Published on 1/31/23

An exciting 2nd edition of the MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants

World’s 50 Best revealed MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants, celebrating the richness and diversity of the food culture in the region, at a live awards ceremony in Abu Dhabi. 

Valrhona was proud to be the official chocolate partner for the second edition of Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants and sponsor of the Best Pastry Chef Award.

Partner of taste artisans since 1922, and pioneer and specialist in the world of chocolate, Valrhona pursues its Mission with passion and commitment “Together, good becomes better”. With MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants partnership, Valrhona reaffirmed its commitment to excellence and taste innovation celebrating the region’s gastronomy and committed creative chefs.

MENA 50 best 2023

Find out the top restaurants on the MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants’ list

Orfali Bros Bistro, Dubai, UAE, was named The Best Restaurant in Middle East & North Africa 2023 ! This is the story of three immigrant chef brothers from Syria working together to create a genuinely unique dining experience: an against-the-odds triumph of personal perseverance, brilliant storytelling and endless curiosity. The menu features dishes with a core Middle Eastern theme paying homage to the brothers' Aleppian roots, while capturing the multiculturalism and avant-garde spirit of Dubai.

The second ranking position went to Dubai’s Indian Michelin-Starred Trèsind Studio, and the third, to Fusions by Tala (the Gulf Hotel) from Manama, Bahrain.

MENA 50 best 2023 list

OCD Restaurant in Tel Aviv, Israel, was awarded the Sustainable Restaurant Award. Chef Raz and his team place significant importance on sourcing their produce locally to bring out the artisanal flavours of the region and altering their menus according to the country’s seasons, all to ensure zero food waste.

The award ceremony also rewarded prominent chefs and figures in the culinary industry who took risks and changed the narrative when it comes to the dining scene. Plant-based Tel Aviv restaurant Opa is the One to Watch, while the region’s Best Female Chef 2023 is Salam Dakkak. The Icon Award was given to Anissa Helou, the prolific Lebanese writer who is educating the world on Middle Eastern cuisine and cultures.

Middle East & North Africa's Best Pastry Chef 2023, sponsored by Valrhona

Artisan pastry chef Karim Bourgi, founder of Boutique De Gourmandises, took home the MENA's Best Pastry Chef Award. This price, supportedby Valrhona aims to recognise and reward talent and excellence in the fields of desserts and pastry. Born in Senegal to Lebanese parents, Bourgi graduated from Le Cordon Bleu Paris in 2000 before rising to manage the opening of La Maison Du Chocolat Paris in Dubai and Kuwait along with opening the Hermes Paris Cafe in Dubai Mall. He now oversees and consults on a range of patisseries, restaurants and cafés spanning the Middle East and Africa.

From the picture-perfect execution of traditional French fare supercharged by Middle Eastern ingredients to his contagious enthusiasm to share knowledge with future generations, Bourgi has become a landmark pastry chef in the region, following in the steps of Sahar Parham Al Awadhi as Middle East & North Africa’s Best Pastry Chef 2022, already sponsored by Valrhona.

Karim Bourgi Bestr Pastry Chef

Congratulations to all the restaurants and chefs honored on the MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants’ list !

A Valrhona chocolate sculpture designed by José Pizarro

Alongside the announcement of the winners, other events took place at the MENA's 50 Best Restaurants, as well as culinary demonstrations showcasing the best products and gastronomy of the United Arab Emirates. Visitors were able to discover a Valrhona chocolate artwork designed by José Pizarro.

Sculpture chocolat José Pizarro Mena 50 Bests
Sculpture chocolat José Pizarro Mena 50 Bests