10 unmissable dining events to mark MENA's 50 Best Restaurants

10 unmissable dining events to mark MENA's 50 Best Restaurants



Masterclasses, collaboration dinners, culinary experiences – it's all happening in the capital.

All eyes are once again on Abu Dhabi as the second edition of Middle East & North Africa's 50 Best Restaurants will be hosted on 30 January 2023, bringing with it a whole host of exciting culinary events between 27 January and 1 February. Spanning four-hands dinners and experiential dining events, here they are at a glance.

Friday 27 January: Hiroyasu Kawate x 99 Sushi Bar & Restaurant

As the chef-owner of Florilège in Tokyo, Hiroyasu Kawate is at the head of a new generation of forward-thinking Japanese chefs. Having risen to be ranked No.3 in Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2022, Florilège debuted on The World's 50 Best Restaurants list the same year. Kawate-san will work in unison with the team at 99 Sushi Bar & Restaurant, one of just three restaurants in the UAE capital to have received a Michelin star, to create a modern Japanese menu for one evening only. Friday 27 January. Price TBC.

GO: Call 02 672 3333 for reservations and more information.

MENA 50 Best

Friday 27 January: Darren Teoh x Otoro

Darren Teoh is the chef and founder of Dewakan in Kuala Lumpur, voted The Best Restaurant in Malaysia by Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2022. Famous for championing the indigenous produce of his home country, Teoh is Malaysia's most high-profile culinary figure. Dewakan's food will find a one-night-only home at Otoro, the first Abu Dhabi restaurant from chef Akmal Anuar, who co-founded 3 Fils – named The Best Restaurant in the Middle East & North Africa 2022 – as well as Goldfish and 11 Woodfire in Dubai. Friday 27 January. AED 625 per person with a non-alcoholic beverage pairing option at AED 100.

GO: Email reservations@otoroabudhabi.com for reservations and more information.

Saturday 28 January: Karim Bourgi x Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers

Pastry chef Karim Bourgi is arguably one of the hottest names in the Middle East right now, famous for his signature French-style patisserie and baking skills, and with a range of dessert bars, cafes and restaurants across the region. The head pastry chef of the Al Mana Group will bring his standout pastry skills to an exclusive Afternoon Tea experience at Conrad Etihad Towers in collaboration with the hotel's award-winning Executive Pastry Chef, Sumeda Palihakkara. Saturday 28 January and Tuesday 31 January. AED 230 (lobby lounge) or AED 260 (63rd-floor Observation Deck).

GO: Visit http://sevn.ly/xvNAjwWt or call 02 811 5666 for reservations and more information.

MENA 50 Best

Saturday 28 January: An evening brunch collaboration 

Flavours of 50 Best offers an evening brunch experience at Graphos Social Kitchen within the Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island, featuring dishes from some of the world's leading chefs. Alongside an extensive food and drink offering – from lobster counters to cocktail bars, live barbecue stations and smoothie carts – four globally renowned gastronomic names will each serve a signature dish to all diners, as well as demonstrate its plating and discuss its origin and inspiration in live kitchen interviews. The chefs are Santiago Lastra of Kol in London, Hiroyasu Kawate of Florilège in Tokyo, and Mauro Colagreco of Mirazur in Menton, France, which was ranked the No.1 restaurant in the entire world in 2019. Diners will also enjoy a special dessert from Asia's Best Pastry Chef winner Maira Yeo of Cloudstreet in Singapore. Saturday 28 January, from 6:30pm to 10pm. AED 495 per person.

GO: Visit http://sevn.ly/xN9fWtRY to buy tickets or for more information.

Eid Al Adha dining

Saturday 28 January: Tala Bashmi x Oak Room

Named MENA's Best Female Chef 2022, Bahraini-born Tala Bashmi has elevated her Manama restaurant, Fusions by Tala, to prestigious heights in recent years. A skilled advocate of updating and reinventing traditional regional dishes, she will cook in Abu Dhabi for the first time at the beautiful Oak Room, the Abu Dhabi EDITION's signature steakhouse overseen by celebrated British chef Tom Aikens. Saturday 28 January. Price TBC.

GO: Email restaurantreservations.auh@editionhotels.com or call 02 208 0000 for reservations and more information.

MENA 50 Best

Saturday 28 January: Vicky Cheng x Dai Pai Dong

Vicky Cheng is the dynamic Hong Kong chef behind French-Chinese restaurant Vea and the newer Wing, which focuses purely on regional Chinese cuisines. Having opened in 2021, Wing is already ranked in the extended list of The World's 50 Best Restaurants, reflecting the acclaim with which it has been greeted. Chef Cheng will work in tandem with Dai Pai Dong's own Chef Nie Dong and team to create a very special Cantonese-focused menu. Saturday 28 January. Price TBC.

GO: Email abudhabi.daipaidong@rosewoodhotels.com or call 02 813 5588 for reservations and more information.

Vicky Cheng

Sunday 29 January: Massimiliano Alajmo x Talea by Antonio Guida

The Alajmo clan are arguably the first family of Italian cuisine – and Massimiliano is its most celebrated son. A culinary prodigy who was the youngest chef in history to gain three Michelin stars at Le Calandre, the family's flagship restaurant in Rubano, north-east Italy, he is now established as one of the great Italian chefs of the 21st century. He will showcase his innovative take on classics alongside Chef Luigi Stinga of Talea by Antonio Guida within the emblematic Emirates Palace. Sunday 29 January. Price TBC.

GO: Email epauh-reservations@mohg.com or call 02 690 7999 for reservations and more information.

Massimiliano Alajmo

Tuesday 31 January: Tomer Tal x Maté

Tomer Tal leads the kitchen at George & John, one of Israel's most long-established and successful restaurants, located in Tel Aviv's historic The Drisco hotel, as well as being a judge on the country's most high-profile TV cooking shows. He joins the team at the recently opened beachfront restaurant Maté within the Park Hyatt's luxurious Saadiyat Island resort fora momentous cross-border collaboration. Diners can expect an eight-course menu mixing influences from across Israel, the Arab world and beyond to South America. Tuesday 31 January. Price TBC.

GO: Call 054 581 2576 for reservations and more information.

Maté Abu Dhabi

Tuesday 31 January: Jessica Rosval x Café Milano

Hailing from Canada, but based in Italy for almost a decade, Jessica Rosval is the head chef at Casa Maria Luigia, the luxury boutique guesthouse-restaurant from Massimo Bottura and Lara Gilmore of Osteria Francescana fame. There, Rosval recreates a selection of classic dishes from OF (formerly The World's Best Restaurant, now part of the Best of the Best hall of fame), as well as introducing her own specialities. She is the perfect match for Café Milano, notorious for its warm hospitality and authentic dishes, for a unique Italian-accented evening. Tuesday 31 January. Price TBC.

GO: Visit fourseasons.com/abudhabi/cafe_milano for reservations and more information.

MENA 50 Best

Wednesday 1 February: Athanasios Kargatzidis x Almayass

Athanasios Kargatzidis – aka 'Chef Tommy' – is a major personality in Middle Eastern food with his flagship, Baron, named The Best Restaurant in Lebanon at MENA's 50 Best Restaurants 2022. He will bring his mix of Mediterranean and Levantine ingredients and influences to Abu Dhabi's premium Lebanese establishment, Almayass, overlooking the water in The Galleria on Al Maryah Island. With both restaurants notorious for providing meze plates groaning with food, expect a true Lebanese feast with an array of spectacular sharing dishes; price to be confirmed. Wednesday 1 February. Price TBC. 

GO: Email reservation.ad@almayass.com for reservations and more information.

Athanasios Kargatzidis