ABU DHABI, UAE, Jan. 30, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- The culinary stars of the restaurant world converged in the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi this evening for the second edition of the Middle East & North Africa's 50 Best Restaurants awards, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna. Restaurants from across 14 cities within the Middle East and North Africa were announced as the 50 best places to eat in the region at an event held in Conrad Abu Dhabi, Etihad Towers. Hosted in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism ? Abu Dhabi, the event culminated in the announcement of the region's No.1 restaurant, Orfali Bros Bistro, whose team took to the stage to receive the award.
For the full 1-50 list, please see the attached graphic or scroll to the bottom of this release.
Orfali Bros Bistro, an unlicensed gastronomic bistro and test kitchen located in Dubai's buzzing contemporary Wasl 51 neighbourhood, was founded in 2021 by three brothers originally from Syria: Mohammad, Wassim and Omar Orfali. The menu features dishes with a core Middle Eastern theme paying homage to the brothers' Aleppian roots, while capturing the multiculturalism and avant-garde spirit of Dubai. Their OB croquettes, shish barak à la gyoza and corn bomb all serve to push the boundaries of culinary creativity, ensuring a thrilling dining experience, which is led by charismatic head chef Mohammad Orfali. Brothers Wassim and Omar are both top-level pastry chefs and work from an elevated pastry kitchen which overlooks the main dining room. One of the most distinctive restaurants in the UAE, Orfali Bros Bristro has now earned the highly coveted ranking as the best restaurant in the MENA region.
The fine dining Indian restaurant Trèsind Studio in The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, headed by chef Himanshu Saini, claims the (No.2) spot. It is followed by Fusions by Tala in Manama (No.3), which is also named The Best Restaurant in Bahrain and takes home the Highest Climber Award 2023, while Dubai's Ossiano (No.4) is awarded the Highest New Entry prize, sponsored by Aspire Lifestyles.
William Drew, Director of Content for Middle East & North Africa's 50 Best Restaurants, says: "It's a great honour to announce that Orfali Bros Bistro has made it to the No.1 spot at the second edition of Middle East & North Africa's 50 Best Restaurants awards. It is a masterfully executed independent restaurant, loved by local residents and visitors alike. There is no doubt that it sets a new standard in creativity, innovation and food presentation, coupled with an intimate service style, and we are thrilled to celebrate its brilliance. Additionally, we are excited to see restaurants from 14 different cities represented on this year's list, showcasing the rich diversity of cuisines across this region."
The United Arab Emirates is the country that tops the list with an impressive 18 restaurants featured, including three from host city Abu Dhabi, while Israel follows with six establishments, one of which is in the top 10: George & John (No.6), winner of The Best Restaurant in Israel. Following close behind are Egypt and Jordan with five restaurants each, with Fakhreldin (No.8) named The Best Restaurant in Jordan, while Zooba (Zamalek) (No.9) is named The Best Restaurant in Egypt.
Riyadh's Myazu (No.18) is the winner of The Best Restaurant in Saudi Arabia title. Morocco is also well-represented with four restaurants featured in the ranking including La Grande Table Marocaine (No.27), making it The Best Restaurant in Morocco. Lebanon also has a player in the top 20 with Baron (No.16) in Beirut named The Best Restaurant in Lebanon.
Tunis restaurant La Closerie (No.34) claims the title of The Best Restaurant in Tunisia, while the anime-inspired Japanese eatery White Robata in Kuwait City comes in at (No.42), making it The Best Restaurant in Kuwait.
Chef Moustafa Elrefaey, executive chef and co-founder of falafel specialist Zooba, is honoured with the Estrella Damm N.A. Chefs' Choice Award. Designed to give recognition to a chef who has had a positive impact on the regional culinary community, the award is peer-voted by chefs of the restaurants on the MENA's 50 Best Restaurants list. Elrefaey's passion for unearthing Egypt's culinary history and using it to bring back ancient recipes has earned him a range of accolades, culminating in this prestigious award.
The Sustainable Restaurant Award, sponsored by Arla Pro, honours the establishment in the list with the highest sustainability rating, as audited by the Sustainable Restaurant Association. This award is presented to OCD Restaurant (No.14) in Tel Aviv, a methodical kitchen birthed from Chef Raz Rahav's impeccable attention to detail and complex artistic plating. He and his team place significant importance on sourcing their produce locally to bring out the artisanal flavours of the region and altering their menus according to the country's seasons, all to ensure zero food waste.
As a recognition of excellence in restaurant service and dining experiences, the Art of Hospitality Award is presented to Beirut's Em Sherif (No.20). The restaurant is honoured for its personalised style where the guest's experience is tailored to their individual preference, all while embodying the spirit of Lebanese generosity.
