Restaurant of the Year Masso We love the a la carte concept Masso offers in their weekend brunch. Add to it their top quality, fresh ingredients, tasty array of European breakfast and lunch options, excellent service and refined atmosphere, it becomes a serious category contender. Just read our review in the Eating Out section for more of our impressions. Palace Boutique Hotel (1772 5000).
Winner Best Bar food Polo Gastropub A brand new gastro pub concept has infiltrated the island at Palace Boutique Hotel and we’re very glad of it. The menu boasts a range of interesting options such as polenta and goat’s cheese lasagna, butternut squash wedges and herb-crusted sea bass, alongside other classics with a gourmet twist. Try their special burger and we can assure you, you won’t be disappointed. Palace Boutique Hotel (1772 5000).
Highly recommended Tapas Bar The Sofitel isn't short on outstanding venues and Tapas is no exception as it serves a variety of Mediterranean, Arabian, American and Asian cuisines in classic tapas-style portions, at a glamourous seaside venue with indoor and outdoor seating areas. Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa (1763 6363). Highly recommended Thai Lounge Relaxing in the chic interiors or comfortable outdoors at Thai Lounge, as the DJ spins her tunes, with a beverage in hand and any one of their Asian dishes is a lovely way to spend an evening. They have Thai classics like a tasty Tom Yum Soup alongside some mean sushi platters and other nibbles. All hail the Unicorn Roll! Thai Lounge is anything but predictable in its offering and we like it. The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel & Spa, Seef District (1758 0000).
Winner Best Brunch Masso We love the a la carte concept Masso offers in their weekend brunch. Add to it their top quality, fresh ingredients, tasty array of European breakfast and lunch options, excellent service and refined atmosphere, it becomes a serious category contender. Just read our review in the Eating Out section for more of our impressions. Palace Boutique Hotel (1772 5000).
Highly recommended Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa For years, this award-winning brunch has been attracting people in droves to experience one of the largest buffet spreads on the island. Enjoy everything from fresh seafood to Moroccan tagines, pizza made on the spot at Fiamma to a bowl of steaming Vietnamese pho from Wok. No matter what you choose you won’t go wrong because the food it’s undeniably delectable. Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa (1763 6363).
Highly recommended Lemon Tree Ramee Grand Hotel & Spa Seef debuts on this list for Lemon Tree’s extremely family-friendly brunch offering. Each of the hotel’s outlets showcase their specialty cuisine including Japanese from Ruka, Indian from Rasoi and Italian from Rialto, so you can bet on the food being good. Meanwhile, kid’s activities abound and there are even roaming entertainers. Ramee Grand Hotel & Spa (1711 1999).
Winner Best Budget Honey’s You’ll find this is one of many Bahrain residents’ favourite budget spot simply because they do some of the best Thai food on the island. The venue might be a bit basic but you’d be hard-pressed to find this kind of quality for the price anywhere else. Manama Souq (3923 8507).
Highly recommended Fish House It may be more of a canteen than an institution of fine dining but Fish House offers some of the freshest and tastiest seafood offerings we’ve had for under BD10. The menu is fairly limited but it’s always packed with locals so you know it’s good! Budaiya Highway, opposite International Hospital (1759 4040).
Winner Best Business Lunch Bushido The multi-award-winning business lunch at Bushido has topped our charts year-on-year for many reasons. First, you have plenty of reasonably priced options from a set menu to sushi platters to bento boxes, that offer lots of value for money and cater to all tastes. It all happens to be seriously good as well, which means you can go back time and time again and never get bored, especially of the outdoor terrace seating area. Bushido Restaurant & Lounge, Seef (1758 3555).
Highly recommended Primavera Looking to impress a potential client? Then take them to the sophisticated Ritz-Carlton's Primavera, a contemporary Italian venue that packs a punch. The business lunch menu changes every couple of months and offers a selection of fresh dishes which range from comfort food to light bites. The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel & Spa (1758 0000).
