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A new spot to enjoy Middle Eastern cuisine with both a modern and retro feel

Next time you go to Marina Mall, you’ll certainly notice this colorful, new restaurant, located beside VOX Cinemas on the first floor. Azkadenya, which started in Jordan in 2011 – is a modern-retro and casual concept that serves Arabic cuisine with a twist.

Already well settled in Dubai with 3 outlets – Mercato Mall, MOE and Jumeira 1, this is their first branch in Abu Dhabi and the restaurant was already quite packed with customers the night we visited.

A quaint and quirky decor

The restaurant covers a big space and a colorful decor. A large lovely retro wall sticker covers the back wall of the restaurant, where you can watch some of the chefs preparing dishes. Their signature feature is the unique crockery with different sayings written in Arabic on the plates, mini bowls and pots coming to the table. Waiters are also immediately recognizable as they wear a black t-shirt with the logo of the restaurant written in Arabic on the back along with a purple apron with the keffiyeh print.

What about the Cuisine?

Invited to discover the concept for their official launch, we had a large overview of the menu. You’ll find there all the classic from the Middle Eastern cuisine, but not only as they propose a wide range of Arabic style dishes including many ‘Tabkaths’ – referring to home cooked dishes served in metal tins – and ‘Fakkaraths’ – traditional Arabic clay pots served right from the oven.

For the starters, the table was covered in an instant with aplenty small bowls for us to taste, all the traditional cold and hot classic mezze fairly priced around 25/30 AED each: falafel, fried kibbeh, mutabal, hummus, fattoush, …and so many more.

Our preferred were the mutabal beetoot, the date salad prepared with dates, feta, walnut served on a bed of rocca and lollo rossa salad with a balsamic vinaigrette. The thin and long fried cheese rolls filled with halloumi cheese and served with fig jam were our favorites.

For the mains, it was our first time trying the comforting dish ‘Siniyet Kofta Bil Tahiniyeh’ – minced lamb topped with tomatoes, potatoes and onions, cooked in a tahini sauce topped with pine nuts and parsley, served with pickles, olives and red radish aside. Reinvigorating but tasty.

Watching the ballet of waiters busy bringing dishes to each table, we noticed a lot of customers were ordering the Al Fahem, a shawarma beef stick served at the table over charcoal which looked very tempting. Something to try for another visit.

Leave room for the desserts … if you still can

Don’t leave without enjoying a Moroccan tea or mint tea. The mint tea came served at the table in a vintage arabic tea pot painted in gold – we can’t help and love this ! – and definitely enjoyed their soft ‘Muhalabieh’ – milk and rose water pudding served with pistachios sparkles all around.

Muhalabieh, Osmalya stuffed with Rose Ice Cream and Moroccan Tea

It’s definitely a quirky and popular new joint in the city to visit whenever you crave an Arabic mezze and want to enhance your experience with a contemporary twist. Just order a variety of dishes and enjoy the sharing style lunch or dinner.

Azkadenya is open seven days a week, from 10am to 12am, in Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi.

AZKADENYA RESTAURANT | Marina Mall, first floor, beside VOX Cinemas | + 971 2 621 27 88

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