Twelve years after it first opened to the public, Yas Island is undergoing a bit of a transformation.
Over the past year, the island has welcomed an 18-000-capacity-indoor-entertainment venue, debuted the world's first Warner Bros hotel and launched Yas Bay Waterfront — the capital's newest leisure and entertainment hub complete with an Ibiza-style beach club.
And it seems the area is also now making a name for itself as the go-to place for pet owners in the city, with several outlets on Yas Island welcoming guests that want to dine with their four-legged friends in tow.
If you’re in the capital and want to head out with your dog, here’s where you’ll be welcome on Yas Island.
For tasty tapas and delicious stone-baked pizzas served with a side of Yas Marina views, the popular casual dining spot Diablito has you covered. With a Spanish-style menu, regular drinks deals and a welcoming atmosphere, it’s also open for those who want to dine with their dogs in tow. Four-legged diners are welcome to join on the downstairs terrace, where you'll also get great superyacht views. The terrace is small, so it makes sense to pre-book if you're bringing your furry friend along.
Yas Marina, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi; www.instagram.com/diablito_yasmarina
Emmy Squared Pizza
The New York restaurant chain, known for its Detroit-style pizza, has found its first UAE home at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Bay Waterfront. Drawing inspiration from the original Brooklyn outpost, the restaurant serves square-shaped pizzas with crisp bases, fluffy focaccia dough and caramelised cheesy crusts. With indoor and outdoor seating and a location offering views of the waterfront, this new spot is also pet friendly — with dogs welcome to join on the terrace.
Yas Bay Waterfront, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi; www.instagram.com/emmysquaredpizzauae
Abu Dhabi’s outpost of The Lighthouse restaurant serves up Mediterranean-inspired classics, great coffee and a yummy selection of pastries. It also has daily drinks deals and super-friendly staff who welcome human and doggy guests with a smile. You’ll only be able to sit outside if you bring Fido along, but huge umbrellas mean that it should be easy enough to find a spot in the shade of this Yas Bay eatery.
Yas Bay, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi; www.instagram.com/thelighthouse_ae
Following its success in Dubai Design District, Japanese street-food concept Akiba Dori has recently opened at Yas Bay. The only Tokyo-style Neapolitan pizzeria in the UAE, the eatery takes its name and decor inspiration from the neon-filled district of Akihabara in the capital of Japan. Inside, it’s all neon lights and brightly-coloured furniture, but outside on the terrace things are a little more chill, so much so that you can bring your dog along when dining here. Staff will happily fill up a water bowl for your pooch, so you can both enjoy a refreshment accompanied by waterside sunset views.
Yas Bay, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi; www.instagram.com/akibadori
Stars N Bars
While it’s not quite 100 per cent dog-friendly, Stars N Bars at Yas Marina hosts weekly seasonal Sunday brunches where pups are welcome. The long-running American-themed eatery welcomes dogs and humans from noon until 4pm, every Sunday during winter, with a Dh99 menu that includes one drink and items such as a full English breakfast, French toast and shakshuka. Even better, dogs get a big bowl of water and treats to keep them occupied while you eat. The last event this season took place at the end of March, but this is one to keep on your radar when the temperatures cool down again.
Yas Marina, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi; www.starsnbars.ae
Yas Bay Waterfront
The recently opened Yas Bay Waterfront is one of the hottest places to go to in the capital right now, and it’s also incredibly dog-friendly.
With beautiful waterfront views, wide open palm-lined pathways and several very cool sculptures dotted along the perimeter, it’s a great place to go for a sunset walk. Dogs are welcome, as long as they are kept on-lead at all times. There are even handy bins with waste bags attached to them to make it easier to clean up after your dog.
W Abu Dhabi — Yas Island
Yas Island is also where you'll find the first luxury hotel in the capital that allows guests to book a room with their dog.
The W Abu Dhabi — Yas Island welcomes pets, including dogs, cats and goldfish, that weigh up to a maximum of 18 kilograms, with the animals allowed inside the hotel's Living Room (lobby area) and suites.
Doggy guests will get their own bed, bowls for food and water, and a complimentary snack. There's also a pet-friendly menu filled with tasty meals, snacks and toys that can be ordered from room service.
And while it’s great that the hotel welcomes pets, keep in mind that they’re not allowed at the pool or in any of the hotel restaurants or bars, but with many dog-friendly eateries nearby, you can simply head out of the hotel and find somewhere to dine at Yas Marina or Yas Bay Waterfront.
Yas Island, Abu Dhabi; www.marriott.com