Al Qana: the ultimate guide to Abu Dhabi's waterfront destination

The venue is home to the largest aquarium in the Middle East and a cinema that can accommodate up to 9,000 film lovers

The view from the Bridge lifestyle hub at Al Qana in Abu Dhabi. Vidhyaa Chandrmohan / The National
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Cinemacity is the newest offering to open at Al Qana, the dining and entertainment hub in Abu Dhabi. Other attractions already unveiled include The National Aquarium, The Bridge Lifestyle Hub and Al Qana Marina, with more still to come, such as Pixoul Gaming.

The 2.4-kilometre waterfront destination also houses a number of exciting restaurants and cafes, many of which can only be found at Al Qana. So for those looking for a bite to eat or a place to go for a leisurely stroll, here's your guide to the entertainment spot.

Cinemacity

Cinemacity is now home to one of the largest cinema screens in the capital, with a 26-metre-wide screen. Its 15 theatres cater to a number of cinema experiences such as VIP, 3DMax, arthouse and a children's theatre. The three VIP theatres offer fully reclining seats with a dine-in option including an on-demand waiter service.

In all, Cinemacity can accommodate up to 9,000 moviegoers and shows regional, Hollywood and Bollywood films. The space also has three culinary concepts: Graffiti Lounge, Backlot Cafe and Azul Lounge.

Pixoul Gaming

Pixoul Gaming will open its doors on November 4. The huge esports and virtual reality gaming complex aims to attract gamers to the capital by offering something for everyone.

There's a virtual reality gaming zone that has 10 virtual and augmented reality games, ranging from first-person shooters to roller coasters, paragliding and escape rooms. There's also an esports bar that will show global gaming events while visitors can enjoy watching with food and drinks. The space will have big screens, beanbags and a choice of consoles to play.

Pixoul Gaming will also have an area with high-spec equipment to make streaming easier.

The National Aquarium

The aquatic attraction was the first project to open its doors at Al Qana. The aquarium, which opened in November, is spread across 10 zones, and is home to 46,000 creatures and 300 species.

It is the biggest aquarium in the Middle East and its flora and fauna are cared for by a team of 80 marine experts. There are also animal encounter experiences with puffins and freshwater rays, as well as a glass bridge walk experience and Bu Tinah Dhow tour in a glass-bottom boat.

The Bridge

The 8,000-square-metre wellness space sits across four floors with a gym, spa, restaurant, juice bar, nutrition corner, shop, indoor running track and rooftop garden.

More than simply a fitness destination, The Bridge aims to fuse all aspects of wellness through a holistic approach, by connecting people through seven specialised offerings: Move, Pause, Taste, Choose, Seek, Expand and Learn.

Al Qana Marina

Enjoy views of the Abu Dhabi skyline from the sparkling Al Qana Marina. Watersport enthusiasts and yacht owners can enjoy the picturesque spot, which can berth up to 106 vessels. However, it isn’t only for boating fans, as there are also plenty of restaurants, cafes and lounges around the marina.

Grandiose Supermarket

Grandiose Supermarket has opened a food hall in Abu Dhabi. Photo: Al Qana

Spanning more than 1,264 square metres, Grandiose Supermarket is a community-minded gourmet-dining concept complete with a food hall, where there are live cooking stations that include fresh pizzas, pasta, sandwiches and shawarmas.

Visitors can expect a culinary hub, with everything from a cafe and bakery, to a deli and cheese section.

Adrenark Adventure

The family-friendly activity space will have a large indoor park as well as a number of activities for children, such as foam pits, parkour track, ziplines, wall-running and a dodgeball court.

The focus of the space is interaction and immersion, as well as providing a safe environment for children and adults to exercise in and test their skills.

Cafes and kiosks

There are a number of places to stop for a quick bite to eat. Cafes open at Al Qana include La Ballena, art cafes Tazal and Notorious, Space Cafe, Cartel Coffee Roasters, known for its speciality coffee, and Tjaarz, a multi-concept space.

Still to open are Joud Cafe, Puffs Coffee Bar, Off Record Coffee, Blue Waves Cafe, The Cave Cafe and Lavazza, among others.

Kiosks on site include Turkish restaurant Mado, Gelato Divino, Baklawaa, AD Cafe and Nomad Cafe, which has a nice spot near the water. Phantom Karak, ChocoFruits and Frites for potato lovers are others worth a visit for bite-size treats. Meanwhile, Fifty Fifty is for those who enjoy Emirati food, sweets and speciality coffee.

Restaurants

If you're looking for a sit-down dining spot, Al Qana offers a variety of restaurants that cater to all tastes. Otoro offers modern Japanese, while Taste Restaurant & Anti-Bar serves dishes whipped up with organic ingredients. There's also the Mediterranean fine-dining concept Oii.

Other restaurants still to open include traditional bakery Simitci Dunyasi, seafood favourite Pinky Fish and Grand Beirut, which offers traditional Lebanese fare.

Shops

Shops at Al Qana include Maison Mallow Beauty Lounge, a Medicina pharmacy and artisan chocolate shop Fonce. There's also the Concept Store, a lifestyle-driven store that sells eco-friendly, sustainable and toxin-free products for those who want to live a holistic lifestyle.

Other activities

Enjoy an abra ride around the Grand Canal for Dh25 per person. The trip lasts 20 minutes. No booking is required, with rides departing from pontoon H and E with only card payments accepted. Rides run daily from 5pm to 1am.

There will also be more watersport activities, including kayaking, standup paddling and paddle-boating coming soon.

A version of this story was first published on April 4, 2022

Updated: October 26, 2022, 5:01 AM
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