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MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants to debut in Abu Dhabi

The inaugural list will be announced at an awards ceremony in the UAE capital in February 2022

The organisation behind The World’s 50 Best Restaurants has announced the launch of a new regional restaurants list and awards programme to be hosted in the Middle East.

Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants is the latest region to be covered by 50 Best with the awards being held in Abu Dhabi in February 2022. This will be the company’s first expansion with a new regional restaurants list and awards programme since 2013, when both Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants and Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants were established.

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,  the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

A programme of events will be hosted in the UAE capital in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi from 4 to  11 February, as part of the Abu Dhabi Culinary Calendar, with the gala awards ceremony taking place on Monday 7 February. 

The inaugural Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants list will be revealed in a live countdown, along with a series of special awards, culminating in the announcement of The Best Restaurant in the Middle East & North Africa 2022. The ranking will reflect the best experiences collated from 250 voters, made up of anonymous restaurant experts from 19 countries across the entire region. 

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Director of content for 50 Best William Drew said: “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, Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi. 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 next year, as the UAE capital has been establishing itself as a culinary force over recent years.”

DCT Abu Dhabi executive director of Tourism and Marketing HE Ali Al Shaiba added: “We are thrilled to collaborate with 50 Best on the launch of Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants. The time is indeed right to celebrate the best restaurants in the region, honouring talented members of the industry and shining a spotlight on the region’s culinary gems. Abu Dhabi offers a diverse and inspiring mix of unique, experiential and world-class dining offerings in incredible locations and we are excited to be the host city for these very special awards. The Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants awards is an important addition to the high-profile international events Abu Dhabi hosts that are contributing to the changing landscape of entertainment and tourism in the region.”

The launch of the MENA list marks a critical step in 50 Best’s continuous drive to inspire people to travel, explore and seek out new culinary adventures, putting the spotlight on up-and-coming chefs and food trends, and showcasing the subtlety and complexity of various cuisines from around the world. 

The inaugural Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants event programme – including the awards ceremony and unveiling of the list – provides a unique opportunity to unite chefs and food and travel media from all over the region at a celebration of cuisine and hospitality, while also promoting the culinary strength and diversity of the region as a whole to a global audience.

Highlights for the programme in Abu Dhabi will include the thought-leadership forum #50BestTalks and a series of collaborative dining events featuring leading chefs from across the world, as well as the best regional talent. Other events will include a series of live Chef Masterclasses and a ‘Chefs’ Feast’ showcasing the finest produce and cooking from the UAE. Some events will be open to consumers on a ticketed basis, with further details to be shared in due course. 

In 2020, 50 Best pivoted from publishing its annual ranking and hosting live events to fundraising to support the hospitality sector through its 50 Best for Recovery programme, which raised $1.29m with the support of partners including S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna. Grants were distributed to more than 200 restaurants and bars and donated to a series of non-profit organisations in the F&B sector. 

For more information, visit www.theworlds50best.com

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