Location: Ground floor of the Novotel Hotel on Hamdan Street near Liwa Center
After a week of eating Indian or Middle Eastern, we wanted something "different." And different here means "European." After hearing from three separate groups of people that the best affordable European restaurant in Abu Dhabi was Le Beaujolais, it didn't take us long to decide where to go for dinner. Le Beaujolais is a cute little restaurant, with a decor reminiscent of a French bistro. The bread, warm, crusty on the outside and soft of the inside, raised the expectations even higher. So how was the food?
The menu has all of the standards - coq au vin, shepherd's pie, etc. I got the braised lamb chunk (57 AED), while my wife got the prix fix special which included mushroom soup, glass of wine, salmon stuffed shrimp and fish, and fruit salad (75 AED). The braised lamb chunk was a very big piece of lamb, but unfortunately not very braised. The meat was not fall off with a fork tender as braised meat should be, and not particularly flavorful. Edible? Absolutely, but - except for the portion size (I took half of it home for leftovers) - disappointing. Not bad deal for the price, but could have been much tastier. Similar store for the prix fix - great portion sizes, but wished the food was better. The mushroom soup was actually good - thick, creamy, pronounced mushroom flavor. The salmon was a little overcooked and dry, very disappointing given how much good fish we see in the markets here. The fruit salad was very good, I even liked the kiwi fruit and I normally hate kiwi fruit. But the disappointments in the main dishes couldn't save it. Maybe we got the wrong items (if so, please tell us what to get next time), but the food was only okay. We'll probably try again due to lack of options, but not a "must go" for us unless we want the decor - and then we'd probably go to Shakespeare and Co. in the Central Market.
Note: 10% tip plus 6% tourism fee is added to all bills. Not a problem, but something to keep in mind