Below is a comprehensive list of the best restaurants in Kuwait in no particular order, along with a few honorable mentions .
Casual Kuwaiti food. Freej Swaileh offers traditional Kuwaiti dishes in a relaxed setting. The inside is made to look like an old Kuwaiti suburb, before the oil boom, when pearl diving was the country’s claim to fame. The food is delicious and the portions generous. MUST TRY: Mashboos Chicken (chicken and rice), I like the Mouhamar rice, which is rice cooked in burnt sugar water. It is a little sweet, but so good.
Funky burger joint. Casual’ish atmosphere. Some people show up in black-tie others in flip-flops, so anything goes. Slider Station has a long list of original sliders (mini burgers) and amazingly innovative appetizers. MUST TRY: Shoestring truffle fries, beef lollipops. In all honesty, I have yet to order something I didn’t enjoy. Close your eyes and point to something on the menu, I promise it will be delicious.
Upscale Kuwaiti Food. The prettiest restaurant in all of Kuwait. But Dar Hamad is not only a pretty face, the food is spectacular. The breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus feature upscale Kuwaiti home cooking. Adding to the deliciousness is the perfectly curated art work. MUST TRY: Everything. But actually… Everything!
Funky upscale Asian. I usually do not promote franchises, but Katsuya really is different. The food is fusioned respectfully and it is consistently delicious. MUST TRY: Crunchy rice with spicy tuna, crunchy chicken salad, mushroom bop, and the brusel sprouts.
Casually healthy, with vegan and vegetarian options. Tucked away between residential buildings Ovo is a little hard to find, and parking is almost impossible, but it is worth the adventure. The food is flavorful and delicious, it just happens to also be healthy. MUST TRY: Vegan desserts, the salads, the pasta dishes.
Casual Pizzeria. If you are not paying attention, you might drive by Solo Pizza and not even notice. It is tucked away in the back corner of a side street near a dirt parking lot and yet always packed. The pizza dough is the perfect mix of chewy, crispy, and slightly singed. MUST TRY: All of the pizzas, burrata cheese.
Adorable coffee shop. Gia has salads and sandwiches with a local Arab twist. Really good desserts as well as fresh juices. Great for a healthy breakfast, quick lunch, or coffee and dessert. MUST TRY: The pavlova, salads, fresh juices.
Trendy Lebanese. Located on Gulf Road, Babel has spectacular waterfront views and spectacular food to match. Babel offers modern Lebanese dishes while respecting their traditional roots. MUST TRY: Nayeh Moutammameh (selection of Lebanese beef tartar), Fattet Shrimp, Ras Asfour with cherries.
Casual authentic Thai. Oriental Cuisine is a hidden gem of a restaurant. The tiniest kitchen and weirdest location just add to its charm. It is at the bottom of some sort of furnished apartments motel. If you park your car and are afraid you are going to get mugged, you are in the right spot. MUST TRY: Matsuman chicken, pineapple rice, pad thai.
Traditional Korean Food in a super weird location. Koryokwan is located inside a hotel that looks like it haunted and abandoned; in that order. When you enter the building you will probably wonder to yourself who even comes here? How does this place even exist? Well it does and is delicious. The menu is tiny, but it gets the job done. MUST TRY: Bulogi beef, the steak tartar.
A Vegan Mecca. Be Cafe is the most unapologetically hipster coffee shop in Kuwait, by far. Smoothie bowls, yoga brunches, and a reading room. Ya, it’s that hipster. It is so beautifully nestled in nature, you would think it organically grew out of the ground. MUST TRY: Smoothie bowls, breakfast, homemade Kombucha.
Meat on meat action. Habra serves up well prepared quality cuts of meat. This restaurant is a carnivore’s paradise with beef being the main focus. The restaurant is tiny, so hard to accommodate big groups but they do have outdoor seating and a large communal table inside. MUST TRY: Bone marrow, any braised meat, the kale salad.
Authentic Japanese (not sushi). Tampopo spends more time closed than it does open, and its location is baffling. This only adds to the allure of this adorably delicious restaurant. There is no point in telling you about the menu because it changes constantly but their ramen is to die for. Expect a line up because the restaurants seats less than 15 at a time. Worth the wait, but make sure to check if they are open; seriously they close more days than they open. MUST TRY: Anything they recommend.
Bakery/ Bistro. Attention carb addicts: Madison and Heig is the place to be to get your bread fix. A variety of freshly baked breads and pastries are irresistible and the menu is filled with light and deliciously sharable options. MUST TRY: The breakfast, the bread basket, the truffle fries.
Funky Sushi. The godfather of good sushi in Kuwait, Maki has stood the test of time. The food is Japanese with a sprinkling of Middle Eastern flavors. There are many locations but one standard of quality. MUST TRY: Filo shrimp, zaatar edamame, essa maki, negimayaki.
Casual Japanese Curry. Meme’s Curry‘s catch phrase is “Time to get addicted” and that is no false advertisement. The menu is short and sweet with almost every dish featuring their signature curry sauce in some way. MUST TRY: Chicken katsu, the udons, anything with curry sauce on it.
