Michelin Guide awards restaurants in Abu Dhabi at inaugural gala dinner

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ABU DHABI: Three restaurants in Abu Dhabi received a Michelin star at the first gala dinner held in the UAE’s capital on Thursday.

The one Michelin star was awarded to Talea by Antonio Guida, for pleasing diners with its family-style Italian cuisine; Hakkasan, a restaurant celebrating traditional Cantonese flavors; and contemporary Japanese restaurant 99 Sushi Bar.

The one Michelin star was awarded to Talea by Antonio Guida, Hakkasan and 99 Sushi Bar. (AN/ Mohammed Fawzy)

“The wonderful diversity of the cuisine proposed by these three restaurants perfectly illustrates the curiosity of local gourmets, as well as how Abu Dhabi welcomes international cultures to make them shine at their best level,” said Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin Guide, at the event.

Four establishments received a Bib Gourmand for offering good food at moderate prices: Lebanese Armenian eatery Almayass, Beirut Sur Mer — which offers Lebanese food by the sea — Japanese restaurant Otoro and Mediterranean eatery Tazal’s.

Four establishments received a Bib Gourmand for offering good food at moderate prices. (AN/ Mohammed Fawzy)

This is the first time restaurants in Abu Dhabi received Michelin awards. A total of 42 restaurants were added to the guide.

“This first Michelin Guide Abu Dhabi selection is the beginning of a long journey for a city with unlimited gastronomic potential,” said Poullennec. “Our inspectors discovered a rich variety of cuisines offered in Abu Dhabi, from creative dishes conceived by some of the world’s most renowned chefs, to traditional cuisines of the region: Middle Eastern, Lebanese and, of course, Emirati.”

The Young Chef Award went to Luigi Stinga at Talea restaurant. (AN/ Mohammed Fawzy)

Michelin Guide also honored three individuals for their hard work.

Rawad Hamdan and his team at Restaurant Li Beirut received the Service Award.

Rawad Hamdan and his team at Restaurant Li Beirut received the Service Award. (AN/ Mohammed Fawzy)

Poullennec said at the event that the inspectors received a warm welcome when they dined there. The entire team was “professional and genuine in their hospitality,” he said.

The Sommelier Award went to Marlon Nuque from Zuma Restaurant. “A real personality in this buzzy restaurant,” the guide says.

The Sommelier Award went to Marlon Nuque from Zuma Restaurant. (AN/ Mohammed Fawzy)

The Young Chef Award went to Luigi Stinga at Talea restaurant, which was awarded the one Michelin star. According to the inspectors: “His eye for detail, impeccable style, generous approach and natural confidence shine through in the family style dishes, which are packed with flavor.”

After the awards ceremony, guests were offered a five-course dinner by award-winning chefs Simon Rogan, Lee Kok Hua, Bjorn Frantzen, Jimmy Ophorst, Cheryl Koh and Francois Leo.