To celebrate gastronomic delights, innovation and cutting-edge techniques in restaurants, World’s 50 Best descended on the Mena region for the first time to create the Middle East and North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
The inaugural ranking featuring 50 restaurants from 11 different countries was announced in a glittering ceremony held in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
Saudi Arabia, a melting pot of cultures and cuisines, bagged five spots on the list, all located in Riyadh. Here we take a look at each of these venues.
Mena's 50 Best Restaurants ranking: No 50
Tokyo was one of the first authentic Japanese restaurants in Saudi Arabia. It opened its doors in 1985 and over the past few decades its interiors have been refreshed, to keep the restaurant up to date and feeling fresh for its loyal clientele.
Tokyo puts the focus on traditional Japanese favourites, with bestselling dishes such as a bento, consisting of their signature sashimi, tempura, seaweed salad, tamago, teriyaki collection, korokke and miso soup. Other favourites include the miso-glazed black cod, beef tataki and gyozas, and their fresh and succulent sushi rolls — the star of the table.
Open daily 12.30pm-midnight; Al Urubah road, As Sulamaniyah district, Riyadh; +966 92 000 9662; tokyoarabia.com
Mena's 50 Best Restaurants ranking: No 42
Opened in 2021, LPM Riyadh, which offers delectable French and Mediterranean delicacies, has become synonymous with finesse and luxury. The walls are adorned with 20th-century paintings by French Mediterranean artists. It also houses a bronze sculpture called The Falconer, made in the 19th century by French sculptor Eugene Marioton. The ambience is vibrant yet relaxing.
The extensive yet carefully crafted menu is inspired by Nicoise flavours and boasts of fresh, light and healthy dishes. There’s plenty to indulge in, too, however, such as the burrata, risotto, gratin gnocchi, escargot and foie gras.
Open Sunday-Thursday 12.30pm-3.30pm, Friday and Saturday 1pm-4pm, for dinner Sunday and Saturday 6.40pm-11pm; Al Motassem street, Al Olaya district, Riyadh; +966 92 001 1794; lpmrestaurants.com/riyadh
Mena's 50 Best Restaurants ranking: No 37
Porterhouse, which opened in 2016, is an upscale, modern restaurant, with New York warehouse-style uber-chic interiors, that strives to serve the best cuts of steaks from Australia.
The steaks here are dry-aged in-house for more than 21 days and then grilled over wood and charcoal. Bold and packed with flavour, the juicy steaks are served with their signature sides, sauces and toppings, such as seared foie gras, blue cheese butter and onion marmalade. A consistently beloved dish is the Montreal-style cured meat board and appetisers such as the roasted veal bone marrow and escargot.
Open Saturday-Wednesday 12.30pm-12.30am, Thursday and Friday 12.30pm-1am; Prince Muhammed in Abdulaziz road, As Sulamaniyah district, Riyadh; +966 11 217 0088; porterhouse-sa.com
Mena's 50 Best Restaurants ranking: No 30
Marble is a carnivore’s paradise, offering a simple yet powerful and rich menu that leaves guests craving for more. The flavourful and succulent Marble burger alongside fries is a must-try, in addition to its well-seasoned ribeye, ribs and briskets that are smoked-in house for at least eight hours. They also make seasonal and special dishes such as their Saudi lamb specialty rice plates, only on limited offer.
Such is the popularity of Marble that whenever a pop-up restaurant is announced, loyalists ensure they get there on time, because they sell out of food fast.
Marble would have ceased to exist if not for the passionate grill master, chef and owner Abdulrahman Alsowailem’s love for meat and in-depth knowledge of the local palate, and the need for a restaurant in Riyadh that sells top-notch cuts cooked with precision to perfection.
Open Monday-Wednesday and Saturday 4pm-11.45pm, Thursday and Friday 4pm-1am; Makkah Al Mukkarramah Branch road, Turki Square, Riyadh; +966 800 111 1903; marblecuisine.com
Mena's 50 Best Restaurants ranking: No 15
Myazu, the self-described “land of plenty”, is both simplicity and opulence at its finest. With interiors concocted by Japanese designer Noriyoshi Muramatsu, founder of Studio Glitt, Myazu’s aesthetics enhance a diner’s experience.
The menu stars contemporary Japanese cuisine with international influences. The chefs’ unique and robust dishes are made using the finest quality ingredients using traditional cooking methods. The marinated yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno, scallop and foie gras gyoza is not to be missed, while the black cod and Wagyu beef are also among local favourites.
Open daily 12.30pm-12.30am; Musad bin Jalawi road, As Sulaimaniyah, Riyadh; +966 92 000 9686; myazu.com
Mena’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022 in full:
1. 3 Fils, Dubai, UAE
2. Zuma, Dubai, UAE
3. OCD Restaurant, Tel Aviv, Israel
4. Tresind Studio, Dubai, UAE (also won Art of Hospitality Award)
5. Sachi, Cairo, Egypt
6. Orfali Bros, Dubai, UAE
7. Fakhreldin, Amman, Jordan
8. LPM Restaurant & Bar, Dubai, UAE
9. George & John, Tel Aviv, Israel
10. Gaia, Dubai, UAE
11. Il Borro Tuscan Bistro, Dubai, UAE
12. Baron, Beirut, Lebanon
13. Coya, Dubai, UAE
14. HaBasta, Tel Aviv, Israel
15. Myazu, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
16. Reif Kushiyaki, Dubai, UAE
17. Animar, Tel Aviv, Israel
18. Tresind, Dubai, UAE
19. Kazoku, Cairo, Egypt
20. Mimi Kakushi, Dubai, UAE
21. Liza, Beirut, Lebanon
22. Em Sherif, Beirut, Lebanon
23. Lowe, Dubai, UAE (also won the Sustainable Restaurant Award)
24. Pescado, Ashdod, Israel
25. Hakkasan, Abu Dhabi, UAE
26. La Grande Table Marocaine, Marrakesh, Morocco
27. 13C Bar in the Back, Amman, Jordan
28. Tawlet Mar Mikhael, Beirut, Lebanon
29. Amazonico, Dubai, UAE
30. Marble, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
31. Mirai, Manama, Bahrain
32. Iloli, Casablanca, Morocco
33. BB Social Dining, Dubai, UAE
34. Coya, Abu Dhabi, UAE
35. Indochine, Dubai, UAE
36. Cut by Wolfgang Puck, Doha, Qatar
37. Porterhouse, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
38. Zooba, Cairo, Egypt
39. Fusions by Tala, Manama, Bahrain
40. Milgo Milbar, Tel Aviv, Israel
41. Sufra, Amman, Jordan
42. LPM Restaurant & Cafe, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
43. White Robata, Kuwait City, Kuwait
44. Hoseki, Dubai, UAE
45. Izakaya, Cairo, Egypt
46. La Closerie, La Marsa, Tunisia
47. Clap, Beirut, Lebanon
48. Butcher & Still, Abu Dhabi, UAE
49. Plus61, Marrakesh, Morocco
50. Tokyo, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia