The fine-dining Indian restaurant is now officially one of the 50 best eateries across the Middle East and North Africa
The debut of the Middle East and North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants awards was a culinary star studded affair. Icons from the industry converged in Abu Dhabi, raising a glass to the best in the business at Conrad Abu Dhabi, Etihad Towers.
Sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, restaurants from across 11 countries within the Middle East and North Africa were announced as the top 50 places to eat in the region. The list features dining establishments from UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Morocco, Qatar, Bahrain and Tunisia. Hosted by Samar Breitem, the evening was rife with world-famous chefs, restaurateurs, food critics and other culinary experts.
The list of restaurants was compiled by the MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, an influential group of 250 key leaders in the restaurant industry across the region. Each person was selected for their expert opinion of the region’s restaurant scenes. These, in turn, were recruited by six academy chairs, who were appointed for their knowledge and connections in the restaurant world.
Topping the list after much deliberation was 3 Fils, a casual contemporary establishment in Jumeirah Fishing Harbour, Dubai, UAE. Next up in consecutive order were Zuma (Dubai, UAE), OCD Restaurant (Tel Aviv, who also bagged the Best Restaurant in Israel award), Tresind Studio (Dubai, UAE), and Sachi (Cairo, Egypt, also winning the Best Restaurant in Egypt award).
Since the award ceremony’s announcement last year, the regional list went on to become one of the most anticipated releases of 2022. And why shouldn’t it be, with the World’s 50 Best Restaurants being an acclaimed ranking in the food and beverage industry. Besides the annual global list, the organisation puts together names for Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants and 50 Best Asian Restaurants.
According to William Drew, Director of Content for the World’s 50 Best, the Middle East was not properly represented.
“For some time now, we’ve wanted to extend and shine a spotlight on this part of the world because it was under-represented,” Drew has told the media in the past. “We think it has an amazing, diverse food scene, with global influence, but also local heritage and tradition.
Which led to the event being hosted in Abu Dhabi in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism. The venue will continue to remain in the Emirate until the awards have established themselves, as the city is the hub of fast growing and diverse restaurants.
For 3 Fils, already one of the most celebrated contemporary restaurants in UAE, this highly coveted ranking as the best restaurant in the MENA region is just another step towards the top. Founded in 2016 by two Emiratis and a Singaporean, the fine-dining spot has long been a culinary pitstop for gourmands.
According to reports, Ahmed Saleh, CEO of The Lab Holding, which operates 3Fils says, “It’s truly a privilege to be named MENA’s best restaurant, and we as a team at 3Fils are extremely humbled by this honourable title. We thank all those who have supported us on our journey so far and those who recognised our uniqueness. We endeavour to be at the forefront of continually raising the bar for culinary standards in this region and the world.”
Having an Indian restaurant feature in the top 5 restaurants is an added moment of pride. Based in Dubai and known for serving eclectic modern Indian cuisine, Trésind is now the best in Dubai as well as high on MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
The kitchens, Trèsind and Trèsind Studio, helmed by Chef Himanshu Saini are frequented by multicultural diners all in pursuit of some authentic yet luxurious Indian food. While Trèsind is the parent, Trèsind Studio, launched in 2018, is a concentrated version that offers an elaborate tasting menu. They also have a gorgeous outlet in Mumbai’s BKC, offering resident Indians a chance to indulge in a truly unique dining experience. The 10-course meal is the stuff of legends, featuring an array of impressive classics with an unusual yet delicious take. All you have to beware of is making a reservation two days in advance!
The restaurant also bagged The Art of Hospitality Award for its theatrical gastronomic experience. It helps that Chef Himanshu Saini’s brand of advanced Indian food is matched by the perfectly choreographed service, making for a truly wholesome meal.
These awards aren’t just about recognizing the most favourable of watering holes, but also a nod to the people involved in putting it all together. A number of special awards were handed out recognising the chefs and restaurants that have made an impact on the region’s culinary landscape.
Middle East and North Africa’s Best Pastry Chef 2022 was awarded to Sahar Parham Al Awadhi and the Chef’s Choice Award 2022 was won by chef Reif Othman. Tala Bashmi, chef-patron of Fusions by Tala in Bahrain was named the Middle East & North Africa’s Best Female Chef 2022, Dubai’s Kinoya won the One To Watch Award 2022 and Kamal Mouzawak was picked as the winner of the first Foodics Icon Award.
The Sustainable Restaurant Award honours the establishment in the list with the highest-sustainability rating. This award is presented to Lowe, Dubai, a restaurant that has set a new standard by delivering exquisite food hand in hand with sustainable practises. Chef-owners Jesse Blake and Kate Christou focus on reducing waste through nose-to-tail cooking while supporting their team and the wider community.
As the restaurant industry continues to push its boundaries and deliver futuristic food, ambience, and more, MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants has established itself as a list that’s the end goal for every culinary team in the region now.