Mixed grill seafood platter. Image Credit: Supplied

Contrary to the perception that Emirati cuisine is limited to rice, fish and meat, the list of Emirati dishes is actually a long one, comprising many “basic” components, including chicken, vegetables, flour, dates and many kinds of spices.

They are all tasty and most of them spicy, giving the Emirati cuisine a special characteristic that makes it different from other Asian or Mediterranean cuisines.

Located in the heart of City Walk along with other dining places, Al Mashowa’s interiors give the customers a glimpse of what they should expect.

In traditional Arabic, Al Mashowa refers to the boats used in the olden days to ferry fishermen from the shores to the deep sea fishing boats.

Accordingly, an aquarium is located at the entrance. Next to it, there is a corner of fresh fish covered with ice to choose from.

Traditional Emirati lamps dangle from the ceiling, and the coir-made “Qubah” decorate part of the walls. The Qubah was traditionally used as a base for platters of food, allowing people to sit around it.

At the review, the table heaved with seafood treats. Naturally, no Emirati seafood meal is complete without the hamour. Also on offer was tuna fish, shrimps and crab delicacies. Some were grilled, some were cooked in a spicy stew or used to make seafood soup or a salad.

However, if customers are interested in tasting Emirati cuisine specialty, one must try Al Mashowa Salad, a combination of different types of seafood — including muscles and calamari — that is cooked to perfection and prepared as a salad with peas, lettuce, onions, lemon, and a special dressing of vinger and saffron.

We also recommend the shrimp stew, which is cooked in a thick tomato sauce, heaving with local spices to give it a a mouthwatering taste. It can be eaten with white rice or bread; do try the thin Emirati bread called Marqouq, although Mediterranean loafs are also at hand.

For mains, we highly recommend the Machboos, one of the most famous dishes in the UAE and popular in the whole region.

The hearty dish is usually made of fish or chicken, cooked with rice. We had one prepared with the King Fish and the spices used give it a unique taste and a distinctive appearance. You could literally taste the saffron, with hints of cinnamon, dried lemons, turmeric and cardamom.

If your appetite permits, do try the Thareed Laham or lamb, with layers of Marqouq bread soaked in a special sauce that’s soaked with aromatic spices. The lamb is so tender that it literally melts in your mouth.

Do give it a try if you plan on sampling traditional Emirati fare. While the restaurant does not offer brunch or buffets, it does offer a special dish of the day that makes it worth the trip.

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Check it out!

Cuisine: Emirati

Timings: Weekdays from 11.45am to 11pm; weekends from noon to 12.45am Cost: Averages Dh135 per person

Credit Cards are accepted