The Shortlist

Zahr El Laymoun, Souk al Bahar
Nominated for Best MENA
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Zahr El Laymoun has a great location in Souk Al Bahar, just over the bridge and, if you manage to get the best seats on the terrace, even has a view of the Dubai Fountain. Stepping into the restaurant, diners are greeted with a flurry of pink, purple and twee. But somehow, perhaps thanks to the very friendly staff, the cuteness seems to work. A complimentary basket of freshly baked bread with a small pile of zatar, olive oil, paprika and cumin is a delightful way to start the meal. The menu is small but varied and offers all the Lebanese staples, with a healthy twist. Mixed grills are served with baked potatoes instead of fries and gone are the usual deep-fried mezze. The place attracts a good mix of locals, Arab and Western expats as well as tourists wandering in from Souk Al Bahar and has a lovely atmosphere, delicious food and friendly service.
Open daily 10am-midnight. Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai, (04 448 6060).

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