Highly recommended Ruka The Japanese restaurants in Bahrain really know how to put on a tasty lunch spread and Ruka is no exception. Try a four-course business menu or pick two courses in the lunch express – either way you’re guaranteed a perfectly satisfying meal that will have you back in your office before your break is over. Ramee Grand Hotel & Spa (1711 1999).
Winner Best Café Café Lilou You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone that doesn’t enjoy a meal at Café Lilou. The French-inspired café has a range of classic and more unique options ranging from super light and healthy to something a little more indulgent (oh and fabulous desserts!). Plus the service is good, even though it’s always packed. Adliya (1771 4440), Al A’ali Mall (1758 3939).
Highly recommended Coco’s Coco’s might not be notable for fast, efficient service but the food menu and lovely atmosphere has kept regular customers going back for years. Great salads, hot mains, sandwiches, pastas and much more are on offer and come beautifully presented. Block 338 (1771 6512).
Winner Best Family Pizza Express There aren’t many kids that don’t love eating pizza but here they can not only eat it but actually get to make it too! Request the kid’s package where they get to choose their toppings and create their pizza with the chef and they’ll certainly be happy. Plus, the food is so good, and the setting quite charming, mum and dad will be pleased as well. Amwaj Lagoon (1601 0524).
Highly recommended Prego The Royal Golf Club’s Mediterranean spot offers much for kids. The fun, bright décor lifts the mood while you and your family tuck into Italian and other international favourites. In cooler weather, the outdoor seating is beautiful and we particularly recommend heading over on a Saturday for the all-you-can-eat buffet with discounts for little ones. Royal Golf Club, Riffa (1775 1262).
Winner Best Romantic La Fontaine It goes to show just how romantic this place is when you consider they also host intimate weddings in their stunning courtyard. Picture it: you’re eating great European food by candlelight while contemporary art and traditional architecture surround you in this haven of tranquility. Now’s the time to pop the question. Ras Ruman (1723 0123).
Highly recommended La Mer Sitting right on the water with the waves gently lapping against the shore, while attentive staff mill about and you tuck in to some of Bahrain’s best seafood dishes – this is what romantic dreams are made of. Wrap up your evening with one of their delightful desserts and you’ll be on cloud nine in no time. Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa (1763 6363).
Winner Best Seafood La Mer Seafood lovers are in for a treat at La Mer, with a French-inspired chef who clearly has a passion for his craft. With a beautiful sea view as well as an outside terrace over-looking the marina, there is little doubt from the moment you walk in as to what is in store for you - great food, good service and a beautiful experience. Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa (1763 6363). Highly recommended The Fish Market Cosy and ambient, the Fish Market is a wonderfully enjoyable place to have dinner, particularly if you eat over-looking the bay. There is no a la carte menu but a fresh seafood display with both local and more exotic imported seafood can be cooked to your liking in a variety of cuisines. Al Bander Hotel & Resort, Sitra (1770 1201).
Winner Best Steakhouse Le Sauvage From Argentinean tenderloin to Wagyu cuts – any steak lover can easily get their fill here. Everything is cooked to perfection and its beautifully seasoned but the best bit is those who don’t love meat can also order from the exquisite French venue Le Domain  on the same floor. And the panoramic views from both spots are worth going there for alone! The Domain Bahrain, Diplomatic Area (1600 0000).
Highly recommended The Meat Co Chic interiors, friendly service and fantastic food is what you can expect from The Meat Co. The quality and range of available prime cuts is second-to-none of the island but they also have a host of other interesting options on the menu. These include salads, seafood dishes and even vegetarian options. It might be on the pricey side but it’s worth it for what you get. Block 338 (1774 2080).
Winner Best Bahraini Saffron by Jena Bakery Saffron by Jena Bakery, or Za’fran in Arabic, has become a big hit in Bahrain for offering a taste of the local culture to residents and tourists alike, and it was originally part of the renovation project in Muharraq’s Souq Al Qaisariya initiated by Bahrain’s Ministry of Culture. This branch is in an old renovated Bahraini house with a menu that features all local favourites. Nowadays you can enjoy the same injection of local culture in other stunning venues at Bab Al Bahrain and Riffa Fort. Near the NBB strip, Muharraq (1362 3191).
