Abu Dhabi's Khalifa City area guide: where to eat, sleep and shop

Khalifa City should not be overlooked

Marriott Al Forsan is a hotel in Khalifa City. Courtesy Marriott
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A sprawling district on the mainland, just beyond Sheikh Zayed, Al Maqta and Mussaffah bridges, Khalifa City has numerous gems worth seeking out. If it takes persuasion for you to leave Abu Dhabi island, these hot spots offer plenty.

Where to eat

Bu Tafish in Khalifa City A Market offers the day’s catch freshly prepared with some of the tastiest spices. For hearty bar bites or succulent steaks, there’s the famed Irish pub McGettigan’s at Al Raha Beach Hotel and steakhouse The Grill at Marriott Al Forsan. Healthier options, including a wide array of inventive salads, are served at Circle Cafe, in Al Raha Gardens, and Olio’s in Etihad Plaza. Wash it all down with a strong, hot cup of Joe at Mugg & Bean, also in Etihad Plaza. For something a little alternative, there’s 1868 Restaurant Cafe and Gallery. Here, you’ll get to eat surrounded by artworks made by the local community. It also runs art summer camps for children.

Here's our map of top spots in Khalifa City:

What activities to do

For an adrenalin rush, head to Al Forsan International Sports Resort, where you can try your hand at shooting, paintballing, horse riding, go-karting and even watersports, including wakeboarding. Or improve your swing at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. If all you want to do is kick back and relax, Saray Spa at Marriott Al Forsan and Body & Soul Spa at Al Raha Beach Hotel offer top-of-the-range massages, body scrubs and facials. There’s also a Tips and Toes in the area if you’re a bit more budget-conscious.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 19:  Lee Westwood of England poses with the trophy after the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship at Abu Dhabi Golf Club on January 19, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Where to shop

Khalifa City A Market is the place to go for groceries. It’s home to the sprawling International Hypermarket, which stocks all the foodstuffs you’ll need – and those you probably won’t, but that are nice to have all the same. You’ll stumble upon electronics stores here, selling all manner of gadgets and gizmos, and for the sweet-toothed or those looking for an extra-special gift, there’s Labute chocolate and flowers.

Away from this handy one-stop shop, though, there’s Souq Planet, over at Etihad Plaza. Head here for speciality groceries and products you’ll be hard-pressed to find at other supermarkets in the city. It stocks a wide range of vegan foods – think Beyond Burgers and Sausages, and blocks and slices of tasty dairy-free cheese. It also has a cooked meats section and preprepared meals and salads.

ABU DHABI , UNITED ARAB EMIRATES ,  November 22 , 2018 :- Ramos Caswang , worker at the Souq Planet arranging different varieties of Irish fish at the Souq Planet in Etihad Plaza in Abu Dhabi. ( Pawan Singh / The National )  For News.

A little beyond the borough’s boundaries, in Al Zeina, you’ll find Waitrose, for a selection of British foods, fresh fruit and vegetables. For multiplex shopping there’s Al Raha Mall. It has a LuLu Hypermarket, Borders and Party Centre, as well as Ascot and Chapels for men’s tailoring, and Brands4u clothes and perfumes. And there’s an Oscar Cinema, too, showing the latest blockbusters.

What hotels to visit

There are two five-star hotels to choose from in the area. Marriott Al Forsan offers all-out luxury, with its huge outdoor pool, six bars and restaurants, a variety of rooms and suites, Saray Spa and adjoining Al Forsan International Sports Resort. If a relaxed stay featuring a private beach is on the cards, there’s Al Raha Beach Hotel, which offers 278 rooms, suites and private villas, plus Body & Soul Spa and eight restaurants.


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