And what’s to come…
It’s no secret that Abu Dhabi loves leisure megaprojects. It’s a city committed to finding new ways to give engineers and architects fractal fever dreams. But this drive for innovation, for the abstract and the new, is part of what makes Abu Dhabi so unique.
One of the capital’s newest and now partially open mega projects is Al Qana – a waterfront destination in Khor Al Maqta’a offering a diverse mix of leisure, hospitality and entertainment. This is our guide to what’s open at Al Qana right now and what’s coming soon.
Chief Akmal has landed in the capital. A modern Japanese dining experience, Otoro’s menu (the name comes from a prized cut of tuna) features “original sushi”, Japanese wagyu steaks and a collection of dishes to share. This is the latest restaurant from legendary local chef Akmal Anuar, who you may know from Dubai’s culinary sensations 3 Fils (named number one in the recent MENA 50 Best Restaurants list), Goldfish and Woodfire. Expect amazing. @otoro.ad
Now open and serving up flavors cooked under the Tuscan sun, Oii is a breath of fresh European culinary air. Describing the restaurant’s cuisine, Ayesha Al Mansoori, Founder and CEO of Oii, said: “Al Qana’s unique blend of modernity and tradition makes it the perfect fit to present our concept of fine Mediterranean cuisine which adds contemporary twist on traditional recipes handed down. for generations”. @oiiabudhabi
Then, the high-end supermarket Grandiose opened its elegant set of automatic doors on March 31, 2022 and it is the first store in the brand’s entire network to offer the intriguing and innovative functionality of a Supermarket Food Hall. In addition to the superb water panoramas, you will find inside a pizzeria; live cooking stations; a bakery; and a product gallery curated by a team of specialized gastronomic experts.
The National Aquarium
Discover aquatic life in what is currently the largest aquarium in the Middle East – there are 22,000 local and international sea creatures, a collection of animals above sea level, 10 exploration zones, opportunities for interaction and a chance to go to BTS, with glass bottom boats, tank dives and exclusive educational tours.
Abu Dhabi National Aquarium, Al Qana, Al Maqta, Abu Dhabi, from Dhs105. Such. : (0)50 123 4455. thenationalaquarium.ae
The Bridge is a holistic health and lifestyle destination, located right in the heart of Al Qana. Their wellness manifesto is divided into separate areas under headings such as “Move”, “Pause”, “Expand”, “Taste” and “Learn”. The headlines are that the facility includes a gym with 250 exercise workstations; therapy rooms with Hydro-Oxygen Airpods, Cryo treatment, infrared saunas and its own spa; there’s a healthy restaurant, cold-pressed juice bar, and rooftop garden lounge; they offer yoga, meditation, and breathing workshops; The Bridge will also host learning experiences with the aim of inspiring and providing a community hub to enjoy cultural activities through art, music, film and books. thebridgehub.com
The amazing Riviera style Al Qana Marina is a vibrant new waterfront destination with berths for 106 boats, as well as new restaurants, cafes and lounges. For those lucky enough to own a boat, Al Qana Marina accommodates vessels up to 80 feet in length and offers a range of premium services for yacht owners including cleaning, assisted berthing , concierge and ship preparation. There are both a day pass and annual subscriptions, the latter of which come with benefits including subscription offers to Al Qana’s leisure offerings: the National Aquarium and the Bridge Lifestyle Hub. alqana.ae
Located at The Bridge, Taste is one of the first F&B projects to open in Al Qana. It’s a gorgeous rooftop terrace with water views for discerning sistas and mistas, as well as a menu featuring 100% organic food and artfully selected mocktails. thebridgehub.com
A household name on the capital’s coffee connoisseur circuit, these local master roasters have completely changed things up for this new outlet. The brand’s founder, Nasser AlMaskari, said: “As Abu Dhabi’s first specialty coffee roaster, we are delighted to open our new flagship store in Al Qana, a new prestigious culinary destination in the capital.
“Our new concept reflects Al Qana’s aspiration to create social entertainment and human connection through uplifting experiences as Abu Dhabi’s go-to urban dining destination. We would like to thank Al Qana for their commitment to supporting the local entrepreneurs and are excited to present an unparalleled coffee experience in the UAE. @cartelcoffeeroasters
The boat cruise
What better way to explore Al Qana’s ode to Abu Dhabi’s maritime history than with a scenic boat tour? These pleasure cruises are now available between 2 p.m. and 10 p.m.
