Did your favourite kitchen make the cut..?

This is it, the moment Dubai’s aldesko diners and delivery order devotees have been waiting for – the full and unabridged shortlist of restaurants selected for the final of the 2023 edition of the Deliveroo Restaurant Awards in the UAE, has been announced.

Chosen by you, the taste-making public, the candidates and their mealtime manifestos have been whittled down to a handful of hopefuls through a total of more than 200,000 votes, cast across the UAE.

By order of the people

Each category now holds three finalists, all of whom can truly claim to be real restaurants of the people. The next round of voting begins today (August 29, 2023), and you’ll have until September 15 to register your pick for which eateries you think represent the finest in their class.

You can cast votes across 21 core categories (such as Best Burger, Best Homegrown, Best Vegan), but one award is reserved for appointment by some real heroes, Deliveroo’s meal-supplying army in teal, the Riders.

And then there is the coveted, Grand Prix-tier, Restaurant of the Year award, decided by a panel of experts and culinary connoisseurs. The crack unit of UAE-based gastronauts is an experienced and, dare we say, fiendishly attractive (yes, one of the members is from What’s On) collective handpicked for their proficiency in the art of snack consumption and ordering out.

Last year’s winner, Pickl is once again in the mix for the big prize but faces some feisty local and international competition.

The final countdown

October 12 is the important date for what will be only the second-ever grand final of the Deliveroo UAE Restaurant Awards, honouring the democratically selected cream of the UAE’s dining-to-go community.

Meet the judges

Deliveroo’s panellists for the Restaurant of the Year category include:

  • Anis Harb  – General Manager at Deliveroo Middle East
  • Farah Sawaf – Founder of Soul Communications. With an innate understanding of the UAE’s dynamic F&B landscape, Farah used her passion for food to orchestrate Soul’s birth from her very own kitchen in 2010. Having worked with some of the most renowned restaurateurs in the world she navigates entrepreneurs, chefs, suppliers and ingredients with unparalleled finesse; making her and her insight into all things food an absolute must-have for the Restaurants Awards judging panel.
  • Miles Buckeridge – Deputy Editor at What’s On. Miles’ passion for experiencing the world through food means he comes to the panel with a journeyed palate and ample experience. At What’s On, his days are spent trying, evaluating, and describing the latest evolutions of the city’s ever-changing cuisine scene; making him a perfect fit for the panel.
  • Courtney Brandt – An author, journalist, and freelance content creator living in Dubai for nearly 20 years. Courtney is the founder of A to Zaatar, and has been published in multiple local and international publications. Her work with some of UAE’s most exciting restaurants, conferences and projects led to a spot for her on the panel for this year’s Deliveroo’s Restaurant Awards.

The shortlist

Without further ado, your finalists are…

Best Burger

Five Guys, Pickl, Shake Shack

Best Asian

Chin Chin, Din Tai Fung, PF Chang’s

Best Pizza

Papa Johns, Pitfire, Pizza Hut

Best Middle Eastern

Allo Beirut, Al Safadi, Barbar

Best Fried Chicken

Pickl, KFC, Jollibee

Best Homegrown Dubai

Pickl, Taqado, Salt

Best Homegrown Abu Dhabi

Al Farah, Gino’s Deli, Mosaic

Best Dessert

Baskin Robbins, Les Galussetes, Magnolia Bakery

Best Italian

Eataly, Oregano, Pasta della Nonna

Best Plant-Based/ Vegan

Dip Dash, Acai & Co, Projeto Acai

Best Editions Restaurant

Five Guys, Go! Greek, Gallus Chicken Rotisserie

Most-Loved Chain

McDonald’s, Starbucks, Zaatar w Zeit

Best Newcomer

Wise Guys, Joe & the Juice, Domino’s

Best Coffee

Costa, % Arabica, Starbucks

Best Fine Dining

LPM, Nusr-Et, Il Borro

Best Healthy Restaurant

Krave, Salata, Joe & the Juice

Best Family Restaurant

Couqley, Nando’s, Paul Bakery & restaurant

Best Value Eats

Allo Beirut, Subway, Operation Falafel

Best Japanese

Reif Kushiyaki, SushiArt, SushiDo

Best Poke

Poke & Co, Poke Poke, CALI-POKE

Best Indian

Gazebo, Asha’s , Biryani Pot

Best Restaurant (voted by riders)

McDonald’s, Five Guys, Pickl

Restaurant of The Year (voted by panel)

Al Safadi, Pizza Di Rocco, Saddle, Pickl, Five Guys

Talking about the shortlist, Anis Harb, General Manager at Deliveroo Middle East said, “During the first round of voting for the second edition of Deliveroo’s Restaurant Awards in the UAE, we witnessed a record-breaking number of votes cast by the public.”

“Undoubtedly, food possesses a remarkable ability to unite people, and we thank our devoted customers for their support in voting for their local favourites. As the door to the second round of voting opens, we encourage the public to cast their final votes to ensure their favourites emerge victorious and get the recognition they deserve in our thriving F&B industry!”

Make your vote count, select your favourites now on the uae.deliveroorestaurantawards.com website. And, may the odds be ever for your flavour…

Images: Provided/What’s On Archive