Highly recommended Haji Gahwa Haji Gahwa has garnered somewhat of a stalwart reputation for its seriously local offering. The café lays down an alleyway in the Manama Souq with outdoor, indoor and family-style seating. There’s no menu – you just order your favourite Bahraini dishes depending on what time of the day it is and they’re open straight through from 5am to 9pm. Each dish comes with a range of complimentary sides and everything is lip-smacking. Bab Al Bahrain (1721 0647).
Winner Best Chinese Soie Chinese Restaurant It’s quite romantic at Soie because of its opulence and elegant décor, and over the past year the food offering has been taken up a notch to a point where we're seriously impressed. Not only can you enjoy a taste of China, but there are other Asian dishes on the menu and every Friday the restaurant’s chef teaches you how to make them in the comfort of your own home. Now how’s that for service? Sheraton Bahrain Hotel (1753 3533).
Highly recommended PF Chang’s If you’re looking for something in the higher end of fast food to whet your appetite then look no further than the very popular international chain PF Chang’s. Their Dynamite Shrimp has us hooked and the bustling, welcoming environment alongside the professional and efficient staff has impressed us. You might have to queue for a table but if you have a craving then it’s worth the wait. Bahrain City Centre (1717 9757).
Winner Best European Masso Natural, wooden interiors through the restaurant, terrace and lounge really enhance the contemporary European statement Masso is trying to make. It’s always bustling here because the food is truly special and the service is generally fantastic. The passion behind the kitchen is obvious and we particularly love how they have their own vegetable garden so you can count on your ingredients being fresh. Palace Boutique, Adliya (1772 1061). Highly recommended Le Domain  The Domain Bahrain’s French-European restaurant shares a floor with the hotel’s steakhouse so you can order from both menus. Major plus points in our opinions – particularly as the food from both venues is decidedly brilliant. On top of that, the service is charming and the views over the city from the 34th floor are spectacular. The Domain Bahrain, Diplomatic Area (1600 0000).
Winner Best Indian Lanterns Restaurant & Lounge We’re particularly blown away by the Adliya venue of Lanterns Restaurant & Lounge where you can comfortably enjoy a decent meal and/or a beverage inside or on the terrace. The menu features primarily Indian dishes but some fusion might throw you off with ingredients like quinoa making an appearance. Whatever you try, however, you’ll be going back for more. Block 338, Adliya (1725 0999).
Highly recommended It’s Mirchi Experience Bollywood charm while pampering your taste buds at Its Mirchi. This no fuss, no frills restaurant lays its onus on food that shines. A full view of tandoori chefs tossing roomali rotis in the air and music belted by a three-piece band will leave you well entertained. Ramee International (3838 1615).
Highly recommended Rasoi It’s all about the food at Rasoi as the depth of flavour in each dish astounds, as does the value for money. While the interiors don’t overwhelm, the lovely views through the large windows overlooking Seef District leave you feeling rather cosmopolitan. Ramee Grand Hotel & Spa, Seef (1711 1999).
Winner Best Italian Café Italia A high-end dining option serving modern Italian fare, Cafe Italia uses luxurious ingredients to produce outstanding dishes and also happens to be in a rather stunning, spacious venue with charming service. Block 338, Adliya (1774 4774).
Highly recommended Cucina Italiana The high quality of the food, service and decor at Cucina Italiana is what snagged it last year's 'Best Italian' accolade. This year we're loving the fact this restaurant also makes efforts to engage customers with cooking lessons and its own amateur Italian Masterchef competition. Juffair (1700 1317).
Highly recommended Roma Roma could be described as a forgotten favourite to some but to many it’s an all-time must-visit on the Italian restaurant circuit. With welcoming staff, excellent service, memorable food and live Italian music (that isn’t intrusive) it’s a spot that deserves some serious Time Out kudos, standing proudly on this shortlist. Um Al Hassam (1772 5885).
