It’s already that time of the year when stockings are beginning to be hung, trees are being set up … and festive dining offers are coming in thick and fast. With Christmas falling on a Friday this year, a number of restaurants in the capital have launched brunches to celebrate the spirit of the season.
Here’s a look at some deals you can now book up now.
Those looking for something (vaguely) lighter this holiday season can head over to Alba Terrace, which will be serving a festive limitless menu for two hours between noon and 7pm from December 24 to 26. On the Mediterranean menu will be festive dishes such as chestnut soup, charcoal lamb leg, spatchcock baby chicken and a Christmas classic – panettone with vanilla and cinnamon cream.
Thursday to Saturday, December 24 to 26; two hours between noon and 7pm; Dh95 per person for food, Dh198 per person including bubbles; The Abu Dhabi Edition; 02 208 0000; albaterrace.com
Butcher & Still
The rustic Chicago steakhouse is celebrating the season with sizzling meats and other treats. Expect dishes including locally sourced oysters, prawn cocktail and beef tartare, alongside classic steaks and an indulgent eggs benedict, all set within plush surroundings designed to transport guests back to the 1920s.
Friday, December 25; 1pm to 4pm; prices start at Dh380 per person; 02 333 2222; fourseasons.com
Guests can enjoy a market-inspired brunch on Christmas Day, with buffet favourites and live cooking stations. The menu includes fresh seafood, sushi, roasted meats and other international options. The best part, however, is executive chef Christian Buenrostro’s trolley selection, which brings a smorgasbord of bites – from striploin to beetroot risotto – to the table. The festive meal also promises to include a visit from Santa Claus for the little ones.
Friday, December 25; 12.30pm to 4pm; prices start at Dh340 per person; 02 333 2444; fourseasons.com
The Peruvian restaurant has unveiled a festive set menu for those looking to add a Latin American twist to their traditional Christmas feast. On the menu is the Coya platter, with a selection of ceviche, maki rolls and tiraditos, and dishes such as the Chuleton T-Bone (a Wagyu T-bone with Peruvian spice rub and red chimichurri) and Pollo Espatchock a la Parrilla (chicken with aji mirasol and oregano). Dessert is the regalo de festiva, a treat made of Andoa chocolate, especially for the season. Shaped like a gift box and enclosing a sweet treat, it’s the perfect way to wrap up a festive meal.
Monday to Wednesday, December 14 to 30; available for lunch or dinner; Dh460 per person for two people and more; The Galleria Al Maryah Island; 02 306 7000; coyarestaurant.com/abu-dhabi
The contemporary restaurant is offering live cooking stations and a buffet packed with festive favourites for Christmas Day. There will be a salad bar, a cheese station, a live pasta station, hot and cold mezze, and mains including beef medallions with green peppercorn sauce and grilled salmon with saffron sauce. There will also be a carving station with roast turkey with a sage and onion stuffing, and Angus beef rump to pack in the nostalgia. Dessert includes favourites such as panettone, marzipan stollen and a yule log cake. Meanwhile, little ones can get busy at the outdoor Burgatory children's cafe where more festive treats await.
Friday, December 25; 1pm to 4pm; Dh199 per person; Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana; (0)2 657 0000; firstname.lastname@example.org
The chic venue promises a festive spirit at its weekly Friday brunch, complete with interactive stations and a sharing table concept.
Friday, December 25; 12.30 to 4pm; Dh250 with soft drinks; Le Royal Meridien Abu Dhabi, Khalifa Street Al Markaziyah Area; marketkitchenabudhabi.com
The British steakhouse has packed many of its signature dishes into one grand Christmas Day brunch. Guests can start with the sourdough with Marmite butter and an array of shared starters, and then choose their roasted main course served with all the trimmings, followed by desserts served to share and a cheese selection.
Friday, December 25; Any three hours between noon and 5pm; Dh295 with soft drinks; Dh495 with house beverages; The Abu Dhabi Edition; 02 208 0000; editionhotels.com/abu-dhabi
PJ O’ Reilly’s
The relaxed Irish venue, which offers both indoor and outdoor seating, has three brunches to pack in the cheer this festive season. On Friday, December 18, guests are encouraged to don their best holiday sweater at the Hogfest Christmas Ugly Sweater brunch to get in the holiday spirit. The venue will also host a Christmas Eve evening barbecue for those who want to count down to Christmas at the venue, and a Hogfest Christmas brunch, with live entertainment and much-loved dishes on the day.