A name you probably won’t forget, Samer Mashal is the founder of a brand new cafe concept, making its debut at Al Qana: “We are very excited to start our journey in Abu Dhabi. We believe Al Qana’s vision, dynamic offerings and waterfront location make it the perfect place to showcase our dramatic, wild and unconventional brand to the world.
The Notorious Cafe was conceived as a retro-style brand inspired by 1960s New York City. It was essential for us to create a unique and unforgettable experience for our customers, to inspire them with our coffee brewers and roasters live, all of which come direct from farmers and roasted home and retail offerings.”
There are a number of static outdoor caffeine stations and food trucks dotted around the Al Qana complex. You can, for example, enjoy traditional Emirati snacks served at Fifty Fifty; or head to Fries for a gourmet portion of everyone’s favorite fried potato dish; Nomad offers deliciously delicate pastries; and Mado Dondurma has your Turkish dessert cravings covered.
Still to come
One of the main family entertainment attractions will undoubtedly be the 15-screen Cinemacity. A massive cinema complex featuring Abu Dhabi’s largest cinema screen, standing 26 meters tall, and will host the latest blockbuster screenings, with potential red carpet moments on the horizon. Recent updates also include the news that a bustling outdoor amphitheater will also be positioned near the cinema. Designed to host special events such as festivals, concerts and exhibitions. Next to the amphitheater, the waterfront will be equipped with equipment to stage light and water shows.
Pixel will be the largest gaming hub of its kind in Abu Dhab and will include the latest evolution in location-based entertainment (LBE). In addition to futuristic VR technology, the site will also operate the region’s first certified eSports (meaning competitive gaming for all noobs) academy. The announcement of Pixel’s inclusion in Al Qana’s development follows a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Fouad Mashal, CEO of Al Barakah International Investment and developer of Al Qana, and Karim Ibrahim, CEO of Robocom VR. Speaking of current events, Fouad Mashal said: “In line with our vision to bring a world-class experience to Al Qana, our partnership with Robocom VR will position Pixel as one of the most sought-after VR and eSports destinations in the UAE.”
Adrenark is set to offer a wide range of fun and energizing facilities including a large indoor park. Adventure and entertainment activities will include wall-running; Dodgeball ; frolicking in a pit of foam; double trampoline jump; Parkour; Zipline; roller skating and more.
This will be the fourth outlet in the UAE of the famous Lebanese restaurant chain owned and operated by MBT restaurant management. The group had a busy year, with new concepts Beirut Sur Mer and Raclette open on the island of Saadiyat with great fanfare. The brand’s reputation for authenticity and consistency makes this announcement worthy of much excitement.
Yet another concept of MBT Restaurant Management, this seafood-focused restaurant promises a “unique, interactive tabletop experience.” We don’t know for sure, but from the whispers we’ve heard, it looks like this menu will have a Mediterranean flavor. Could we see servings of paellea without a plate, like a sort of European version of the Dampa serving ritual? We can’t wait to find out.
We don’t have much info on Wing It, but we guess it will sell chicken wings or there is a huge wasted opportunity there. We’re also told the menu will include kebabs, wraps and fries – so it looks like a neat little fast food stop for those looking for the quicker, less fussy bite.
Speaking about the second milestone for the brand, Managing Director, Abdulla Alhesbi, said, “Building on the success of opening our first store in Ras Al Khaimah two years ago, we are very proud to expand our local brand in the capital, in one of the most sought-after locations.
“Al Qana is the perfect place for our guests to find their perfect space where they can enjoy their time over a variety of food and drinks in a unique friendly atmosphere.”
Already serving beers and delighting coffee teams at three other Abu Dhabi locations, this brand is a well-known and appreciated asset. Speaking about Al Qana’s upcoming launch, Keshar Pacchai, Regional Director of the innovative chain, said, “Our partnership with Al Qana is part of our strategy to expand the Joud Cafe brand to Abu Dhabi’s key tourist and leisure destinations. Dubai.