has quickly become one of my favourite shopping destinations.
It could be argued that it is a little less glamorous than the big shopping malls in the city centre, and of course it does not have as much choice, but the fact is that it features some of my favourite shops in Abu Dhabi, where I can easily lose hours just looking around.
One of them is the fantastic Abdul Karim, a housewares-kitchenware shop that never fails to amaze me: it is like an Aladdin cave full of gorgeous and shiny things, and W always struggle to peel me off its windows.
I could not find any official website for this store, but it is located on the ground floor of the Meena Centre, near Port Zayed.
Upon entering, it is easy to quickly get charmed by the many china and glass sets – with and without carts – in beautiful golden and silver finish. This shop extends also at the back, featuring small electric appliances, kitchen tools and everything from curtains to cookie trays.
Staff in the shop are also really helpful: I was buying a slightly damaged dustpan and brush (because I am blind and I did not notice it) and they stopped me as soon as I picked it up, apologised and replaced it immediately with another one, which I was very grateful for.
The prices vary from item to item, but there are always sales and it is easy to find a bargain, such as this beautiful green decorated glass, which I paid only 9 AED (around 1.50 GBP) and then used as an original toothbrush holder next to a simple Ikea soap dispenser.
I just love this shop!
Hidden amongst residential buildings and shops, this is a real foodie gem. A vegetarian restaurant serving delicious South Indian food at incredibly cheap prices, Arya Bhavan was definitely worth a visit. There are two of them in Abu Dhabi:
ME: 10 – Shabiya Mussafah
Behind Millennium Supermarket
Abudhabi – U.A.E
Phone : 971 2 5599755
Branch 1 :
Al Falah Street – Abudhabi
Next to Fahtima Supermarket
Abudhabi – U.A.E
Phone : 971 2 445 09 09
The place is very simple and the atmosphere is really casual. The place is not big but there are separate zones for couples and families, and for men on their own.
The menu is massive but there are things that can be ordered only after 7pm. We went with a party of friends and everyone was very happy with their food.
As a starter we ordered paneer fritters and gobi fritters, which basically are battered and fried paneer (a type of Indian cheese) and cauliflower. Delicious.
As a main, everyone ordered Vegetable Masala Dosai (a sort of crepe filled with potatoes and other veggies) whilst I had fried rice with paneer – which was really tasty. The portions were huge and no one managed to finish all their plate!
This restaurant might have proved tricky to find if we did not have a friend bringing us there, but we are definitely going to be back many times in the future. Now, where was it again?!