Rustic Thai Kitchen is one of the best Thai restaurant in Kuwait. This hidden gem offers up authentic Thai food in a casual-homey setting. The menu is well balanced and compact, just like their dishes. MUST TRY: Roasted chili squid, garlic fried rice (all the fried rices really), all of the curries.
Vegetarian Indian food. This restaurant doesn’t have fancy things like a website, an instagram account, or a storage room for their water. What they do have is delicious vegetarian food at insanely cheap prices. There are a few locations so map the closest one to you; as I said, there is no website.
Funky food in a funky setting. Street in Al-Makan is an innovative space and kitchen that defies labels or categorizations. It feels like a fluid expression of food and art, a perfect reflection of street food in general. MUST TRY: Korean chicken and waffles, starters.
Modern coffee shop. Delicious selection of fresh and fulfilling salads, sandwiches and a few hot dishes. Magnet Cafe is a great place to go alone and get some work or reading done. The second floor is a quiet room with desks and private rooms for studying or meetings. MUST TRY: Their signature drink, cold brewed latte (coffee ice cubes served with hot milk). I am a big fan of all the salads, no seriously, ALL of them.
Korean Cuisine & Chinese Hotpot. For those of you who want the joy of cooking but none of the prep or cleanup, Da Wang is the place for you. A simmering pot of broth is placed on an induction plate at your table and you choose the proteins and vegetables from a long list of options. Korean options such as bibimpob and bulgogi are available to those not in the mood to cook. MUST TRY: The hotpot.
Simple food done right. Baker & Spice explains on their website that their menu is “Guided by the seasons and ethical principles, the food philosophy is simple: local | organic | fresh | homemade.” Located at the Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Cultural Center the outdoor seating has a great view of the dancing fountains. MUST TRY: Baked goods and salads.
Traditional Kuwaiti food in a trendy setting. Khaneen is not your typical Kuwaiti restaurant, the menu offers classic food not usually found at restaurants as well as hip dishes. This eatery is the perfect refection of the current Kuwaiti tablet, a blend of modern and traditional. MUST TRY: Kuwaiti ravioli, the fries, the rice dishes.
Italian with a twist. Melenzané servers the usual Italian menu suspects (pizza, pasta, salads) but sneaks in a modern twist in every dish. MUST TRY: Raguchetta, fritta mozzas, and their pastas.
This is not a restaurant, but rather a whole area. In the heart of the old (now revamped) souk Salmiya, sits Little Manila. A cluster of Filipino restaurants, shops, and cafes. Looking to eat some pansit, bbq skewers, halo halo, and some bubble tea? You will find these delicious dishes and a lot more in Kuwait’s Little Manila. MUST TRY: Simply walk around and go restaurant/cafe hopping. Try as much as your stomach can handle.
Fancy Bistro. The location, decor, and food are in perfect harmony at the Cocoa Room. Located at the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre, the views are of greenery during the day and dancing fountains at night. The interior is a mix of comfy-cosy and modernist-chic, and the food is good all day long. No seriously, breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack are all delicious. MUST TRY: Brisket hash, all the pastries, mille-feuille.
Casual Thai street food restaurant. Sabaidee offers up intensely flavorful, unapologetically spicy, authentically Thai food. The menu is long and comprehensive, including the ubiquitous pad thais and tom yums, but with an even longer list of dishes not usually found at your local Thai restaurant. MUST TRY: Beef lamb, seafood dishes, anything you have never had before.
Seafood boil. Upon your arrival at Dampa Feast you are given latex cloves, a plastic bib, a box of tissues, and the table is lined with wax paper. This sounds like the start of a horror movie, but its really the start of a delicious meal. The menu is limited, and for good reason; you are there to eat seafood!. You pick your sauce, your drink, and your server arrives moments later and dumps your feast right there on the table. You get a mountain of steaming hot seafood with a side of rice. There are no utensils, you just dig right in. Not the best place for a first date – Or is it? MUST TRY it with friends.
Iranian Take-Away. Technically not a sit-down restaurant, Anaar Catering will make you the food, but you have to pick it up and eat it somewhere else. Genuine Iranian food that was recommended to me by my Iranian-Kuwaiti friends, so it passes the authenticity test. Great for a picnic, for a dinner party, or simply for those days you are not in the mood to cook but still want to eat at home. MUST TRY: The eggplant appetizers, the rices, and their stews.
👇 Honorable Mentions 👇
Meem cafe : Delicious Lebanese appetizers, good coffee, cosy seating.
Mais Alghanim: Traditional Lebanese food, spacious restaurant located on Gulf Road.
Shake Shack: Burgers done right, fast food without being fake food.
Tripani: Hardy Italian food, trendy settings in two locations.
Kurdo: Drive-by food, good shawarma, many location.
Happy Duck: Drive-by shawarma in Salmiya. Get the beef
Housny: Traditional Egyptian Cuisine, grilled seafood.