The shortlist to reveal the best restaurants in Bahrain
Time Out Dubai staff
It’s that time of the year, when we nominate the country’s best venues in time for the sixth annual Time Out Bahrain Restaurant Awards 2015. With a longer shortlist, a brand new category and evermore sophisticated spots, this edition of the awards is sure to be our most exciting yet.
Every year Time Out’s team of reviewers dine out anonymously at hundreds of eateries – from five-star restaurants to neighbourhood cafés – to create the most comprehensive set of eating out reviews the country has ever seen.
A true snapshot capturing the diversity of Bahrain’s dining scene, the shortlist spreads across a total of 22 categories recognising all the major strands and genres of cuisine represented in the country, as well as paying attention to restaurants that go the extra mile for less.
The winners will be revealed at a ceremony at The Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel, Residence & Spa on October 21. The ceremony is open to nominees and industry professionals. If you’re interested in attending please email email@example.com for details.
Stay tuned to Time Out Bahrain on Facebook (Time Out Bahrain) Twitter (@TimeOutBahrain) for further updates.
Pick up a copy of Time Out Bahrain in October for the extended version of this shortlist, while full reviews of hundreds of Bahrain’s restaurants are published in November’s annual 64-page Eating Out Guide, which comes free with paid-for copies of the main monthly mag.
Best Afternoon Tea
Bay-View Lounge, Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay As afternoon tea is an innately extravagant affair, it makes perfect sense to take it in at a fabulous five-star hotel such as the new Four Seasons Bahrain Bay. The setting is fabulous and dulcet piano music floats up from the level below, providing a soundtrack for people-watching across the large open lobby. Four Seasons Bahrain Bay (1711 5000).
Café Amsterdam Cafe Amsterdam does its best not to miss a trick. It is therefore unsurprising that it has introduced an afternoon tea service. The venue itself possesses all the whimsy and charm one could hope for, while the stand-out feature of this offering is the ability to choose exactly what you want from a good selection. Block 338, Adliya (1700 7404).
Figs & Olives Situated on the 16th floor, Figs & Olives boasts impressive views across Manama. Here they take great pride in the afternoon tea service, which is apparent from the outset. Domain Bahrain, Diplomatic Area (1600 0000).
Noor Lounge, InterContinental Regency Bahrain Noor Lounge is an easy place to spend time in: it's a sunken lounge with a cosy feel from warm lighting and sumptuously upholstered seating, while a grand piano is beautifully played in the background. InterContinental Regency Bahrain, Manama (1722 7777).
Tea Garden, Ramee Grand Hotel & Spa The floral patterned walls and pastel colours at this quaint yet modern teahouse really sets the scene for a leisurely, sophisticated experience. That’s why they excel at their high tea offering. Ramee Grand Hotel & Spa, Seef (1711 1999).
The Gallery Lobby Lounge, ART Rotana Tea time offerings at the Gallery Lobby Lounge centre around the eponymous beverage, with a classic option, tea pairing experience, afternoon spa version, and a pink sparkling high tea for those looking for a little something extra. Art Rotana, Amwaj Islands (1600 0111).
The Orangery Tearoom & Patisserie, The Palace Boutique Hotel The Orangery is from another time and place, due to its pretty colonial stylings and spacious outdoor seating. It must be said, that this venue boasts the most impressive tea list. Palace Boutique Hotel, Adliya (1772 5000).
The Ritz Gourmet Lounge, The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa This notable hotel feels like an obvious destination for such an indulgent repast. In the Gourmet Lounge, the eatery's French flair leaves its mark upon the cuisine. The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa, Seef (1758 6499).
Tilly’s, Jawad Dome At BD5 per person this is the most affordable afternoon tea service on our shortlist, and it is also one of the most convenient as it is served all day. When it comes to taste, it hits the spot and the proportions of sweet and savoury feel right. Jawad Dome, Budaiya (1769 1358).
T-Spoon, The Westin Bahrain City Centre All seating at this sophisticated café is lavishly upholstered and comfortable enough to sit in for hours as you watch shoppers in City Centre Bahrain drift by. The plentiful afternoon tea offers three tiers of sweet and savoury goodness. The Westin Bahrain City Centre, Seef (1717 1000).
Best Bar Food
Blue Moon Lounge, Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay On the 50th floor of the Four Seasons Bahrain Bay, the Blue Moon Lounge more than lives up to its stunning location. The menu is as unique as you would expect from a Wolfgang Puck joint and the enthusiastic staff are charming. Four Seasons Bahrain Bay (1711 5000).
Corners, The Dragon Hotel & Resort This local on Amwaj Islands is the place to get some proper grub in a traditional pub atmosphere, while surrounded by idyllic island beauty thanks to the chic resort in which it’s located. Dragon Resort & Hotel, Amwaj Islands (1603 1113).
CUT Bar & Lounge, Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay With floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the burgeoning Manama skyline, and a smartly decorated venue, it’s hard not to feel like a sophisticated business traveller while enjoy bites and beverages at CUT Lounge. The menu offers a sample of what’s at CUT by Wolfgang Puck. Four Seasons Bahrain Bay (1711 5044).
Downtown, InterContinental Regency Bahrain A casual but buzzy restaurant in central Manama, Downtown is a subterranean lounge with modern and stylish décor. The friendly staff couldn’t be more helpful when guiding you through their sleek bar menu. InterContinental Regency, Manama (1722 7777).
JJ's Irish Restaurant It doesn’t matter whether you’re in Moldova, Mongolia or Manama there’s always an Irish Bar, and in Bahrain everyone knows JJ’s. The sizeable menu is aimed at Western palates: fish and chips and pies are all present and correct, and the portions are truly gargantuan. Building 30, Road 352, Gudaibiya (3932 9083).
Polo Gastropub, The Palace Boutique Hotel This gastro pub boasts a classic menu with high quality food. The venue offers a pleasant experience and the comfy leather seats allow you to feel as though you're in a cosy pub in the UK. The Palace Boutique Hotel, Adliya (1772 5000).
Tapas Restaurant & Bar, Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa Although technically in the bar food category, Tapas effortlessly transcends such labels to provide a dining experience of real quality. A world away from the hustle and bustle of the city, this secluded hideaway boasts a stunning seafront location and relaxed vibe. Sofitel, Zallaq (17 63 6363).
Thai Lounge, The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa With exquisite surroundings and an exceptionally cool vibe you could forgive Thai at The Ritz-Carlton for resting on its beach-side laurels. Nothing could be further from the truth: the service is excellent and the selection of appetisers, classic Thai mains and sushi is tasty. The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain, Seef (1758 6499).
The Warbler, Ramee Baisan International Hotel To step into Warbler is to enter a bizzaro-world English pub, cherry-red phone booths and all. Find old favourites on the menu to whet your appetite. Deep-filled, hearty pies will satisfy any longings for dear old Blighty. Ramee Baisan Hotel, Manama (1729 0600).
Trader Vic’s, The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa One of the most popular haunts on the island, ‘Traders’ has been catering to a mixed crowd with its diverse food and beverage menu for decades. Most recently, the menu and the kitchen has undergone an upgrade. The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa, Seef (1758 6555).
Best Business Lunch
BiCE Bahrain, World Trade Center As it’s located in the World Trade Centre and boasts very sophisticated interiors, Bice is clearly a good choice for a business lunch. Indulge in delicious Italian dishes over a three course meal, which also comes with a glass of grape. Bahrain World Trade Centre, Manama (1753 3666).
Bushido In terms of quality, setting and value for money, Bushido’s business lunch offering is hard to beat. Choose from a three-course set menu or pick from a selection of eight excellent bento boxes. Then enjoy in the stunning Samurai-inspired venue. Bushido, Seef (1758 3555).
CUT by Wolfgang Puck, Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay This might be the priciest business lunch on the list, ringing in at a steep BD19++ for three courses, but when considering what your a la carte selection here could cost, it’s an absolute steal. This is a great way to experience some of what Cut has to offer, on a budget. Four Seasons Bahrain Bay (1711 5000).
Golestan, Sheraton Bahrain Hotel For any meat lover, this Iranian restaurant does a mean business lunch in an opulent and spacious setting. It’s not vegetarian friendly, although you can order from the a la carte menu, and anything you do go for will be top notch. Sheraton Bahrain, Manama (1753 3533).
La Med, The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa The light, bright La Med interiors are very conducive to a successful and enjoyable business lunch, as is the delicious buffet selection boasting an international selection of cold starters, main courses and desserts. The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain (1758 0000).
Links, The Royal Golf Club Set against a backdrop of fantastic views across the Royal Golf Club’s greens, the two-course business lunch menu available at Links is great value for money. Here the food is always hearty and the portions are always generous. Royal Golf Club, Riffa (1775 0777).
Nirvana, The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa Another Ritz-Carlton lunch offering can be found in opulent Indian restaurant Nirvana. Here, you can order a sizeable thali which is sumptuous, authentic and flavourful, reflecting the high quality cuisine served at this eatery. The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain, Seef (1758 6499).
Primavera, The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa The food is always knock-out at the revamped Primavera restaurant. For lunch, they offer a three-course menu with a small selection of authentic and flavourful Italian dishes to choose from. The smart, chic venue is also perfect for conducting business meetings. The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain (1758 6499).
Rasoi by Vineet, The Gulf Hotel Bahrain For Michelin star quality cuisine at lunch then look no further than Chef Vineet Bhatia’s Rasoi by Vineet. The chic and well-thought-out interiors lend a lovely ambiance for a meeting over the unique tiffin lunch they offer. You can opt for a smaller or larger serving. The Gulf Hotel Bahrain, Adliya (1771 3000).
Swiss-Café, Swiss-Belhotel Seef Bahrain This café is new on this list but has managed to grab our attention thanks to its delightful and reasonably priced lunch buffet, which changes daily and features a beautifully presented salad bar, alongside flavourful hot main courses and grills. Swiss-Belhotel, Seef (6631 0041).
Bossy Kitchen, Reem Center Urban café Bossy Kitchen, which originally started as a food stall at Al Riwaq’s Market 338, is a nod to the burgeoning scene of modern, health conscious, creative and eco-friendly types. We’re talking healthy indulgence with a side of vegan, gluten-free, paleo – it's all wholesome and delicious. Reem Centre, Riffa (3339 7433).
Café Lilou, Adliya & Seef District It doesn’t matter what time of week or day you go to Parisian-style Café Lilou, it’s always bustling. Their recently updated food menu is filled with tempting new dishes and let’s not forget those famed cakes and desserts. Al A’ali Mall (1758 3939) and Adliya (1771 4440).
Coco’s, Block 338 The very popular Coco’s has kept a loyal and regular clientele over the years because of its great food and atmosphere. The tasty dishes come, eventually, beautifully presented, consistent, and full of flavour. Adliya (1771 6512).
Darcha Tea House, Nahkeel Centre Darcha Tea House is a quirky concept which combines traditional Eastern tea with Far Eastern cuisine. The décor is quaint and simple, as is the menu which features some great Asian dishes, using very fresh ingredients, and catering to all tastes. Nakheel Centre, Saar (1759 0036).
La Ventana, Block 338 For a quaint, homely vibe, there’s no place better than cosy café La Ventana. Following a three-year closure, the café has come back as it was before with a vast selection of salads, sandwiches and baked potatoes, bursting to the brim with ingredients, as well as a counter filled daily with homemade desserts. Adliya (6637 1616).
Le Chocolat, Seef District Le Chocolat has long been a culinary hot spot in Seef for the lunch and casual dinner crowd. The menu encompasses a range of cuisines and classics which cater to even the fussiest of eaters. They’ve proven so popular, they’ve launched other venues across Bahrain now, too. First branch: Seef District (1711 1144).
My Cafe, Block 338 What really strikes us about My Café, aside from the beautiful setting, is the focus on fresh, high quality ingredients and we can see they create everything from scratch. The small but carefully crafted menu combines café classics with more indulgent sounding main courses. Adliya (7734 4444).
