Restaurants from 11 countries in the Middle East and North Africa are being recognised in the region’s first formal ranking unveiled overnight, with Dubai’s contemporary Japanese eatery 3 Fils claiming the spoils and associated bragging rights.
The harbourfront Asian-fusion restaurant overlooking Jumeirah Bay Island was voted into top spot at a special event hosted by Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants and the Department of Culture and Tourism in Abu Dhabi.
Highlights of the 3 Fils menu include king crab salad, marinated lamb ribs, fusion sushi, and matcha chocolates with tea crumbs and milk foam.
“It is a brilliantly executed home-grown restaurant, loved by local residents and visitors alike,” praised 50 Best Restaurants Director of Content, William Drew.
Despite a rich cultural and culinary heritage, no organised ranking of the restaurants in the region has existed. The list of Asia's top 50 restaurants is now in its 10th year.
The United Arab Emirates had a lot to celebrate from the night overall, taking out six of the ranking’s top ten spots including three of the top four and an impressive 19 from the complete list of 50.
Dubai dominated the Top 10 with six entries including Japanese izakaya Zuma, modern Indian restaurant Trèsind Studio, Orfali Bros Bistro, LPM Dubai and Gaia.
Abu Dhabi claimed three restaurants in the Top 50, led by the fusion Chinese restaurant Hakkasan at No 25.
Israel also enjoyed a successful evening, chalking up six spots on the list including the third place, which went to local favourite OCD Restaurant.
Other countries to feature in the list included Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Tunisia, each claiming at least one spot. Cuisines from outside the region were well represented including Japanese, Italian, French, and Indian.
“We are excited to see that 11 countries from the region are represented on the Middle East & North Africa's 50 Best Restaurants list, demonstrating the extraordinary diversity of cuisine in this region,” Drew added.
Also announced at the awards ceremony were the Best Female Chef (Tala Bashmi from Bahrain), a Sustainable Restaurant Award (Lowe from Dubai), and the Art of Hospitality Award (Trèsind Studio from Dubai).
Rankings were decided by votes from 250 leading culinary figures as part of the Middle East and North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, and any functioning restaurant in the region is eligible.
The academy is divided into six regions – the Gulf, Saudi Arabia, Levant-plus, Israel and East and West divides of North Africa and each panel featured esteemed food writers and critics, chefs, restaurateurs.
Each voting member was asked to vote for seven restaurants with at least one located outside their home country, with all votes tabulated and aggregated.
From here, the focus turned back to Asia where the continent's Top 50 Bars for 2022 have been revealed.
Top 50 Restaurants in the Middle East and North Africa
1. 3 Fils – Dubai, UAE
2. Zuma – Dubai, UAE
3. OCD Restaurant – Tel Aviv, Israel
4. Trèsind Studio – Dubai, UAE
5. Sachi – Cairo, Egypt
6. Orfali Bros Bistro – Dubai, UAE
7. Fakhreldin – Amman, Jordan
8. LPM Dubai – Dubai, UAE
9. George & John – Tel Aviv, Israel
10. Gaia – Dubai, UAE
11. Il Borro Tuscan Bistro – Dubai, UAE
12. Baron – Beirut, Lebanon
13. Coya Dubai – Dubai, UAE
14. HaBasta – Tel Aviv, Israel
15. Myazu – Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
16. Reif Kushiyaki – Dubai, UAE
17. Animar – Tel Aviv, Israel
18. Trèsind – Dubai, UAE
19. Kazoku – Cairo, Egypt
20. Mimi Kakushi – Dubai, UAE
21. Liza – Beirut, Lebanon
22. Em Sherif – Beirut, Lebanon
23. Lowe – Dubai, UAE
24. Pescado – Ashdod, Israel
25. Hakkasan – Abu Dhabi, UAE
26. La Grande Table Marocaine – Marrakech, Morocco
27. 13C Bar in the Back – Amman, Jordan
28. Tawlet Mar Mikhael – Beirut, Lebanon
29. Amazonico – Dubai, UAE
30. Marble – Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
31. Mirai – Manama, Bahrain
32. Iloli – Casablanca, Morocco
33. BB Social Dining – Dubai, UAE
34. Coya Abu Dhabi – Abu Dhabi, UAE
35. Indochine – Dubai, UAE
36. Cut by Wolfgang Puck – Doha, Qatar
37. Porterhouse – Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
38. Zooba (Zamalek) – Cairo, Egypt
39. Fusions by Tala – Manama, Bahrain
40. Milgo & Milbar – Tel Aviv, Israel
41. Sufra – Amman, Jordan
42. LPM Riyadh – Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
43. White Robata – Kuwait City, Kuwait
44. Hoseki – Dubai, UAE
45. Izakaya – Cairo, Egypt
46. La Closerie – Tunis, Tunisia
47. Clap – Beirut, Lebanon
48. Butcher & Still – Abu Dhabi, UAE
49. +61 – Marrakech, Morocco
50. Tokyo – Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
The author travelled as a guest of Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism.