(Bloomberg) -- An Emirati restaurant in Abu Dhabi picked up a Michelin star in the guide’s second year in the city, an achievement for a cuisine that is often overlooked.
Erth Restaurant, which serves Emirati as well as international dishes, was one of four restaurants awarded one star for 2024.
The three restaurants that retained stars their stars are 99 Sushi Bar, Hakkasan and Talea by Antonio Guida. Six restaurants were also awarded Bib Gourmands, a Michelin designation that recognizes restaurants that serve excellent food at relatively affordable prices.
The Guide’s rapid expansion in recent years has included Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the Middle East. Michelin was set to publish an inaugural guide for Tel Aviv next, but those plans have been suspended because of the Israel-Hamas war.
Abu Dhabi and Dubai have in recent years boosted the visibility of their growing restaurant scenes, funding food shows starring local chefs and sponsoring awards like Michelin and one of its competitors, the 50 Best guide. Each organization, however, has been criticized for not featuring enough Arab cuisine — and no Emirati restaurant has been recognized until now.
At Erth Restaurant, chefs blend Emirati and international cooking and flavors to produce dishes such as margooga ravioli, which reimagines a traditional regional vegetable stew with ravioli, asparagus, tomato confit and Parmesan emulsion. They buy as many ingredients as possible from local farms across the United Arab Emirates. The restaurant, which officially opened in January, is located near historic landmark Qasr Al Hosn, built in 1761 and the oldest stone building in the city.
“Emirati food has so much of a story to tell, and it’s only just being discovered,” says Amit Arora, chief operating officer of the Erth company, which operates both the restaurant and a hotel of the same name. He said of the award: “It’s going to elevate the whole Emirati cuisine.”View this post on Instagram
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With just four starred restaurants, the Abu Dhabi list is still very short. Last year, Michelin promised that the Abu Dhabi guide was just getting started and would continue to grow along with the city. Dubai, by comparison, is home to 14 restaurants with stars—including three with two stars—as well as 17 restaurants awarded Bib Gourmands.
This year’s Abu Dhabi ceremony was held Thursday on the grounds of the Louvre Abu Dhabi and accompanied by a food festival scheduled to take place throughout the weekend. Al Mrzab and Oii joined last year’s Bib Gourmand winners of Almayass, Beirut Sur Mer, Otoro and Tazal.
(Updates with comments from the restaurant in the seventh paragraph.)
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