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Check out the ten best restaurants we love in the Middle East now

From mountaintop delights to dining inside one of the region’s premiere museums, there is plenty to consider.

[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

If you’re looking for a unique culinary experience or a special place to dine, the Middle East has something for everyone. In addition to the recent rise and recognition of global awards in the region — MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants, the Michelin Guide (Dubai and Abu Dhabi), and Gault&Millau (Dubai) –  we are now spoiled for chicest dining experiences across the region. 

For those intrepid and curious guests, there are various restaurants to choose from, all off the beaten path. From mountaintop delights to dining inside one of the region’s premiere museums, there is plenty to consider. 

Here are ten restaurants offering one-of-a-kind dining experiences in the GCC.

moonrise, Dubai

Led by Chef Solemann Haddad, winner of 2022’s Michelin Young Chef Award and Gault&Millau’s Future Great of the Year 2022, this unique venue showcases the stunning skyline of bustling Sheikh Zayed Road. At the luxurious Eden House, with seating for a select 12 diners during two seatings per evening, moonrise focuses on serving a constantly evolving multi-course menu. The rooftop restaurant sits in a sleek, modern glass box with views of the city from all sides. Guests perch on stools so diners can watch the intricate plating during service. 

Chef Solemann and his team draw inspiration from Middle Eastern and Japanese ingredients, techniques, and food cultures to tell their story and the story of Dubai through food. Given this creative third culture take on a traditional degustation, the experience focuses on spotlighting the region’s diversity of ingredients and culinary stories.

Eden House, Satwa, Dubai 

 

1484 by Puro, Ras Al Khaimah

Why not dine on top of a mountain in a region filled with unique terrain and stunning landscapes? The UAE’s highest restaurant, 1484 by Puro, is named for its exact height above sea level. Positioned overlooking the UAE’s highest peak, Jebel Jais, this unique restaurant offers a truly panoramic dining experience. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; guests can experience spacious views amidst modern interiors, retro-inspired furniture, and floor-to-ceiling windows. 

Resident chefs utilize fresh local ingredients and a range of locally-sourced organic ingredients to create healthy and hearty dishes. The restaurant can comfortably seat up to 76 guests, and there is also al fresco dining on the expansive terrace. A reservation is required for this elevated meal.

Jebel Jais Welcome Center, Ras Al Khaimah

 

The Beach Restaurant, Muscat

Situated along the hotel’s 370-meter private beach, with a stunning panorama of the Gulf of Oman, the restaurant offers seclusion and intimacy. One of the most exclusive outlets at the property, guests can soak up sea breezes and salt air on the sweeping waterfront patio or gaze out from the high-ceilinged, contemporary dining room. 

The modern arabesque design—high white walls, hanging lanterns, elegantly curved arches, and dark mahogany wood accents—sets the mood. The menu celebrates all forms of seafood, and guests can choose bottles from the most extensive wine cellar in Oman. 

The Chedi Hotel, 133 18th November St, Muscat 112

 

Fouquet’s Abu Dhabi

The iconic Louvre Abu Dhabi is a majestic backdrop for iconic Fouquet’s, the well-known brasserie from Paris. From Fouquet’s panoramic terrace, overlooking gentle waves, guests embark on a cultural and gourmet odyssey for lunch, tea, or dinner. In a unique setting combining glamor and authenticity, renowned French Michelin star-winning chef Pierre Gagnaire has created a menu based on Parisian culinary tradition.

Saadiyat Cultural District 1, Abu Dhabi

 

Bayt Sharq, Doha

Upon arrival, from its original function as a home, Bayt Sharq might feel something like a time capsule from a previous era. Located on the shores of the bustling Corniche, the restaurant’s courtyard is filled with greenery and outdoor seating, perfect for the winter months. Décor includes maritime materials that pay tribute to Qatar’s nautical history, and yes, there’s also a vintage car. 