Paul Café, City Centre Bahrain & Seef Mall It was more than 125 years ago that Paul started as a humble bakery in the north of France. Now, this family-run business has shops in 30 countries, including two in Bahrain. Here, you can enjoy light bites or more substantial main courses, which incorporate French flair. Seef Mall (1717 2321) and City Centre (1717 2321).
Swiss-Café, Swiss-Belhotel Seef Bahrain This contemporary café, based in the heart of Seef, offers fabulous city or sea views from its giant windows, depending on which side of the restaurant you sit. The food is impeccably presented and tasting fresh and flavourful. Swiss-Belhotel, Seef (6631 0041).
T-Spoon, The Westin Bahrain City Centre There is warm lighting and a cosy atmosphere here, offering a welcome respite from the bright hustle and bustle of the mall. As for the food, there are a range of bites catering to more lavish tastes, or even the healthier among us thanks to The Westin Superfoods philosophy. The Westin Bahrain City Centre, Seef (1717 1000).
Al Forno, Amwaj Islands Think Italian cuisine just like mama used to make and you’ll have an idea of what’s on offer at Al Forno. The quaint setting, overlooking the beautiful lagoon, is a major draw for families and couples alike. As are the kid-friendly dishes. Amwaj Lagoon, Amwaj Islands (1601 0528).
Chili's, Seef Mall Generous portions of tempting American fare, ranging from traditional classics to modern twists of both the north and south, await families at Chili’s. Seef Mall (1758 1221). Other locations: Juffair, Diplomatic Area and Budaiya.
Fuddruckers (various locations) American chain Fuddruckers uses top quality ingredients in their indulgent dishes. We particularly recommend the branch in City Centre Bahrain for families because it’s next to a bowling alley. City Centre (1717 8186). Other locations: Adliya, Sanabis, Zallaq and Juffair.
Johnny Rockets, Al Aali Shopping Complex What do most kids love? Why burgers, fries and shakes, of course. So modern American diner Johnny Rocket’s is a good spot for a treat meal out with the whole family. Al A’Ali Shopping Complex, Seef (1756 6565).
Pizza Express, Amwaj Islands With lovely views over Amwaj Lagoon and a clean, casual vibe, Pizza Express is a great choice for families. Best of all, kids can make their own pizza while mum and dad tuck into other tasty Italian dishes. Amwaj Lagoon, Amwaj Islands (1601 0524).
Prego, The Royal Golf Club Prego has a very clean and neat interior, with plenty of colour to lend to a relaxing vibe. It overlooks the Royal Golf Club’s terrace and pool area, and offers outdoor seating, not to mention a large kids play area. Meanwhile, the Mediterranean menu is kid-friendly. The Royal Golf Club, Riffa (1775 0777).
Rosso, ART Rotana For family style sharing dishes, Rosso is perfect. The Italian cuisine here is fresh and flavourful. Plus, kids can run around the expansive outdoors area and enjoy the dancing fountain, which goes off with upbeat background music every hour. Art Rotana, Amwaj Islands (1600 0111).
TGI Friday's, City Centre Bahrain For a birthday celebration this is a great choice for kids as the staff are happy to burst out into song and dance. The menu is also child-friendly with all those international fried favourites vying for their attention. City Centre Bahrain, Seef (1717 9041). Other locations: Seef Mall Muharraq and Juffair.
Bahrain Bay Kitchen, Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay Bahrain Bay Kitchen hosts a high quality brunch at the prestigious Four Seasons Bahrain Bay in a beautiful and elegant venue with a sophisticated but buzzy atmosphere and elegantly prepared, delicious food. The selection is among the largest in Bahrain. Four Seasons Bahrain Bay (1711 5000).
Bushido For a lively and fusion brunch affair, that’s perfect for friends or family, try Bushido’s Friday offering. With a larger than ever buffet selection, alongside live-cooking stations and made-to-order dishes, this venue should not be overlooked. Bushido, Seef (1758 3555).
Choices, ART Rotana Set in a stunning resort location on Amwaj Islands, Choices brunch manages to toe the line between family-friendly and fun, party atmosphere. The food across the buffet spread and live cooking stations is highly recommendable and incredibly fresh. Art Rotana, Amwaj Islands (1600 0111).
Crowne Plaza Bahrain Some might say this is the ultimate party brunch. Crowne Plaza’s Friday affair spans two of the hotel’s venues and even spills out into the lobby. This might be a brunch you primarily attend for the atmosphere, but food offerings also tick all of the boxes. Crowne Plaza Bahrain, Diplomatic Area (1753 1122).
La Med, The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa The bright white and baby blue interiors of La Med is a lovely, summery location for a relaxing and sophisticated Friday brunch. What really stands out here, however, is the epic and top quality food selection, which spans many countries. The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain (1758 6499).
Le Domain , The Domain Bahrain This French restaurant, which partners with The Domain’s steakhouse, offers a relaxed, contemporary style brunch that’s perfect for grown-ups. A wide selection of French inspired salads and appetisers are ready to be devoured, followed by your a la carte choice for mains. The Domain Bahrain, Diplomatic Area (1600 0200).
Lemon Tree, Ramee Grand Hotel & Spa With live cooking stations and an eclectic buffet selection spanning numerous cuisines, Lemon Tree has plenty to offer a discerning diner, including atmosphere. This brunch is particularly great for families. Ramee Grand Hotel & Spa, Seef (1711 1999).
Masso by Chef Susy Massetti, The Palace Boutique Hotel Contemporary elegance is the name of the game at popular European restaurant Masso. At their beautiful weekend brunch, order from a sizeable a la carte menu and enjoy dish after dish of high quality ingredients boasting fresh flavours throughout. Palace Boutique Hotel, Adliya (1772 1061).
Mövenpick Hotel Bahrain This hotel’s weekly Friday brunch has a loyal following of regulars. The setting is expansive, with food stations seemingly around every corner and a notable selection of seafood. Overall the food impresses, but the atmosphere is exceptional. Mövenpick Hotel Bahrain, Muharraq (1746 0000).
Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa The selection of cuisine at this brunch is so wide-ranging you’ll never get through it all. But it doesn’t matter what you try, it's always spot-on. The atmosphere is always great and manages to strike a balance between a party vibe with family-friendliness and sophistication. Sofitel, Zallaq (1763 6363).
Aroma Express, Juffair From the same company behind the popular Aroma Café, Aroma Express matches fast and casual dining with traditional Arabian flavours in a vibrant venue. The menu offers classic and tasty Middle Eastern street fare for a reasonable price. The Mall, American Alley, Juffair (1721 2126).
Burrito Loco, Juffair Burrito Loco isn’t flash but it doesn’t pretend to be and that’s what we like about it. It offers Mexican staples – burritos and tacos: choose your wrap, main filling, then pile on the toppings and sauces. Ingredients are great and every bite is a flavour explosion. Hamala (1700 2947) and Shabab Avenue, Juffair (1700 2979).
Fish House, Budaiya This is certainly no example of fine dining in Bahrain, but for cheap yet fresh and tasty seafood offerings, with a local twist, you can do no better than Fish House. Budaiya Highway, opposite International Hospital (1759 4040).
Govinda's, Juffair Govinda’s is one of a kind and is very popular with vegetarians and vegans on the island. With a very friendly staff, bhajans playing in the background and a sparkling dining hall, it offers a great experience. Govinda’s is a must-visit for all palates. Juffair (1782 7127).
Honey’s, Manama Souq Since opening in 1986, Honey’s Thai restaurant in Manama souq has had a loyal clientele and made a name for itself as an island institution for authentic, delicious Thai cuisine. Next to Gold City, Manama Souq (3923 8507).
Isfahani, Exhibition Road For a taste of Persia, on a budget, then look no further than Isfahani. Each venue offers comfortable yet basic interiors, with quick service, and a comprehensive menu, but most importantly, Isfahani proves you don’t have to sacrifice service or quality to offer great value for money. Exhibition Road (1729 0027).
Londoner, Seef Mall Time Out London would be very proud of this fast food, budget restaurant, as it takes us home with their UK-style doner kebabs. The Londoner is a small little eatery decked out to resemble the London underground, offering tasty eat-in options and quick home delivery. Shaikh Isa bin Salman Highway, Tubli (1733 2123).
Sangeetha, Gudaibiya Located in the heart of Manama, alongside Bahrain’s Asian community, lives vegetarian spot Sangeetha, which is famous for south Indian snacks and breakfast. But you’ll also find this place packed at lunch when they’re serving their popular thali meals. Opposite the Indian Club, Manama (1727 2768).
The Urban Dhaba, Adliya In India, Dhabas are very popular for people who travel on highways, which explains why the interiors of this jolly Punjabi spot resemble a colourful truck. Everything about the place – from the lassis in earthen pots to how they scatter board games across the bright tables – offers an uplifting dining experience. Salmaniya (1716 2761).
Fusions, The Gulf Hotel Bahrain If the recipe for a romantic restaurant includes sublime food, elegant surroundings and spectacular views then Fusions ticks all the boxes. With plush carpets, classic furnishings and candle lit tables the air is infused with romance. Gulf Hotel Bahrain (1771 3000).
Keizo, Al Areen Palace & Spa The venue is grand and atmospheric at Keizo. Romantics will be drawn to the large private dining room, outdoor terrace and island pavilions, which overlook a pond. Upon request, the staff will even scatter rose petals around your table. Al Areen Resort & Spa (1784 5000).
La Fontaine A French inspired restaurant in romantic backdrop of the renovated traditional Bahraini house cum contemporary arts centre. Servers here are attentive and ready to offer recommendations, and the menu offers a refined and diversified dining experience. Hoora (1723 0123).
La Mer, Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa Some of the island’s most creative and high quality cuisine is served at this elegant, ocean-facing seafood restaurant. Even when you call and book, you’re asked whether you’d like to sit in the ‘romantic area’ by floor-to-ceiling windows, overlooking the sea. Sofitel, Zallaq (1763 6363).
Maki, Moda Mall Maki offers over 100 unique maki concoctions combining flavours from across the world. So the food selection is certainly there, and the chic interiors, as well as the more intimate lounge, is popular for date nights. Bahrain World Trade Centre, Manama (1752 2733).
My Cafe, Block 338 We’ve been wooed by My Café’s beautiful setting and tropical garden terrace, as well as the creative menu featuring high quality ingredients such as Alaskan crab, foie gras and veal cheeks. An evening meal paired with their beverage selection can be a very intimate affair. Adliya (7734 4444).
Plums, The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa Dining at this modern steakhouse is an experience for any party but the occasion is particularly suited for romantic dates. Theatrical dishes boast the kitchen’s skills (we’re talking liquid nitrogen and tableside torching) adding to an already special occasion. The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain (1758 0000).
Primavera, The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa The smart, contemporary vibe is suitable for any occasion including a spot of romance. Whether you arrive for lunch or dinner, grab a private table by the window or on the terrace and enjoy a great Italian meal with grape and garden views. The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain, Seef (1758 6499).
Roma, Adliya Stalwart Italian restaurant Roma, with its intimate lounge, just never goes out of style. Its luxurious ambience and stylish interiors are matched by exceptional cuisine which never fails to impress. Adliya (1772 5885).
Wok, Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa With dim lighting and intimate table seating, as well as a tropical terrace, Vietnamese restaurant Wok is great for dates. Not only is the food exquisite but the service is outstanding, too, and you can request rose petals and other special attention. Sofitel, Zallaq (1763 6363).
La Marine, Budaiya For an affordable seafood foodie experience, you can’t go wrong with the humble La Marine, perched on top of Budaiya’s Burgerland. It might not scream five-star quality, but that’s its charm. Budaiya roundabout (1759 5775).
La Mer This restaurant is perfect for special occasions as it offers top quality ingredients used in contemporary, well prepared and beautifully presented dishes, cooked using French techniques. Sofitel, Zallaq (1763 6363).
