Mikado [Sushi (& more!) in Abu Dhabi]

   I had some Californians asking me about life in Abu Dhabi recently (well really just asking about the weather, and the sushi. Those Californians!).  So...Yes, we do get rain in Abu Dhabi, but only about 3 times per year.  The sun shines about 360 days per year, and the remaining days are sand storms (during which the sun is technically still shining, you just can't see it through all of the dust and sand).  Everyone is practically jumping for joy when it rains (I think all of you Californians are currently very familiar with the feeling). 
And Yes, there is sushi in Abu Dhabi! AND it is really good AND it is not just at the over priced, elaborate hotels.  One of my favourite places, Mikado, which is a quaint Japanese restaurant and sushi bar, is located smack in the middle of the city.  It is surrounded by the buzz of people, apartments, shops and Abu Dhabi life at all times of the day and night. 
 The light wood, the lanterns, the very welcoming servers, and the soothing smell of miso soup make you feel like you have stepped directly into the serene calmness of Japan.  I went to Mikado most recently to try out the tasting menus, which are meant to be an easy and fairly quick way to have a full Japanese meal for a decent price.  The meal goes something like this, (allowing you to choose you own adventure on certain courses): Miso soup, Appetizer, Sushi, Main Course, Dessert.  All for roughly 100-130AED ($27-$35).
 The miso soup, always a good baseline for judgement, was deliciously creamy and nutty with large chunks of fresh tofu.  The appetizers were also a great start.  The vegetable dumplings and the tempura were both well cooked so that they were crunchy and yet and tender to the bite. The light and crispy tempura coating is made with ingredients imported directly from Japan, which helped to recreate the dish perfectly.

The sushi was generous and the fish was very fresh (as it should be)...i.e. not tasting like fish.  The tuna, salmon and unagi nigiri were delicate enough to almost melt in your mouth.  The spicy tuna roll held together with perfectly sticky rice brushed with sesame seeds, guarantees you will be coming back for another.  
The sushi chefs take their positions seriously, concentrating with each cut, roll and plating.  But, when there is a free minute they are happy to chat about their fresh fish.  We learned that they often run out of the very popular tuna and Norwegian salmon.   But that is a really only a good thing, because it means time to re-order more fresh fish!  With their reliable supplier they can replenish their stock within a few hours, if needed. 
For the main course we tasted three of the four options Salmon Teriyaki, Chicken Teriyaki and the Waygu beef. The salmon and the chicken were light and fresh which was nice after the large plate of sushi.  The beef was prepared in a very comforting "home cooking" style with caramelized onions and mushrooms.  All of the entrees were accompanied by simply steamed vegetables, more as a side note to the protein.
The dessert was definitely the closing act.  While not on the set menu, we opted to try the two dishes that Mikado is most known for, the Matcha Roll and the Bread Pudding.  A.MAZ.ING!!
The bread pudding is made from the incredibly fluffy Japanese milk bread with the addition of lemon zest.  The top was crispy, browned and buttery, while the inside was creamy and soft.  The Matcha Roll is filled with fluffy whipped cream and tiny cubes of perfectly diced strawberries raspberries and currents.  The cream is not overly sweetened, and the bitterness from the green tea keeps the whole dessert very down to earth.  Even as full as we were from the whole meal, we still managed to eat both desserts.  I swear I am not a pig, they were really that good. 

Another great thing about Mikado is their bakery counter!  You can buy any of their pastries (even some savory pastries), Japanese Milk Bread, and desserts for take-away at any time!  And they of course deliver everything.  So, in case of a sand storm, you are covered.

Mikado Café and Bakery
Al Hana Tower, Corniche Street, Al Khalidiya, Abu Dhabi
+971 02 6677557
 Open 8am to 11pm everyday
Mikado Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


  1. This post makes me soooo hungry....what beautiful food and the dessert looks incredible


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