There’s nothing more comforting than a wholesome breakfast on a weekend. The bustling capital city of Manama has many restaurants and cafés that cater to a variety of palates and pockets. Whether you’re looking for authentic Arabic fare, a piping hot Thai broth or a hearty American spread, here are the best places to try in Manama, Bahrain.
Cafe, Restaurant, Indian, Vegetarian, Vegan, $$$
If you’re looking for a scrumptious South Indian breakfast, head to this Udipi-style (a city in the Indian state of Karnataka) restaurant adjoining Sacred Heart Church in Manama. Friday mornings are packed thanks to churchgoers, but they have another hall in the same building that they open during rush hour. Their potato vegetable seasoned with mustard and curry leaves, spiced with golden turmeric and caramelised onions, is arguably the best when compared to other Udipi-style restaurants in Bahrain. You can sample a variety of typical breakfast items with their breakfast combo, served every day except Friday.
Tuck into authentic Bahraini food at this old town-style café in the heart of Manama Souq. Enjoy the traditional ambiance with wooden Arabian-style benches and a wall adorned with laminated pictures of yesteryear Bahrain. The staff are warm and friendly too. No matter how busy they are, they will find time to tell you all about the café’s history. There’s no menu as such: you can choose from what’s cooked on the day. Typically, hearty rice dishes and grills, as well as traditional breakfast items are served here, and you can wash these down with a chai karak (spiced milk tea). There are wall-fans to keep you cool, but in case the heat gets too much, there’s a family section indoors.
There’s something about having broth for breakfast. Slurping on piping hot beef and noodle broth at this humble street-side restaurant in the heart of Qudaibiya will transport you to Thailand’s bustling lanes dotted by street food carts. It’s one of those hidden gems on the island that serves the real deal and you don’t have to pay through your nose to enjoy an authentic sticky rice and mango pudding. The menu has a variety of salads, appetisers, soups and main course items to choose from. Most of the food is spicy so tread carefully! That being said, you can request your dish to be prepared using less spice.
If you’re craving a lavish American breakfast, complete with pancakes, waffles, eggs and bacon, head to this café. It’s located right outside the US Navy Base, with a selection of outdoor seating if you’re hoping for a meal with a view. There are a variety of options on the menu right from burgers and pasta through to salads and sandwiches. Their beef sliders are a highlight – three mini burgers that look small but are packed with flavour and are super filling. Wash them down with one of their milkshakes served in glasses so tall that it’s a meal in itself. The café has other branches across the island.
If you’re looking for a quiet place to wine and dine over the weekend, then head to this rustic European-style restaurant. It’s located inside the Palace Boutique Hotel and they have a terrace where you can relax with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Their wine collection is extensive and there’s something for every pocket. The food menu features hearty breakfast options like eggs Benedict and ricotta pancakes, as well as brunch items from pizzas and salads through to a variety of seafood and meat dishes. The unique part about this restaurant is that they follow farm-to-table-style cooking; their fruits and vegetables come in from their organic farms in Budaiya every morning.
Cafe, Restaurant, American, Contemporary, Salad Bar, $$$
Serving hearty, homely dishes with a rustic charm, this café is popular with the island’s diners. It’s located in Block 338, one of Bahrain’s most dynamic dining hubs. It’s not easy to get a table here and unfortunately, you can’t make reservations in advance because of the crowd and many bookings. But if you’re patient enough, your turn will come and when it does, try the haloumi cheese salad and peach ice tea. There are a variety of other creative mains to choose from too. The portion sizes here are generous and the food is consistent and flavourful. The café has an alfresco dining area as well.
Head to Bahrain Bay Kitchen from 1pm to 4pm, for a lavish Friday brunch. Their five unique food stations – Arabic, Western, Indian, Japanese and Chinese – promise to cater to all palates, and you can dine indoors or enjoy breathtaking views of the Manama skyline on their terrace. You could also experience a hearty Friday brunch at the Michelin-starred, CUT By Wolfgang Puck from 12.30pm to 3.30pm. A well-lit space, thanks to their floor-to-ceiling windows, it offers a lovely ambiance with live entertainment by a band to tuck into a variety of breads, seafood appetisers, and meaty mains. A romantic Saturday brunch at re/Asian Cuisine, also owned by the celebrated chef Wolfgang Puck, is yet another great idea. This restaurant also offers amazing views of the bay and has some delicious items on the menu.
This all-day eatery serves a contemporary twist on traditional Bahraini cuisine. Narise Qambar, an international award-winning Bahraini entrepreneur, owns this space and brings her creativity and passion for delicious, soulful food to the table. You can choose from an eclectic menu that includes breakfast options as well as a variety of creative appetisers and hearty main course dishes. Try their Saffron Royal Breakfast if you want to get a taste of the main local dishes. It includes balaleet (a vermicelli dish), Bahraini-style eggs with tomato, foule and luba (bean-based dishes), kebab rolls and more. The restaurant has another outlet at Al Qaisariya Souq in Muharraq.
For a family-friendly affair, the Absolutely Fabulous Friday Brunch at La Mosaique and the Harvesters Pub and Terrace features various international flavours and exciting entertainment. A supervised kids’ corner with a unique complementary kids’ buffet is served at the restaurant. After you’ve finished your brunch, you could head to the terrace to unwind with a drink and outdoor DJ. This is a poolside brunch, ideal for the summer too.
The hotel is in the same building as one of Bahrain’s most popular malls – City Centre Bahrain. The mall isn’t too crowded in the morning and so it’s a great idea to enjoy a lovely breakfast followed by some window shopping. The hotel’s signature breakfast features a selection of traditional café classics like smoked salmon on pumpernickel bread, as well as local dishes like date brioche and shakshouka (eggs poached in a sauce made from tomatoes, chilli peppers, and onions, often spiced with cumin). Baharat Restaurant at the hotel hosts a nice brunch on Fridays with live music by Colombian artists and over a hundred desserts to choose from.