Cementing the capital’s place as a culinary destination of note…

The very first Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants awards ceremony took place at Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers last night (Monday February 7, 2022).

Over the past few months, a secret cabal of the region’s most informed foodies, have been posting their votes on the restaurants they think deserve to be known as the MENA’s best.

And of course Abu Dhabi, being the hulking gastro-polis that it is, was well represented in the winner’s list.

What are the best Abu Dhabi restaurants?

In the final top 50 list, Hakkasan Abu Dhabi was ranked as the 25th best in region, Coya as the 34th best, and steakhouse Butcher & Still earned the 48th best spot.

Habibi, come to Dubai

Whilst it was a night of celebration for the culinary affairs of the capital, our neighbours Dubai picked up 16 places overall, and included amongst those the top two spots.

3 Fils, founded by two Emiratis and Singaporean chef Akmal Anuar (who has since gone on to create new concepts Goldfish and 11 Woodfire, leaving Freddy Kazadi to helm the kitchen), an unlicensed restaurant in Jumeirah Fishing Harbour fought off fierce competition to be crowned the best restaurant in the Middle East at the awards.

3Fils wasn’t the only Dubai restaurant to be ranked among the best in the Middle East. Other big winners included DIFC’s long-serving izakaya-style restaurant Zuma (fresh from being ranked at 16th in the World’s 50 Best bars) came in second place; fourth place went to critically acclaimed Tresind Studio; and Orfali Bros Bistro, founded by three food-loving brothers from Syria, ranked sixth. Elsewhere LPM was ranked 8th, Gaia 10th and Il Borro Tuscan Bistro came in 11th. You can view the full list here.

Individual winners

Congratulations to all the big winners across the UAE, which also included individual awards for Emirati Sahar Parham Al Awadhi who won the MENA’s Best Pastry Chef gong; Dubai’s Lowe was awarded the Sustainable Restaurant Award 2022; the spectacular Trèsind Studio was selected for the Art of Hospitality Award 2022 award; and Dubai’s on-trend ramen joint, Kinoya was singled out as ‘One to Watch’.

This is not time to rest though, the anonymous voting cycle will begin again soon, and every plate counts.

Images: What’s On Archive