MENA's Best Restaurant Awards Go to Dubai
Dubai cements its position as the world's leading culinary destination with the inclusion of 15 restaurants.
Restaurants selected for the World's 50 Best award embody the grand gastronomy of their countries, evaluated by 250 culinary industry leaders across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
In addition to presenting the tastiest cuisine, World's 50 Best Restaurants in MENA also live up to the expectations of fine dining, combining the opinions of critics, chefs, writers, and restaurateurs.
In addition to Manama, Marrakech, and 14 other cities in the Middle East and North Africa, the awards showcased gastronomy from Manama to Marrakech. Here, Rich Report selects a few others that displayed great gastronomical achievement in one city, which hosted both the winner and runner up of the MENA 50 Best Restaurants.
Taking home the top prize was Dubai-based brasserie Orfali Bros Bistro, which proved that following your heart can truly secure your future.
His pride in his accomplishment was evident as he sat between his two brothers, which had taken him just two years to achieve. There have been many highlights on the menu since the bistro opened in 2021, including OB croquettes, shish barak à la gyoza, and corn bombs.
Second place for MENA's 50 Best was Trèsind Studio, which showcased Indian fine dining. Fourth place went to Dubai's award-winning seafood restaurant Ossiano, which boasts floor-to-ceiling aquarium views. The UAE appeared on MENA's 50 Best list 18 times, with the UAE's restaurants coming in at fifth place. Ossiano also won the Highest New Entry Prize.
During a conversation with Rich Report, Chef Shun Shiroma discussed how 3 Fils (5th) maintains its reputation while constantly striving to improve its Japanese cuisine. Shiroma explains that ten years ago, people here did not eat raw fish, which is why he wants to continue exposing people to the culture of Japan.
It was also difficult for him to plat an alcohol-reliant cuisine in a dry country as a key player in diversifying Dubai's food offering. Because sake and soy sauce contain trace concentrations of alcohol, Shiroma described his first year at 3 Fils as “very challenging” for his recipes. However, the culinary innovator persevered, and developed an alcohol-free soy sauce with dehydrated dates that rivaled the original.
As Bahrain's best restaurant, Fusions by Tala was proud to win third place in MENA's 50 Best Restaurants. With a contemporary twist on Bahraini dishes, the restaurant, led by Tala Bashimi, has experienced meteoric growth since its relaunch in 2020.
The 25th place went to CUT by Wolfgang Puck, which serves popular steak dishes, while the 31st place went to Masso, which serves Mediterranean cuisine with a French Rivera influence.
One of Israel's six establishments made the top 10 of MENA's 50 Best Restaurants, while the second largest number of establishments in the country. Its fusion of Atlantic and Mediterranean flavors earned it sixth place at the award, earning it the honor of the best restaurant in Tel Aviv.
With its intimate chef's table seating experience and emphasis on locally sourced produce, OCD Restaurant made Tel Aviv proud by winning both 14th place and the Sustainable Restaurant Award. With a changing menu, Raz Rahav creates dishes that celebrate local culture while considering what is available seasonally.
A great place to eat in Egypt is Zooba, which was crowned the best restaurant in Egypt and earned ninth place overall in MENA's 50 Best Restaurants.
Chef and co-founder Moustafa El Refaey grew up in his grandmother's kitchen where he developed a passion for food. With classic Egyptian dishes like koshari, tagines and taameya on offer, this culinary experience makes Cairo's street stalls more accessible.
Similarly, Kazoku (12th) is an Egyptian restaurant in the best category, featuring dishes for all moods, including a spicy curry, yuzu butter seaweed, and pyramid-shaped uramaki rolls.
In Jordan, Fakhreldin was ranked 8th for best restaurant. Although the restaurant has undergone recent renovations, it still retains the essence of Prime Minister Fawzi Al Mulki's former home and flaunts its opulence through untouched fixtures.
