José Pizarro Brings Spanish Cuisine To Abu Dhabi

José Pizarro, from Extremadura, one of the great ambassadors of Spanish cuisine outside our borders and one of the most beloved chefs in the United Kingdom, where he owns several restaurants and tapas bars, has partnered with the Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad towers, belonging to to the portfolio of luxury hotels of the Hilton chain, where it will open a new restaurant next March. Located in the heart of the city, on the Corniche, with spectacular views of the city and the Persian Gulf, this five-skyscraper complex is one of the most emblematic in the United Arab Emirates, and is considered a true marvel of modern architecture.

The extraordinary restaurant will be called José by Pizarro, a name inspired by his British establishments. “I love the name we have chosen because it is my first business in the UK, a very special place for me, and also has a very similar touch of fun, inspired by the best of Pizarro”, explains the chef. In this stylish and fun place, for 46 diners, Pizarro will bring together his love for national cuisine along with wines, sherries, sparkling wines and cocktails. The beautiful enclave reflects the energy and good vibes of his namesake restaurants on Bermondsey Street (London), where the best Spanish dishes are combined with more informal and personal tapas. The chef works with Spanish products and aims to promote the spirit of our cuisine.

Pizarro will run the restaurant with an extraordinary team of professionals from London. The opening is, for him, a dream come true: «Everyone who knows me knows that I have been wanting to open a restaurant outside of Europe for a long time. This is a really exciting opportunity as an entrepreneur and as a restaurateur that will allow me to export Spanish flavors worldwide. I know that Abu Dhabi is an emirate especially passionate about good food, art and culture, so your incredible projects and my desire to present the authentic taste of Spain are a perfect match.”

The menu will be an appetizing showcase of Pizarro’s best dishes. As starters, it includes anchovies from the Cantabrian Sea; chicken croquette; Fried prawn fritters with lemon aioli and Gadira tuna toast with classic sauce, egg yolk and black truffle. Other traditional dishes are the sweet shrimp rice; the Galician style crab, salad and manzanilla sauce or the leg of suckling lamb and caliu potatoes. Among the portions to share, there are the Sanlúcar de Barrameda prawns with garlic; the Russian salad with confit tuna and red shrimp from the Mediterranean; the beef meatballs with orange sauce and mashed potatoes and extra virgin olive oil, and scallops, cauliflower and Ríofrío caviar. The menu is closed with traditional desserts such as Santiago cake with figs and PX vinegar and Extremaduran floreta with saffron cream.

About Jose Pizarro

A native of Talaván, a beautiful town in Cáceres, José Pizarro has lived in London for more than two decades, where he is considered the “godfather” of Spanish cuisine. He spent his early formative years in some of the best restaurants in Spain, before becoming head chef at a Michelin-starred restaurant. After landing on British soil, he worked in prestigious Spanish restaurants in London, such as Eyre Brothers, Brindisa and Gaudí. In 2011, he opened his first solo business, José Tapas Bar, on Bermondsey Street; a small and cozy place, inspired by the bustling tapas bars of Barcelona. The daily menu depends on the best that is on the market that day, and the menu is completed with a variety of delicious sherries.

The next restaurant he opened was Pizarro Restaurant, also in Bermondsey; a place that soon received numerous awards, including Restaurant of the Year at the World Food Awards, Best Mediterranean Venue at The Food Awards in London, the Rosette Award for culinary excellence, the Best Opening of the year from Food and Travel magazine and the Best Restaurant of the Year. The chef opened two more businesses in the British capital: José Pizarro in Broadgate Circle and the pop-up restaurant Little José in Canary Wharf. He then fulfilled his dream of owning a country pub by opening The Swan Inn, in Esher, where patrons can spend evenings and nights in good company by the crackling fire.

And, in August 2021, he opened two vibrant restaurants in what he describes as “London’s most precious and prestigious space dedicated to art”: the Royal Academy of Arts. Two projects that represent his first foray into central London, in a place as iconic as Picadilly, and that allowed him to unite his two great passions: gastronomy and art. Last year, José embarked on what is perhaps his biggest adventure to date: the opening of Iris Zahara, a spectacular guest house in Zahara de los Atunes, Cádiz. In this exclusive property by the sea, with capacity for six people, Pizarro and his partner Peter propose to enjoy unique gastronomic and tourist experiences, from culinary routes and around sherries to tastings with José himself in the kitchen.

José Pizarro has also published five books, with great critical acclaim: Seasonal Spanish Food (Kyle Books, 2009), Spanish Flavors (Kyle Books, 2012), Basque (Hardie Grant, 2016), Catalonia (Hardie Grant, 2017) and Andalucía. (Hardie Grant, 2019). His sixth cookbook, The Spanish Home Kitchen, was released last spring.

In 2014, José was selected as one of the ‘100 Spaniards’, a highly prestigious award that highlights the 100 most influential Spaniards in the world, based on how they have managed to transfer their talent to the general public and how they have demonstrated their pride and his love for the country through his work outside our borders. There is nothing that Pizarro likes more than flying the flag of his land, which is why this award touched his heart especially, as did the Extremeños de Hoy awards and the 2017 Gastronomy awards organized by El Periódico and Turismo de Extremadura. . That same year, he was awarded Chef of the Year by Food & Travel magazine.

About The Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers

As part of the debut of Hilton’s luxury portfolio in the capital of the United Arab Emirates, Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers is one of five Etihad Towers and features 12 spaces dedicated to gastronomy, a spa with 13 treatment rooms, private beach and three swimming pools, as well as a 74th floor with views and facilities for conferences and events, with a total of more than 3,000 m2. The hotel, a marvel of modern architecture, is located 10 minutes from the presidential palace and houses 576 rooms, suites and residences, all with spectacular views of Abu Dhabi.

This article is originally published on