Five Guys is the latest burger craze to sweep the UAE. Following a successful opening at The Dubai Mall in May 2015, expansion is on the cards, with Abu Dhabi’s first outlet having opened at Marina Mall in August of this year.
If the intense social media hype is to be believed, Five Guys offer the best burgers in the UAE. Clever branding within the store itself help to emphasize this, with a selection of positive quotes from high profile media publications proclaiming “The #1 burger for lunch in NYC” (Time Out New York) and “The sort of thing you’ll seriously enjoy eating” (ShortList.com).
Call it subliminal brain washing (if you will) but by the time you actually get to order any food, it’s a strong possibility you’ll believe that you’re about to eat a heavenly burger, unlike anything the world has seen before. The reality is a little different, no doubt the burgers are good, perhaps even great but certainly not the best ever. We believe that title sits firmly with East London’s Bleeker St Burger (but that’s just our personal opinion).
The burgers themselves are presented in a no frills manner within a tin foil wrap. The patties are juicy and actually taste of meat, while the toppings are well and truly crammed in and boast of freshness. It’s evident that all burgers are made fresh to order and this certainly makes them more appealing than other fast food outlets, where items sit under heat-lamps to dry out and lose any sense of flavor.
Five Guys do not freeze anything and use only the freshest of ingredients prepared in house daily. What we really appreciated about the experience, is that burgers can be fully customized to your own desired liking, with over 250,000 unique ways to order a burger you’re quite literally spoilt for choice!
Even better, the price remains the same no matter how many toppings you select and with everything from pickles and jalapeños, to lettuce, tomato and a wide array of sauces (BBQ, Hot, A1) available – the customization options are pretty endless. These 100% ground beef burgers can also be ordered bunless.
Spending some time at Five Guys we actually think that the branding should move more towards pushing the milkshakes than the burgers. These thick shakes are absolutely divine and are again fully customizable, allowing you to combine up to eight different flavors in one mix. Topped with whipped cream we loved our creation of Oreo crunch, peanut butter and salted caramel and are likely to return again just to sample the more fruity flavors (we have our eye on the cherry).
Despite a fairly concise menu, hot dogs are also offered although they do feel a little small when compared to their burger counterparts. For obvious reasons the pork sausage is replaced with beef at the Middle Eastern branches but in all honesty it is unlikely that customers will notice the difference, they taste good.
For the vegetarians out there, vegetable burgers or grilled cheese are also available and the limitations of the menu actually works in Five Guys favour. Allowing them to focus on ensuring that the items they do sell are the best they can be.
This ethos certainly rings true when it comes to the fries, with the Five Guys branding proudly stating: “Five Guys knows fries.” We unanimously agree. Available in two styles Cajun or Five Guys Style, portions are ridiculous. One large will easily serve a family four, with extra to take home.
All fries are crisp and golden and nicely seasoned, our preference sat with the Cajun, which was not too spicy but offered a nice heat from the coating. On the walls you will find posters explaining where the potatoes have been sourced from and during out visit it was Naples, Italy. The authenticity is further proven sacks of potatoes and vats of peanut oil creating the dividers of the queuing system at the tills.
For a casual dining restaurant Five Guys boasts an impressive atmosphere. Loud music, intense chatter and the clatter of tables make for a raucous dining experience and judging by how full it was when we visited on Saturday afternoon, Five Guys has become an instant hit with young families and Abu Dhabi’s teenagers.
Staff are constantly cleaning the dining area, ensuring that it remains spotless and gleaming at all times. The passion of the energetic team shines through and it would appear that Five Guys is a fun place to work and with so many of them, the turnover and service are extremely quick and efficient
With unlimited free peanuts, free refills on soft beverages and some of the most jovial staff in Abu Dhabi. Five Guys might not have been your first thought but we think you should give it a go.
For a brand started thirty years ago by five brothers (hence the name) in Arlington, Virginia. Five Guys currently looks set for worldwide domination.
The only deterrent may be the price, which we found to be a little steep for what is basically burgers and chips (a meal for three will likely set you back around 220 AED) which is expensive when comparable to other burger joints.
We were invited to dine at Five Guys. All views are our own and all photographs are © Out & About UAE, unless otherwise stated.