Review: Filini Garden at Yas Island

Even if the food weren't spectacular, which it most certainly is, the scenery and atmosphere are more than deserving of a visit
Review: Filini Garden at Yas Island
Sunset views from Filini Garden's outdoor terrace
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Fri 15 Feb 2019 11:20 AM

Filini Garden, the Italian restaurant located within the Radisson Blu on Yas Island, may be just outside Abu Dhabi – but when you’re there, you feel as if you’ve been transported thousands of miles away.

When it comes to scenery, few restaurants in the UAE can compete. Equipped with both an upper and lower deck, the restaurant provides spectacular views over the golfing greens and nearby creek, giving one the sense that the hustle and bustle of the city is in another world far away. We highly recommend going during sunset, when the pink and yellow hues of the fading day – set against the backdrop of the Abu Dhabi skyline – provide a beautiful backdrop, perfect for a romantic evening.

The size of Filini Garden – it’s massive – is also one of its main strengths. It allows visitors to get exactly the vibe they might be seeking on any particular day. The exterior portion of the lower deck is home to a resident DJ who provides trendy lounge music that attracts a jovial, perhaps even raucous crowd, particularly in the ‘after party’ hours following a highly recommended brunch.

While the restaurant includes smaller tables perfect for an intimate evening out with one’s spouse or closest friend, it also provides longer communal tables, making it perfect for larger gatherings where all the guests share plates. That gives it a cosy feel, perfect to enjoy the Italian food  the restaurant makes to perfection.

When it comes to the menu, Filini provides everything you might be expect from an Italian restaurant – with the Italian chefs in the kitchen ensuring a level of authenticity that you wouldn’t find at one of the many generic Italian restaurants that dot the Emirates.

On offer are a wide variety of small sharing plate and Frittis, with classic favourites including carpaccio with honey mustard dressing and peppered beef, burrata and langoustine, or – definite favourites – fried mozzarella and fried prawns.

The dizzying array of main courses on offer run the gamut of traditional Italian fare, with standout items including Tuscan-style fillet beef, grilled octopus tentacle, and a grilled seafood platter brimming with calamari, king prawns, grilled vegetables and sea bass.

Last but not least, no Italian restaurant is complete without pasta and pizza. Filini has you covered: items range from the signature linguini lobster to gnocchi, seafood risotto and beef lasagne. There’s no shortage of options when it comes to pizza either – but try the Filini Fontina, which includes black truffles crumble, arugula and truffle oil.

Even if the food weren’t spectacular – which it most certainly is – the scenery and atmosphere are more than deserving of a visit next time you’re in Abu Dhabi. As far as Italian food in the UAE goes, this is as good as it gets.

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