Bay Sharq is the perfect location to learn about Qatari food and hospitality and is a must-go for visitors. The experience begins with traditional dates and coffee, setting the scene for a fabulous meal, serving up Qatari favorites, all delivered family style. The food is flavorful, and beautifully presented. 

Al Corniche, Doha, Qatar

 

The Social Kitchen, Jeddah

Located in a modern and enormous designed building in Jeddah, Basma Elkhereiji’s The Social Kitchen features an open kitchen, tasteful interiors, and lounge seating to create a relaxed ambiance. The popular eatery focuses on Mediterranean cuisine prepared using bold flavors, high-quality ingredients, and an international flair. When planning a visit, plan to visit the bakery section – full of freshly baked bread and warm, chewy cookies, delicious viennoiserie, and a selection of pies. 

Basma’s approach to Saudi cuisine is straightforward. She maintains the authenticity of Saudi dishes and family recipes, layering them with modern culinary techniques and flavors. 

8420 Abdul Maqsud Khojah, Ar Rawdah, Jeddah 23435

 

OKTO, AlUla

For those not in the know, AlUla is an ancient oasis city located in the Medina province of northwestern Saudi Arabia. Situated on the Harrat Overlook, OKTO serves stunning Greek cuisine at the edge of the earth (literally). With upscale, authentic Greek cuisine developed by chef Ntinos Fotinakis, the team brings an array of fresh ingredients from Greece to the table in a beautiful modern setting. The location has numerous lookout points offering elevated views of the epic landscape below. 

OKTO is a beautiful location to enjoy a meal with an all-black theme and the backdrop of nature under the starry skies. Guests can also enjoy bonfire lounges in the sky view area and, at night, enjoy the beautiful starry skies using telescopes. Be sure to arrive before sundown to enjoy the sights and sounds of the golden hour. 

King Abdulaziz Park, AlUla 43562

 

L’Orto, Manama

Tucked away within Adliya’s bustling Block 338, Chef Susy Massetti’s latest restaurant, L’Orto, brings the Tuscan countryside into the city. Celebrating genuine hospitality, memorable food, and local produce from its organic farm, the vibe here is warm, bright, and welcoming. With a leisurely pace, guests are allowed time to soak in all the incredible pieces of art displayed throughout the venue. L’Orto creates a relaxing escape to savor refined rustic cuisine over a long leisurely lunch or night out in the heart of Bahrain.

Chef Massetti promotes farm-to-table, and dedicated eight years to planning and selecting crops in her organic garden and choosing food providers locally and abroad.

Road 3931 Bldg 119, Block 338 Manama

 

 

LIVUP, Kuwait City

A rooftop social dining experience, guests are transported to this vibey loft-style location far above Kuwait City’s sparkling skyline. The menu is a collection of international and fusion dishes with a range of tongue-in-cheek names, specialty coffees, and other artisan food. There are live music experiences with various global musical acts in an atmospheric location, and the entire venue can be booked for special occasions. Initially only open in the evening, the team has now expanded to offer lunch bookings during the cooler months.  

M Square, Abdulmunim Riyadh St, Kuwait City

 

Social, Dubai

With a modern and playful take on authentic Italian cuisine, Social is an award-winning restaurant helmed by Chef Carmine Faravalo. While the relaxed yet elegant restaurant atmosphere is beautiful, diners can sit inside the functional kitchen, bustling with service for the chef’s table. For this exclusive dining experience, guests can indulge in a seven-course set menu highlighting the best seasonal offerings. With a look behind the scenes, diners are invited to sit with the chef to witness each course as the chef and his talented team meticulously prepare their dishes. This dining experience is for those who love food and the process of creating seasonally focused high-end dishes.

Waldorf Astoria, Crescent Rd – The Palm Jumeirah – Dubai, UAE

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Courtney Brandt is an author and journalist living in Dubai, UAE. Her work has been published in Vogue Arabia, Destinations of the World, Forbes Middle East, Elite Daily, The Forward Feed, and Food&Wine among many other publications. More

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