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Naps and Vikings: 4 Extraordinary Dining Experiences in the Middle East

August 7, 2023
Photo credit: Instagram account @viking.ajman

From horror-film inspired dishes to tiny chefs cooking up some of the most sumptuous French dishes, the Middle East has seen a stream of innovative dining experiences dreamt up to entertain diners.

Long gone are the days where dinner necessarily consisted of a simple quality-meal with a band playing a song in the distance. Today, the culinary world in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has expanded to include avant-garde and imaginative dining options that provide an unforgettable experience along with delectable meals.

Here are four restaurants across the region for those looking for an unforgettable dinner with their loved ones or simply for a break from routine.

Viking Restaurant, Ajman

For history aficionados wondering what it must have been like to be alive in Scandinavia in 800 AD, Viking Restaurant, located in Ajman in the United Arab Emirates, gives its patrons a glimpse into that experience.

The meals are prepared with techniques specific to Viking culture. The setup itself is reminiscent of that era with weapons and shields adorning the longhouse halls design of the venue. The entertainment includes fire dancers, sword performers, and musicians inspired by Vikings.

“We’ve taken a lot of trouble to make sure customers feel like they’re stepping thousands of years back in time,” Viking Restaurant’s General Manager, Ivo Cuci, tells the National.

“Nowadays, we have a lot of technology, but we’re trying to hide all signs of it (…). Even the lighting is mostly candles.”

The restaurant has been rated number one in the emirate on travel and review platform Trip Advisor.

For more information, visit their website.

Muab Restaurant, Jordan

Dinner followed by a nap straight away is the optimal mix for most people, and Muad Restaurant is the venue that caters to diners’ favourite pastime after having had a feast: napping.

The restaurant prepares Jordan’s national dish, Mansaf — a Levantine meal made up of meat, usually lamb or goat, topped with yoghurt and rice.

Muad Restaurant invites its patrons for the traditional dish after which they are provided with beds to sleep on, if they so choose. Located in the capital, Amman, the restaurant first came to life as a joke, but people seemed to like it.

Le Petit Chef, Egypt

French restaurant, Le Petit Chef, has several locations around the world. In the Middle East, it has a branch in Cairo, Riyadh, Dubai, and Doha.

Located in Cairo’s Four Seasons the First Nile Boat, the restaurant offers an immersive dining experience using 3-D mapping technology. Diners await their food while watching the world’s tiniest chef — brought to life in 3D — prepare their dish right in front of them.


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A post shared by Le Petit Chef (@le.petitchef)

The restaurant offers three set menus for adults, one of which is vegetarian, and one set menu for children. The dinner experience lasts for about two hours as the chef cooks up a storm while sharing the journey from start to finish with his guests who get to delight in following the animated miniature culinary wizard as he waters his vegetables and harvests them to then put them on the plate.

For reservations, visit their website.

Shadows Restaurant, Saudi Arabia

A fan of horror? This restaurant was designed for those looking to get a spook while dining. Located on Riyadh Boulevard in Riyadh, the restaurant invites its guests to experience a meal while getting a scare.

The dishes themselves boast a spooky aesthetic and are served by monsters, ghouls, masked creeps. The whole restaurant is decorated like a scene straight out of a horror film — or several.

The staff, dressed up in Halloween costumes, performs as diners indulge in their horror-inspired meals.

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