Homegrown Orfali Bros. Crowned Best Restaurant at Last Night’s MENA’s 50 Best

menas 50 Best 2023
@ORFALIBROS_BISTRO

The triumphant return of MENA’s 50 Best was met with excitement and anticipation at last night’s Conrad Hotel in Abu Dhabi where the list was revealed and awarded to MENA’s chefs and restauranteurs counting down from 50 all the way to the number one spot. Last year’s inaugural list shocked more than a few when Dubai’s homegrown casual eatery, 3Fils, took home the number one position. This year, the number one spot saw another restaurant made in Dubai, Orfali Bros. – founded by three Syrian brothers from Aleppo – crowned as the Best Restaurant in MENA, as well as the UAE moving up from its position in 6th place last year.

Newcomer to the list, Ossiano, helmed by the indomitable Chef Gregoire Berger, unsurprisingly made it into the top 10 sliding easily into fourth position, and Chef Himanshu Saini‘s foodie favorite Trèsind Studio moved up from last year’s number four position landing in the number two spot, just behind Orfali Bros. Another welcome surprise witnessing the rise of last year’s ‘One To Watch’ – Kinoya – to the number seven position, securely establishing itself in the top 10. 3Fils moved to number five but remains in the top 10, and 27-year-old Solemann Haddad – winner of Michelin‘s 2022 Young Chef Award – brought his young, Omakase, fine-dining concept Moonrise to number 10, proving that he may be new to the game, but he is perfectly capable of playing in the big leagues.

Other notable awards include last year’s best female chef, Tala Bashmi of Fusions by Tala deservedly landing in the number three spot, moving up a record-breaking 36 spots and therefore receiving the Highest Climber Award 2023 as well as Best Restaurant in Bahrain. In one of the most emotional moments of the evening, Bait Maryam‘s beloved Chef Salam Dakkak, ascended the steps to the stage to receive her award as the Best Female Chef and spoke from her heart when she said that she believes any woman with a dream, who loves to cook, can turn her passion into a reality.

Chef Karim Bourgi took home the award for Best Pastry Chef, and Beirut’s Em Sherif was awarded the Art of Hospitality. OCD of Tel Aviv was honored with the Sustainable Restaurant Award for its commitment to sustainability by expertly crafting its menu from the excess of other restaurants, and Chef Anissa Helou was given the Foodics Icon Award to much applause. Finally, Moustafa Elrefaey won the coveted Estrella Damme N.A. Chef’s Choice Award and the larger-than-life chef’s Cairo-based restaurant, Zooba, earned itself a spot at number nine as well as claiming the Best Restaurant in Egypt Award.

UAE restaurants dominated the list once again with Dubai favorites like Reif Kushiyaki, Hoseki, Gaia, and Lowe making the list as well as new restaurants like Jun’s and 11 Woodfire. While there were fewer chain restaurants on the list this time around, dependable favorites like Zuma, LPM, Coya, and Hakkasan continue to shine. Interestingly enough, a few restaurants that earned themselves Michelin stars in last year’s inaugural list were notably absent. You can find the complete list of winners at The World’s 50 Best.

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