Winners collect their trophy at the Bahrain Restaurant Awards
Time Out Bahrain staff
Restaurant of the Year winner Mezzaluna
Bahrain has a wealth of great dining options, but few experiences can beat the convergence of truly stunning cuisine, fantastic service and an ambience that manages to blend intimacy with the occasion, grandeur and simplicity found at Mezzaluna. The restaurant is the crowning glory of Adliya’s dining district and a very worthy winner of Time Out Bahrain’s inaugural restaurant awards.
Adliya, call 17 742 999 for reservations.
Best Chinese winner Ken Lo’s Memories of China
Located on the edge of Adliya’s glittering Block 338 dining district, Ken Lo’s from
the outside is a Zaha Hadid-meets-
Le Corbusier structure without the lantern-trimmed ceilings that traditionally signify Chinese eateries. From the inside it is as
much spa as restaurant, with water features and incense pervading the compact dining space. The menu here is not cheap, but the food is delicately flavoured and impeccably presented, and a clear winner as the best Chinese in Bahrain.
Adliya, call 17 717 080 for reservations.
Best Contemporary European winner Mezzaluna
Located in a traditional Bahraini house tucked away at the back of Adliya’s dining district, Mezzaluna is a quirky oasis of soft light,
rich furnishings, incomparable food and near-perfect service. Working from a compact French-inspired menu with a selection of weekly specials, the food here scores top marks for presentation, taste and variety.
The desserts are worth waiting for, and
the prices extremely reasonable.
Adliya, call 17 742 999 for reservations.
Best Indian winner Nirvana
With a wealth of cheaper Indian options available, it might seem strange to award
Best Indian restaurant to the most expensive in the kingdom. But, perhaps unusually, the extortionate prices here are actually worth shelling out for. While the ambience is opulent, the service impeccable, and the sitar duo a nice touch, it is the food that clinches the win. Delicate (not a word often used in relation to curry) flavours, that infuse the palate rather than overwhelm it, are the embodiment of truly top-notch Indian cuisine.
The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa , call 17 580 000 for reservations.
Best Italian winner Oliveto
Tucked away in the back streets of Adliya, this cosy yet trendy eatery is the clear winner in the Italian category. It effortlessly combines traditional touches with cool modernity, a mix which is evident in both its decor and its menu. This is undoubtedly the reason why it’s so popular with the Italian expat community over here and why, in pride of place in the entrance lobby, there stands a mounted letter of recommendation from the Italian ambassador to Bahrain. It’s not hard to see why. Excellent food, simply but very well done, great atmosphere and top notch service combine to make this an absolute must for foodies everywhere.
Adliya, call 17 716 747 for reservations.
Best Japanese winner Mirai
If you are looking for standard sushi and
ramen noodles, Mirai is not your place. At this big hitting but relatively small Adliya establishment, former Nobu chef Dave Allen pushes the boundaries of Japanese cuisine to create dishes you are unlikely to find
anywhere else in town. And while some
may be an acquired taste, the menu is still
full of fantastic surprises – dishes so
exquisite as to make this a clear winner
in this category.
Adliya, call 17 713 113 for reservations.
Best MENA winner Golestan
Hidden in the depths of the Sheraton Hotel, a marble-clad passageway leads to one of the more remarkable dining options in Bahrain. Decked out in crystal greens and turquoises, the restaurant sets the scene for some truly outstanding food. Starting with a plate of crisp salad and dips, with bread brought fresh to your table by the man who baked it, the menu here is a lesson in great Iranian cuisine. Dishes are achingly fresh, beautifully presented, and a triumph.
Sheraton Bahrain Hotel, call 17 533 533 for reservations.
Best Southeast Asian winner Monsoon
Hidden by high walls, this Balinese-style pagoda is one of Bahrain’s culinary treats. With a stunning interior that towers over diners, and with a great outside terrace, the food here is a mixture of Southeast Asian classics with a sushi bar thrown in for good measure. With a kitchen team the size of a small army, each dish retains its distinct flavour, making every meal here an impressive culinary whirl. They have the service here down to a fine art.
Adliya, call 17 749 222 for reservations.
Best Bar & Pub Food winner Trader Vic’s
Perched in the lush gardens of the Ritz- Carlton hotel, Trader Vic’s is as popular for its large and eclectic menu as it is for its vast Polynesian-inspired drinks menu, which draws crowds at the weekend. Always lively, Trader Vic’s manages to couple crowds with spaces that remain intimate, helped not a little by the outside terrace, the opulent Mai Tai lounge, and the acres of gardens.
