Where modern surroundings meet delicious, authentic dishes, at Li Jiang you’ll find some of the best South East Asian cuisine in Abu Dhabi.

When you’re going for dinner at the stunning Ritz- Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal, you already know that it’s going to be something quite special. At Li Jiang – meaning “beautiful river” – the hotel’s signature South East Asian restaurant, special doesn’t even begin to cover it. Located along the property’s dining strip, Li Jiang carries all the opulence you would expect from the Ritz-Carlton brand, but with a welcomed laid-back vibe. The gorgeous venue has music on low, and, instantly, we’re in love with its sophisticated atmosphere.

On this particular evening at Li Jiang we were there to savour its different menu items and enjoy the relaxed ambience. To begin with, we could see the majestic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, clearly, from our table, with its gleaming white domes and minarets shining in the night sky. Stealing our gaze away from the window were the many cool and creative design elements at Li Jiang, which caught our attention. Like the chandeliers made from upside down drinking glasses; walls lined with ornamental jars of spices; and the carefully stacked red, terracotta and orange- coloured cloth which formed an innovative wall, all of this with the use of wood, warm hues, and dimmed lighting, made Li Jiang stand out from its competitors – a huge tick for imaginative architecture and attention to detail.

“An absolute standout was the signature Black Cod dish – perfectly seasoned and with a squeeze of lemon, we polished it off with delight. The other mains were equally impressive…”

The heart of Li Jiang is its open kitchen where smiling chefs tossed vegetables in woks and turned everything from seafood to meats on the grill. Talking of food, this is the main focus at Li Jiang, and as our waitress introduced us to the menu, we were impressed with her extensive knowledge of the dishes and ingredients, ultimately going for a few of our own choices, and some recommendations.

A visit to Li Jiang would be incomplete without trying a selection of their homemade dim sum and dumplings. We went all out and ordered a steaming variety including the scallop, the tom yum, the dou ban, the har kau, and the foie gras dumplings. Flavour-packed with a mouthwatering mix of fresh ingredients, and dipped in soy sauce and chilli paste, the dumplings were exceptional.

For mains we ordered wasabi prawns, wok fried beef, tail ginger (seafood with vegetables), Black Cod, wild mushrooms, wok-fried vegetables, and char kway teow (noodles).There was a round of “wow”when the wild mushrooms came wrapped in foil that was actually on fire – flames burning blue underneath. With that said, the dish was very safe to handle and the concoction of mushrooms was exquisite.

An absolute standout was the signature Black Cod dish – perfectly seasoned and with a squeeze of lemon, we polished it off with delight. The other mains were equally impressive with crunchy vegetables, good- quality meat and wholesome flavours – we revelled in every last bite.

Having enjoyed a fantastic Asian feast to the max, we were just too happily full and made the conscious decision to skip dessert – a regretful choice on reflection as we’re sure it would have been just as delicious. Li Jiang gave us an all-round great dining experience; everything from the service to the comfortable seating, the knowledgeable and helpful staff, the open kitchen setting, and a variety-filled menu, certainly was more that enough to whet our appetites. If it’s inventive and delectable Asian cuisine that you want, this is where you’ll find it!