Long time readers will know that when I lived in Abu Dhabi, I was an island snob. I was also overworked and a bit of a shut-in, so I limited almost all my dining to Saadiyat (with occasional trips to the main island and Yas). Thus, I missed out on some great opportunities in the capital! Case in point, Teatro. I’ve lived in the region long enough to have visited a number of Rotana properties, but never knew Teatro was considered the signature restaurant of the brand. So, with an invitation to the Park Rotana (which I’ll review in a separate post), it was easy to say yes.
To start, what I think one of Teatro’s greatest strengths is the insane range of the menu (You want burrata? Gyoza? How about maki or pizza? Butter chicken? Vegetarian options? Teatro’s got you covered). Hubs and I pointed out multiple times during the meal that this is the perfect place to visit with any group of more than two. Basically, with a collection of all kinds of cuisines, everyone can find something they want. This was clearly reflected in the diners across the restaurant. We saw a wonderfully diverse crowd, including families (most of the children were aged 5 and up, and all well-behaved).
Deciding to lean into the many cuisines, we mixed culinary medias quite a bit by dining on a bit of Thai, Chinese, Japanese and fusion dishes. We went strong with appetizers (and probably ordered too many, literally, there wasn’t enough room on the table). With sushi, ribs, prawns, salad, and rather incredible drinks, Hubs and I had to take a long break between courses. Our favorite of the group were the Sweet and Sticky Veal Ribs (AED92), which came with 4 portions (plenty for both of us). The meat was incredibly tender and just as sweet and sticky as advertised. For beverages, we were pointed towards the Tokyo Twist as well as the Tiffin Cup. The Tokyo Twist (including notes of ginger, cilantro, and sake) was one of the most refreshing drinks I’ve had the pleasure of drinking (and, for the record, my little Dubai heart swelled when reviewing the prices of the cocktails at Teatro — just right for the market and not the overpriced beverages we have to deal with down the road).
For our mains, Hubs took the advice of our waitress and ordered the special tofu bowl (limited menu for Chinese New Year through February 4th), while I stuck with the generously portioned Lotus Blossom with duck (AED115), which I had sampled at the Taste of Abu Dhabi (and fallen in love with). Both were definitely big enough to share, or, in my case, enjoy for lunch the following day.
If I had any notes, it would be that I don’t specifically ‘get’ the restaurant. As a personal preference, I prefer venues to dedicate to one cuisine or another, but I don’t think this lack of focus has any real impact on Teatro. I also couldn’t understand why the menus had names (and photos) from various Broadway shows — it didn’t really add anything, and as far as I could tell, the theme didn’t carry through any other part of the meal. Similarly, I couldn’t get a read on the ambient music (and wished there would be a consistent sound).
So, even though the venue itself can’t seem to decide exactly what it wants to be, would these details stop me from coming back? Not at all! Although a bit further off island, I think Teatro is the location for a fun (and tasty) evening (without having to break the bank). The staff were attentive, personable, and happy to help us celebrate a festive Chinese New Year.