25 to try: Cheap eats in Bahrain

Hit by the downturn? Want to dine out for a dinar? Time Out hit the town to find where you can eat for under BD3 Comments

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1 Baghdad Restaurant: One of island’s staple Iraqi restaurants, a rather dreary interior disguises a fantastic menu that can easily compete with the vast array of mixed-grill menus that saturate the city. With the Kebab Baghdadi at BD2.4 and one of the best red beet salads in town, the portions are large, the expense, comparatively tiny.
Exhibition Road (17 291 881).

2 Lebanese Restaurant: The Lebanese have swamped the world in a sea of parsley salad and labneh, and thank goodness they have. At Lebanese Restaurant (slightly misleading – the menu is so massive it incorporates China, India and Iran), the food is good and the restaurant habitually packed. Pick up a chicken burger for 350fils.
Four branches: Manama, Zaweiyah, Jedali and Tubli (17 877 845).

3 Happy Yemen: One of the few Yemeni restaurants in town (we mainly love it for its name), food here is cheap and plentiful, with a fried fish and green salad just BD2. Try to book the traditional majlis-style seating for a truly authentic experience.
Exhibition Road (17 294 471).

4 Fouaal Ranoosh: If you’re looking for a late night snack, forget kebabs, head here for falafel, hummus and baba ghanoush. A late night take away with limited seating, nothing here’s over BD1 making it perfect for a cheap and cheerful midnight meal. The menu’s only in Arabic, but with good visuals at which you can point and shout.
Exhibition Road (17 537 037).

5 Turkish Mazaya Pastry: Serving good grills and Turkish pizzas (they have an impressive pizza oven), this is a good place to head if you don’t mind dining alfresco. Nothing on the menu’s over BD1.5, while the meat here is a treat. When we last checked it out, it boasted the largest shawarma rotisserie we’d ever seen. Better than that, this place never closes.
Zubara Avenue, near the corner of Palace Avenue (17 294 455).

6 Marmaris: Monumental in size, this is the place to dine if you want to be sure of absolute privacy. Literally hundreds of booths line the halls of this restaurant, with food a real bargain. Selected pickles are just 800fils, while the mixed grill is just BD2.8. They do a mean banana split that comes in at a fabulously cheap 900fils.
In Seef, near Seef Mall (17 555 909).

7 Take Away: Situated sand banks away from any other eatery in Seef, Take Away (we like the name – direct) is an oasis that serves fantastic Lebanese fare at bargain basement prices. In spite of the name, you can also eat in.
Next to Seef Mosque (17 566 442).

8 Isfahani: If you are looking for authentic Persian, Isfahani is a great find. With both booths and a communal dining area, food here is almost as good as the atmosphere, which is reminiscent of a Greek taverna. The smell of Iranian spices keeps customers pouring through the doors.
Exhibition Avenue (17 290 027).

9 Beiruti: A great little vegetarian Lebanese, Beiruti is the place for falafel and hummus. Where most of the Lebanese and Syrian expats can be found, small, cosy, cheap and packed on the weekend.
In Palace Avenue, near the crossroads with Abu Ther Al Ghaffary Avenue (17 280 788).

10 Al Shoala: One of the Bahrain’s favourite grills, with three branches across the country, Al Shoala serves all the usual suspects, including chicken wings and reash. The tabbouleh here is cheap as chips and among the best.
Three restaurants: Jidhafs, Jid Ali and Murharraq (17 333 676 – Muharraq branch).

11 Zyara: Another Seef gem that has become a firm office favourite, Zayara has a menu that spans the globe, but it’s the Middle Eastern fare that most people opt for. The kastaleta (BD2.2) comes highly recommended, while the shish tawook sandwich (BD1.1) is another fave find. If you have room to spare and cash to splash order the sweet rice with nuts (800fils).
In Seef, opposite side of the highway to Seef Mall, near the flyover (17 580 990).

By Time Out Bahrain staff
Time Out Bahrain,

User reviews:

Posted by: Arjun on 24 Nov ' 11 at 11:46

An amazing list of restaurants....keep up the good work :)

Posted by: Grant Ostvig on 28 Nov ' 09 at 05:57

We visited the Charcoal Grill this past week because of your article and found it to have good food, was very quaint, and inexpensive. Their Executive Lunches from 11:00 to 3:00 are only 1.7 BD and contain a main course, salad, and rice. We will definitely try it again after we visit the other 24 restaurants on the list.

Posted by: Gurudutt Mohite on 10 Nov ' 09 at 10:29

Amazing List !! Now I have 25 reasons to eatout without burning a hole in my pocket. Timeout Bahrain is the Best. Keep it up.

Next I would like to see a List of Best Budget Buffets in Town.

Posted by: Joanne Lund on 09 Nov ' 09 at 05:39

Sadly, Lanna Thai is definately not a favourite any more with the residents here in Budaiya as the quality of food has gone down hill. With another thai restaurant just across the road from it and Lemon Grass in the Country Mall, both serving up delicious authentic thai food, there's no need to even consider Lanna Thai at all! I also have to applaud the fact that Lemon Grass are using eco-friendly packaging for their take-aways which is biodegradeable, so well done and we'll use you every time for our thai deliveries!

Posted by: Barry Peters on 07 Nov ' 09 at 12:43

I've been reading your magazine since moving to the island and I must say, this was the best all-around issue I've read to date. Every article was spot-on and extremely useful.

Here's a suggestion for a future article (if you haven't already written something similar that is), how about writing an article containing a recommended itinerary (things to see, places to eat, stops for tea/coffee, etc.) which contains timeframes for visitors who will be staying for 3, 5 and 7 days? My mother will be visiting me later this month and I have to work during the day so it would be nice to give her something like this as a go-by. Have to imagine others are in the same boat as I. Thx. and keep up the great work!

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