Despite its homely feel, Fakhreldin's hospitality is equally welcoming, with regulars being spared ordering but welcomed to enjoy its fresh mezes and char-grilled meats.
Shams el balad (29th) first started as a flower show and has evolved into a restaurant within its neighborhood in Amman, radiating the warmth of its family roots.
It is a simple menu, focusing on traditional dishes like falafel, labneh, and fresh bread, but it is complemented by seasonal produce that is carefully selected and picked to create a truly decadent experience. A luxury marker is not a fixed marker, according to head chef Quais Malhas and son Mahar – it can be moved to our advantage if we so choose.
La Grande Table Marocaine (27th) was named Morocco's best restaurant as it enriched tradition by enhancing beloved dishes. Morocco was well represented in MENA's 50 Best rankings with four restaurants.
A classic dish, seffa medouna, made traditionally with chicken, is reimagined with lobster, onions, and raisins by chef Karim Ben Baba and legendary French chef Yannick Alléno.
The country's second favorite restaurant in Casablanca is Iloli (37th), which showcases the same flair as Sesamo (39) and +61 (46th) in the capital. By combining Japanese recipes with Moroccan ingredients, the restaurant has innovated a unique fusion of flavor long before Japanese cuisine became mainstream.
On MENA's 50 Best list, Beirut is represented by restaurant Baron (16th), whose name means "the man of the street" in Armenian. Served here are favorites such as calamari, lamb shanks, hoisin-soaked beef brisket, and potato nuggets, which guide your taste buds through the streets of Lebanon. Despite its simplicity, The Chef’s Counter menu evokes discussion with its complex flavours and stimulates discussion.
With an open kitchen style, Tawlet Mar Mikhael (19th) provides guests with an opportunity to watch food being made and collectively awe at the diversity of the menu, which is updated weekly.
Besides serving Lebanese classics, Em Sherif (20th) has been voted as Lebanon's third best restaurant. A selection of hot and cold mezze, including tabbouleh and fattouch, and beloved grill items such as taouk and kebab skewers, can be found here, which are deceivingly light but wholesomely filling.
Middle East, North Africa 50 Best Restaurants 2023
1 Orfali Bros Bistro, Dubai
2 Trèsind Studio, Dubai
3 Fusions by Tala, Manama
4 Ossiano, Dubai
5 3 Fils, Dubai
6 George & John, Tel Aviv
7 Kinoya, Dubai
8 Fakhreldin, Amman
9 Zooba (Zamalek), Cairo
10 Moonrise, Dubai
11 Reif Kushiyaki, Dubai
12 Kazoku, Cairo
13 Zuma, Dubai
14 OCD Restaurant, Tel Aviv
15 Lowe, Dubai
16 Baron, Beirut
17 Gaia, Dubai
18 Myazu, Riyahd
19 Tawlet Mar Mikhael, Beirut
20 Em Sherif, Beirut
21 LPM, Dubai
22 Sachi, Giza
23 Marble, Riyadh
24 A by Yuval Ben Neriah, Tel Aviv
25 Cut by Wolfgang Puck, Manama
26 Hoseki, Dubai
27 La Grande Table Marocaine, Marrakech
28 Coya, Dubai
29 Shams El Balad, Amman
30 Sachi, Cairo
31 Masso, Manama
32 Animar, Tel Aviv
33 Coya, Abu Dhabi
34 La Closerie, Tunis
35 11 Woodfire, Dubai
36 Sufra, Amman
37 Iloli, Casablanca
38 LPM Riyadh, Riyadh
39 Sesamo, Marrakech
40 Milgo & Milbar, Tel aviv
41 Alee, Amman
42 White Robata, Kuwait City
43 Zuma, Abu Dhabi
44 Jun’s, Dubai
45 Reif Kushiyaki, Cairo
46 +61, Marrakech
47 13C Bar in the Back, Amman
48 HaBasta, Tel Aviv
49 Hakkasan, Abu Dhabi
50 Bonjiri, Salmiya