To Top
Dining & Nightlife Discounts UAE


Upmarket South African cafe chain tashas is causing quite a buzz with its first Abu Dhabi venue. Located in what seems to be the new epicentre of trendy cafes, Marsa Al Bateen. The stylish standalone cafe has already attracted a substantial loyal following, there was barely a table to be had when we visited on a weekday lunchtime, even the outdoor terrace was busy for those braving the afternoon heat.

First impressions were good, the modern interior is quite stunning. Every branch of tashas has its own unique theme that inspires both the decor and the local menu, in Abu Dhabi it’s Mediterranean. The natural tonal palette is complemented with plants in rattan baskets and eclectic chic accessories stacked on wooden shelves, lanterns of all shapes and sizes and coir baskets, cosy corners and casual seating areas. The stunning layered waterproof paper ceiling installation by Pretoria based artist Elonah O’Neil is a real talking point.

We were presented with two menus, the large foldable tashas classic menu, which is available at all branches and the smaller separate ‘inspired by menu’, exclusive to diners in the capital. To say there are a lot of options would be an understatement. The classic menu is huge, with everything from traditional and healthy breakfast choices to pastries, sandwiches and freshly baked cakes of the day. You can have quesadillas themed from all corners of the globe, pastas, salads, the healthier Food for Thought dishes and the Easy Eating section, which includes the most expensive dishes, such as steaks, lobster rolls, lamb cutlets and salmon fish cakes. Beverage choices are as extensive as the food with fresh juices, granitas (crushed ice blended with fresh juices), mocktails, cold ice and hot drinks and all manner of coffees.

The ‘inspired by menu’ offers all things Mediterranean featuring tapas served with pita, thirteen vegetarian options, which is always pleasing to see as well as salads, meats and seafood. Dishes include peri peri chicken livers, beef carpaccio, grilled calamari and spicy prawns.

When a cafe serves breakfast until 6.00pm it’s always a winner in my book. I had breakfast for lunch, taking the recommendation of our server, I tried Mariachi. An exceptionally large plate of scrambled eggs, topped with mountains of cubed avocado, fresh tomato, spring onion and grated parmesan, served with tortilla. My dining companion chose quesadillas, the Mexican variety. Minced beef was combined with chilli, beans, red onion, coriander, cumin and emmentaler served with sides of guacamole and spicy tomato relish, after a squeeze of my fresh lime her meal was tastier.

Both fans of tapas we ordered a side of Patatas Bravas from the local menu which was very disappointing. The usual cubes of roasted potato topped with spicy tomato sauce and aioli were substituted with chips covered in a rather unpleasant tasting sauce that weren’t very Spanish tasting. The elderflower and pear granita however was refreshing, especially on such a hot day.

While the portions were considerable and we were rather full, our server convinced us that we must sample the Doxa chocolate slice. We shared the rich and decadent dark chocolate dessert that was topped with caramel-coated cashew nuts and served with vanilla ice-cream, all covered in a separate milk chocolate sauce, sweet and delicious.

Not one to rest on her laurels tashas founder Natasha Sideris is looking to expand further in the region, with three more branches planned to open this year. With fifteen locations already under her belt (thirteen in South Africa, one in Dubai and now Abu Dhabi) Sideris has proven this popular boutique lifestyle concept which is as much about the aesthetics and the vibe as it is about the cuisine. For those home chefs amongst us Sideris has penned the tashas cookbook, available to buy at the cafe, jam packed with fresh and original recipes from the restaurant’s classic and inspired by menus. Also, available to buy is tashas coffee, the 100% African sourced product is a unique blend of Rwandan high grown bourbon beans, Tanzanian AA with a trace of Ugandan.

This newcomer is a welcome addition to the Abu Dhabi dining scene, cool interiors and a beautiful marina facing outdoor terrace, extensive menu choices that offer a perfect mix of healthy options and the more indulgent. Friendly and efficient staff, good coffee and fresh juices and with plenty of parking right outside the door, what’s not to love. I think I just found my new perfect place for long and lazy weekend breakfasts.

tashas, Marsa Al Bateen, 02 445 0890 

Words by Jo Brett
Jo is a freelance writer and lifestyle blogger. Follow her blog, as she tells the tales of a British expat living in Abu Dhabi!

Instagram: anexpatabroad
Facebook: anexpatabroad
Twitter: @JoBrettAD
Pinterest: anexpatabroad