One fine day (March 6 2016), I saw this Facebook advert inviting people to come and see the festival at The Venetian Village. Nestled near the Abu Dhabi Grand Canal and within the grounds of Ritz Carlton Hotel, this wonderful place boasts of a very nice view of the canal and the hotels nearby. I love how you hear the sound of water giving you the feeling of freshness.
We got there just after the festival opened. It was a two day festival and it opened at 3PM and should end at 9PM. We initially lost our way, having entered the Ritz Carlton and proceeded straight to the foyer, then was directed to go back to the entrance and go towards the side which should lead you to The Venetian Village.
The nice gentleman pointed us to the right direction and soon we found our way. Oh, so this place is like a small village! As we walked around, I asked myself – am I still in Abu Dhabi?
Clowns walking on stilts, or what we call “Stiltwalkers” performed their acts and entertained the audience. You can hear the sound of people chatting, laughing, children running and playing. It was such a festive and jovial atmosphere surrounding the place.
There were plenty of nice restaurants that served food samples to your liking. Here are some photos of the delightful eating places at The Venetian Village.
From Inakaya, they provided unlimited sampling of a variety of Sushi / Maki. My personal fave is the California Maki, a bit sweet, tangy and moist on the inside. I’ll never get tired eating this. Inakaya actually won the prestigious FAVOURITE JAPANESE RESTAURANT from WHAT’S ON AWARDS 2015 – ABU DHABI.
Barfly served an assortment of delicious and refreshing cold drinks. You can’t help but feel refreshed after taking some and ask for more. According to their webpage, to quote:
Barfly by Buddha Bar brings to Abu Dhabi an edgy restaurant and supper club concept that aims to create a unique dining venue where food, drinks and music melt in a superlative lifestyle statement. A two-story restaurant and a loungy area on the seashore, Barfly is the brainchild of Raymond Visan, the founder of George V Eartertainment and the nightlife visionary behind the legendary Buddha Bar. Barfly at Venetian Village will revive the buzz of its original celebrity hangouts in Los Angeles and Paris.
Aside from the drinks, they also served some pica pica and ohhh they were so delicious. My personal favourites are the Rock Shrimp Tempura and the Chinese Chicken Salad. They were very filling but not so overwhelming. They also dished out samples of their Salmon with Lemon Grass Sauce. And all of these were so fresh.
After sampling some of these goodies I felt the need to walk around the place. It was fun, a circus like atmosphere minus the noise. The tables lining the canal were strategically located so that some people can smoke the shisha or just plainly enjoy the ambiance. Locals and expats can be seen enjoying the whole place. Venetian Village is surely one spot that you can’t afford to miss when you visit Abu Dhabi. IT IS A MUST to see this enchanting place.
And I did manage to get my selfie of the day 🙂
So back to the food sampling after an hour of roaming around and people watching. The Authentic Emirati Restaurant Al Fanar also provided their food specialties. There were young men dancing to the Al Ayala which is generally known as the stick dance.
This national dance has now been added to the Unesco’s representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Punjab Grill provided a long table full of samples of what must be specialties from India. They served Chicken Butter Masala, Beet Kebab, and Chicken Biryani. The presentation of the food were very nice and you can see that the food were freshly prepared with selected ingredients. Matched with some drum beating gentlemen who played for the audience, it was definitely an experience to witness.
It’s good to note though that those who served the food enticed the people lining up to taste each of their delicacies, attempting to describe what’s in it and how good it tasted.
The biryani was artfully served whooping hot in a small clay pot which is ideal for one person to consume.
We were also able to sample some food from Olives and they were delicious. Wasn’t able to get all their names though so we would have to definitely come back and try to have a nice decent meal at this lovely place by Author, television personality, and four-time James Beard award-winning celebrity chef Todd English. Olives is his first culinary feat here in the UAE and a definitely must try for their authentic pastas and brick oven pizza and many more.
Another must try will be Brasserie Flo. They had unlimited samples of fresh Oysters. I wasn’t able to check much though as there were a number of people lining up to get theirs.
“Brasserie Flo is a traditional French brasserie that serves some of the best known French dishes in relaxed and casual ambience. Brasserie Flo stands for a culinary tradition that dates back to the 1960s when it was founded by Chef Jean-Paul Bucher in Paris in 1968.”
So if you are looking for great ambiance and a wide selection of international dishes, The Venetian Village is absolutely the right place to be at.
As the night dwindled, we were entertained by a band who played Jazz songs and they were simply wonderful. Just perfect for the ambiance. Soft lighting, music was not too loud. After which we were entertained by a majestic display of pyrotechnics. Simply superb!
What a lovely evening..