Multiple dates and timings; prices start at Dh199 with house beverages; Le Royal Meridien Abu Dhabi; 02 695 0515
The fine-dining Indian restaurant located at Venetian Village has launched a four-course festive menu with traditional Indian dishes that have been given a contemporary take. Tuck into ambarsari kulcha with smoked salmon and cream cheese, or spinach and mushroom, followed by soup options such as potato and leek with popcorn chicken or roasted tomato and basil soup with stuffed mathri. For mains, choose between dishes including roast cauliflower mussallam or corn-fed chicken. Desserts include a chocolate tart with saffron cream or apple halwa pie with cinnamon cream.
Sunday to Thursday, December 20 to 31; Available for lunch and dinner; Dh425 with soft drinks and Dh550 with house beverages; The Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi; 02 449 9839; venetianvillage.ae/punjab-grill
The restaurant in Shangri-La Hotel and Traders Hotel Abu Dhabi is celebrating the season with a buffet and live entertainment. On offer are dishes from a range of cuisines – from Asian favourites such as roasted Peking duck and vegetable dumplings to Arabic tajin and Indian murgh tikka biryani. There will also be traditional roasts, from turkey to beef Wellington.
Friday, December 25; 1pm to 4pm; Dh279 for soft drinks; Dh349 with house beverages; children aged 6-11 get a 50 per cent discount and children below 6 eat for free; Qaryat Al Beri - Abu Dhabi; 02 509 8555; email@example.com
The lively venue at Zayed Sports City has two brunches taking place on Christmas Day. Indulge in a three-course menu from 12pm to 3pm or opt for a late meal from 5pm to 8pm. Either way, you’ll be able to sample dishes such as Irish stew, Irish spiced beef, maple-roasted heritage beetroot with goat cheese salad and pastrami cured salmon for starters. Mains include herb-roasted turkey breast, classic Irish roast beef and creamy truffle mushroom herb risotto. For dessert, there will be an Irish mince pie, the New York Blueberry cheesecake, a Bramley and cinnamon apple crumble and a selection of cheeses.
Friday, December 25; noon to 3pm or 5pm to 8pm; Dh199 with soft drinks, Dh299 for the house package; Dh89 for children (5-14), children under 5 eat for free; Zayed Sports City; 02 447 1066; sportsmanszsc.com
Other festive offerings
Try a Christmas-themed murder mystery brunch
Bespoke events company The Detail Events has teamed up with Victor’s Bar and Restaurant, Millennium Capital Gate Hotel, to host a 'murder mystery at the office' Christmas party. A detective will lead guests through the crime scene, with six suspects shown on videos that will be played throughout the afternoon. All the evidence and clues required will be handed to guests along the way. Meanwhile, the three-course Christmas dinner will include favourites such as roast turkey, roast potatoes, Christmas pudding and more.
Join Santa Claus for a festive breakfast at Market Kitchen
Fancy starting Christmas morning by meeting Santa? Le Royal Meriden Hotel Abu Dhabi, in collaboration with The Details Events, is hosting a Breakfast with Santa event for children. The little ones can spend the morning with St Nicholas, who will be singing Christmas songs and reading stories on stage. There will also be festive activity packs to keep children entertained and breakfast treats to be enjoyed, from chocolate bircher muesli and pancakes to the classic English toad in the hole.
Saturday, December 5, 12 and 19; 9am to 11am; Dh125 for those 4 and older, free for those under the age of 4; 800 101 101; firstname.lastname@example.org
Enjoy afternoon tea with a twist
Shangri La Hotel Abu Dhabi’s Lobby Lounge is setting the festive mood with a special North Pole afternoon tea. On offer is an assortment of Instagram-worthy goodies such as a caramelised pear and cheese eclair, gingerbread polar bear cookies and classic scones.
Tuesday to Monday; December 1 to 7; Dh110 with premium tea and coffee, Dh195 with bubbly; Shangri-La Hotel and Traders Hotel Abu Dhabi; 025098513; email@example.com
Have a Christmas barbecue at Afya Beach Lounge
Those wanting to keep things casual can celebrate the season at the Afya Beach Lounge, which is hosting evening barbecues on Thursday and Friday, December 24 and 25. Tuck into a range of grilled meats while enjoying the cooler weather and grand views of the canal.
Thursday and Friday, December 24 and 25; 6.30 to 11.30pm; Dh141 for food only, Dh186 with soft beverages, Dh236 with house beverages; Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri; 02 510 8888
A Nutcracker-themed afternoon tea
Rosewood Abu Dhabi’s Majlis Lobby Lounge will be holding a festive afternoon tea inspired by beloved Christmas tales. There will be sweet and savoury dishes such as Christmas macaroons and lobster avocado bagels, to be enjoyed alongside tea and coffee, and children can spend their time with activities including gingerbread-house decorating.
Daily, 3pm to 6pm; until January 15; prices start at Dh250; Rosewood Abu Dhabi, Al Maryah Island, 02 813 5550; rosewoodhotels.com/en/abu-dhabi