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Shabab Ave: All types on one street
Sometimes you just don't know what you want until you see it. And sometimes you think you know what you want until you see something different. If you agree with those two statements, then you may want to go to Shabab Ave in the Juffair neighborhood. The photo on this post is just a portion of the possibilities.
Parking on the street is free, but in busy hours may be difficult to find. However if you are willing to tip the guys on the street for a carwash, I'm sure they will find a spot for you quickly.
Favorite Dish: There is not one restaurant, but just about everything you can think of. There is local Bahraini, Indian, sushi, pizza, pasta, burgers, Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, coffee shops, ice cream shops, fast food, Mexican, etc. Just walk the street a few minutes and I'm positive you can find something that suits your appetite.
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Plums Restaurant: Steakhouse and More
Located at the Ritz Carlton, Plums is a very posh restaurant. The international cuisine served is mostly steak and beef, along with other specialties, all accompanied by an extensive wine list. The food is simply delicious, and the service is top quality and on par with the best restaurants in Europe/US. The dimly lit dining room is accentuated with plum-coloured furniture and provides an ideal atmosphere for an intimate dinner. This is my favourite restaurant in Bahrain.
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The MeatCo: Steakhouse
Part of an international chain, the MeatCo is a very trendy steakhouse in Bahrain, serving excellent meats from all over the world. Its rooftop bar and tables are particularly popular when the weather is clement. It is located in a little area in Manama with numerous restaurants and art galleries, often housed in some of the oldest houses in the city.
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International: Best restaurants in Bahrain
Here are the best restaurants in Bahrain.
Upstairs, Downstairs (see my separate review)
Jim's - this place has had multiple owners. Chef Dominic bought it from the original Jim Lawless (avoid his place Jim's Camelot Castle - not nearly as good) and the quality and range of the menu improved markedly, but recent visits have been disappointing. It's a Bahrain landmark and their English breakfast is one of the best on the island.
Mezzaluna - great quality of food, French/international in style but small portions. They also need to renew their menu. They have a jazz band on Fridays (the same one that plays in Upstairs Downstairs)
All the restaurants in the Gulf hotel are excellent: Fusions, Thai, Chinese, Iranian, Italian. They are best of breed and not too expensive by 5-star standards.
Monsoon - fantastic Thai/Asian food. Beautiful setting and always packed. One of the best.
Bambu - excellent value and quality (see my separate review).
Lanterns - Indian. Best to go on the buffet or all you can eat for BD5 nights. Avoid at other times. Lanterns is just off Burgerland roudabout, on Budaiya Highway. Indian food in Bahrain is generally poor quality so don't expect too much.
Cicos - friendly, cosy and cheap Italian. Does fantastic carbonnara.
Cafe Lilou - better for brunch than dinner. Their food is competitively priced and so tasty you want to order another portion. The shrimp and hammour with garlic pat choy and mashed potatoes is perfection on a plate.
Hong Kong (Umm Al Hassan branch, not Budaiya branch) - the best Chinese on the island. Try their lemon chicken.
Krumz - good food, but trading on its reputation. No atmosphere downstairs
Trader Vics (Ritz Carlton) - great atmosphere and food. For special occasions.
Upstairs Downstairs: Great atmosphere and food
Quite simply, this has the best atmosphere of any restaurant in Bahrain. It has live music most nights, with a live jazz band on Thursday; the menu is comprehensive and features something for everyone; the decor and fittings are superb; prices are very reasonable; and the quality of the food is excellent. Don't miss Friday brunch - a superb 3 course menu and unlimited drinks, with JoJo playing jazz piano, for BD9+. Upstairs is a bit more formal; downstairs more casual and better for the music.
Favorite Dish: You really can't go wrong whatever you choose. I love the bacon & leek mornay to start. The hammour pate is a speciality. They have a great choice of mains.
Brazil: Avoid this like the plague
I visited this place because it's owned by the same pony-tailed guy that owns Bambu, one of my favourite restaurants. But I'll never return. First up, you have to queue for a stale buffet, before the meat comes. The concept here is simple - fixed price BD12.8 and you eat and drink all you can (like Bambu). The waiters pass from table to table with huge skewers of meat, dripping fat and blood onto cold plates that quickly coagulates and forms grease deposits on your plate and cutlery. The meat is blood rare and very unsightly. Needless to say don't even consider it if you're a veggie. I like steak, but not dripping all over the place. All you have to accompany it is chunky fries or the rubbish buffet. If you ask for well done you go to the end of the queue. The concept simply doesn't work. I was sorry on my only visit that I didn't get the chance to tell the owner how god-awful it was.
Favorite Dish: There is nothing good about this place.
La Mosaïque: Friday brunch buffet
Friday brunch buffet opens at 11:00 to 15:00 where you can eat until you drop for 10 BD (excluding coffee). Free flow water and sparkling wine, with various choice of apetizers, salads, international main course, seafood, and desserts, in a nice and big room with a view to the swimming pool and sea.
Favorite Dish: Grilled pork ribs, free flow sparkling wine.
Rik's Kountry Kitchen: Best American food in Bahrain
Rik's is run by an American and his Filipina wife. It's basically a series of little interconnected bars, where they serve a great Thursday night buffet with huge pork ribs and steaks.
Favorite Dish: All of the Thursday night buffet is good. Don't eat for a couple of days before you go there, because the portions are massive. I particularly liked the brisket.
Trader Vic's: Mai Tais in Arabia
Despite the pubs, discos and nightlife of Bahrain, nothing presents such a contrast to the "Middle East" as Trader Vic's, the home of the Mai Tai. The food is over-priced and average, but one frequents Trader Vic's for the amazing variety of Hawaian/Tiki-style drinks, not the food. The atmosphere is Bamboo and Easter Island meets Waikiki, the band is Cuban and the crowd is drunkenly friendly. See how far you can work your way through the bar menu, from the Navy Grog to the Suffering Bastard to the Mai Tai to the Planter's Punch to the......
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