If you want a taste of authentic Bahraini food without leaving the capital, then head to Villa Mamas. Here you'll be greeted by a blend of flavours from the Middle East, Mediterranean and Persia. As such, all of the food is Halal and focuses on local, seasonal ingredients. The restaurant continues to celebrate producers in Bahrain itself, keeping ties to the cuisine's origin. Villa Mamas is open for lunch, dinner, cocktails and tea or coffee, so it's up to you how you visit (although we definitely recommend going for a full meal).
Sip on classic cocktails like martinis, margaritas and more before tucking in to the vibrant plates. House cocktails, meanwhile, champion Middle Eastern flavours, like the Bahraini infused espresso martini, made with pistachio syrup. There is a succinct wine list with some bottles from Europe and others from further east and mocktails are available too.
Any meal at Villa Mamas typically starts with khubus (pita), either plain, with za'atar or mahwaya (a Middle Eastern fermented fish sauce). From here, you and your group can move on to the small plates such as grilled lamb kofta with creamy potato, cherry molasses and pine nuts, or the signature kaskhe bademjoon ('eggplant explosion' - layered aubergine with caramelised onions, walnuts and whey sauce). The spiced lamb tikka with hummus is also a must.
Large plates celebrate meat, fish and veg with punchy, fresh flavours. The moussaka is towards the heartier end, with plenty of bechamel and mozzarella, while the sea bass sayadieh offers a lighter main, featuring crispy onions, pine nuts and pilaf. Meat lovers should definitely try the braised lamb shank, laced with rosemary and served with vermicelli.
Um ali, a nutty bread pudding, is the classic dessert of the region, as is the elba (Bahraini creme caramel). There is also a cake of the day, chosen by the pastry chef.