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  • Liz Totton

A Taste of Turkey

If you are looking for one of the best restaurants in Abu Dhabi that's actually affordable. here's one of my family's top eating out picks that will fill you up without emptying your piggy bank.

Chagh Kabab is a small Turkish restaurant located on a narrow lane behind Corniche Towers just off Al Khaleej Al Arabi Street in the Khalidiyah area of Abu Dhabi. The lane has about a dozen or so restaurants, and I highly recommend wandering around this area hungry one night because there are a lot of cuisines to discover here.

The restaurant serves delicious Turkish cuisine. First, I must say that restaurant has exquisite décor. There’s gorgeous tilework with beautiful copper accents. This place has style, and so does its owner. We met the owner, Ahmed on one night of the long National Day weekend, and he had his love for this great nation on full display in a red ensemble that was so fun I had to take his photo—I don’t usually do this because not everyone cares for their picture being taken, but I sensed he was not among such people judging by his fun outfit!

Ahmed is Kurdish and has taught his chefs how to cook every dish according to his traditions so the food is consistently good. If you’re lucky enough to be there when Ahmed is there, you’re in for a real treat! He’ll ask you a few questions, helps you navigate the menu, suggests dishes that he’s sure you will like, and he’s not wrong! But even if he’s not there, the service is fast and attentive, and the servers are happy to explain every dish in detail.

We can be a hard case for some Middle Eastern spots as I am vegetarian. But this was not a problem for Ahmed. It seems he knew that many vegetarians positively live for hummus and all of the delicious and healthy dips that come in a mezze. He helped me to order a Fattoush salad—one of my favorites and the cold mezze. My husband makes a lot more sense in this restaurant, because he loves kebabs and all meat, and living with a vegetarian who does all the cooking, he, of course, never gets it at home. So, he was super excited when Ahmed offered him an array of kebabs that turned out to be enough food to feed a few carnivores!

The servers also have panache in this place. They are dressed in black and burnt orange uniforms and serve drinks and steaming hot bread on elaborate brass serving plates. Speaking of steaming hot bread! There is one reason that any (non-GF) vegetarian will love this place, and it comes in the form of a fresh-baked, puffed up pita that’s so fresh it steams when you tear into it and tear into it is precisely what you will do when you so much as smell it!

We dipped our steaming bread to our heart’s delight in the vibrant mezze dips, which were hummus, baba ghanouj, moutabel, and muhammara. I grazed on my piquant Fattoush salad, and then the real food came.

My husband was served the most remarkable mixed grill of chicken, beef, and lamb skewers alongside another lamb dish that Ahmed recommended: Alinazik kabab, which was so special even I was compelled to try a bit of the creamed eggplant below the grilled lamb kebabs.

While there’s no outdoor seating, they open up the wide doors and you get all the fresh air and street ambiance you want if you want that. If not, the tables tucked away in the back are quite private. The prices are very reasonable, and it’s not inconceivable to feed a family of four here for less than AED200, but you might want to splash out a bit and order the Alinazik Kebab for a real treat at around AED80.

It's conveniently located behind the FAB Corniche towers where Al Khaleej al Arabi Street crosses Corniche Rd West. 02 681 8166


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