Top 10: Middle Eastern restaurant chains
Business Review Middle East uncovers the best restaurants serving amazing food at more than one location in the region.
Semsom is a Lebanese food chain that was founded in 2008 by Lebanese entrepreneurs Christine Sfeir (who also opened Lebanon’s 1st Dunkin Donuts franchise in 1998 at the age of 22) and Carine Sfeir. The restaurant already has a dozen locations in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Oman and is planning to open two more locations in New York City.
Semsom has a variety of seasoned hummuses home-made using exotic herbs and spices like sumac, thyme and rosemary. It also sells Tabbouleh by using Christine and Carine Sfeir’s grandmother’s recipe of parsley, tomatoes and onions. The restaurant tops its signature rosewater ice-cream (Ghazel bel wareid) with all-natural cotton candy.
Semsoms CEO ranked number 19 in the most powerful Women in Family businesses in the MENA region by Forbes.
The restaurant chain is quickly growing in social media popularity with over 100,000 likes on Facebook and more than 13,000 followers on Instagram.
Bosporus Restaurant specialises in Turkish and Halal cuisine. It is a child and group/party friendly restaurant that offers both indoor and outdoor seating and delivery and takeout options. The interior contains bright twinkling lights and intricately designed tiles, all shipped over from Turkey.
The restaurant serves a variety of different foods such as its Bosporus Breakfast, Menemen, Yayla (yoghurt soup), Mercimek (lentil soup), Stuffed Eggplant, Sigara Boregi, Babaganoush, Acili Ezme, Kisir, Tebbouleh and many more options. There are also Bosporus Express stores coming soon to Jumeirah and Marina
Al Fanar Restaurant http://www.alfanarrestaurant.com/
Al Fanar is the local name for the kerosene lamp that was used to light houses in Dubai in the past. The restaurant caters to authentic Emirati cuisine and the interior is styled in a 1960’s style.
There are six Al Fanar Restaurant & Café locations; Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah, Al AIN, Town Centre in Jumeirah, Ritz Carlton in Abu Dhabi and in the Dubai Festival City.
The restaurant serves all day breakfasts, soups and salads, appetizers, main courses and sweets.
Wafi Gourmet http://www.wafigourmet.com/
Wafi Gourmet restaurant specialises in authentic Lebanese cuisine. The restaurant offers catering and banqueting options and has many branches; two in Dubai (inside the Wafi Mall and the Dubai Mall), Abu Dhabi (Nation Towers), Bahrain (City Centre – Manama) and one in Qatar (in the Landmark Mall).
Wafi Gourmet serves a wide variety of dishes such as Arabic Sweets, Bakery and pastry, Cold Mezzeh, Cookies, Fatayar, Hot Food, Ice Creams, Olives, Saj Bread, Seafood, Sandwiches and BBQ options.
Dishdash is a Middle Eastern Grill which specialises in ‘Fresh & Simple Middle Eastern Food’. The name of the restaurant is based on the traditional item of clothing that symbolises warmth, comfort and relaxation that can be seen displayed in each location.
The restaurant offers a wide variety of dishes such as Rihan and Yalanji from its starters menu, salads such as Chicken Shawarma and Fattoush (mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, roasted bell peppers, grilled eggplant, lemon oregano vinaigrette) and entrees such as Sambusak Dajaj (diced chicken, mushrooms, almonds, onions in filo dough, spinach sauce, salata) and Sultan Ibrahim (grilled filet of fish, roasted tomatoes, onions, lemon, garlic, spinach). The restaurant also offers gift cards and catering options for a minimum of 16 people.
The restaurants ingredients are all sustainably sourced. It only uses locally sourced produce, sustainably harvested seafood, free-range chicken, certified Angus Beef and fresh, natural, domestic lamb.
Hatam Restaurant http://myhatam.com/
Hatam Restaurant draws its inspiration from the traditional ethnic food of Iran. The restaurant serves a variety of Persian dishes ranging from Kabobs (filet mignon, shish kabobs, ground beef skewers), Khoresht (stew that is served with rice), Polo (white rice alone or with addition of meat and/or vegetables and herbs) and a variety of different soups, salads, pastries, and specialty drinks all available for home delivery.
