The 15 restaurants newly added to Mena's 50 Best list in 2023

Venues from the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Israel are among the new entries

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Some of the best restaurants across the Middle East and North Africa were celebrated in a ceremony on Monday night, as Mena's 50 Best made its return to Abu Dhabi.

The list features venues across 14 cities in the Mena region, with 18 from the UAE and 15 newly added after last year's inaugural event.

Here are the new entries, which span cities from Abu Dhabi and Amman to Manama and Marrakesh.

Ossiano, Dubai

2023 Mena's 50 Best restaurant ranking: No 4

Ossiano, which last year was also awarded its first Michelin star, is known as Dubai's "underwater restaurant". In Atlantis, The Palm and seating 50 guests, it takes diners 10 metres down to the bottom of one of the world’s largest aquariums.

It enters Mena's 50 Best for the first time in the fourth position, also earning the Highest New Entry Award.

Chef Gregoire Berger's menu is guided by his respect for seasonality, terroir and sea foraging. All ingredients are sustainably sourced from the oceans or within 50km of a coastline. From a delicate whelk shell served on a bed of sand and filled with umami dashi, to Brittany brown crab, fragrant kari gosse and bouillabaisse essence, dishes also highlight Berger’s love of telling stories through food.

More information is at

Kinoya, Dubai

2023 Mena's 50 Best restaurant ranking: No 7

Neighbourhood izakaya-style spot Kinoya comes in strong at seventh place.

Started by chef Neha Mishra in The Greens, the restaurant has five ramen varieties on its Japanese menu, alongside sushi, sashimi, robata and tempura.

In January, World's 50 Best named it the winner of the One to Watch Award.

Last year, it was also listed on Michelin's prestigious Bib Gourmand list, and its first branch outside the UAE, in Harrods, London, is due to open in October.

More information is at

Moonrise, Dubai

2023 Mena's 50 Best restaurant ranking: No 10

"Moonrise is arguably the hottest reservation ticket in the city", is how Mena's 50 Best describes its 10th-place restaurant.

The home-grown spot, which opened in September 2021 and is included in the Michelin Guide Dubai 2022, only serves eight customers at a time, with two sittings per night. The multi-course menu is inspired by flavours of Japan and the Middle East, and is expertly crafted and presented by Dubai-born chef-founder Solemann Haddad, aged 26.

More information is at

Sachi, Giza

2023 Mena's 50 Best restaurant ranking: No 22

Egypt's first new entry can be found in Giza. "In a city deprived of rooftop restaurants, Sachi fills a much-needed gap, bringing Baky Hospitality’s hip and sophisticated ambience to Park Street," says Mena's 50 Best.

The restaurant is not to be confused with Cairo's venue of the same name, which is listed in 30th position.

"The menu at Sachi is plentiful, inspired by cuisines from southern Europe all the way to Japan, while the drinks are taken as seriously as the food," rounds off its description.

More information available at

a by Yuval Ben Neriah, Tel Aviv

2023 Mena's 50 Best restaurant ranking: No 24

Mena's 50 Best describes chef Yuval Ben Neriah as "one of Tel Aviv's hottest talents".

The menu takes influences from Japanese cuisine, with minimalistic, beautifully designed plates. The chef combines elements "primal and prime, ancient and modern, earthy and refined", according to the venue's official website.

For example, the Pillow, or the "bites" section, features koji-buckwheat foam, fish tartar, mushroom and macadamia garum, egg yolk cream and charred eggplant powder. Among the mains are Dutch veal sweetbreads with Parmesan, chilli-pickled cod roe, cream, dashi and yuzu kosho, on top of mentaiko udon.

Cut by Wolfgang Puck, Manama

2023 Mena's 50 Best restaurant ranking: No 25

One of Bahrain's best restaurants is an American steakhouse by celebrated Austrian-American chef Wolfgang Puck, at the Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay. It's one of eight Cuts around the world, with sleek interiors and a grand staircase, sophisticated atmosphere and a menu of prime cuts, including dry and wet-aged beef, plus Australian Wagyu.

There's also a focus on seafood, as well as other elegant main courses, such as roasted chestnut ravioli and Wagyu Bolognese pappardelle.

Shams El Balad, Amman

2023 Mena's 50 Best restaurant ranking: No 29

Shams El Balad is a flower shop-turned-breakfast cafe that Mena's 50 Best describes as "one of Amman's most unique restaurants".

Founded by Maha Dahmash and her husband, Hazem Malhas, the quaint spot is now run by their children, Qais and Karma.

It serves up traditional fare with a little twist. Think green labneh, beetroot falafel, sujuk and squash.

You can also pick up groceries, pantry essentials, prints and home decor from the online shop (and it ships to 220 countries) or while you're there.

More information is at

Masso, Manama

2023 Mena's 50 Best restaurant ranking: No 31

Originally helmed by regionally renowned chef Susy Massetti, Masso's kitchen is now under the control of executive chef Steeven Gilles. It's long been one of Bahrain's go-to spots for fresh flavours and a pioneer of farm-to-table eating on the island.

