The World’s 50 Best Restaurants is an acclaimed ranking within the F&B industry, offering foodies a chance to eat at some of the most lauded restaurants around the globe.
In addition to the annual list of what the brand – and its panel of food experts – deem to be the most deserving restaurants across the world in any given year, the organisation also branched out in 2013 and introduced Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants and 50 Best Asian Restaurants.
Now, the 18 countries that make up the Middle East and North Africa are set to get their own awards programme, which will be held in Abu Dhabi in February and will reveal the list of the 50 best regional restaurants.
These will be finalised by a panel of 250 anonymous culinary experts from across the Mena region, and will include everything from fine-dining restaurants to hole-in-the-wall eateries.
William Drew, director of content for 50 Best, says: “We couldn’t be more excited to launch our new regional restaurant awards programme for the Middle East & North Africa with the backing of our host destination partner, Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi.
"The diversity of cuisines and restaurants across this wide region will ensure this new list is a vital addition to the international gastronomic landscape. We are delighted that Abu Dhabi will be playing host to the awards ceremony next year, as the UAE capital has been establishing itself as a culinary force over recent years.”
While the main ceremony will be held on Monday, February 7, the programme includes a line-up of culinary events from Friday, February 4 to Friday, February 11, also held in partnership with DCT – Abu Dhabi.
Some highlights include: #50BestTalks, a thought-leadership forum; a series of dining events helmed by international and local chefs; live chef-led masterclasses; and a Chefs’ Feast session, displaying the finest produce and cooking from the UAE.
At present, the top accolade remains with the three Michelin-starred Mirazur from France, which was deemed the best restaurant in the world in 2019 (last year’s ceremony was called off owing to the pandemic), while The Chairman in Hong Kong and Don Julio in Argentina were named the best restaurants in Asia and Latin American respectively.
There’s a real sense of anticipation surrounding the winners, not only by chefs and restaurateurs, but also by discerning foodies, many of whom centre their dining, and indeed travel plans, to include as many restaurants on the list aspossible, thus contributing to a country’s tourism footprint.
Given the sheer diversity of cultures and cuisines that make up the UAE and the rest of Mena, we can’t wait to see which restaurants make the cut. Watch this space.
Until then, here are seven award-winning chefs from the 2019 list who run restaurants in the UAE.