Homegrown, Emirati-owned owned Meylas Abu Dhabi offers a rare chance to experience traditional Emirati cuisine and hospitality in the UAE capital. Take a closer look with The Huntr…
Back in 2011, Shaikha Al Kaabi had a dream of opening the first Emirati restaurant that could showcase and spotlight her beloved country’s cuisine, traditions and culture. Luckily for us, by 2015, that dream was a reality. Named ‘Meylas’ – “a local expression that means majlis or a place that gathers people. The name reflects the idea of gathering family and friends in a warm and welcoming setting,” – the homegrown gem serves traditional Emirati dishes using recipes passed down from generations of Emirati mothers and grandmothers. Where possible, the ingredients are also sourced locally, making it a truly authentic and rare dining experience.
To celebrate the region’s history and culture, the restaurant space is decorated with nostalgic nods to the past and is dimly-lit to represent the time before electricity lit up the Bedouin people. There’s also a small retail corner, which is a great spot to pick up a unique gift or a souvenir for out-of-towners.
Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the menu features many local favourites – all served casually (many sharing style), using home-cooking techniques passed down generations. The Huntr sample the Tray of Assorted Emirati Bread (46AED) from the breakfast menu, it comes with regag, khameer, mohalla and chbaab, plus local honey, cheese and homemade jam. Plus the Balaleet (35AED), a traditional dish of sweetened vermicelli noodles infused with saffron and cardamom and topped with an omelette. From the all-day, ‘Fowala’ menu, we opted for the Mohalla (29AED), a traditional sweet flatbread served with local honey and cheese and Legeimat (27AED), fried sweet dough balls served with a sticky date syrup. We washed it all down with Chai Haleeb (19AED for a sharing teapot), which a slow-steeped tea with milk and sugar and Gahwa Emirateya (25AED) – the signature Emirati coffee served in a dalla (pot) with Emirati Khalas dates.
Insider tips: Open daily from 9am until 11pm. A great place to take visitors to show them traditional Emirati culture and cuisine in the UAE capital.
Photography and reporting by Saleh Alanbari exclusively for The Huntr