La Perle A surprisingly good seaside dining experience can be had at the Novotel Al Dana’s La Perle. You’ll find a market selection of fresh fish and seafood, which you can enjoy alongside a delicious range of other culinary specialities. Novotel Al Dana Resort, Muharraq (1729 8008).
Seafood Market The Seafood Market is quite literally a seafood market – select your catch on a price per weight basis and then choose your preferred cooking method and pick your sauce. It might be basic but you’re in for a pleasant dining experience. Sheza Tower Hotel, Diplomatic Area (1753 3336).
The Fish Market Offering an oasis of seafood, The Fish Market is respected in Bahrain for the quality of cuisine served. Overlooking the azure waters of Al Bander bay, browse the fresh catch of the day on the market, and select your dish of choice. Al Bander Hotel and Resort, Sitra (1770 1201).
Waves Waves offers an extensive a la carte menu, as well as a market selection of fish and seafood, in a clean cut restaurant with attentive servers. It’s particularly good for its central location and regular weekly promotional offers. Crowne Plaza Bahrain, Diplomatic Area (1753 1122).
Butcher Shop & Grill For a great, prime cut of steak at a reasonable price, look no further than South African chain Butcher Shop & Grill. The eatery even boasts an in-house butchery and knife counter, so you know you’re in knowledgeable hands. Bahrain City Centre (1717 2323).
Cut by Wolfgang Puck The Four Seasons Bahrain Bay steakhouse ‘Cut by Wolfgang Puck’ is backed by Michelin-starred, celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck. With a menu boasting cutting-edge culinary creations, and a minimalist décor with stunning views, CUT is for special occasions. Four Seasons Bahrain Bay (1711 5000).
Flames Steak & Seafood It has to be said, the service in Flames is outstanding. The concept combines fresh ingredients with uncomplicated dishes, which everybody loves (think shucked oysters and T-bones). This is topped off by the contemporary décor with intimate seating for all. Art Rotana, Amwaj Islands (1600 0111).
Legendz Steakhouse The stylish décor in Legendz lends itself to a sophisticated ambience so you can enjoy your prime beef cuts, alongside everything else this eclectic, contemporary menu has to offer. InterContinental Regency (1722 7777).
Le Sauvage Sit back in large leather armchairs, looking out at the stunning views across Bahrain, and peruse a spectacular menu filled with prime cuts from Argentina to Australia, all of which are well cooked. You can also opt for classic European from Le Domain 's menu. The Domain Bahrain, Diplomatic Area (1600 0222).
Plums Modern steakhouse Plums has taken their mission to impress to the next level with a welcome injection of theatrical dining, complete with dry ice, blow torches and liquid nitrogen. It’s a smart, sophisticated, yet edgy, venue. The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain (1758 0000).
The Meat Co Expect sophisticated interiors, professional service and high quality prime cuts at award-winning South African steakhouse The Meat Co. You certainly get your money’s worth in quality, quantity and experience. Block 338, Adliya (1774 2080).
Basta 23 Basta 23 is 2015’s answer to Bahraini cuisine. It’s quaint but funky, traditional yet contemporary in its concept. The venue is decorated with old Bahraini posters and edgy graffiti, and the menu is full of authentic, classic Middle Eastern dishes. Riyadat Mall, A’Ali (7777 2323). Other locations: Durrat Al Bahrain, Amwaj Islands.
Chai Café This traditional yet modern chai shop is our first port of call for a cup of karak but we always love the food here, too. The menu encompasses everything the owner remembers from his childhood. Sanabis, opposite Bahrain Mall (1700 1727).
Emma-Wash Emma-Wash has stolen the hearts of Bahrain’s food lovers all over the island. Its down-to-earth venue is what entices you. But it’s the brilliant food that makes you linger over that litre dellah of karak. Budaiya Highway, (1730 9030).
Haji Gahwa Haji Gahwa, or ‘Haji’s Café’, is known as the go-to place for a taste of what Bahraini cuisine is all about. Nestled down the back alleyways of Manama souq, you just can’t get much more local than here. Bab Al Bahrain, Manama Souq (1721 0647).
Naseef Café The mango ice cream is what made Naseef Café famous almost 100 years ago. And you can still pop by its Bab Al Bahrain Mall branch, with an eager belly for that same homemade ice cream. But there’s plenty more on the menu too, like the must-try Bahraini breakfast. Bab Al Bahrain Mall, Manama Souq (3962 2882).
Roche Roche boasts a quaint café in the back streets of Adliya, as well as a dedicated patisserie for takeaways, across the road. The menu is whopping – it takes you through a huge range of local and international dishes. What Roche is most famous for, however, is their Rangeena – a celebrated Middle Eastern dessert. Adliya (1771 0200).
Saffron by Jena Bakery When it comes to finding a stand-out Bahraini breakfast at a truly cultural location in Bahrain, then it has to be Saffron by Jena Bakery. The brand has three branches: the one in Muharraq is in a renovated house; another more modern venue in Manama’s souq; and a third at Riffa Fort where you can gaze out at the vast Haniniya valley. Near the NBB strip, Muharraq (1362 3191). Other locations: Riffa fort, Bab Al Bahrain Mall.
BamBu Offering top value for money, diners can be assured of leaving BamBu completely satisfied without making a dent in their wallet because of the restaurant’s ‘all-you-can-eat’ style. One of the highlights is that everything is made with fresh, homemade ingredients and MSGs cannot be found. Adliya (1726 2555).
Beijing You’ll always have a fun time at Beijing where the reasonably priced food is high quality and the atmosphere is always lively thanks to the karaoke machines. The servers don’t miss a trick either. Adliya, Manama (13 307 070).
China Garden Service is always at the forefront of your meal at China Garden but it’s the flavourful food, influenced by Cantonese, Szechuan and Peking specialties, which really blows you away. This low key restaurant stalwart still packs a discreet punch. The Gulf Hotel Bahrain, Adliya (1771 3000).
