Filipino restaurants Mangrove and Dampa took top honours at the Expo Eats Awards. The ceremony took place on Wednesday at Festival Garden in Expo 2020 Dubai, and favourite venues were lauded in five categories on the back of the number of votes directly collected from diners over five weeks.
The end game was to find restaurants that “have brought visitors much joy, that people have queued for and that they have told their friends about”.
The five categories were: Favourite Casual Dining Restaurant, Favourite Local Gem, Favourite Upscale Dining Restaurant, Favourite Fast Food Restaurant and Favourite Sweet Treats Restaurant.
While Mangrove Philippines Cuisine and Dampa Seafood Grill won top honours in the first two, famed fine-dining Washington restaurant Cafe Milano, Saudi Arabia’s broasted chicken joint AlBaik and Bread Ahead, a bakery known for its doughnuts and sourdough goodies, emerged as favourites in the other three.
The categories also shone a light on two “highly commended” venues each (see full list below). For instance, Adrift Burger Bar, which Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, famously visited in October (without having to queue, we reckon) came highly commended in the list of casual dining spots.
The ceremony also gave a heartening shoutout to the behind-the-scenes players who made Expo 2020’s dining scene shine, from waiters and bartenders to dishwashers.
“For six months, Expo 2020 Dubai has become a global food destination. Today is the chance to recognise the outlets that have warmed the hearts of our visitors,” said Ahmed Al Khatib, the fair’s chief development and delivery officer.
Favourite restaurants at Expo 2020 Dubai
Favourite Upscale Dining Restaurant:
Winner: Cafe Milano
Highly commended: Grill&Tapas
Highly commended: Sky Bar
Favourite Casual Dining Restaurant:
Winner: Mangrove Philippines Cuisine
Highly commended: Adrift Burger Bar
Highly commended: Korean Restaurant
Favourite Local Gem:
Winner: Dampa Seafood Grill
Highly commended: Mama'esh
Highly commended: Chicken Tikka Inn
Favourite Sweet Treats Restaurant:
Winner: Bread Ahead
Highly commended: Cafe de Paris
Highly commended: Sard
Favourite Fast Food Restaurant:
Highly commended: Expo Street Food
Highly commended: Domino's