It’s not just shopping and Trader Vic’s in this area. Outside the malls and five-star hotels, Will Milner finds Seef has plenty to offer Bahrain’s foodies
On our ever-changing island, the emergence of new favourites means there is always somewhere new to explore. But one neighbourhood has emerged in the past ten years as a reliable location for long-term residents and newcomers alike.
Thanks to the presence of numerous malls, Seef has become a prime shopping destination. And there are plenty of fine dining options inside the nearby five-star hotels, too.
But there is more to the area than just splashing your cash. Among the residential towers, office blocks and shops there are some great restaurants to try. These are our top ten.
One of the crown jewels of Bahrain’s dining scene, this Samurai-themed Japanese gem is a stylish spot as a restaurant, lounge or merely as a work of art. The unique interpretations of Japanese classics will have you talking as much as the sultry DJ nights, beverage deals and and stunning décor. It’s also home to Time Out Bahrain’s Best Business Lunch (an award it’s clinched an impressive six times). Whether you’re sitting in the main dining hall, upstairs by the bar or on the stunning outdoor terrace (set among a lovely lagoon), you’ll have a good time.
Ambitious dishes served in a setting designed to resemble a 19th century Parisian café are always going to arrest our attention. Hence why this spot has won prestigious Time Out Bahrain awards for a number of years. To call the menu eclectic is an understatement, when dish of the day could be anything from a burger mac and cheese to herb-stuffed sea bass or creamy pumpkin spaghetti with kale. Sit out on the terrace and face out to the palm trees for added atmosphere – the Seef branch is every bit as beautiful as the original Adliya location.
There is something about poolside dining that has always appealed to us. That’s why we enjoy a trip to the Elite Seef Residence garden venue. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, while serving international fodder, and being family friendly, it is a consistent performer in the area. And let’s not forget about their regular themed dining nights (sushi, please) and Friday brunch.
The newest spot in the Seef ‘hood is this casual restaurant and shisha lounge over at Platinum Tower. Serving a combination of Arabian and international cuisine, alongside creative mocktails, Kasbah is a great place for business lunches on weekdays and a chilled place to gather with friends on weekends. It’s also the place to catch the latest match as they’re screening sporting action all week.
Read a Time Out Bahrain review and we’re likely to direct you to the wood-fired pizza and decent salads, but you know as well as we do that this Seef stalwart is all about the cakes. Decadent mousse, raspberry tart, vanilla sponge or our mind-meltingly brilliant favourite the chocolate Montana cake are all reason enough to make a trip over to the original Seef branch.
The Lebanese food here is popular (and delicious), sure it is. Especially among Lebanese expats wanting a taste of home. We can’t help think, however, it is the trendy setting, easy availability of shisha and a vibrant atmosphere that has won it many repeat customers. Enjoy views of the Al A’ali boulevard, while getting your grilled meat fix. Make sure you try any of the fattehs and, arguably, the best tabbouleh we’ve tried on the island.
A casual Italian chain with outlets across Kuwait, Saudi and Bahrain straddles the space between high-end food court restaurant and hotel quality food. There are a few burgers, soups and appetisers on the menu but the most intriguing options are the Italian veal, pasta and pizza dishes. You’ll also find more intrigue in Japanese-inspired appetisers and the health-conscious will like the ‘light’ menu, too.
Okay, so a fast food burger might not usually bother our dining lists, but a sandwich created especially for Bahrain makes us happy. Don’t judge. At least not until you have tried Smashburger’s patented burger making
method and hot pepper cheese, grilled jalapeños, machboos and labneh on a
spicy chipotle bun.
This functional all-day dining restaurant does enough to make it stand out from similar eateries. If you like dipping things into molten cheese and eating them – and let’s face it, who doesn’t? – then try the authentic fondue. Also swing by for the cheap and cheerful business lunch buffet that offers great value with its all-you-can-eat deal for a mere BD7.
For an alternative to fatty foods and fast food indulgence, try this healthy dining concept. Around a dozen salads all come with a helpful calorie count (the apple-walnut being the lowest) and there are limited soup and side dish options, as well as health-promising beverages such as a veggie detox and avocado drink.