David’s Stir Fry Crazy Visiting David’s is like going to a meal at an old friend’s house. David makes an effort to welcome all his visitors and upon entering the restaurant there is a gentle buzz. It’s the owner’s warmth and passion that resonates. Adliya (1754 0188) and Riffa (1776 0780).
Hong Kong Hong Kong is known for being a classic among long-term expat residents, and is popular among the island’s Chinese community, too. They have one of the most authentic Cantonese menus we’ve found in Bahrain. Umm Al Hassam (1330 7070).
PF Chang’s Good food and a welcoming vibe awaits at this mall-based eatery. This US chain never disappoints – you always know you’re going to get tasty food, friendly and quick service, and a bustling family vibe thanks to its mall location. Bahrain City Centre, Seef District (1717 9757).
Soie With the same opulent, Asian-inspired interiors but a new, revamped and excellent menu selection, it’s clear that Soie means business. You never leave Manama, but your explorations of cuisines from China to Hong Kong will have you ready to book flights. Sheraton Bahrain, Manama (1753 3533).
Café Amsterdam Café Amsterdam offers something quite original to the island’s blossoming restaurant scene. The décor is fresh with quirky Dutch-inspired design elements and the garden terrace it shares with sister venue La Vinoteca Barcelona is grand. Block 338, Adliya (1700 7404).
La Fontaine The traditional, creative and romantic surrounds enhance any dining experience at this European restaurant. You’ll find a range of dishes rooted in Mediterranean cuisine but boasting ingredients and flavours from across the world. Hoora (1723 0123).
La Vinoteca Barcelona It’s easy to see why La Vinoteca Barcelona, tapas bar and restaurant, is popular. The venue is chic and inviting, and the food and beverage menus are full of tasty sounding Spanish classics and grape that fill you with anticipation for a great meal. Adliya (1700 7808).
Le Domain  It’s all about the views through the floor-to-ceiling windows at Le Domain . The menu features an eclectic mix of European dishes that are well cooked and beautifully prepared by the skilled kitchen team. You can also order from steakhouse Le Sauvage. The Domain Bahrain, Diplomatic Area (1600 0222).
Masso Everything hits the mark at stylish European restaurant Masso in terms of food, ambience and service. Thanks to a passionate kitchen team, and their very own Budaiya-based farm, you’ll find the menu filled with truly delicious dishes. Palace Boutique, Adliya (1772 1061).
Nicole’s Nicole’s Mediterranean Restaurant and Lounge in Adliya is so inviting with its brightly coloured façade. The menu is also vibrant with flavours from across the Med. What we love most is that they make everything from scratch, and the kitchen's passion is evident on every plate. Adliya, Block 338 (1728 0700).
Zoe The European restaurant Zoe was previously known for their fine dining experience but nowadays they're better known for rooftop parties. If you’re still going there for dinner, expect a tasty-sounding pan-European menu with a focus on Italy’s cuisine. Block 338, Adliya (1771 6400).
Akbar Named after the great Mughal emperor, and designed like his royal court, Akbar offers an amazing Indian dining experience. With Indian musicians playing Ghazals and Bollywood numbers, and very attentive staff, Akbar excels. Ramada Palace Hotel, Manama (1729 6660).
Copper Chimney There are a number of reasons why Copper Chimney enjoys a fiercely loyal clientele. Such as the basic but bright interiors, friendly and knowledgeable staff, and flavoursome food which never disappoints. Al Hambra Hotel, Umm Al Hassam (1772 8699).
It’s Mirchi It’s Mirchi is a no fuss, no frills restaurant that focuses on prompt service, presenting food to impress and offering a decent selection of beverages. The menu offers a wide array of Indian classics. Ramee International Hotel, Juffair (3838 1615).
Lanterns The Lanterns brand has grown over the years, with new branches opening all over the country. We remember when they were just one, in Budaiya, resembling a mini Indian bazaar, and offering one of tastiest all-you-can-eat buffets. Now, we love Adliya's, where it's like entering an Indian oasis. Adliya (1725 0999). Other locations: Budaiya, Durrat, Juffair.
Mantraa Situated in a four-star hotel, Mantraa is where Indian cuisine meets classic fine dining. Very well trained staff and a peaceful ambience means Mantraa offers romantic dining with great value for money. The Best Western Olive Hotel, Juffair (1721 1133).
Nirvana Nirvana comfortably combines colonial-style interiors and heart-warming comfort food with a five-star edge. The outstanding servers treat you like royalty while the classic menu delights. The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain (1758 0000).
Rasoi by Vineet The majestic Rasoi by Vineet is Bahrain’s first restaurant to be operated by a Michelin-starred chef. The venue boasts all sorts of stunning design elements, while the menu features a balanced combination of classic Indian dishes and contemporary fusion creations. The Gulf Hotel Bahrain, Adliya (1774 6461).
Spices Indian Restaurant For tiffins, promotional menus, and good quality Indian food you can’t go far wrong with Spices Indian restaurant at Crowne Plaza Bahrain. The venue might be basic but the flavours are not, and the service is also friendly. Crowne Plaza Bahrain, Diplomatic Area (1753 1122).
Best Latin American
Brasa de Brazil Seef Mall-based churrascaria Brasa de Brazil offers over a dozen varieties of meat as well as a gourmet salad bar perfect for vegetarians. The venue is brightly coloured and welcoming, and the staff are friendly, but the major draw here is its location. Seef Mall (1758 2225).
Brazil This all-you-can-eat churrascaria-style restaurant is a haven for dedicated meat eaters. The wait-staff make sure your plate and glass are never empty, so plan on a post-dinner food coma. But head over to the lounge to dance off the calories. Adliya (1782 6686).
Casa Mexicana Casa Mexicana has been on the restaurant scene for longer than we remember and has managed to maintain regulars thanks to high quality food and good service. Pop on your sombreros, as it’s a place that’s worth a visit even just for the food. Adliya (1771 5521).