The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa, call 17 586 555 for reservations.
Best Brunch winner Mövenpick Hotel Bahrain
One word describes this institution of the island’s Friday brunch scene – enormous. The buffet is spread throughout the hotel’s lobby, bar and Silk’s restaurant with every variety of food on offer at the stands. There are live cooking stations serving fresh fish, meat and curry, and everybody heads to the dessert stand out in the lobby at least once. Add together the quality and variety of the food, the luxurious decor of the Mövenpick, the atmosphere, the fantastic service and the poolside terrace for after-dinner cocktails and it’s not hard to see why this has long been one of the kingdom’s most popular brunches.
Movenpick Hotel Bahrain, call 17 460 000 for reservations.
Best Budget Eat winner Isfahani
This Persian haunt is now ubiquitous in Bahrain’s food courts serving tasty Iranian kebabs to crowds in well-lit malls, but it is the original Isfahani which still shines brightest in Bahrain’s cheaper eateries. Located on the brash and loud Exhibition Road, entering Isfahani is like walking into a traditional Iranian taverna. With a varied menu that manages to be both reasonably priced and utterly wholesome, this restaurant is a benchmark of value.
Exhibition Road, call 17 290 027 for reservations.
Best Business Lunch winner Bushido
The grand dame of Seef’s restaurant scene, by night Bushido is a haven of low lighting, Buddha Bar beats and an army of waiting staff serving lashings of sushi. By day, the restaurant is flooded with natural light and is one of the few places in Seef with views over the sea. It was the bento box selection (a traditional Japanese lunch box) that clinched the best business lunch, along with the numerous enclaves in which business can be conducted in private.
Seef, call 17 583 555 for reservations.
Best Café winner Cafe Lilou
A Parisian-style art deco haunt in the centre of Adliya, Cafe Lilou has a well-earned reputation for its homemade cakes, smoothies and ice cream, owing not a little to the large patisserie of the same name located behind it and feeding it with a constant stream of freshly baked delicacies. And it is the cakes, along with its decadent decor, that makes Cafe Lilou a cafe to be reckoned with.
Adliya, call 17 714 440 for reservations.
Best Family Restaurant winner Ponderosa Steakhouse
Few restaurants in Bahrain cater to families as well as Ponderosa Steakhouse adjacent to Seef Mall. With a family-friendly menu and dedicated children’s meals, along with a designated kids’ play area replete with rides and a selection of games and toys, dining here is as much about the entertainment as the food. It helps that the waiting staff are more than capable of chaperoning the kids.
Seef, call 17 229 778 for reservations.
Best Romantic winner La Fontaine
When it comes to romantic dining, you really can’t do better than La Fontaine. Step through the enormous doors of this traditional Bahraini mansion, hidden away in the busy back streets of Hoora, and you’re immediately immersed in its gentle, beautiful architecture and ambience that is redolent of a European chateau. The interior of the restaurant, with its soft lighting and minimalist yet cosy furnishings, is stylish and elegant, but it’s the open-air courtyard with its big, beautiful fountain that really makes this place. Add to this the exquisite international cuisine and excellent service, and you really can’t treat your loved one to a more romantic dining experience.
Hoora, call 17 230 123 for reservations.
Best Seafood winner The Fish Market
Few fish restaurants make better use of the sea than this established seafood restaurant in the Sitra-based Al Bander Resort. Decked out like a kitsch high end fishmonger (the fish is beautifully presented in a boat), The Fish Market is just yards from the beach. But it is the range of fresh seafood on offer, and the numerous ways it can be cooked, which makes this Bahrain’s best seafood restaurant.
Al Bander Resort, call 17 701 201 for reservations.
Best Steakhouse winner The Meat Co
With a location right in the centre of Adliya’s restaurant district, The Meat Co set itself up as a must-visit destination from the get-go. And restaurant-goers put up little resistance when faced with the greatest steak menu on offer in Bahrain. The staff, shipped in from South Africa, really know their stuff, and the meat is selected, prepared and cooked to perfection. With its cutting edge decor over three floors, this is the perfect venue for couples and groups, and for both big occasions and small informal meals.
Adliya, call 17 742 080 for reservations.
Best Newcomer winner Maki
Opening to a great fanfare in May this year, Maki has finally bought fine dining to Moda Mall, and has made a huge success of it. The Japanese menu blends innovation with tradition, sometimes to startling effect. The celebrity-named sashimi immersed in soy and ginger is superlative, and the temaki rolls served in champagne flutes a nice touch. The industrial chic decor does Moda Mall proud.
Manama, call 17 522 733 for reservations.