Feast On The Region’s Finest: Top 5 Dishes From The Top 5 MENA Restaurants

It’s incredible to see how across the MENA region are what many call the crème de la crème of the culinary world. Every year, a special list gets released, a list that differentiates the ordinary from the extraordinary.

We’re proud to announce that, once again, the Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants list has been unveiled for 2024. To get a taste of this year’s special entries, we’re introducing you to our picks of the must-try dishes from each of the top 5 entries:

Orfali Bros Bistro’s Halloub

For the second year in a row, Orfali Bros Bistro remains number one on the top 50 MENA restaurants list.

Three brothers, the Orfali Brothers from Aleppo, Syria, came together to bring this bistro to life in cosmopolitan Dubai.

When it comes to the menu, anything goes with the Orfali brothers, as their dishes weave together traditional Syrian stapes with pan-regional favorites, as well as European masterpieces with Asian ingredients.

They make their own rules; that’s why we believe their top dish has to be the Halloub. It epitomizes true Allepian culture, as its age-old dish of Halloub manages to get revived by the Orfali chef injecting it with a modern twist.

Meet their exquisite dish of braised short ribs drizzled with a vinegar glaze and served with a side of morel mushroom and onion confit.

Trèsind Studio’s Shisho Khakra

Back in 2014, Indian chef Himanshu Saini introduced the UAE to his highly conceptual take on modern and experimental Indian gastronomy through the Trèsind Studio.

Since then, he quickly became one of India’s hottest culinary exports. His restaurant has made it for the second year in a row in the 2nd spot of the Top 50 MENA restaurants list.

Via Tresind

Dining at Trèsind Studio is an intimate and theatrical experience in itself.

20 diners go through a journey of traveling across India, including stops at the Thar desert, Deccan plateau, coastal plains, and Himalayan mountains by visiting different areas of the restaurant, each carefully curated to match the plates in front of the diners.

A must-try dish we recommend is their Shisho Khakra from the Thar desert. It’s a delicate papadam made out of shisho leaves and topped with some yogurt cremeaux, tangy raw mango chutney, and locally sourced garden herbs. All of which is served on a living bonsai plant’s concrete planter.

Ossiano’s Kissing The Sea On The Lips

Once again excelling at the theatrical dining experience is yet another restaurant, number 3 on the Top 50 list, the progressive fine dining eatery Ossiano.

French-trained chef Gregoire Berger is the mastermind behind unexpected dining, with his restaurant literally situated almost inside an enormous aquarium, with everything from sharks to colorful fish gliding serenely past the floor-to-ceiling glass windows as diners enjoy their meal.

Delivered in what he terms as ‘waves,’ aka courses, Berger’s menu is all about what lives ‘Under the Sea,’ with each dish artfully plated and served with a touch of theater.

To get a taste of his unbounded creativity, you have to try his ‘Kissing the Sea on the Lips,’ an exquisite dish made of smoked salmon served as a crystal white sphere, enveloped with plankton sauce.

Moonrise’s Sarookh & Scallop

The brainchild of 27-year-old French-Syrian chef Solemann Haddad, Moonrise has nabbed the 4th spot in the Top 50 MENA list. Anyone arriving at Moonrise knows they’re in for an up-close and personal look at how each dish is made by the in-house chef.

Every day, eight diners arrive, get seated, and witness the plating of each dish in the eight-course tasting menu.

Haddad’s menu is a literal love letter to his city and childhood, which is why in his dishes, you’ll find a matrimony between Middle Eastern, European, and Japanese influences.

Arriving at Moonrise, we recommend going for their Sarookh & Scallops dish. It defies all culinary guidelines, as it’s basically a dish made from Hokkaido scallops that were warmed on charcoal.

Adding a touch of flair and elegance, the dish also includes Oscietra Caviar and their signature Sarookh (صاروخ) sauce made with ponzu & naturally fermented butter from Maine-et-Loire in France.

#5: Khufu’s Braised Beef & Mu’ammar Rice

Anyone who comes and visits Egypt will likely have heard of Khufu, one of the most popular and critically acclaimed fine dining restaurants across the country.

Imagine dining at the Giza plateau with unobstructed views of the majestic Pyramids; that’s Khufu. Serving up its dishes is executive chef Mostafa Seif who was brought up in the Cairo restaurant industry and brings a taste of Egypt in all his menus.

To get the most out of your experience at Khufu, we recommend going for their Braised Beef & Mu’ammar Rice, which truly bid adieu to rural Egyptian cuisine.

This special dish features a tender beef brisket that’s slow-cooked for many hours before it’s shredded and pressed into this unique rectangular shape.

It then gets topped with rich beef jus and served with the restaurant’s own buttery Muammar rice.

Getting to try a dish from each of these top five restaurants means you’ll be getting a true taste of the region’s finest culinary and gastronomic creations.

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