Bahrain's best fast food
Time Out gives you the rundown of the top five food courts in Bahrain... Discuss this article
5 Sitra Mall: Sitra is not the first place you’d head for fodder. The industrial wasteland landscape hardly inspires an appetite. But amid the forest of rusting steel and dying scrub stands the relatively new Sitra Mall, which is as bleak inside as it is on the outside. The food court on the first floor is not place to fill up on nutritional fare. McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC dominate, though there is an Al Abraaj, where you can find a salad amid the sea of grease. By far the best thing about this food court is the enormous window that dominates the far wall, which looks over... the sea. Sure, you have to gaze over the large pile of rust that is heaped between the mall and the water, but if you want a sea view with your supper, this is one of the best places to find one.
4 Bahrain Mall: Bahrain Mall might look like it was erected sometime in the 1960s (actually, it only opened in May 2001) and is filled with a variety of odd shops, that no one ever goes in, other than the rather fantastic supermarket Geant, but the food court here is a real find. Sure, the atmosphere is dank and dark (not helped by the fact that half the space is taken up with arcade games), but the food here is among the best in the bargain range. The conquering Isfahani chain sells the best cheap Persian fodder around, while India Spice (formerly Bombay Chowpatty) is one of the country’s best cheap Indians. With a range of fast food chains to satiate your chip craving (Papa John’s et al.), workers from the nearby towers flock here for their weekday lunch.
3 Seef Mall: Seef Mall has not one, but two food courts (making up for the fact that there is no grocery shopping to be had here at all). Though in terms of food, you’d be hard pushed to notice the difference between the two. The difference in clientele, however, is paramount. The one near the Magic Island complex is teeming with children, so those looking for a quiet bite will want to head to the food outlets near the old cinema in the mall. There’s a Pizza Hut with a decent, if small, salad bar, a hugely popular Al Abraaj, a Yum Yum Tree selling passable teriyaki, a Saj Express which has possibly the nicest staff to be found in a food court, and a great fresh juice bar. This is no health retreat but in Seef Mall you are unlikely to go hungry.
2 Dana Mall: Dana Mall is an oddball of a mall. Looking like a multi-storey car park from the outside, the mall has the same floor plan as Bahrain Mall (ground floor car park and rather shoddy lobby, with all the shops on the first floor). Most people head here for the rather good cinema and Lulu supermarket, which sells the best fruit in Bahrain. But linger a little longer and you’ll notice a stream of people drifting towards the food court. Located on the first floor and with a colour scheme that was presumably intended to mimic vomit, this place is about as atmospheric as a run-down bathroom. But with a range of options from the lard-filled to the healthy, this is the place for both a full-fat binge and a healthy bite. We recommend starting with the juice bar, which can liquidate anything from an avocado to a pomegranate.
1 City Centre Mall: You have got to feel rather sorry for the malls in Bahrain. There they were, surviving in a sea of mediocrity because, well, there was nothing else. And then slap bang at the start of the retail recession, along comes a Dubai upstart and shows the country what a mall should look like. City Centre Mall is not only be best mall in Bahrain by a very long way, it also has by far the best food court. Cavernous, with a range of culinary offerings from Dunkin’ Donuts to Isfahani and as cheap as chips, this place is habitually packed day and night, and with good reason. Replicating some of the better food courts of east Asia, you can get pretty much any cuisine here, a lot of which can easily compete on Bahrain’s culinary stage.
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