Vegetarian Restaurants Can Be Enjoyable for Your Meat Eating Friends

If you’re like most vegetarians, you have at least one meat-eating friend. Quite possibly, you have all meat-eating friends who rib you about tofu at least once a week. So how can you get your carnivorous friend to join you in trying a new vegetarian restaurant? These simple tips will get you and your friend into vegetarian restaurant faster than you can say “soy sausage.”

First and foremost, be up front with your friend. Don’t wait until you’re on the way to the restaurant to tell her that it’s a vegetarian establishment. Even if you can still get her in the door, it will leave bad feelings that will ruin your visit and guarantee that she won’t take your future dining suggestions seriously.

If you’ve been friends more than a couple of weeks, you’ve more than likely dined together at some point. That said, you also probably have an inkling as to your meat-eating friend’s eating habits. Does he order the steak or the chicken? Cheese pizza or supreme? Salad before dinner or bacon cheese fries? Choose a vegetarian restaurant that offers vegetarian versions of his favorites and he’s more likely to agree to a sit down. Juicy veggie burgers, veggie pizza, and pasta marinara are often popular with meat-eating companions.

For a first foray into the world of meat-free dining, it’s also a good idea to look for a vegetarian restaurant that offers dairy products rather than a strict vegan restaurant. Your meat-eating friend may feel more confident ordering a veggie pizza with actual mozzarella than one with soy cheese. Being able to identify ingredients that he knows he likes will go a long way toward making your friend feel comfortable with his dining choices.

If you’re lucky, you can even find a vegetarian restaurant that offers an occasional meat special. A few vegetarian restaurants include a fish or egg entree once a week to appeal to the meat-eating companions of its vegetarian regulars. The rest of the menu is vegetarian, so you will enjoy your many options while your friend is savoring her grilled fish entree or omelette.

Also check out the beverage menu, and if you’re inclined, the wine and beer list. You and your friend can stop by for a drink together while you both sample a vegetarian appetizer or dessert. If she enjoys her first visit, you and she can plan a second visit for a full meal.

Most importantly, keep this fact in mind: You are vegetarian and you still manage find something to eat on traditional restaurant menus when you eat out with friends. You friend will have the same success when he visits your favorite restaurant.

By taking a few simple steps, you can help ensure that your friend enjoys a visit to your favorite vegetarian restaurant. Then you can take the focus off the food options and put it where it really belongs: a great night out with your friend.

What Are Five of The Best Hotels in Abu Dhabi?

A thriving metropolis located on a small island just off the southern coast of the Persian Gulf, Abu Dhabi is one of the new centers of international business. One century ago, this great city was a mere fishing village whose residents relied upon the sea for their sustenance. Today, it relies upon its vast reserves of petroleum and the great riches that have come along with them.

The capital of the United Arab Emirates is now one of the richest cities in the world, and its great wealth is reflected in its wide variety of comfortable and lush hotels. It may, in fact, be difficult for the traveler unfamiliar with this city to find affordable lodging because of the city’s emphasis on luxury. As Abu Dhabi has opened up to western tourism, however, relatively inexpensive hotels with excellent service have begun to appear around the city. Here are just a few of the best hotels Abu Dhabi has to offer.

1) Cristal Salam Hotel

Travelers who are on a budget might be nervous about booking a room in the famously expensive city. However, there are relatively cheap options, and the best of these is the Cristal Salam Hotel. Located in the bustling eastern neighborhood of Madinat Zayed, a mere ten-minute drive from the center of the city, the Cristal Salam offers travelers top-rated service, excellent rooms, and a central location.

Rates for a room at the Cristal Salam Hotel start at around $60 per night. Few other hotels in Abu Dhabi feature similarly low rates, and none of those hotels offer the same kind of service as does the Cristal Salam. For these reasons, the Cristal Salam Hotel is very popular with tourists, so be sure to book early to ensure inexpensive lodging in the city.

2) Beach Rotana

Another hotel on the eastern end of Abu Dhabi, the Beach Rotana is a great choice for travelers who want the convenience of easy access to the beach without having to leave their hotel. The Beach Rotana offers both great service and direct access to the beach, which also includes beachside bars and pools. Popular restaurants at the Rotana include Indigo, a “modern Indian” restaurant; Trader Vic’s, a French Polynesian restaurant; and the internationally known Japanese steakhouse chain Benihana.

Rooms at the Rotana let out for about $100 per night and up, but special deals are frequently available. Even at the regular rate, however, a room at the Rotana is more than worth it – visitors have easy access to both the beach and Abu Dhabi Mall, a massive retail center in the eastern Madinat Zayed district of the city. Lovers of suntanning, swimming, and shopping can’t ask for anything more out of a hotel.

3) Hilton Abu Dhabi

For those tourists who want to stick with the tried and true, the Hilton Abu Dhabi might be the best choice available. The Hilton features excellent service, well-maintained and luxurious rooms, a beautiful view of the wealthy west end of the city, and great restaurants and bars. Travelers staying at the Hilton shouldn’t miss out on Hemingway’s, a restaurant and bar featuring a Middle Eastern take on Tex-Mex cuisine and live music. Attached to Hemingway’s is the Jazz Bar & Club, a popular meeting place for tourists and resident expatriates alike.

