It's going to be a busy weekend when the 2023 Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix hits the Yas Marina Circuit next Thursday.
Aside from the thrilling races (and concerts), the sporting event has become a stage for culinary showcase – veering away from the standard festival fare of burgers and pizzas to include more high-end dishes one would expect to find in Michelin-rated venues.
The various lounges and viewing decks around the racetrack feature pop-ups by some of the UAE's best restaurants, access to which is usually tied to specific areas and ticket categories. For example, The Deck At Two houses three venues: Nobu, Estiatorio Milos and Michelin-starred Hakkasan.
Italian hotspot Ce La Vi, which also had a pop-up last year, is returning to the rooftop Luna Lounge within the circuit and, aside from its usual Insta-friendly interior, will host a live performance by masked maestro DJ Claptone. Different table packages are available to book, ranging from Dh4,000 to Dh12,000.
Other restaurants inside the circuit include Opa, located at The Deck At Nine; Japanese restaurant Gohan, which is available for Shams Suite ticket holders; The Maine at The Turns At West; and Roka at the West Grandstand.
While these pop-ups are exclusive to those who have tickets to the Grand Prix, neighbouring venues are also revving their engines to host viewing parties, brunches and dinners. Here are some to check out.
Expect a Mexican feast with live performances at this Park Inn by Radisson Blu restaurant, with a Friday evening brunch and Saturday day brunch planned for F1 weekend. Dishes include classic arroz a la tumbada (rice and seafood), plus barbecued lamb chops with chimichurri and yellowtail hamachi ceviche.
Friday and Saturday, 7pm-11pm and 12.30pm-4.30pm; Dh325 per person; Park Inn by Radisson Blu Yas Island; 055 594 2695
Four trackside brunches lie in store at Garage, located in W Abu Dhabi, which has direct views of the racetrack. Bubbles and cocktails aside, there is a roaming oyster trolley, caviar and dessert tables, as well as a carving station and sushi bar.
All guests will also get access to the Yasalam after-race concert on the evening they visit.
Friday to Sunday; packages from Dh980 per person; W Abu Dhabi; 02 565 0000
Michelin-lauded Italian chef Nicola Fossaceca is cooking up seafood-focused creations for the race weekend, served as part of a limited-time a la carte menu. Dishes include ricotta ravioli in shellfish broth and red mullet in scapece espresso. Live music in the form of a saxophonist and DJ is also available daily.
Thursday to Sunday; 12.30pm-3am; Radisson Blu Yas Island; 02 656 2000
A newcomer to Abu Dhabi's burgeoning culinary scene, the Greek eatery is joining in the Grand Prix festivities with weekend brunches. On the menu are a selection of meze such as tzatziki and harissa labneh; mains such as grilled octopus, chicken souvlaki and Greek potatoes; and desserts such as baklava ice cream and loukoumades.
Friday to Sunday; from Dh599 per person; Yas Marina; 056 603 7500
The only Dutch fan zone across Yas Island is serving a limited-time menu, with gourmet dishes such as aged Wagyu burgers with truffle, foie gras and gold, as well as a 265-day-aged premium meat selection. There is live entertainment, as well as daily race coverage.
Thursday to Sunday, 12.30pm-3am; Radisson Blu Hotel; 02 656 2000
Indian food lovers can head to Rangoli, which will serve authentic South Asian curries and traditional street food. There's a selection of kebabs, such as smoked lamb chops, murgh malai kebab and fish hariyali tikka. Popular butter chicken and lamb rogan josh are also on the menu, as well as different biryanis.
Thursday to Sunday, 5.30pm-1am; Yas Island Rotana; 02 656 4000
The newly opened Japanese bar in Yas Marina, next to Ela Ela and Penelope's, is serving a tasting menu during race weekend. Diners can also order a la carte with a minimum spend. Dishes include hot and cold starters such as beef tataki, Nashville karaage, spicy udon carbonara and miso black cod.
Friday to Sunday, 7.30pm-1am; Dh450 for the tasting menu, minimum spend of Dh600 for a la carte; Yas Marina; 056 603 7600
Paradiso Abu Dhabi
The Yas Bay spot has a number of discounts for F1 ticket holders.
Visitors can avail a two-for-one offer on the food menu, as well as a 20 per cent discount on selected drinks at the lounge area. There is also a set menu on offer (from Dh100 per person), which includes free-flowing drinks and dishes such as bruschetta, margherita pizza and mango pavlova.
Wednesday to Monday; noon-11pm on Saturday to Thursday, noon-1am on Friday-Saturday; Pier 71, Yas Bay; 050 437 2869