Winner Best Japanese Akiko Fairly new on the Japanese cuisine circuit in Bahrain is this contemporary venue Akiko. The stylish décor and architecture draws you in but the friendly service, fabulous food and abundant seating options keep you coming back. We particularly love the garden area and the fact that they’ve introduced a brand new Japanese brunch offering to the island. Block 338, Adliya (1771 7080).
Highly recommended Bushido The stunning venue really adds to your overall experience of Japanese cuisine, funky vibes and delicious mixed beverages. Sit indoors, in the chic interiors, or head out to the terrace which is surrounded by greenery and hovers above the water. It’s not just about dinner as they also host a brunch, business lunch and regular nightlife events. Seef District (1758 3555).
Highly recommended Ruka Everything from the contemporary décor, stunning views, open kitchen and balcony booths are designed to impress at Ruka. This includes the menu, which features modern Japanese cuisine encompassing sushi, robata dishes, teppanyaki, ramen and much more. They also do a worthy business lunch and offer a fabulous bar menu too. Ramee Grand Hotel & Spa, Seef (1711 1999).
Winner Best Latin American Margarita Mexicana This restaurant boasts a menu full of tasty sounding Mexican and Tex Mex dishes in a charming, traditional environment and served by professional yet friendly staff. Although the restaurant isn’t always bustling, the weekends see it fill up and the ambience comes to life with the authentic live singers performing. Gulf Hotel, Adliya (1771 3000).
Highly recommended Brazil Tasty meat on massive skewers – what more could a carnivore ask for? This fun venue is primarily for the meat loving type but even if you’re vegetarian they’ll whip you up something suitable. Brazil is bright, lairy and reasonably priced, and we highly recommend it – particularly for a big friendly celebration. Adliya (1782 6686).
Winner Best MENA Takht Jamsheed Everything simply screams ‘elegant Iranian’ at Takht Jamsheed from the artistic décor to the varied menu to the excellent hospitality. Cooking techniques are spot on and the flavours are rich to the point of no return - you're bound to be a fan by the end of the meal. Gulf Hotel (1774 6431).
Highly recommended Golestan The opulent yet bright ambience is inviting at Iranian restaurant Golestan. The luxurious food and ingredients caters to both meat lovers and vegetarians, with rich flavours and more-ish dishes that will leave you practically waddling out the door. They also do a business lunch that will delight any carnivore. Sheraton Bahrain (1753 3533).
Highly recommended Rayes A popular Arabic/Lebanese spot, Rayes is sat just beside a marina offering spectacular panoramic views of the sea. A weekday business lunch and special brunch offerings throughout the weekend pull in the punters, and in particular families, due to the delicious dishes courtesy of long-term kitchen head Chef Gaby. Coral Bay (1731 2700).
Winner Best South East Asian Monsoon Monsoon epitomises the upmarket South East Asian dining experience in a spectacular and exotic venue with a newly refreshed menu (that has thankfully been downsized). The passionate kitchen staff and friendly servers will take you on a memorable culinary pan-Asian tour. Adliya (1774 9222).
Highly recommended Keizo The grand venue alone is worth the travel over to Al Areen Palace & Spa's Keizo restaurant. Serving a combination of Japanese, Chinese and Thai food, Keizo is a must-visit for anyone either living or visiting here. Al Areen Palace & Spa (1784 5000).
Highly recommended Wok Inviting, Asian-inspired decor welcomes you in while the fabulous flavours of Wok's pan-Asian dishes capture your imagination and have you heading back to Wok time and time again despite the distance. Plus it's the best place for your fix of authentic Vietnamese cuisine thanks to Chef Minh Duong. Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa (1763 6363).
Winner Best Newcomer La Vinoteca Barcelona Brilliant Spanish tapas and fine vino is what you go to La Vinoteca Barcelona for. Not to mention a vibrant, unique atmosphere and professional service, all in a stunning venue that's already become the talk of the town. We can't wait to enjoy it all on the outdoor terrace either. Block 338 (1700 7808).