The verdict is out – the inaugural edition of the Michelin Guide Abu Dhabi shortlisted 42 restaurants for stars covering 16 types of cuisines, featuring the best the capital has to offer. Three restaurants received one Michelin star and four restaurants were awarded the Bib Gourmand, which is given to those who offer good food at moderate prices. In addition, three special awards were also given out.
The Michelin Guide’s Abu Dhabi edition comes just months after the Dubai guide was released earlier this year, which saw 69 restaurants serving 21 cuisines. Two restaurants received two Michelin stars, nine restaurants received one Michelin star, and 14 eateries were named Bib Gourmand restaurants.
“The wonderful diversity of the cuisine proposed by these three restaurants [in the Abu Dhabi guide] perfectly illustrate the curiosity of local gourmets, as well as how Abu Dhabi welcomes international cultures to make them shine at their best level,” said Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of the Michelin Guide.
“This first Michelin Guide Abu Dhabi selection is the beginning of a long journey for a city with unlimited gastronomic potential,” he added. “Our inspectors discovered a rich variety of cuisines offered in Abu Dhabi, from creative dishes conceived by some of the world’s most renowned chefs, to traditional cuisines of the region: Middle Eastern, Lebanese and, of course, Emirati.”
“This is the first step,” said H.E. Saleh Mohammed Algeziry, Director General of the tourism sector at the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism, who emphasised to restaurateurs that not achieving a star, or even not being shortlisted for the Michelin Guide, does not mean a restaurant doesn’t have the potential to do so in the future. One star each was awarded to Talea by Antonio Guida for its family-style Italian food, Hakkasan for traditional Cantonese fare, and 99 Sushi Bar for a contemporary take on Japanese cuisine.
The four restaurants awarded the Bib Gourmand are Almayass, Beirut Sur Mer, Otoro, and Tazal. In a vibrant black-tie event held at Emirates Palace last night, the award ceremony was followed by a five-course dinner with a menu curated by international Michelin-starred chefs, Bjorn Frantzen of Frantzen in Sweden and Cheryl Koh of Les Amis in Singapore included. Read on for the full list of winners – many have been featured in Gaggler in the past.
The Complete Winners List
One Michelin Star:
- 99 Sushi Bar
- Talea by Antonio Guida
- Beirut Sur Mer
- Al Mrzab
- Butcher & Still
- Byblos Sur Mer
- Cafe James
- Café Milano
- Catch by St. Regis
- Dai Pai Dong
- Grand Beirut
- Hoi An
- Li Beirut
- Li Jiang
- Market Kitchen
- Martabaan by Hemant Oberoi
- Oak Room
- Punjab Grill
- Shang Palace
- Silk & Spice
- VaKaVa Pan Latin Grill and Lounge by Richard Sandoval
- Villa Toscana
- Rawad Hamdan and team, Li Beirut
- Marlon Nuque, Zuma
Young Chef Award:
- Luigi Stinga, Talea by Antonio Guida
What Is the Michelin Food Guide?
Published since the 1900s, the Michelin Guide is one of the oldest and most prestigious food guides in existence, focusing its criteria squarely on the quality of cooking and ingredients as well as the presentation rather than the ambiance or decor of an eatery. The guide rates restaurants anonymously using an in-house team of inspectors and food critics employed directly by Michelin.
Using the same criteria and methodology to evaluate candidates for each category, the guide rates restaurants from one to three stars, as well as curates the Bib Gourmand list of restaurants that offer quality cooking at reasonable prices. Currently, the Michelin guide covers over 30 destinations around the world.
How Is a Michelin Star Awarded?
Inspectors anonymously visit eateries for evaluation and rely on the following:
- quality of the ingredients
- mastery of cooking
- harmony of the flavours
- expression of the chef’s personality in the cuisine
- consistency, both over time and across the entire menu
What Are the Different Types of Michelin Distinctions?
One Michelin star denotes a restaurant with high-quality cooking that’s worth stopping by for. Two Michelin stars are for restaurants with excellent cooking that’s not only worth a detour, but also reflects the personality and talent of the chef and team.
Three Michelin stars indicate exceptional cuisine that’s worth planning a journey for. In this category, the award is given for the superlative cooking of chefs at the peak of their profession. The ingredients are exemplary, the cooking is elevated to an art form, and their dishes are often destined to become classics. This is the most difficult award to achieve and maintain.
Michelin Guide-selected restaurants are those that have the potential to gain a star or feature on the Bib Gourmand list in the future. Restaurants on the Bib Gourmand list are those where inspectors consider they found good-quality cooking for good value.