Skip to Content

This city has more ‘best’ restaurants than any other in the Middle East

Known for its striking setting and thoughtful menu, Ossiano in Dubai ranked third on the 2024 list.
Known for its striking setting and thoughtful menu, Ossiano in Dubai ranked third on the 2024 list.

By Rebecca Cairns, CNN

(CNN) — The 50 Best Restaurants power list has unveiled its 2024 list for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) — and one city is dominating the rankings.

Dubai has 18 restaurants in the top 50, while Amman, Cairo and Tel Aviv tie for second place with five each, and Marrakech and Beirut take joint third with three restaurants apiece. The list, voted on by more than 250 food and beverage industry experts across the region, includes restaurants in 14 cities across the region.

The Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants list was launched in 2022, reflecting the rapid growth of the region’s restaurant scene. With a booming culinary landscape of more than 13,000 eateries, Dubai has dominated the list since its inception, with 15 out of 50 restaurants on the list located in the city for the past two editions.

The Orfali Bros Bistro won the top title for the second consecutive year. Opened in 2021 by three brothers — Mohammad, Wassim, and Omar — the menu celebrates their Syrian heritage and incorporates international influences from Dubai’s many overseas residents.

“We’re very happy, we’re very honored, to get this accolade,” Mohammad Orfali told CNN, adding that the playful menu represents “the Dubai community and the diversity of people here.”

In a press statement, William Drew, director of content for Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants, praised the Orfali Bros Bistro for its “creativity, innovation and food presentation, complemented by an intimate service style.”

Other Dubai restaurants in the top ten include Trèsind Studio (a fine-dining restaurant specializing in experimental, modern Indian cuisine), Ossiano (the iconic “underwater” seafood restaurant at Atlantis, The Palm), Moonrise (an intimate Japanese and Middle East-inspired restaurant), and 3Fils (famed for its casual Asian-fusion fare and seafood specials).

In the two years since 50 Best started its MENA list, the type of guests visiting Dubai’s restaurants has changed, says Grégoire Berger, head chef at Ossiano, which was named the region’s third-best restaurant.

Dubai’s restaurant landscape has changed drastically since Berger began working at Ossiano in 2014, moving away from franchises and hyper-commercialized ventures toward dining experiences that emphasize the artistry and culinary journey, he says. The 50 Best awards has helped “put a spotlight” on the evolving food scene, and by platforming more casual restaurants, they’ve created healthy competition among the city’s many eateries. “It’s more about: ‘Is the experience great? Is the food great? Is the personality there?,’” says Berger.

Now, Berger sees more guests from overseas that are visiting Dubai to “discover new culinary destinations” and “find something that I believe you will not find somewhere else.”

Three new restaurants from Dubai were added to the list: Bait Maryam, where Chef Salam Dakkak is introducing global diners to home-style Palestinian cuisine; 21 Grams, a restaurant and bakery serving up Balkan soul food; and Row on 45, a fine-dining restaurant helmed by celebrity chef Jason Atherton.

The list was announced online on February 13. With ongoing conflict in the Middle East, the organizers decided to forgo a live awards event in the region this year.

™ & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

Article Topic Follows: Food

Jump to comments ↓

CNN Newsource


KIFI Local News 8 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content