Sunday April 14th, 2024
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These UAE Eateries Made It To MENA’s 2024 Top 50 List

20 of 2024’s top 50 regional restaurants reside within the borders of the seven Emirates.

Scene Now UAE

These UAE Eateries Made It To MENA’s 2024 Top 50 List

MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants have announced their 2024 list of leading regional restaurants, 20 of which reside within the Emirates. The restaurants were meticulously selected by a group of over 250 food-expert jury members, ranking eateries on many criteria, such as culinary finesse of the cuisine, degree of originality and overall dining experience.

Even amongst the UAE’s uber-saturated F&B industry, and intense regional competition as a whole, these restaurants have been selected as a cut above the rest…

Orfali Bros Bistro

Wasl 51 Mall, Dubai

Rank: 1

The Syrian-born Orfali brothers are the trio on top of the regional restaurant game for the second consecutive year with their unpretentious bistro. What’s more, they only opened up shop in 2021.

Eldest brother and head chef Mohammad leads the way in the kitchen, blending ingredients, techniques, traditions and influences from across the world to create his own unique take on Arabic cuisine. If the Orfali brothers love to eat it, that’s all that matters; they trust their palates and that has paid off big time. With the backing of younger brothers Wassim and Omar in the pastry kitchen, the trio have become a culinary force to be reckoned with. With a colourful menu featuring highlights such as umami eclair, and a blend of traditional narrative and nostalgia, the MENA’s number 1 has soared to regional and international acclaim.

Tresind Studio

St. Regis Gardens, The Palm, Dubai

Rank: 2

This fantastically experimental and highly conceptual take on Indian gastronomy has been a pioneer in its field since its inception in 2018. Opened by culinary standard-bearer Himanshu Saini, Tresind Studio’s menu traces the country's five millennia-long history and the mind-bogglingly varied produce that appear across the vast subcontinent, divided into its connected but distinct regions, from desert plains to coastal landscape.

Ossiano

Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai

Rank: 3

Serving up sublime seafood plates in a suitably aquatic location, Ossiano is set beside Atlantis’ vast aquarium, where sharks and other marine creatures glide on by. But it’s not the setting that lasts longest in the memory, it’s the exquisite dishes on chef Gregorie Berger’s menu. The Brittany-born French chef’s offerings tell a story of his personal heritage as well as his globe-trotting travels. With courses delivered in ‘waves’, the technically advanced dishes never lose sight of fun or flavour, telling stories with a certain degree of table-top theatre.

Moonrise

Eden House, Al Satwa, Dubai

Rank: 4

Solemann Haddad, one of Dubai’s hottest home-grown talents, hosts stellar star-lit gastronomy atop a luxury residential block with huge views along the coastline. It’s arguably the hottest reservation ticket in the city, with only eight counter-seat covers, served twice-nightly. The lucky 16 bear witness to the immaculate preparation and plating of each of the eight courses on the menu, with ingredients and dishes ranging from sumac and sashimi to zaatar furikake. The 27 chef saw his restaurant hit the top 50 list for the first time in 2023, and has since risen all the way to number 4.

3 Fils

Jumeirah Fishing Harbour, Dubai

Rank: 6

3 Fils was the first venue to be given the title of Best Restaurant in the MENA region when the award was founded in 2022. A contemporary yet casual take on Asian fusion, it takes all the fuss out of delicious dining experiences. It proves that you don’t need a flashy venue to become one of the region’s most sought-after spots. Chef Shun Shiroma, affectionately nicknamed ‘the umami warrior’, hails from the island of Okinawa in Japan and worked across Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong and the US before joining 3 Fils in 2021. Every night, he slings perfect sushi rolls, bowls of A5 Wagyu udon and marinated 72-hour slow-cooked lamb ribs. Relatively straightforward, but well sourced and perfectly executed.

Kinoya

The Onyx Tower 2, Dubai

Rank: 11

What began with Chef Neha Mishra’s love of traditional Japanese ramen evolved through a constantly-sold-out Dubai supper club to become Dubai’s hottest ramen spot; it even has a sister branch in the upscale food hall of London’s Harrods. With handmade noodles crafted from scratch, signature creamy chicken broths and a beautifully aromatic duck ramen, it will blow every disappointing bowl of IndoMie you’ve ever had out of the water, and then some. People keep returning to Kinoya for its comfort and consistency, all at a great price point.

Zuma

Gate Village, Dubai

Rank: 13

You can expect contemporary Japanese cooking with fun and flair on a visit to Zuma, perhaps a welcome change from the toned-down, restraint-obsessed Japanese restaurants you might be used to. With some of the most skilled practitioners of this cuisine, spread across three interconnected kitchens, expect a standout range of sushi, sashimi and grilled meats. They even have a weekend brunch seating, a dream pairing with a bar that features regularly in lists of the worlds’ 50 best bars, shaking up special takes on sake-based cocktails.

11 Woodfire

Villa 11, Jumeirah, Dubai

Rank: 14

Fire is the operative word when it comes to this sensationally smoky mainstay of the Dubai restaurant scene. Grilled meat, seafood and vegetables are all treated with the same intense attention to detail, whilst diners wait for their delectable meals in a tastefully minimalist industrial hall, complete with exposed wood and a large open kitchen. Singaporean Chef Akmal Anuar, well known for launching 3 Fils and Goldfish, continues to bring customers back, always yearning for more.

Boca

Gate Village, Dubai

Rank: 17

Flying the flag for sustainability and local produce, Boca was founded in 2014 by restaurateur and sustainability pioneer Omar Shihab, serving modern Spanish-inspired cuisine. As one of the first restaurants in Dubai to serve Fujairah-grown Dibba Bay oysters, one of Boca’s key tenets is to locally-source as much of their menu as possible, from native plants foraged from the deserts to strawberries and tomatoes grown in-house. The recent addition of Head Chef Patricia Roig to the team has seen the restaurant go from strength to strength; new menu highlights include tortillitas de camarones and Northern Spain’s kokotxas de bacalao.

Mimi Kakushi

Four Seasons Resort, Jumeirah, Dubai

Rank: 19

Another iconic Japanese restaurant in Dubai’s burgeoning culinary scene, this 1920s inspired space serves up sleek, contemporary Japanese cuisine. Head Chef Vladimir Kim is of Russian-Korean origin, and with his 24 years of experience at the top of the kitchen, the menu overflows with craveable dishes that keep people coming back time after time; baked bone marrow with beef tartare and a seasonal mushroom donabe rice pot take the coveted top spots in that list.

Jun's

Sheikh Muhammed bin Rasheed Boulevard, Downtown Dubai

Rank: 21

After Head Chef Kelvin Cheung’s 10-year-long stint in India, he moved to the UAE in 2021 to open Jun’s, offering profound, personal cooking inspired by his life and work across the world. Whilst the word ‘fusion’ can strike fear into the hearts of some foodies, Cheung’s menu is a refreshing smorgasbord of the chef’s life so far, to be eaten in a stunning dining room with stunning views of the Burj Khalifa.

LPM Dubai

Gate Village, Dubai

Rank: 23

LPM’s picturesque Provençal plates, supplemented by world-class mixology, make this restaurant the grande dame of the Dubai culinary scene, having first opened its doors over a decade ago. Expect consistently high quality ingredients, tried-and-tested recipes, staff that make you feel like a regular (even if you’re not), with the unfussy yet formidable cuisine stradling the French-Italian border.

Bait Maryam

Jumeirah Lake Towers, Dubai

Rank: 28

Since its opening in 2017, Salam Dakkak’s Bait Maryam has been inspired by the chef’s mother, with touches of home dotted all around the restaurant, from wooden tables and vintage crockery, but it’s the modern take on traditional homey food that really shines; food that has been placed on dining tables by loving mothers and grandmothers across the Levant for generations. Dakkak’s fiercely proud Palestinian heritage brings in people from all over, looking for a taste, a feeling, of home. 

Reif Kushiyaki

Dar Wasl Mall, Dubai

Rank: 30

Opt for one of the coveted counter stools at this Japanese eatery, and let Singaporean Chef Reif Othman guide you on a personal culinary journey, with regularly evolving menus and improvisation from the charismatic restaurateur. This spot puts a well-deserved spotlight on Japanese snack-like street food skewers, cooked over a robata grill; think crispy chicken skin and teriyaki-slathered cuts. That being said, vegetarians are also fully catered to with inventive meat-free plates packed with flavour.

21 Grams 

Meyan Mall, Umm Suqeim, Dubai

Rank: 32

Serially underrated Balkan cuisine is allowed to flourish, under the watchful eye of founder and chef Stasha Tonchev, flying the flag for a previously unrepresented culinary genre. Contemporary takes on the traditional dishes that Stasha grew up with are eaten by diners with great aplomb. Tonchev is a beacon for Dubai’s culinary community, as one of the city’s few female restaurateurs and head chefs.

Gaia 

Gate Village, Dubai

Rank: 35

This sun-soaked Grecian gastronomy, with an emphasis on sumptuous seafood, enjoys a background of relaxed Mediterranean vibes and a buzzing atmosphere no matter the day of the week. The taverna-esque setup makes this restaurant in a city where uniqueness is a tall order for any venue. Whilst you’re there, check out the ice counter, where the freshest catches of the day are laid out. Pick out your own seafood, and tell the cooks exactly how you’d like it to be cooked.

Lowe

KOA Canvas, Dubai

Rank: 37

Tucked away in the clubhouse of a leafy residential development, Lowe is an unassuming space that packs a culinary punch. Make no mistake, it’s all about the food. With interiors clad in wood and unfinished concrete, the open plan kitchen that occupies the entire width of the restaurant pulls in the focus of all diners. That is, until the food arrives. Experimental, simple ingredient-driven dishes are cooked over fire, with smoked beef tartare and whole roasted sole the stars of the menu.

LPM Abu Dhabi

The Galleria, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi

Rank: 39

Alongside Dubai, the Emirates’ capital city is also host to one of the country’s most beloved dining spots, carrying over all the glory of its French-Mediterranean cuisine and aesthetics to LPM Abu Dhabi. Enjoy crowd-pleasing classings in a convivial, laid-back ambience, celebrating the best of traditional ingredients, from vegetables and citrus fruits to olives, seafood and meat.

Row on 45

Dubai Marina, Dubai

Rank: 41

There’s no tiring of Dubai’s broad array of Japanese restaurants, especially when they are as good as the ones on this list. This refined and experiential addition to the scene hosts only 22 diners at a time, guiding them through the three acts of a conceptual menu inspired by Head Chef Jason Atherton’s decades of professional culinary experience. His love for Japanese ingredients and culture is present in many of the 17-courses that the lucky 22 get to enjoy; Hokkaido scallops, Saroma Wagyu, and Bluefin Maguro, to name a few.

Talea by Antonio Guida

Mandarin Oriental Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi

Rank: 48

Occupying a coveted space in the regal and opulent Mandarin Oriental Emirates Palace, Talea pays homage to Italian classics in an authentic but refined approach, under the direction of Italian culinary master Antonio Guida. The home-cooking-inspired ‘Cucina di Famiglia’ menu features handmade ravioli and authentic carbonara, as well as ossobuco and vitello tonnato - a summer dish of chilled veal in a tuna-caper sauce.

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