Restaurants in Bahrain run the gamut for cheap stalls offering local food to fancy restaurants in fancy hotels. American fast food franchises such as Burger King and McDonalds are ubiquitous. Western (mostly American) style-foods and franchises can be found around the malls and in the city centre, offering food for upper mid-range prices.
If the ubiquitous Gulf menu of rice, lamb and mezze (hummus, chopped salads and other appetisers) is not to your taste, then try the locally caught prawns and lobster. The fruit juices, such as lemon and mint, are irresistible in summer.
Note: Alcohol is widely available for non-Muslim adults over the age of 18 in most top-end restaurants and hotel bars in Manama. Drinking alcohol in public outside these establishments is prohibited.
If you want a true taste of the island, then Fish Market Restaurant should be one of your first choices. The fish there is always very fresh, straight from the morning's catch.
Many of the popular restaurants are in Adliya but there are excellent restaurants pretty much everywhere. The island's most favoured Asian restaurants are Soie (Chinese), Hong Kong (Chinese), Hash House (Thai), Sato (Japanese), Bang Saeng Thai and Bahay Kubo (Filipino). The elegantly beautiful Monsoon is another Asian restaurant that is making waves. Built like a Buddhist temple, it has great atmosphere and superb Far Eastern cuisine. You will love the terraced gardens, exotic Balinese melodies and the splendid dishes. For Indian and Pakistani food, there are more great choices than there is room to mention. Heading the list would be Nirvana, Copper Chimney, Paradise and Lanterns.
Italian food is also popular in Bahrain and the restaurant choices include Roma, Primavera, La Taverna, Cico's, Ciro's Pizza Pomodoro or home-style Italian cooking at Mammamia's. The Pizzaria restaurant in Seef Mall bakes the most delicious pizza on the island.
In the last few years, Bahrain has witnessed the emergence of old run down houses that have been given the makeover and turned into fine dining establishments. Mezzaluna, Krumz, Jim's, Upstairs Downstairs, La Cave and Zoe are all perfect examples.
You also have the chance to experience and enjoy some of the international chain restaurants. Hard Rock Café, Ciro's Pizza Pomodoro, Trader Vic's, Bennigans, Fuddruckers, Chili's, Ponderosa Steakhouse all provide wonderful dining experiences.
Fusion food has recently been introduced to the island by restaurants such as Trader Vic's at the Ritz Carlton and Fusions at the Gulf Hotel.
For an entire meal made up of starters, head to Al Arisha, Zahla, Al Berdaouni, Tarbouche or Fakhrudeen. Burgerland, Baba Habas and Lebanese Corner are some of the best shawarma outlets. Arabian Oven and Samih are restaurants that serve stuffed bread with some of the most irresistible Arabian mixes.
International franchises such as Dairy Queen and KFC came to Bahrain in the 1980s, but today names such as McDonalds, Hardees, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Domino's Pizza and Chester Fried Chicken all have outlets around the island. However local fast food restaurants such as Jasmi's, Tazaj and Jan Burger are also great choices and the taste is as good if not better.
But Bahrain's best kept secret are local takeaways that very few visitors know about. These restaurants are very popular with the locals, and for the most part are very easy on the wallet too.
Finally, you can still count on Sizzlers for an excellent English breakfast or Sausage Corner for the best sausages on the island.