What to do in Abu Dhabi when it’s 45⁰C? Find the best ice-cream of course! Chris and I were on a mission to experience Abu Dhabi’s unique world of ice-cream after reading an article that mentioned the city has a few weird creations to sample. Being that we arrived in the UAE in the middle of their summer (probably not the best time to travel here), it seemed fitting to do an ice-cream tour.
What was not entirely wise, and what we don’t recommend, is to try out our selected hit list all in one day. After several bowls of delicious, creamy, sugary, fattening ice-cream we were feeling a little under the weather by the end of the day! However, that didn’t stop us from picking out our favourites to share with you!
Getting all nutty
Café Blanc, positioned on the edge of the mangroves, was first up on our ice-cream tour. Being a Lebanese restaurant it seemed fitting to try the Trio of Nuts ice-cream which consisted of almond, pistachio and walnuts. The serves were surprisingly generous and were presented in individual glasses accompanied by a couple of simple nut biscuit shards. The ice-creams were all creamy, smooth in texture and the flavours were subtle combined with the vanilla ice-cream. Pistachio was probably our least favourite, lacking the sweetness and delicacy that the others two accomplished.
Price 45 AED*
Eastern Mangroves Promenade, Abu Dhabi
Open daily 10am – 11:30pm
Single serve = Four Scoops
No need to walk too far from Café Blanc to arrive at the Mediterranean seafood restaurant, Flooka. We had the place to ourselves to try out the Dabbouza ice-cream, their Middle Eastern take on the popular cookies and cream flavour. To our delight, a single serve of ice-cream consisted of four scoops, and even better, the four scoops of your choice! We selected Dabbouza, Funky Monkey, green apple sorbet and mango sorbet.
Simply presented, on first taste you could tell these ice-creams were made in house and were going to be devoured with pleasure! The Dabbouza, which was made up of butter biscuit, small pieces of Turkish delight jelly, chopped raw almond and completed with the subtle accent of rose water was delicious. The creamy banana and chocolate biscuit Funky Monkey ice-cream was probably my favourite and the two sorbets were just so refreshing and intense in flavour they were hard to pass up.
Price 49 AED*
Eastern Mangroves Promenade, Abu Dhabi
Open Thursday – Sunday 12pm – midnight
Your kids will be buzzing!
Next stop, Dolce Café which seemed to be a kid’s paradise at the Ritz-Carlton. People apparently come here from all over the UAE in search of the spaghetti noodle vanilla ice-cream. The ice-cream, which is really really cold, is pressed through a potato ricer to achieve the desired form of spaghetti. Pieces of almond biscuit with red sugary lollies are scattered over the top and a strawberry coulis is drizzled around to give the impression of a Bolognese sauce. This ‘kids’ dessert was all about the theatre, in addition though the vanilla ice-cream was creamy, delicious and very sweet!
Dolce Café not only has a selection of homemade ice-cream desserts and cakes, you can also try a lot of flavours such as vanilla bourbon, coconut, caramelised pistachio and mandarin by the scoop at 15 AED. The camel milk and date ice-cream was especially scrumptious!
Price 35 AED*
The Ritz-Carlton, Abu Dhabi
Open Mon-Thur 1pm -11pm, Fri & Sat 11am – 11pm
Smashing it out
We couldn’t go on an ice-cream tour of the UAE without trying the traditional Arabic pounded ice-cream. The ice-cream is made by putting it into a deep stainless steel mortar and pounded with a long wooden pestle, in the process making a drum like sound that can be heard across the mall. On recommendation we tried the pistachio and vanilla flavour ice-cream which was finished off with a sprinkling of more finely chopped pistachios. The result of the pounding was a weird elastic textured ice-cream that was heavy and didn’t show any signs of melting. Strange, but yummy at the same time. After you have tasted their ice-cream, why not satisfy your sugar craving by sampling your way around the shop filled with delicious Arabic sweets.
Price 25 AED
Abu Dhabi Mall, Abu Dhabi
While our stomachs or wallets (budget travellers, you know) didn’t allow us to test out any more ice-cream, we don’t want you to miss out on some of Abu Dhabi’s strange ice-cream creations. So here are a few more we have read about worth a try, and if you do, let us know what you think!
Teatro at the Park Rotana, Khalifa Park, Abu Dhabi
Rumour has it they mix the flavours of wasabi with vanilla bean to create a Japanese inspired ice-cream and present it in a similar fashion to sushi.
Love Doughnuts at the Guardian Towers, Abu Dhabi
Feel good while having a treat as these guys make their ice-cream using all natural ingredients – healthy ice-cream, could it be true?
Lemon Tree at the Holiday Inn, Abu Dhabi
Lemon Tree cater for the beer lovers by mixing Hoegaarden beer with chocolate and vanilla ice-cream.
Emack & Bolio’s at the Dala Mall, Abu Dhabi
These guys go one up on the Nutella pizza by making a vanilla ice-cream pizza with a brownie crust, hot fudge topping and finished off with marshmallows.
* Price excludes the lovely addition of a 10% service charge and a 6% tourist tax!