Medi Terra: new family-friendly restaurant brings Mediterranean vibes to Abu Dhabi

The restaurant is the brainchild of Emirati entrepreneur Saeed Alshamisi

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Abu Dhabi residents have a new place to enjoy authentic pizzas and pastas with water views.

Family-friendly restaurant Medi Terra opened to the public at the end of April, with cosy indoor seating and an al fresco terrace, while its location at Marsa Al Bateen offers uninterrupted views of the Marina.

The menu is a tribute to fresh flavours found in countries along the Mediterranean: think calamari with lemon aioli, basil arancini with cheddar and mozzarella, fresh salads, seafood linguini, beef tenderloin, braised chicken alfredo and a selection of fresh pizzas, pastas and sliders.

The restaurant's founder, Emirati entrepreneur Saeed Alshamisi, says the venture was born from his desire to bring simple yet high-quality dishes to Abu Dhabi residents.

May 6, 2021. A look at new waterfront restaurant Medi Terra in Abu Dhabi. Victor Besa / The National.
Reporter: Janice Rodriques for Lifestyle

His inspiration for the restaurant came from his travels. A few years ago, while visiting New York, he sampled the city's pizzas and was floored by the difference to those served by fast-food franchises.

"I have a sensitive stomach and if the quality of the food is not good – if the ingredients aren't up to the mark or it's very oily or covered in spices – I can tell right away," he tells The National. 

"So, I wanted to start a restaurant that used only the highest quality ingredients, let the natural flavours speak for themselves – and I knew people would come.”

Alshamisi describes the menu as a mixed bouquet, featuring popular dishes across cuisines. It’s a tribute to some of his own personal favourite foods, from the chicken wings he loved while in university in the US to pastas from Italy.

The restaurant, started as a family business, was scheduled to open in 2020, but was delayed, owing to the pandemic. Alshamisi says the many challenges that have come up during the launch only made the opening of the restaurant sweeter.

“We’re a family-run restaurant designed with families in mind,” he says. “The Abu Dhabi community is very tight-knit and we want to create that community space where they can come in for a big meal or a cup of coffee. I'm usually always at the restaurant, but I’ve told my staff that when a customer steps into the restaurant he is king – he should be treated better than I am.”

And the approach appears to be working.

“Reaction so far has been good,” he says. “We’re having a lot of repeat customers. That’s the best part. Once people dine here, they want to keep coming back.”