Margarita Mexicana Gulf Hotel's Margarita Mexicana is the chicest of the destinations on this list, however the ambience and setting is unpretentious and warm. A live mariachi band adds to the mood, as do the knowledgable and friendly staff. The menu caters to all degrees of Mexican cuisine aficionados. The Gulf Hotel, Adliya (1771 3000).
Senor Paco’s This popular Mexican restaurant still has a surprise or two under its signature sombrero. Although the mind boggles at a menu boasting well over fifty main courses, in addition to sharing platters, appetisers and desserts, once you choose, you’ll find that dishes are satisfying and tasty. Adliya, Bahrain (17 725 873).
Bice After winning Time Out Bahrain’s top accolade of Restaurant of the Year in 2012, Bice fell under the radar, however, this Italian restaurant is still worth its salt thanks to some excellently prepared dishes, a stunning venue, great views, and professional servers. Bahrain World Trade Centre, Manama (1753 3666).
Café Italia Very friendly, attentive staff welcome you to this chic eatery, which continues to impress with its modern take on Italian cuisine. The food is always tasty and the atmosphere is uplifted by stylish surrounds. Adliya (1774 4774).
Cico’s Over the years restaurants have come and gone, but Cico’s has stood the test of time, retaining a huge number of loyal customers. The menu is Italian and while the interior and the menu have been revamped, it’s still the same Cico’s with a newer surface. Adliya (1771 3710).
Cucina Italiana Located in the heart of Juffair, Cucina is a very popular choice, drawing crowds nightly thanks to a proper Italian vibe with lively Italian music. The wood burning oven takes pride of place and the extensive menu covers all bases. Juffair (1700 1317).
Fiamma There is nothing quite as special as being by the sea, so don’t miss the opportunity to visit Fiamma, located only steps away from the beach. Service is first rate and an extensive menu offers something to suit all tastes. Sofitel, Zallaq (1763 6363).
La Pergola Walk through the doors of La Pergola and one immediately forgets there is a busy hotel foyer only steps away. The secluded venue boasts classic Roman themed frescoed walls that transport the diner to the heart of Italy. The Gulf Hotel Bahrain, Adliya (1771 3000).
Oliveto Renovated Italian restaurant Oliveto aims to impress. The hefty menu selection boasts classic and modern Italian dishes, while the new contemporary venue is stunning. It has been reborn bigger and better than before. Adliya, Road 3834 (1771 6747).
Primavera Enter an Italian restaurant to be greeted in Italian by Italians, and you know you're off to a good start. You have magically arrived in the heart of Italy. Ambience and view are nothing without food to complement; and Primavera doesn’t disappoint. The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain (1758 6499).
Roma The luxury Italian restaurant with its chic and sophisticated interior, matched by exceptional cuisine, more than satisfies. The waiters are helpful while the songstress draws the crowds with her unique renditions of Italian classics. Adliya (1772 5885).
Rosso Chic, bright and modern, this L shaped restaurant boasts floor-to-ceiling picture windows leading to the hotel’s poolside. All expected Italian favourites can be found on this menu and everything is cooked fresh with plenty of depth of flavour. Art Rotana, Amwaj Islands (1600 0111).
Bushido With sophisticated red and black interiors, inspired by Japan’s Samurai soldiers, Bushido maintains its reputation as a popular restaurant, thanks to their regular DJ nights and because they’re not afraid to reinvent their culinary offerings. Seef District (1758 3555).
Fuji Sushi This is a charming and underrated little sushi bar with a downtown Tokyo feel in central Manama. Don't expect the usual pomp but do expect experienced staff serving good sushi at an affordable price. Sheza Tower Hotel, Diplomatic Area (1753 3336).
Imari The spectacular views from the floor-to-ceiling windows of this 28th floor restaurant are a major draw, as is the extremely friendly service and chic décor. The menu, which mixes authentic Japanese classics with more modern takes, is small but the dishes are prepared to a high quality. The Domain Bahrain, Diplomatic Area (1600 0000).
Kabuki You can’t complain about having a lack of options at Kabuki. The menu is positively gigantic. It’s filled with every Japanese classic you can think of – from teppanyaki to temaki – and then some. You’d think no one could possibly pull that all off to a high level, but here you would be wrong. Al Shabab Avenue, Juffair (1761 6191).
Kojo Traditional Japanese favourites meet some unique local creations on the menu at Kojo where fresh, tasty ingredients combine with friendly service and contemporary Oriental décor to deliver a satisfying and relaxed dining experience. Zayed Town (1744 9055). Other locations: Durrat Al Bahrain, Juffair.
Maki It was back in 2002, in Kuwait, that the Maki concept was first conceived and inspired by Japanese cuisine and culture. Alongside classic dishes from Japan, Maki now offers over 100 unique maki concoctions and you’ll also find a focus on healthy ingredients, as well as a special gluten-free selection. Bahrain World Trade Centre (1752 2733).
Meisei For your fill of culinary fusion in Bahrain, we recommend a visit to Meisei. Overall, the food is interesting, unique and surprisingly delicious. Expect dishes such as yuzu jerk chicken quesadillas, for example, which may sound strange but master chef Michae Kyu-Lee has a mad reputation to protect. Adliya (1700 7770).
Mirai On any given night of the week, Mirai is buzzing. It might only be a small, simply-dressed venue but tables are always filled with friends catching up over the Japanese restaurant’s famed dishes, from their special sushi selections to their perfect miso glazed black cod. Block 338, Adliya (1771 3113).
Sato Stepping into The Gulf Hotel’s award-winning Sato is like discovering mini Japan in the heart of Bahrain. There are reasons why this stalwart Japanese restaurant has retained a loyal clientele – the staff are friendly and efficient, the venue has plenty of character, and the menu offers everything you’d crave from a traditional Japanese joint. The Gulf Hotel Bahrain (1771 3000).
Abd El Wahab The stunningly designed, Oriental-inspired Abd El Wahab enjoys its exclusive location so you can expect a higher class of clientele at this Lebanese spot. With more discerning palates to please, the kitchen team at Abd El Wahab do a great job. Bahrain World Trade Centre (1713 1111).
