Yas Bay Waterfront: what to expect at the new Abu Dhabi destination

While not everything has opened yet, there's still a lot to discover

An Ibiza-style beach club, a renowned Mediterranean restaurant and a sprawling lounge with skyline views can all be found at Yas Bay Waterfront.

The new leisure and entertainment hub on Yas Island opened to the public on Wednesday and The National paid a visit. The destination is opening in phases, meaning not everything is fully functional yet but will be in the coming months. In the meantime, we got to explore what is currently on offer.

As the temperature cools, the three-kilometre boardwalk is bound to become a favourite. The walking space is wide and offers beautiful views of the Arabian Gulf as well as Al Raha Beach skyline. It’s also ideal for watching the sunset, with its peaceful surroundings and plenty of spaces to sit.

There are bespoke artworks that have been commissioned and dotted around the attraction. For example, behind Pier 71 is a giant astronaut resting on a bench, while near Etihad Arena is an unmissable large sculpture emerging from the water.

A giant bronze sculpture emerges from the water at Yas Bay Waterfront.  Khushnum Bhandari / The National

In terms of dining, even though there are still many exciting concepts to come, what is currently on offer is also a welcome addition to the capital. Asia Asia, Daikan, Lock Stock & Barrel, Paradiso and Siddharta Lounge by Buddha-Bar are some of the restaurants that are now welcoming guests.

We tried out Paradiso, a Mediterranean restaurant helmed by Nicole Rubi, the woman behind LPM Restaurant, and Michelin-lauded chef Pierre Gagnaire. Originating in Cannes, France, the space has indoor and outdoor seating and offers everything from pizza to focaccia tartines and pasta to seafood dishes.

Pizza with tomatoes and oregano served at Paradiso at Yas Bay Waterfront. Khushnum Bhandari / The National

We ordered the rigatoni with fresh truffle (Dh130), the pizza with tomatoes and oregano (Dh70) and a chicken dish with a side of rice pilaf (Dh110). While the food is tasty, the portion sizes are a bit smaller than I expected for the price. We also tried the frosted lemon paradiso (Dh60) – a lemon sorbet and cream in a half-frozen lemon served in a bowl of ice. It was served with three sugar sticks, making it a mix of sweet and sour.

For those who prefer something more relaxed, there’s Siddharta Lounge by Buddha-Bar, which has outlets around the world including in Paris, Mykonos, Monte Carlo and Dubai. It offers stunning views of the surrounding area and also gives a front-row seat to the daily fireworks that will be ongoing until December 8.

But it isn’t only dining that Yas Bay has to offer. Popular Ibiza hot spot Cafe del Mar has also opened. The laid-back beach club has outposts in Australia, Thailand, Brazil and Azerbaijan to name only a few of its locations.

It brings with it an infinity pool that overlooks the water and cabanas that come with their own Jacuzzi. On the menu are Mediterranean-inspired dishes and Middle Eastern favourites. There’s also a DJ, which only makes sense as the beach club is famed for its legendary DJ sets.

While there’s still more to come, including The Central, a family entertainment complex, and Emmy Squared, an American restaurant known for its Detroit-style pizzas and handcrafted sandwiches, there’s plenty to be impressed with so far.

Updated: December 2nd 2021, 1:31 PM