Everyone who visits Bahrain is struck by the vibrancy and diversity of its cuisine. This understated Middle Eastern nation has emerged as the region’s outstanding food hub, in which typical Bahraini cuisine—meaty machbous, sweet muhammar, crumbly halwa—mingles with international flavours. Traditional fare remains central to the daily lives of Bahrainis—breakfast is typically balaleet (a sweet, cardamom-fragranced vermicelli omelette), or shakshuka (eggs poached in a rich tomato sauce)—but at restaurants in Bahrain you can’t fail to find dishes from as far afield as Mexico or Japan. Here is our pick of the city’s culinary trail-blazers.
Block 338 in Adliya is often referred to as Bahrain’s dining district, and Zoe, with its chic white interiors, laid-back ambience and discerning clientele, fits right in. The menu lists contemporary Mediterranean dishes including plenty of delicious fresh seafood options, but the star of the show at this elegant restaurant is its balmy lounge and rooftop bar area.
The Palm Lounge
Overlooking the azure waters of the Arabian Gulf, The Palm Lounge serves one of the best breakfasts in Bahrain. Its world-class coffee prepared by Colombian baristas has something of a reputation across the city. Later in the day, light snacks are served, as well as an indulgent afternoon tea of world-class tisanes and platters generously arranged with pastries, gateaux, sandwiches and scones.
The description “mad genius” is sometimes applied to Michael Kyu-Lee, the chef whose dishes have put Meisei on Bahrain’s culinary map. Kyu-Lee applies traditionally French cooking techniques to Japanese and Korean flavours to create a distinctive—and delectable—menu of fusion food. Expect to see dishes like bulgogi pizza or miso-braised beef short ribs on the menu, and make sure you head to the rooftop once you’ve finished your meal to enjoy a sophisticated digestif beneath the stars.
Saffron by Jena
It wouldn’t do to omit something ‘authentic’ from a list of the best restaurants in Bahrain. You won’t find a better modern take on Bahraini cuisine than at Saffron by Jena, which tilts its hat to the country’s rich culinary legacy while also presenting the national cuisine with an inspired contemporary twist.
David’s Stir Fry Crazy
Don’t be misled by this wildly popular Chinese restaurant’s slightly outré name. The dim sum here is fantastic, the wagyu beef is heart-breakingly tender, and there’s enough choice on the menu to accommodate even the most demanding of customers. Carving the Roast Peking Duck by the table-side is a nice touch. If you’re planning to go on the weekend, make sure you reserve a table—it gets busy.
Stay at Jumeirah Royal Saray and explore the fine cuisine of the Middle East at Bahrain's best restaurants.