Al Arisha Al Arisha presents a unique take on Lebanese dining. While the menu offers a host of classics, the incorporation of local favourites, and the selection of Lebanese grape, sets it apart. The food quality, attentive service and ambience makes this place. Umm Al Hassam (1772 5414).
Al Fayez With views from Reef Island across the water, Al Fayez is an easy choice for anyone looking for a great meal. The staff and food make this place stand out and the menu has everything you could want from a classic Lebanese restaurant with a few twists. Reef Island, Manama (1332 0612).
Golestan This spacious and airy fine dining Iranian restaurant offers an opulent and inviting ambience. The food and ingredients cater to both meat lovers and vegetarians, leaving you practically waddling out the door. Sheraton Bahrain Hotel, Manama (1753 3533).
Kenza Kenza Lounge is the perfect place to go for an after-work unwind. The live guitar music will set you up for an enjoyable evening and the delicious food will make sure you have one. Go wild with the hot and cold mezze, as it is delicious. The K Hotel, Juffair (1736 0000).
Leila Leila offers traditional Lebanese options of superior quality. Light and wholesome, the food at Leila could just as easily serve as both lunch and dinner options, and it's always packed out here. Al A’ali Shopping Complex, Seef (1756 6556).
Pashawat Pashawat provides an elegant setting for an evening of Arabic music, Lebanese cuisine, and belly dancing. As it is a set menu, you will have loads to get through. The flavourful food and entertainment will keep you enjoying the evening. Sofitel, Zallaq (1763 6363).
Rayes The panoramic view of the sea from Rayes, which is perched on the marina at beach resort Coral Bay, is a real highlight at this Middle Eastern restaurant. The whopping menu is Lebanese and the restaurant offers a welcoming vibe. Coral Bay, Al Fateh Corniche (1774 6431).
Saffron Al Areen With an interesting setting, Saffron definitely has the elements to make an excellent dining experience. Great food, particularly tasty grills, and a stunning setting with superior service means you’re in for a pleasant meal. Al Areen Palace & Spa, Zallaq (1784 5000).
Takht Jamsheed As one of Bahrain’s classic restaurants, Takht Jamsheed really holds its own with its delicious and varied menu. The restaurant still has a welcoming atmosphere, which makes it a great spot for a family get together. The Gulf Hotel, Adliya (1771 3000).
Best South East Asian
Hash House Hash House is a perennial favourite that shows no signs of letting up. It offers a plethora of Thai cuisine, plus a good range of specials, and all options deliver big flavours. Value for money is exceptional; the most expensive item on the menu is under four dinars. Adliya (1771 5094).
Keizo The menu at this beautiful and romantic restaurant comprises Japanese, Chinese and Thai dishes, and a newly introduced grape list. The ingredients are of a high quality and discerningly sourced. The flavours are fantastic, the portions generous, and prices reasonable. Al Areen Palace & Spa, Zallaq (1784 5000).
Kontiki Kontiki's distinctly Polynesian decor belies the breadth of its modern Asian fusion menu, which is influenced by the cuisines of Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan and the Pacific Islands. Diplomat Radisson Blu, Diplomatic Area (1753 1666).
Monsoon Monsoon is the stuff holiday daydreams are made of; stepping over the threshold feels like stepping into a Thai-inspired Balinese palace. It takes a while to work your way through the dizzying array of items on the menu, inspired by the cuisines of Asia, but dishes are bursting with bold flavours, as well as very reasonably priced. Adliya (1774 9222).
Royal Thai Set in an ornate grand pagoda overlooking the lush foliage of the Gulf Hotel, Royal Thai is a large and well-established eatery. The menu is expansive, with all the classics present and accounted for, plus the addition of modern creations. The Gulf Hotel Bahrain, Adliya (1771 3000).
re Asian Cuisine | Wolfgang Puck This is celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck’s first ever fine dining Asian restaurant outside the US. Set on the 50th floor of the stylish Four Seasons Bahrain Bay, overlooking Bahrain’s skyline, re Asian serves up Far Eastern cuisine with contemporary twists in a chic and sophisticated venue. Four Seasons Bahrain Bay (1711 5000).
Thailand Cutting an impressive figure from its central location in Adliya, Thailand restaurant is a well-established restaurant in Bahrain. A warren of seating options, it offers affordable and authentic cuisine served with signature Thai hospitality. Adliya (1771 7040).
Wok In the past year Wok has revamped its menu into a purely Vietnamese affair, spearheaded by its passionate head chef, and the results are mouth-watering. This restaurant is a bit of an unsung hero in Bahrain, that's undoubtedly worth the trip. Sofitel, Zallaq (1763 6363).
B28 Bar & Lounge The stylish setting of this newly opened sky bar in Seef is enhanced by the dramatic views through walls of windows. Alongside creative concoctions from a talented mixology team, the bar bites menu packs a sophisticated punch. Swiss-Belhotel, Seef (6631 0000).
Big Texas Barbecue and Waffle House Take a big bite out of Texas at this well-done eatery which boasts a menu filled with great US comfort food. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the food quality, and the buzzing ambience. The Best Western Olive Hotel, Juffair (1721 1133).
Jimmy’s Killer Prawns For a mall-based joint, we’ve been suitably impressed by Jimmy’s Killer Prawns in Seef Mall Muharraq. The menu is packed with plenty of great seafood options (and many, many prawns), and more. This is a good pit-stop point for families on a spree, as kids will love the process of donning gloves and bibs and de-shelling the prawns. Seef Mall Muharraq (1711 1151).
jones the grocer This Australian gourmet café chain offers a lovely, bright vibe and beautiful views. This is already a foodie haven because of their fine fare, delectable dessert options and gourmet products (which you can buy in-store). Floating City, Amwaj Islands (7777 0055).
Suwalif We dig the funky street eatery vibe at new Hamala-based Bahraini restaurant Suwalif. They have a decent sized menu with classic bites from across the Middle East, and everything tastes fantastic. Al Dhili Complex, Hamala (1767 7746).