Cafe Diego in Abu Dhabi


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This café is now permanently closed.

Café Diego is one of the capital’s new top scorers

Cafe Diego in Abu Dhabi Front Door

Nation Galleria’s most eye-catching outlet is a real ‘streets of Argentina’ affair tattooed in murals, with a mix and match of cute, colourful furniture, and sporting an actual glistening VW van out front that serves homemade ice cream and cotton candy to go. Football fans, for one, are loving it; and will even more when the Maradona-centric retail shop opens.

Cafe Diego Decor

What’s interesting is Cafe Diego’s clear-cut casual vibe doesn’t match the Argentinian-Spanish menu, which leans more towards fine dining in terms of both flair and fare.

Cafe Diego Nation Galleria

While we have no doubt that the popular paella, typical tapas and the Diego Hamburguesa (a tower of a burger packed with all Maradona’s favourite ingredients) are fantastic, we ordered offbeat, starting with a light and lovely mushroom soup.

It is served from teapot to teacups, the ‘sugar’ as truffle powder stirred in with a spoon. This starter is actually a cheeky snub to the English – the country Argentina beat to win the 1986 FIFA World Cup (goals courtesy Maradona). Cast your feelings aside and just enjoy it.

A carnival-colourful seabass ceviche really woke our taste buds for possibly one of the best, most impressively hefty ribeye steaks Abu Dhabi has to offer – The Boca Steak (obviously Argentinian), served with a super-luxe roasted potato gratin.

And yet we wanted more seabass. The whole beauty, which came out smoking over aromatic coals, was accompanied by a saffron-y Lebanese rice, and creola sauce (an Argentinian salsa) that really put the finishing touches on the whole annoyingly-flawless thing.


Por favor, save room for dessert

Your finale can be as small as a Bounty Cappuccino (yes, the coconut-filled candy bar is involved) or as wildly decadent as the Volcan de Chocolate, our favourite. It’s a ridiculously rich lava cake surprisingly well paired with pistachio ice cream and a nearly too pretty to eat assortment of fresh berries, tiny dehydrated meringues and globules of yoghurt caviar.

So yeah, again, the final bill will not match your first impressions of this place, but that’s so Maradona, a man of surprises. We can’t wait to see what he does with the impending breakfast menu.

CAFE DIEGO | Nation Galleria, Al Khubeirah |  7pm to 11pm | +97126772344.

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