Travel for Food: Abu Dhabi

Katsuya by Starck

Location: Yas Mall

After walking around the Louvre Abu Dhabi, I found myself visiting the Yas Mall. It was a tempting thing to do as I enjoy going to malls, especially in the middle east. While there, I stumbled upon a restaurant called Katsuya. Katsuya is the brainchild of master chef Katsuya Uechi. If his name sounds familiar, that is because he has been featured on shows such as Top Chef, in magazines, and other television programs. This restaurant offers classic Japanese dishes but also has an exciting start, as Katsuya’s journey begun in Tokyo at a sushi bar before moving to Los Angeles in the 1980s. Making a name for himself, he opened his first restaurant in 1997, and then many more followed. The most important fact I gathered is that he is one of the few who single-handedly embedded the love for sushi and other Japanese dishes into America culture.

Katsuya by Starck at the Yas Mall

Below is Sushi – Vegetable Roll (Asparagus, cucumber, avocado, sprouts, yamagobo and green onions rolled together to create a delicious, healthy roll)

For the main dish, I had the Seafood Yakisoba (A traditional Japanese dish. Pan-fried noodles tossed with shrimp, mussels, stuffed calamari, and mixed vegetables)

Seafood Yakisoba

I know some of my more gastronomically inclined friends turn a nose at mall restaurants. Places like Cheesecake Factory, Red Lobster, Ruby Tuesday, or even Chili’s have become the ultimate sign of vast consumerism and watered-down rushed unauthentic eateries. While I would have to agree that some of these restaurants have lost their flavor, I still believe you can find great spots just like Katsuya hiding-out inside a mall.

Crispy Soft-Shell Crab (tempura soft-shell crab served with tartar sauce and chili ponzu)

I would give Katsuya five out of five stars, the food was unassuming, and every ingredient popped to life in my mouth. Even after I failed to finish my main course and took what was left back to my hotel room, hours after it was still delicious. The main dish, which was the Seafood Yakisoba was the best noodle dish I’d tasted in a long time and was perhaps the first time I ate Yakisoba the way it was meant to be eaten. I would highly recommend lovers of Japanese food to visit Katsuya, and I wouldn’t hesitate to eat there again!

Finz Restaurant 

Location: Inside Beach Rotana

In my search for seafood restaurants, I came across a listing for a restaurant called Finz located next to the Beach Rotana Hotel and Tower in Abu Dhabi. The menu looked interesting enough for me to reserve a table, and I can say that I was not disappointed in the food or service. The restaurant has an exquisite setting as it looks out on the waterfront showcasing a bit of the city lights.

To start, I was served a variety of bread with butter, the one bread that stood out for me was the bread made with seaweed. It had a delightful flavor once eaten with butter.

Along with that, I had lentil soup with crushed up nut with a bit of yogurt. I am a lentil fan and always find lentil soup to be tasty and filling, this soup had the perfect balance of spices and creaminess.  After that, I had a start served with three jumbo shrimps, grill bread, laid out on a bed of vegetables.

Sparkling water & Jamaican at Finz Restaurant 

My main course was a marrying of the sea and land. It was creamed potatoes with scallops the melted in your mouth, roast beef, mushrooms, and leaks.

Main Course

Finz is a very nice place and would leave lasting memories for any date night or even marriage proposal site. The next time I go back I hope to try their mussel starter dish.