Qasr Al Hosn is the major draw to this tiny neighbourhood, but its street-food eats, sprawling park and quiet stretch of beach will also ensure you spend a good few hours here.
From breakfast to dinner: where to eat in Al Hosn
Start the morning with a chilled acai bowl and speciality coffee at Volta Speciality Coffee. The space is tiny, with seating enough for two. Have a quick bite, a seriously good coffee made with Guatamalan, Colombian or Brazilian beans, and enjoy a side of conversation with the passionate and knowledgeable barista. For a proper, cosy dine-in experience there’s Crunch and Munch, with its cute little conservatoryesque nook that looks out to greenery beyond. It serves up a hearty hot breakfast, plus crepes galore. It also makes a mean, indulgent milkshake – unicorn strawberry or pistachio chocolate, anyone? For lunch, splurge at Burgerchi or Ketchup & Mustard. The former serves neatly stacked patties on bright red buns, while at the latter you’ll get a chargrilled gooey mess of meat, cheese and burger sauce. It also does hotdogs – all are utterly delicious. For lighter, more dainty bites there’s Sushi Story, which offers a decent selection of maki rolls and more. Meanwhile, Rosenheim Cafe is great for Lebanese mezze and grills. And it serves shisha, too. The sweet-toothed can end the meal at Camel Cookies, which serves little cookie cups of joy filled with Nutella, pistachio cream and more.
The map of all our top picks:
The best things to do in Al Hosn
Qasr Al Hosn is what this neighbourhood is all about. Its wide-open geometric, landscaped entrance in itself is a great place to experience, as a pretty little river runs through it. The venue’s courtyard often plays host to live performances at the weekend, and any number of art exhibitions can be seen inside. It’s a storied building steeped in history – it is the ancestral home of Abu Dhabi’s ruling family and it simply cannot be missed on any visit to the capital, let alone the area. Two other excellent neighbourhood hang-outs are the quiet Abu Dhabi Beach that runs along it and Family Park , a huge green expanse complete with water features, barbecue stations, a basketball court and medley of cafes. Just chill out in the park, relax and take it all in.
Where to shop
The prevailing theme for grocery shopping here is the best things come in small supermarkets. Check out Choithrams, which has all your everyday needs covered and a few British brands to boot, plus there’s a Lulu Express for when the giant version over at World Trade Centre doesn’t appeal.
Where to stay
Right near the border with Al Khalidiya is Downtown Sheraton Khalidiya Hotel. Being just a stone’s throw from the beach, with rooms costing about Dh328, it’s a great option for a weekend retreat.
Plus… juice, tea and lassi: Tuck into paratha with a steaming hot cup at Tea Talk or relax in the outdoor seating area at Karak Express with a small sweet cup of its namesake drink. While away a few hours with a saffron or red mint tea at Homemade Restaurant. For something sweeter and cool, Lassi Shop has just opened its doors.