José Pizarro to open a restaurant in Abu Dhabi

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Spanish chef and restaurateur José Pizarro to open a restaurant in Abu Dhabi

Related tags Jose Pizarro Spanish cuisine Tapas Casual dining Abu Dhabi Middle east

Spanish chef and restaurateur José Pizarro is to become the latest UK-based operator to open in the Middle East.

The chef, who owns and runs the José Pizarro Group of restaurants, tapas bars and pubs, will open José by Pizarro at Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers this spring.

The 46-cover restaurant will be sited in the Hilton hotel, which is located in the centre of the city on the Cornice, and will be inspired by his eponymous restaurants in London’s Bermondsey Street - tapas bar José and Pizarro.

The menu will showcase the best of the Spanish chef’s food from across his restaurants, with smaller plates that will include Cantabrian Catalina salted anchovies, bread and butter; spicy chicken croquetas; potato tortilla with caramelised onions; and air-cured beef, fried almonds and olive oil.

It will also serve a selection of traditional plates, such as Spanish red tuna tartar, traditional dressing, potato cream; lamb albondigas in an orange sauce; and white wild prawns with chilli and garlic oil, alongside larger sharing plates of suckling lamb, potato al caliu, yoghurt aioli and fresh herbs; and chicken and carabinero paella with roasted red peppers.

“I love that we’re calling it José by Pizarro because it’s inspired by both restaurants,” says Pizarro. “It’s both the name of my much-loved first place in the UK, and has a similar fun feeling about it, as well as being inspired by the best of Pizarro.”

Pizarro is one of a growing number of UK-based restaurateurs that are looking to the Middle East to grow their portfolios. London-based Sri Lankan restaurant brand Hoppers recently opened its first international location ​in the Qatari capital of Doha in November last year and Italian restaurant group San Carlo has partnered with Sunset Hospitality Group to open a Signor Sassi in Dubai ​in spring 2023, which will be the group's third Middle Eastern outpost alongside Qatar and Riyadh.

“If you know me, you know that I’ve long wanted to open a restaurant outside Europe,” adds Pizarro.

“This is a truly exciting opportunity as a businessman and restaurateur to take my beloved Spanish flavours globally. I know Abu Dhabi is an Emirate uniquely passionate about great food, art, and culture so with their amazing developments and my desire to introduce the taste of Spain more widely, it’s a perfect match.”

This article has been updated to reflect the change of opening date from January to spring 2023.

Related topics Restaurant Openings Casual Dining

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