World Travel Guide > Guides > Middle East > Bahrain

Bahrain Food and Drink

There is a wide range of quality dining options, many but not all of which are to be found in the 5-star hotels. 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.

Things to know

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.

National specialities:

Machbous: steamed fish or meat served with rice.
Muchammar: brown, sweet rice served with sugar or dates.
Baba ghanoush: smoked aubergine, pureed garlic, yoghurt and sesame paste.
Shawarma: lamb or chicken carved from a rotating spit and wrapped in flat bread.
Sambousa: crisp pastry cases filled with meat, cheese, sugar or nuts.

Regional drinks

Arak: grape spirit flavoured with aniseed.
Gahwa: coffee, usually spiked with cardamom.

A service charge is often added to bills in hotels and most restaurants, otherwise 10% is appropriate.

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