The Hilton is located on the southwestern end of Abu Dhabi Island, about fifteen minutes away from the city center by car. Rates for a room at the Hilton are fairly reasonable, beginning at around $120 per night.

4) Jumeirah at Etihad Towers

Etihad Towers is a massive office, residence, and hotel complex in the west of Abu Dhabi. Developed by royal family member Sheikh Suroor Bin Mohammad Al-Nahyan and built by Australian architectural firm DBI Design, these five giant towers loom over Abu Dhabi, dwarfed only by the 74-story Sky Tower located on the other end of the city. Etihad Towers offers more than simple height, however – it also contains the Jumeirah, a top-rated five star hotel. The Jumeirah occupies one of the five towers and features luxurious rooms, excellent dining, and the best views to be had anywhere in Abu Dhabi. Visitors staying in Abu Dhabi for business purposes can take advantage of one of the thirteen meeting rooms available in the Jumeirah’s conference center. The hotel’s restaurant fare, which includes Lebanese, Japanese, and everything in between, stands up to the best food this city has to offer.

Naturally, the Jumeirah’s luxury comes at a price. Rooms at the Jumeirah start at $200 per night. However, if you can afford the stay, the cost is well worth it, if only for the amazing view.

5) Emirates Palace

The undisputed champion in the fields of luxury and pure, unabashed decadence – this title is won handily by Emirates Palace, a hotel in the western Al-Ras Al-Akhdar district of Abu Dhabi. To simply call Emirates Palace a “hotel” is not doing it justice, however. This 85-hectare complex features stunning gardens and plazas. The hotel building itself truly is a palace – the interiors of its vast lobby and halls are decorated in gold, and the exterior gives off a Middle Eastern fairy tale feel, as though the entire structure had been pulled right out of the One Thousand and One Nights.

Some of the Palace’s astounding features include a beautifully-maintained 1.3 kilometer stretch of private beach, forty conference rooms for visitors in Abu Dhabi on business, and a wide variety of international cuisine. Etoiles Bar and Havana Bar are popular get-together spots for expatriates who don’t mind dropping 30 dirhams ($8) on a beer, and the lobby itself features a cafe service for both guests and non-guest visitors. One of the cafe’s most popular items is the 24-karat gold-topped cappuccino, which is a normal cappuccino sprinkled with real gold dust.

Emirates Palace is, hands down, the most expensive hotel in Abu Dhabi, with rooms starting at $400 per night and quickly rising to $2,000 for the deluxe suites. Fortunately for those travelers who want a taste of extreme luxury at the Palace but can’t afford a room, the hotel’s lobby and restaurants are open to the public. Indeed, Emirates Palace is one of the top tourist destinations in the city, and for good reason. Nowhere is the sheer wealth of Abu Dhabi more overtly displayed than at this incredibly luxurious hotel.

Best Luxury Hotel Restaurants in America

In the past, hotel restaurants in America were merely a place to fill up after a long day of sightseeing or a late flight into the destination. Even the most luxury hotels weren’t renowned for their eateries – they provided decent enough fare for hungry guests, but outside customers could rarely be tempted in and the food was certainly not a reason for making a booking.

Now, however, things have changed dramatically and they have really pushed the boat out – some of the most elegant and exclusive restaurants in America can be found within the walls of luxury hotels. Here’s the lowdown on the latest hotel dining spots to be voted into the top five.

1. French Room – The Adolphus Hotel, Texas

A gorgeous grand dame of a hotel in downtown Texas, The Adolphus tops the bill with French Room for its menu but also its décor and service. The atmosphere is pure old-world romance with subtle lighting and hand-painted ceilings – and the food is an unpretentious yet fabulous fusion of French and American cuisine.

2. Fountain Restaurant – The Four Seasons Hotel, Philadelphia

The Four Seasons is an American institution and a byword for superb luxury. Here in Philadelphia, the Fountain continues to be a firm favourite in the city and beyond thanks to the classic dishes served up by chef Martin Hamann in the New French-Continental style.

3. Dining Room – Little Palm Island Resort, Florida

This romantic getaway hotel is a boat ride away from the keys, set on its own private island. Both the hotel and restaurant promise a magical setting and they don’t disappoint. The food is just as exceptional; the French-Caribbean themed menu adds to the exotic vibe of the location.

4. The Inn at Little Washington, Washington

A luxurious Virginia inn, the prestige of the hotel spills over into the dining room where chef Patrick O’Connell uses only the freshest ingredients and seasonal produce for a New American menu. With its romantic décor, the experience of the out of town hideaway is complete.

5. Maestro – Ritz Carlton Tysons Corner, Virginia

This elegant restaurant has all the impeccable style you would expect from the exclusive Ritz-Carlton hotels, but with a modern twist – an open kitchen to watch the master Fabio Trabocchi at work. The wine list (put together by sommelier Vincent Feraud) is something any restaurant in Italy would be proud of, whilst the flavours and dishes bring the kind of depth and subtlety that reflects their Italian heritage to perfection.