Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Why have you chosen to to cancel the live events surrounding Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants 2024?

The decision to cancel the live event programme for Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants 2024 was made after careful consideration of the current climate in the region. Given the challenges and hardships faced by many in the area, 50 Best believes it is not appropriate to hold an in-person, celebratory awards ceremony and associated events at this time. 

What about the list for 2024? 

50 Best is steadfast in its commitment to acknowledging and shining a spotlight on the exceptional talent within the Middle East & North Africa culinary scene. With this in mind, 50 Best published a list of Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants 2024 on 13th February 2024.

Were there any exclusions in the list? 

All restaurants in the region were eligible for the list.

Will you return to Abu Dhabi for future events? 

We aim to return with a full MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants event programme in Abu Dhabi in 2025. We have full confidence in the city and region as a host destination partner and look forward to continuing our fruitful relationship with the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi in the future, who have been fantastic hosts and partners for the last two editions of MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Why was MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants launched? 

Following the success of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, over the last 20+ years and the establishment of both Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants and Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants since 2013, 50 Best launched Middle East & North Africa's 50 Best Restaurants in 2022 to shine a much-deserved spotlight on the region as a world-class culinary destination. 

Why did you host the awards in Abu Dhabi? 

The UAE capital has been establishing itself as a culinary force for some time, with the launch of initiatives such as Abu Dhabi Culinary Season, the Emirati Cuisine Programme, and the Abu Dhabi Food Festival, providing broader cultural and hospitality experiences for both visitors and residents alike. Bringing year-round food and beverage-inspired events to the capital as well as being home to numerous restaurants and chefs pushing culinary boundaries, Abu Dhabi offers an inspiring mix of unique, experiential and world-class dining offerings in incredible locations, and is a clear choice to be the host city for 50 Best’s new regional restaurant awards program. 

Which countries are included in Middle East & North Africa's 50 Best Restaurants' voting?

They are: Algeria; Bahrain; Egypt; Israel; Iran; Iraq; Jordan; Kuwait; Lebanon; Libya; Morocco; Oman; Palestine; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; Syria; Tunisia; United Arab Emirates; Yemen. 

Can a restaurant nominate itself to be on the list?

The ranking for Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants reflects the best restaurant experiences based on the votes of more than 250 voters, made up of anonymous restaurant experts (including chefs, restaurateurs, food/restaurant journalists and well-travelled gourmets) from 19 countries across the entire region. Members of the 50 Best organisation do not vote and do not control the composition of the list; that is the collective role of the voting Academy. This means that restaurants cannot apply to be on the list. Equally, no sponsor has any influence on the voting process.

What steps can a restaurant take to be featured in Middle East & North Africa's 50 Best Restaurants list?

The ranking provides an annual snapshot of the opinions and experiences of our experts, therefore if diners have been experiencing the outstanding characteristics of a restaurant in the region, then this will be reflected in future results. What constitutes ‘best’ is up to each voter to decide – as everyone’s tastes are different, so is everyone’s idea of what constitutes a great restaurant experience. Of course, the quality of food is going to be central, as is the service – but the style of both, the surroundings, atmosphere and indeed the price level are each more or less important for each different individual. Restaurants do not have to fit certain criteria. We therefore urge restaurants simply to be the best they can be for their customers first and foremost and not to focus on such rankings or awards, but to see them as a welcome by-product of their hard work and talent.

What does it mean to be included in Middle East & North Africa's 50 Best Restaurants ranking?

It provides recognition of the dedication, passion and skill of the teams behind those restaurants. It also helps promote those establishments internationally to well-travelled, discerning gourmets, boosting the restaurants’ profiles and business.

Can a restaurant be taken off the list? 

Not until the following year – and even then it will only be the results of the voting that determines this, or if we are advised that it will be closed within three months of the list being published on 30th January 2023.

Does a restaurant have to fit certain criteria?

No. They do not have to sell a certain product, they do not have to have been open a certain number of years and they do not have to have won any other culinary accolades. Any restaurant in the MENA region is eligible to be voted for by the Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy as long as it has been open during the voting period, and as long as it is not planning on closing shortly after we publish the results (although we cannot always know this, of course).

50 Best reserves the right to remove restaurants from the list where there may be reputational issues that discredit the 50 Best organisation by way of these venues' inclusion.

Who organises MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants?

The results and the awards are organised and published by William Reed. None of the sponsor partners has any involvement with the compilation of the results or awards. None of our commercial partners, nor any of the employees of William Reed, votes in the poll.