Artisan pastry chef Karim Bourgi, founder of Boutique De Gourmandises, takes home the MENA's Best Pastry Chef Award, sponsored by Valrhona. Born in Senegal to Lebanese parents, Bourgi graduated from Le Cordon Bleu Paris in 2000 before rising to manage the opening of La Maison Du Chocolat Paris in Dubai and Kuwait along with opening the Hermes Paris Cafe in Dubai Mall. He now oversees and consults on a range of patisseries, restaurants and cafés spanning the Middle East and Africa.
Other pre-announced award winners who accepted their trophies on stage include: Salam Dakkak, chef-owner of Bait Maryam in Dubai, as winner of the Middle East & North Africa's Best Female Chef Award, sponsored by Nespresso Professional; Anissa Helou, acclaimed food author and chef, as winner of the Foodics Icon Award for her relentless efforts in documenting historical culinary traditions; and vegetable-forward kitchen Opa, which picks up the One To Watch Award, presented to its founder and head chef, Shirel Berger.
The Middle East & North Africa's 50 Best Restaurants event programme, including the awards ceremony and unveiling of the list, provides a unique opportunity for chefs, gourmets and food and travel media from all over the region to gather and celebrate food and hospitality, whilst also promoting the culinary strength and diversity of the region to a global audience.
The Voting Process
The list is compiled by the Middle East & North Africa's 50 Best Restaurants Academy, an influential group of 250 key leaders in the restaurant industry across the region, each selected for their expert opinion of the Middle East and North Africa's restaurant scenes. The Academy is divided into six regions: the Gulf; Saudi Arabia; Levant-plus; Israel, North Africa (East) and North Africa (West). Each region has its own panel of members including a chairperson, called the Academy Chair, to head it up. The panel is made up of food writers and critics, chefs, restaurateurs and highly regarded gourmets. For the 2023 list, each MENA Academy member voted for seven restaurants, with at least two of these located outside the country where they are based. None of the event's sponsors has any influence over the voting process. To see more details on the Middle East & North Africa's 50 Best Restaurants voting process, please click here.
Orfali Bros Bistro
Fusions by Tala
George & John
Tawlet Mar Mikhael
A by Yuval Ben Neriah
Cut by Wolfgang Puck
La Grande Table Marocaine
Shams El Balad
Coya Abu Dhabi
Milgo & Milbar
Zuma Abu Dhabi
Reif Kushiyaki Cairo
13C Bar in the Back
For media centre access, please visit
50 Best Social Media
About Middle East & North Africa's 50 Best Restaurants
Middle East & North Africa's 50 Best Restaurants was launched in 2022 to celebrate gastronomy across the region and to provide diners around the globe with local insight and culinary recommendations. The MENA's 50 Best Restaurants list is published by William Reed, which also publishes The World's 50 Best Restaurants, launched in 2002, and Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants and Asia's 50 Best Restaurants, both launched in 2013, as well as The World's 50 Best Bars, Asia's 50 Best Bars and North America's 50 Best Bars. William Reed is entirely responsible for the organisation of the awards, the voting system and the list.
About the host destination partner: Department of Culture and Tourism ? Abu Dhabi
The Department of Culture and Tourism ? Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) drives the sustainable growth of Abu Dhabi's culture and tourism sectors, fuels economic progress and helps achieve Abu Dhabi's wider global ambitions. By working in partnership with the organisations that define the emirate's position as a leading international destination, DCT Abu Dhabi strives to unite the ecosystem around a shared vision of the emirate's potential, coordinate effort and investment, deliver innovative solutions, and use the best tools, policies and systems to support the culture and tourism industries. DCT Abu Dhabi's vision is defined by the emirate's people, heritage and landscape. We work to enhance Abu Dhabi's status as a place of authenticity, innovation, and unparalleled experiences, represented by its living traditions of hospitality, pioneering initiatives and creative thought.
For more information about DCT Abu Dhabi and the destination, please visit tcaabudhabi.ae and visitabudhabi.ae. For Abu Dhabi Calendar, please visit inabudhabi.ae.
About the main sponsor: S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna
S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna are the main sponsors of Middle East & North Africa's 50 Best Restaurants. S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna are the leading natural mineral waters in the fine dining world. Together they interpret Italian style worldwide as a synthesis of excellence, pleasure and well-being.
PDF - https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1991092/MENA_50_BEST.pdf
Photo - https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1992192/50_Best.jpg
Logo - https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1983205/50Best_Mena_2023_Logo.jpg
SOURCE 50 Best
These press releases may also interest you