Orfali Bros Bistro is named the MENA’s Best Restaurant for a second year while an impressive 14 other homegrown concepts make the list… 

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. Although there will be no in-person awards ceremony this year, the UAE’s hospitality industry – particularly its homegrown talent – has a lot to celebrate.

So, *drum roll please* here are the UAE restaurants that made the cut for 2024: 

48: Talea by Antonio Guida

Starting with a new entry at 48, Talea is based in the capital’s home of unabashed elegance, Emirates Palace, and dressed to impress with grand interior design. Putting a regal spin on upscale Italian dining, the concept comes from the Michelin-honoured Chef Antonio Guido, and presents a menu built around the theme of “Cucina di Famiglia,” – family-style cuisine.


41: Row on 45

Debuting on the 2024 list as number 41, Row on 45 is Jason Atherton’s Dubai foray into tasting menu experiences located at the Grosvenor House. An ambitious gastronomic experience is spread across 17 courses, in a modular, multi-setting, sensorial safari.


39: LPM Abu Dhabi

A new entry at number 39, refined French restaurant LPM Abu Dhabi makes the list alongside its sister restaurant in Dubai. In the capital, this renowned eatery is found in a lush location on the waterfront at the Galleria Al Maryah Island Mall.


37: Lowe

Leading the way in sustainable dining, Michelin Green Star-awarded Lowe drops 22 places from 15 last year to number 37 in 2024. Applying an experimental approach to the main menu, the dishes pack a culinary punch, while still being sustainably driven.


35: Gaia

This gorgeous Greek Mediterranean restaurant in DIFC is consistently recognised as one of Dubai’s finest establishments. Dropping 18 places this year from 17th to 35th, Gaia is the brainchild of charismatic local chef Izu Ani.


32: 21 Grams

Foodie favourite 21 Grams debuts the list at number 32 for 2024. This homegrown, family-style bistro serves up Balkan soul food and baked goods to its guests in Umm Suqeim. Diners can enjoy a cuisine that brings together the amalgamation of flavours that reside in the Balkan Peninsula.


30: Reif Kushiyaki

Known in equal measure for its legendary Wagyu katsu sando and the local legend at the helm, Reif Japanese Kushiyaki has drawn foodies to Dar Wasl Mall and, more recently, Dubai Hills Business Park. Inventive plates and playful Japanese dishes in an intimate, casual setting make this one of the best restaurants in Dubai. Reif Kushiyaki drops 29 places to number 30 in 2024.


28: Bait Maryam

A new entry at number 28, homegrown Levantine gem, Bait Maryam. Salam Dakkak, the chef and owner was named by World’s 50 Best as the Middle East & North Africa’s (MENA) best female chef of 2023. The Michelin Guide listed restaurant is known for its authentic flavours and home-style cooking and has won a legion of fans since opening in JLT in 2017.


23: LPM Dubai

A stalwart restaurant on DIFC’s dining scene, LPM Dubai refuses to go out of fashion, dropping two places from 21 last year to number 23 in 2024. Tried and tested recipes and staff that make you feel special provide the backdrop to a Dubai dining expereince that keeps getting better.


21: Jun’s

Climbing 23 places from 44th to number 21 in 2024, chef Kelvin Cheung’s global culinary influence and personal stories provide the backdrop to a creative menu at his first Dubai restaurant, Jun’s. Coupled with stunning interiors and a sleek setting on Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, the nostalgic narrative that comes with each dish chef Kelvin presents gives Jun’s an intimacy that is rarely offered in Dubai.


19: Mimi Kakushi

Mimi Kakushi re-enters the list at number 19 after first being named 20th in 2022. Since opening in 2021, Rikas Group’s Mimi Kakushi has become a popular spot for foodies and cocktail enthusiasts alike. Nestled in the Four Seasons Jumeirah Restaurant Village, it’s inspired by 1920s Osaka and serves experimental Japanese cuisine and an extensive menu of creative cocktails which is why it was also named as the best bar in the Middle East and Africa.