Some of the restaurants most popular dishes include Chelo Kabob (white rice and beef) and its Lamb Shank dish.
Al Arrab http://alarrab.net/alarrab/
Al Arrab serves a wide variety of food centred around authentic traditional Lebanese cuisine. It has many different locations; Al Arrab Branch, Arabian Ranches, Ibn Battuta Mall, La Forneria Branch, City Centre – Sharjah, Sahara Centre, Al Bustan Centre and Spring Complex.
The restaurant serves a wide variety of steaks, soups (such as Lentil, Crème and Vegetable), seafood (such as Grilled Lobster, Hammor Escalope and Fried Sultan Ibrahim), hot and cold appetizers, salads, pastas (such as Spaghetti Bolognese, Lasagne and Labneh Manakesh), birds and poultry, grills and shawarma (such as Chicken Arabic Shawarma on Saj Bread and Meat Arabic Shawarma on Saj Bread) all available for home delivery. The bread used in the restaurants dishes is all freshly baked. The restaurant also offers an open buffet on Fridays.
Times of Arabia http://timesofarabia.net/
Times of Arabia is a restaurant that takes its inspiration from the authentic flavours of the Middle East and Arabian Cuisine. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee and drinks and is good for big groups of people, parties and children.
Dishes include Vegetable and Onion from its soups menu, Special Mixed Grill and Toshka from its main course grill menu, Grilled Fillet Hammour and Grilled Lobster from its seafood menu and a variety of hot and cold Mezza.
“Our passion is to serve you with our best authentic dishes which include lavish selections of Hot and Cold Mezze and grilled savoury meats that suit your taste buds with choices of authentic desserts,” the company says.
Times of Arabia has restaurants in the Dubai Mall and the Souk Madinat Jumeirah. Each of its locations includes indoor and outdoor dining options, handcrafted furniture and a calm environment. The restaurant was also a nominee in the 2017 World Luxury Restaurant Awards.
Milas Restaurant http://www.milas.cc/
Milas Restaurant serves local, traditional Emirati style food that helps you “step back in time and enjoy nostalgic Arabia in a new and artful form”. The company has restaurants in the Dubai Mall and the Abu Dhabi Mall.
Milas Restaurant serves a diverse range of dishes. From its Sunny Side Up Eggs and Vegetable Omelette from its Breakfast menu, to its Milas Bread and Chicken Halloumi from its Appetizer menu. The restaurants main courses include Mbahar Tuna and Mbahar Deyay and it also serves a range of pizzas, barbeque, soups, salads and desserts.
“Food is Pleasure, enjoying it is an Art. A good meal is an experience of the pleasures in life, moments taken to truly enjoy life and all the luxuries it has to offer.”
Al Hallab http://www.alhallabrestaurant.com/
Al Hallab has a series of restaurants including one in The Dubai Mall, Garhoud and Mall of the Emirates. The restaurant in the Dubai Mall can hold up to 250 guests, is on the second floor and is the only restaurant at The Dubai Mall with a view of both the water fall and the Dubai fountain. The restaurant in Garhoud also seats 250 guests and faces Dubai Creek Golf Club. It is spread over two floors with the ground floor offering a sweet counter and a takeaway option and the first floor showcasing a fine dining area. The restaurant situated inside the Mall of the Emirates is on the second floor and seats 200 guests.
The restaurant can also be hired out for parties and functions with space for up to 150 guests and areas available for both exclusive and non-exclusive hire.
The restaurant specialises in Lebanese cuisine and serves a variety of hot and cold Lebanese starters such as Bab Ghanouj (roasted eggplant, tomatoes, green pepper, lemon, olive oil), soups such as Lentil and Vegetable and pastries like their popular Meat Sambousek (five pieces of fried pastry filled with minced meat). It also serves international dishes such as Chicken Escalope (served with sautéed vegetables and French fries) and Meat Dijon (slices of beef tenderloin with mushroom and mustard creamy sauce served with sautéed vegetables and baked potato).