The 50 Best Restaurants in the MENA Region for 2024 Revealed. Dubai Triumphs, Orfali Still at the Top

Feb 15 2024, 14:46
In the ranking of the 50 best restaurants in the MENA region, Orfali remains at the top. While Orfali continues to lead, there are several new entries in the top 50

Orfali still holds the title of the best restaurant in the MENA region, according to the local 50 Best ranking. Although there have been few changes at the top compared to last year (with Ossiano moving up one position to claim the bronze, displacing Fusions by Tala down to the ninth position), there is significant mobility within the top 50, with 13 new entries. Considering the relatively young gastronomic scene in the region, which serves as a vital hub for commercial exchanges and significant investments, this dynamic is expected. It is an international transit point but not yet a central tourist destination, except for certain locations like Dubai, which dominates with almost 20 establishments in the top 50.

However, it's worth noting that the ongoing conflicts in the region strongly influence the restaurant landscape and movements. This year, the usual awards ceremony did not take place. Despite this, the third edition of the ranking paints a picture of a growing culinary landscape, with a strong presence of international cuisine, major restaurant groups (such as Zuma and LPM), and luxury hotels still dominating the dining scene. However, independent restaurants with unique and authentic culinary identities are making their mark. In this context, the story of Orfali is emblematic. The restaurant, run by three Syrian immigrant brothers, resembles more of a high-end bistro than an ultra-luxurious fine dining establishment. Their eclectic menu, featuring tasting menus alongside hamburgers, gyoza, and fried chicken while remaining deeply Levantine, is inclusive, much like their opening hours. Adored by a diverse audience, including television viewers (Mohammad is a well-known face on television), they represent the new wave of dining outside of large hotels and sprawling capitals.

The neck-and-neck competition is with Trèsind Studio by Himanshu Saini, a spokesperson for modern Indian cuisine in the United Arab Emirates. Its strong appeal is a result of intelligent and high-level cuisine, combined with an incredibly evocative atmosphere where dinner becomes a spectacle within a spectacle, complete with scene changes and theatrical effects. Similar effects are found in the third-place restaurant, Ossiano, by Breton chef Gregoire Berger, located inside an enormous aquarium in the incredible Atlantis The Palm superhotel.

Italians in the 50 Best MENA

From this part of the world, the ranking brings more than just satisfaction with the inclusion of Alba by Enrico Crippa in Doha and Talea by Antonio Guida in Abu Dhabi, alongside Sesamo by the Alajmo brothers in Marrakech. These Italian establishments hold positions 46, 48, and 45, respectively, in the lower part of the ranking, but there is optimism for future growth. It is well-known that this region is where cards are shuffled at lightning speed, not just in Dubai (where the brand-new One Za’abeel Hotel is expected to make an impact soon, featuring culinary stars like Dabid Munoz, Anne-Sophie Pic, Paco Morales, Tetsuya Wakuda, Bo Songvisava, and Dylan Jones) but also, and especially, in Saudi Arabia. With high-profile acquisitions, author pop-ups, new futuristic cities under construction, and the initial signs of easing restrictions, Saudi Arabia is the giant to watch.

The ranking

1 Orfali Bros Bistro, Dubai

2 Trèsind Studio, Dubai

3 Ossiano, Dubai

4 Moonrise, Dubai

5 Khufu’s, Cairo

6 3 Fils, Dubai

7 Fakhreldin, Amman

8 Em Sherif, Beirut

9 Fusions by Tala, Manama

10 OCD Restaurant, Tel Aviv

11 Kinoya, Dubai

12 Kazoku, Cairo

13 Zuma, Dubai

14 11 Woodfire, Dubai

15 Sachi Giza, Giza

16 Baron, Beirut

17 Boca, Dubai

18 Shams El Balad, Amman

19 Mimi Kakushi, Dubai

20 George & John, Tel Aviv

21 Jun’s, Dubai

22 Marble, Riyadh

23 LPM Dubai, Dubai

24 Zooba (Zamalek), Cairo

25 Nomi, Monash

26 Animar, Tel Aviv

27 La Grande Table Marocaine, Marrakech

28 Bait Maryam, Dubai

29 Sufra, Amman

30 Reif Kushiyaki, Dubai

31 Tawlet Mar Mikhael, Beirut

32 21 Grams, Dubai

33 Sachi Cairo, Cairo

34 Milgo & Milbar, Tel Aviv

35 Gaia, Dubai

36 Alee, Amman

37 Lowe, Dubai

38 Izakaya, Cairo

39 LPM Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi

40 Lunch Room, Riyadh

41 Row on 45, Dubai

42 +61, Marrakech

43 Opa, Tel Aviv

44 13C Bar in the Back, Amman

45 Sesamo, Marrakech

46 Alba by Enrico Crippa, Doha

47 Cult Bistro, Tunis

48 Talea by Antonio Guida, Abu Dhabi

49 Cut by Wolfgang Puck, Manama

50 Kuuru, Jeddah

cross linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram