I know this great little place ...

SIMON THOMSEN
Last updated 11:42 23/12/2013
Chef Lee Murdoch.

Chef Lee Murdoch.

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Lee Murdoch is chef de cuisine at 55&5th, The Grill restaurant at the St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi.

WHERE'S THE BEST TABLE IN ABU DHABI?

Sontaya on Saadiyat offers excellent service paired with tantalising south-east Asian cuisine. It sits on floating pavilions overlooking the ocean, the perfect location for a romantic meal. See sontayaabudhabi.com.

THE LOCAL FOOD FIND OF THE PAST YEAR?

The spice markets at the Central Souk. With thousands of different herbs and spices, it is like a candy shop for chefs. The aroma is amazing and there is everything from dried fruits from Morocco to dates from Saudi Arabia. See centralmarket.ae.

WHAT IS ABU DHABI'S BEST-KEPT FOOD SECRET?

Away from the five-star resorts there are the traditional cafes that serve Emirati cuisine. Their interiors and service are very simple but you get a real taste of the region. Hatam al Tae is a mall restaurant that's good for Persian food. Address: Al Markaziyah, Abu Dhabi.

WHERE DO YOU GO FOR A BIG NIGHT OUT?

I love Villa Toscana at the St Regis for authentic Italian and warm hospitality. For old school, Michelin-style classic French, Bord Eau at the Shangri-La is pretty over the top. See stregissaadiyatisland.com; shangri-la.com/abudhabi.

FAVOURITE INDULGENCE IN ABU DHABI?

Taste of Korea because it uses handpicked ingredients infused with a selection of spices imported from South Korea. See eclipsesuites.com/taste-of-korea.

WHAT SHOULD VISITORS AVOID, FOOD-WISE, IN ABU DHABI?

Buffet restaurants.

BEST TIME TO VISIT AND WHY?

October to April for weather and events. See stregissaadiyatisland.com.

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