The inaugural Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants event programme will be hosted in Abu Dhabi in partnership with the city's Department of Culture & Tourism between 4 and 11 February 2022, with the gala awards ceremony taking place on 7 February.
The ranking will reflect the best restaurant experiences collated from 250 voters, made up of anonymous restaurant experts from across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
It is not intended as a ‘fine dining’ list, but as 'a true reflection of the greatest eating destinations across the MENA region', comprising secret local spots alongside high-profile names, established classics next to daring innovators.
Countries included in the MENA region for the purposes of Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants are: Algeria; Bahrain; Egypt; Israel; Iran; Iraq; Jordan; Kuwait; Lebanon; Libya; Morocco; Oman; Palestine; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; Syria; Tunisia; United Arab Emirates; and Yemen.
In the approach to the unveiling of the list itself, a series of special awards will be announced including the Icon Award honouring an individual respected across the gastronomic sphere; the One To Watch Award highlighting a rising-star restaurant; and MENA’s Best Female Chef Award, helping promote greater gender balance in the hospitality sector worldwide.
"We couldn't be more excited to launch our new regional restaurant awards programme for the Middle East & North Africa with the backing of our host destination partner, Abu Dhabi Department of Culture & Tourism," says William Drew, director of content for 50 Best
"The diversity of cuisines and restaurants across this wide region will ensure this new list is a vital addition to the international gastronomic landscape.
"We are delighted that Abu Dhabi will be playing host to the awards ceremony, as the UAE capital has been establishing itself as a culinary force over recent years."
The launch of Middle East & North Africa's 50 Best Restaurants will mark the first time since 2013 – when both Asia's 50 Best Restaurants and Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants were established – that 50 Best unveils a new regional restaurants list and awards programme.