It's inspired by the French Riviera and the Amalfi Coast, with ingredients harvested from the garden. The menu, which changes seasonally, features dishes such as salt-crusted sea bass and smoked short-rib croquettes.

More information is at

11 Woodfire, Dubai

2023 Mena's 50 Best restaurant ranking: No 35

Only a few months after earning its first Michelin star, 11 Woodfire in Dubai makes its debut on the Mena's 50 Best list, at No 35.

The restaurant is led by Akmal Anuar, the chef behind 3 Fils and Goldfish Sushi & Yakitori.

Housed in a villa on Jumeirah Beach Road, 11 Woodfire “celebrates Earth's natural bounty and community”. The restaurant specialises in natural wood-fired cuisine, a labour-intensive cooking method that relies equally on technique and intuition.

The menu is brimming with dishes prepared using various techniques of grill cooking and an array of wood types. Some examples being the Wagyu kebabs with fresh bread and truffle, Australian T-bone steak, king crab with lemon butter, and sea bass with a salted crust and tamarind.

More information is at

Sesamo, Marrakesh

2023 Mena's 50 Best restaurant ranking: No 39

Morocco's only new entry, and one of three on the list from the kingdom, is Sesamo, in the tourist haven of Marrakesh.

Chef Massimiliano Alajmo and Vania Ghedini "bring the culinary delights of Italy to beguiling Marrakech", says Mena's 50 Best.

The menu features dishes with Venetian influences, such as crispy langoustine rolls, beef with white truffle, and saffron risotto with eel gremolata.

More information is at

Alee, Amman

2023 Mena's 50 Best restaurant ranking: No 41

Ali Ghzawi, who won Top Chef Middle East in 2019 and is a contestant in the coming All-Stars version of the show, is the brains behind Alee, his restaurant in Amman. The fine dining venue serves authentic Middle Eastern cuisine, and pays homage to the diverse produce and herbs found in the Levant.

"Perched atop one of Amman’s hills, Alee is designed with the panorama in mind," says Mena's 50 Best. "Chef Ali Ghzawi weaves through the dining room to present each course. His dishes, revolving around modern Levantine flavours, are inspired by the everyday recipes he grew up eating and transformed into memories on a plate."

More information is at

Zuma, Abu Dhabi

2023 Mena's 50 Best restaurant ranking: No 43

Some of the capital's residents may be surprised to know this is the first time Zuma Abu Dhabi has featured on the list, especially as Mena's 50 Best describes the branch as "a force to be reckoned with".

Zuma is known all over the world for its brand of Japanese izakaya dining, with the Dubai venue coming in at No 13 on this list (down from No 2 on last year's).

"The dining room is breathtaking and the menu is extensive," says the list. "You can’t go wrong with the miso-marinated black cod wrapped in hoba leaf, or signature barley miso corn-fed baby chicken."

More information is at

Jun’s, Dubai

2023 Mena's 50 Best restaurant ranking: No 44

Jun's by celebrated Chinese chef Kelvin Cheung opened last year in Dubai to much fanfare and has been much talked-about ever since.

With its curious combination of cuisines ― North American, Asian and Indian ― the Downtown Dubai spot is certainly a fusion restaurant, and you’re not sure what that entails, until the chef’s story sheds light on an interesting journey.

Drawing inspiration from Cheung's Chinese heritage, his birthplace of Canada, upbringing in the US and a 10-year stint working in India, coupled with his French culinary training, Jun’s melds street fare with fine dining, blending vastly different cuisines.

More information is at

Reif Kushiyaki, Cairo

2023 Mena's 50 Best restaurant ranking: No 45

Reif Japanese Kushiyaki in dar wasl mall, which opened in August 2019, has been a big success story for the region, spawning an outpost at Time Out Market in Dubai, as well as two international spots in Cairo and Doha, with another in the UAE to follow soon.

It's the Cairo branch that secured a new spot on the list, with Dubai's in at No 11.

"From hearty bowls of rice and ramen — cooked with your choice of beef, chicken or seafood — to packed, scrumptious sandos and an array of raw seafood options, at Reif’s there’s something for every taste," says Mena's 50 Best.

More information is at

Bonjiri, Salmiya

2023 Mena's 50 Best restaurant ranking: No 50

Sneaking on the list in last position is Kuwait's Bonjiri, which was inspired by founder Maryam "Mimi" AlNusif's love of Japanese culture and culinary traditions.

The yakitori spot features skewers, okonomiyaki (savoury pancakes) and sori resu (chicken oyster), and uses cuts unusual in the Kuwaiti dining scene, such as chicken tail, back and knee cartilage, all thanks to AlNusif's dedication to authenticity and sustainable eating, says Mena's 50 Best.

More information is at

Updated: February 05, 2023, 9:37 AM