17: Boca

Another new entry at number 17, Boca is a fabulous Mediterranean restaurant in DIFC recognised (with a Green Michelin star in 2023) for its sustainability – from the catering supplies to the wines it sources, everything has been picked for its eco credentials.


14: 11 Woodfire

Singaporean chef-owner Akmal Anuar transformed a large villa in Jumeirah 1 into his One Michelin Star restaurant, 11 Woodfire, a contemporary eatery specialising in open-fire cooking and offers a  global variety of vegetables, seafood and meats grilled to perfection over oak, hickory or hay. ُThe restaurant climbs 21 places from 35 last year to number 14 in 2024.


13: Zuma

Zuma has become a true dining institution in Dubai, paving the way for DIFC’s dining scene to evolve in a way unlike any other foodie enclave of the city. Making the list for a third year running, Zuma’s fine Japanese fare is in a different league and for 2024, it stays strong at lucky number 13.


11: Kinoya

Chef Neha Mishra’s restaurant Kinoya was recognised as the one to watch at the inaugural MENA 50 Best Restaurants list in 2022. A sold out supper club that turned into a permanent restaurant in 2021, ramen is the star of the show at this cosy spot in The Greens. After being named seventh in 2023, the ramen spot opening its first international outpost inside the luxe new Dining Hall in Harrods, London. For 2024, Kinoya drops four spots, to number 11.


6: 3 Fils

Last year’s number five, 3 Fils drops to number 6 in the MENA 50 Best Restuarants list for 2024. 3Fils first opened in 2016 in Jumeirah Fishing Harbour, and quickly developed a loyal following, despite its petite size. The year after opening, it was recognised as Indie Restaurant of the Year at the What’s On Dubai Awards 2017. It’s an independently owned, unflashy, unlicensed, super-casual, no-reservations joint that also happens to serve delicious food.


4: Moonrise

Climbing six places for 2024, foodies across Dubai adore Moonrise – and for good reason. The almost enitrely self-taught chef Solemann Haddad is just 26 years old, and was recognised with one Michelin star last year. At Moonrise, guests enjoy chef Solemann’s love letter to his favourite parts of growing up in the UAE. The grilled cheese might just be Dubai’s finest dish.


3: Ossiano

This fish-focused restaurant inside a functioning aquarium catapults onto the list for the first time to be named the Highest New Entry Award. The ingenuity of chef Grégoire Berger, along with a narrative approach to reimagining French cuisine, has seen Ossiano not only debut on this list at number 3, but also snap up a Michelin Star. Ossiano has the trifecta of luxurious setting, complete with sideshow of 65,000 marine life passing by; unrivalled hospitality that comes from years of expert training; and exquisite presentation of seafood specialities that impresses time and again.


2: Trèsind Studio

Chef Himanshu Saini, and his restaurant, is – and will always be – a force to be reckoned with. On the rooftop of Nakheel Mall, this restaurant is an intimate dining experience, helmed by a humble chef with genius ambition. His offering is  an ever-evolving menu that elevates modern Indian cuisine into the stratosphere. Tresind Studio is the recipient of the Restaurant of the Year at the What’s On Awards Dubai 2022, two Michelin Stars in May 2023, and now the MENA 50 Best Restaurants coveted number two spot for a second year running.


1: Orfali Bros Bistro

Last but not least, Orfali Bros Bistro secures the coveted top spot for another year. Every flavour, ingredient and technique plays a special part in the story at this restaurant, which is run by a formidable trio of talented brothers. This fabulous bistro in Wasl 51 has found the perfect balance of respecting tradition while pushing boundaries. What you get at Orfali Bros Bistro, apart from a happy belly of creative dishes, is the sense that this really is a passion project by three men who love what they do. Nice people. Good price. Great food. Six words that tell you all you need to know.


Images: Provided