Orfali Bros Bistro

Taste and Tradition: The Evolution of a Family-Run Orfali Bros Bistro into the Middle East’s Top Restaurant

Orfali Bros Bistro nearly doesn’t suit the setting of Dubai, a cosmopolitan city where more than 200 nationalities live. Yet the restaurant, founded by Mohamad Orfali, who left his native Damascus in 2006 and settled in the Gulf metropolis a year later, represents a community through culinary unity. He wanted to showcase his homeland in the feel-good manner it deserves. What was once a small startup of brothers is now an extended family of 53, with Orfali referring to his restaurant staff as ‘my brothers.’ The eclectic mix of employees reflects the cosmopolitan UAE: more than 90 percent of the population is made up of people from other countries.

Orfali’s restaurant is a reflection of the multiculturalism that exists in the country. There are over 200 nationalities in the UAE which creates such an interesting mix of culture and backgrounds. Orfali proudly states, “Different nationalities, different colors, different languages, different accents. And that is what I love. This is the beauty of Orfali Bros. This is how we represent the community, and this is how we represent Dubai.”

Orfali Bros Bistro offers something different from typical UAE meals; according to Orfali it serves “Dubai Cuisine” which can be described as a combination of various food from around the world but specially modified for foreigners. By modifying classic food but leaving its unique properties, Orfali keeps the menu interesting for many people.

The Bistro does not forget innovation even though it remains loyal to its origins as seen through some delicacies such as camel burger sliders, zaatar-spiced fries, or saffron-infused ice cream. It serves a cuisine that combines different dishes around Dubai and from other places across the globe.

Celebrity chefs and international restaurant chains once ruled the food business within Dubai. However, there are increasing numbers of privately owned dining places that offer unique foods. An example of such a restaurant is Orfali Bros Bistro, which provides great meals but with a lot of creativity in a comfortable environment around the hood. These independent restaurants also couldn’t escape from the impact of increasing locavores who prefer nearby supplies for their food.

The cuisines in Dubai have been described by Samantha Wood as being derived from different parts of the world put together tastily with a touch of Arabic flavor. Fusion cuisine has experienced significant breakthroughs, just like those observed in Orfali Bros Bistro, across Dubai for mixing various foods from different cultures or origins. Other restaurants such as Juns and Chez Wam also serve food from different cultural backgrounds.

The Orfali Bros Bistro has been so successful that it has led to the establishment of their new project next door to the current one called “Three Bros,” where they will offer the “OB cheeseburger,” among other challenging dishes. Regardless of whatever cuisine is being served, the Orfali brothers always strive to create a closer bond among visitors. The restaurant intends to make people feel like they belong somewhere safe and comforting, just like family members considered an essential part of its operations. Orfali Bros Bistro is evidence that multiculturalism is still alive and well in Dubai, and people still enjoy experimenting with food.

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