The Voting System

The Voting System

Organised by William Reed, the people behind The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants and Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants is a snapshot of the opinions and experiences of 250 restaurant industry experts in the region.

What constitutes ‘best’ is left to the judgment of these trusted and well-travelled gourmets. The list is the result of a simple computation of votes. Given that the list is based on personal experiences, it can never be definitive, but we believe it is an honourable survey of current tastes and a credible indicator of the best places to eat across the Middle East and North Africa.

How the voting works

The list is created by the Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, an influential group of 250 leaders in the restaurant industry across the region, each selected for their expert opinion of Middle East and North Africa’s restaurant scenes.

The Academy is divided into six regions: the Gulf; Saudi Arabia; Levant-plus; Israel, North Africa (East) and North Africa (West). Each region has its own panel of members including a chairperson, called the Academy Chair, to head it up. The panel is made up of food writers and critics, chefs, restaurateurs and highly regarded 'foodies'. For the 2023 list, each MENA Academy member votes for seven restaurants, with at least two of these located outside the country where they are based. 

The results of the Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants 2024 list, were announced on 13th February 2024.

The main rules of voting are:

  • Voting is strictly confidential before the list announcement
  • Panellists vote for seven restaurants, at least two of which must be outside the country where they are based
  • If the voter has been unable to travel internationally in the 18 months before the voting, they must vote only for five restaurants in their own country. There is no limit on the number of international votes they can submit
  • Voters must have eaten in the restaurants they nominate within the previous 18 months
  • Voters are not permitted to vote for restaurants they own or have a financial interest in
  • Nominations must be made for the restaurant, not for the restaurateur or the chef
  • Panellists submit their choices in order of preference (this information is used to decide on positions in the event of a tie)

These criteria are designed to allow our panellists to vote far and wide. They could vote for a small, unknown restaurant in a secluded area of Middle East and North Africa, or select the best-known restaurants in their own country or region – it is their opinion and the experiences they have had that matters.

This method also means that restaurants cannot apply to be on the list, cannot be nominated, and no external influences (from William Reed or its sponsors) can influence the list. It also means that every restaurant in Middle East and North Africa is eligible, unless the restaurant is closed at the time that the list is announced, or we receive notice that it will be closing in the near future.

There are no criteria that a restaurant has to meet. They certainly do not have to sell a certain product. They do not need to have been open a certain number of years and they do not need to have won any other culinary accolades.