100% Gluten Free Restaurant in Abu Dhabi | Tawa Bakery Review
I came across a 100% gluten-free (GF) restaurant, Tawa Bakery, while researching GF options in Abu Dhabi for a day trip my friend and I planned. From the name, I initially thought we would only be able to grab baked treats. When I checked the menu, I was shocked to see the vast array of sweet and savory food choices. They not only have a broad offering of healthy foods like salads, soups, and sandwiches but also indulgent GF versions of treat foods that can be quite hard to come by in the UAE. They also have a few Emirati dishes, like Legaymat, that usually contain gluten that I’ve never been able to try before. Tawa Bakery is a GF foodie's dream.
FIRST IMPRESSION REVIEW
Taking inspiration from the Youtube beauty community, I base my first impression reviews on my first experience trying out a restaurant. I am explicitly calling this type of review “first impressions” so my readers know my experience level with the restaurant and have context for my writing.
My friend Maryam is also gluten intolerant like me. We both got over excited about the number of choices, so we severally over ordered. Don’t worry we got a take away of the leftovers :)
The arancini (40 DHS) are crispy risotto balls with a gooey cheese center served with a spicy tomato sauce. The spicy tomato sauce added a nice kick to the dish. I do prefer my arancini with cheese and meat in the middle, but these were still delicious. GF versions of arancini are tough to find, so these are one of the more enticing offerings on Tawa Bakery’s menu. I would order them again.
We created our own pasta (37 DHS) with pink sauce, spinach, and fusilli noodles. We added the wagyu meatballs (16 DHS). I loved the pasta. The fusilli was perfectly cooked, and the sauce was so flavorful I would bet even someone who gets gluten would not be able to tell this is GF pasta. The only thing that could improve is the meatballs. The dish lacked the decedent taste wagyu meat usually adds because the meatballs were overcooked so much they were dried out. I would try the pasta with pink sauce and spinach again, but I will try a different meat next time or order it vegetarian.
I enjoyed fish and chips (56 DHS). The batter was the right amount of crispy and the fish was soft and flaky inside. The chips were very average. There are better options on the menu, but if you are craving fish and chips and you cannot have gluten, this will do the trick.
We devoured the french toast (37 DHS), and it was so delicious! I guess you would expect for a restaurant with 'bakery' in the name to make great bread items, but the french toast was impeccable. It was soft and fluffy on the inside with a perfect toast to the outside. They have options for add ons for the french toast, but it didn’t need anything else. It comes with a mixed berry compote I could have eaten by the spoonful, a light whipped cream, and maple syrup. The combination of all three in one bite with the french toast could not have been more delightful. The perfection of this french toast has me intrigued to try more of the bakery type items like pancakes and waffles next time I go to Tawa Bakery.
The bagel (16 DHS) and cream cheese (5 DHS) was the only item that I would not order again. The menu described the bagel as toasted, but when it arrived at the table, it felt mushy when I picked it up. We asked for a replacement since our bagel because our bagel already had cream cheese on it, so it could not be toasted again and because they served the bagel open face and a fly flew in and got stuck in the cream cheese. After a bit of back and forth with the server, she finally agreed to give us a new properly toasted bagel. This time we asked for the cream cheese on the side in case we needed to send it back again. The fresh bagel arrived a little more toasted than the first, but I was unimpressed with the taste and portion size.
The dessert excited me the most. I had never had legaymat (32 DHS) before since it usually prepared with gluten. Tawa Bakery describes it as “the UAE’s favorite sweet dish,” and now I know why. Legaymat is like a less sweet version of doughnut holes. The dough is infused with cardamom and saffron, fried, and tossed in date syrup and sesame. The legaymat is a must order dish at Tawa Bakery.
For drinks, we ordered the desert rain (24 DHS) and passion (24 DHS). I forgot to take individual pictures, but you can see them above in the full table picture. I tasted both, and they were both refreshing and fresh. I would be interested in trying more of the mocktails on the menu as well.
Tawa Bakery is 100% gluten-free, so the gluten-free experience is perfect here!
It was a beautiful day when we ate at Tawa Bakery, so we sat outside. The outdoor section has a lovely view of the beach. I did take a peek at the interiors, and they are on par with trendy cafes. The cafe features brick walls painted white, interesting tile floors, and potted plant accents, so there are plenty of spots for cute Instagram pictures. The only thing missing is marble tables to complete the perfect Instagramable aesthetic.
Service was okay. The staff was friendly, but they could have checked on us more frequently.
Overall the quality of food is above average. I could see Tawa Bakery becoming a favorite of mine if I lived closer and could explore the menu more to find the best dishes.
Celiacs and gluten-intolerant foodies, breakfast or lunch with friends, finding gluten-free versions of your favorite treat foods
Healthy and treat food options
Traditional Emirati Legaymat made gluten-free
Opposite Etihad Complex
Al Raha Beach
Al Raha, Abu Dhabi
Reviews are written based on my experience at the time I ate at the restaurant. Remember to always check with the restaurant staff regarding current menu, timings, prices, and allergy information. They are subject to change at the restaurant’s discretion at any time, and I cannot be held responsible for their changes.
What dishes are you having a hard time finding gluten-free in the UAE? I’ll reply if I know where to find it :)