Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Top Ten Restaurants in Riyadh

Here are my top ten restaurants in Riyadh. There are so many good restaurants it's not easy to pick only ten!
I am always amazed to see restaurant reviews on sites like Tripadvisor or http://www.riyadheats.com/. They have stuff like McDonalds, Burger Boutique, Chilis and TGI Fridays and various average pizza places on the top of their lists.
I would not place those places in my top 100. I would not even call McDonalds a restaurant!

Maybe the reviewers are not accustomed to what makes a great restaurant? Maybe Saudis just want to eat burgers and fries and pizza? It's not only the food, but the atmosphere, decor and service is very important. Good or even decent service is HARD to find in Saudi.
I also dislike restaurants that are ridiculously overpriced. Restaurants like the Globe in Faisaliyah tower and Spazio's in Kingdom tower are charging way too much for the view and I didn't want to include them.

These are not in an particular order.

1. Il Terrazo Brazilian restaurant in Faisaliyah hotel. Situated on a terrace overlooking the Globe and the Faisaliyah courtyard fountains, this is a buffet restaurant serving a multitude of meats barbecued on the open grill. Good music, relaxed atmosphere, heavenly food, excellent "champagne", no gender segregation. http://www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/alfaisaliahhotel/dining/il_terrazzo/

2. Tao Lounge on Tahlia street. The ultimate hip hangout for the trendy complete with high ceilings, comfy sofas, unbeatable ambiance and excellent international cuisine. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tao-Lounge/206282889416259?v=info

3. LenĂ´tre restaurant in Centria Mall. The famous French restaurant chain's best branch in Riyadh can be found on the third floor of the mall. They have a wonderful outside terrace overlooking both Faisaliyah and Kingdom towers. Delicious food and heavenly desserts! Owned by a Princess, it is one of the few places in Riyadh where women can dine outside. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Len%C3%B4tre-Saudi-Arabia/141459685875370?v=info

4. Najd Village Restaurant next to Prince Sultan university. This is THE place to go for expats in Riyadh and also popular with locals. The restaurant is built in a traditional Saudi house and serves original Saudi cuisine. An experience not be missed. Read more here: http://blueabaya.blogspot.com/p/riyadh-restaurant-reviews.html

5. Furosato/ Lecluse on Tahlia street. For sushi lovers this is a great restaurant with secluded atmosphere and romantic decor. The restaurant combines French and Japanese cuisine. http://furusatorestaurant.com/en/

6. Set Al Sham on Thalateen street. This large stylish restaurant offers an excellent buffet of Arabic foods. You can dine in the privacy of your own dining room and enjoy the amazing Middle-Eastern decor and cuisine. http://www.setalsham.com/

7. Maya Chocolaterie on Tahlia street. A chocolate lover's paradise. This restaurant is all about chocolate, they even have liquid chocolate flowing in pipes! Indulge in heavenly fondue, rich aromas of the desserts, exquisite chocolate delicacies and get on a sugar high! http://www.maya-la-chocolaterie.com

8. Trader Vics Panorama Mall. Enjoy a non-alcoholic Mai Tai (invented by Trader Vic's) at the only bar in town! The decor is exotic and inspired by the South Pacific Islands and the theme continues in the international menu as well. Excellent service, amazing food and drinks. http://www.tradervics.com/experience/experience.html

9. Mondo at Intercontinental hotel. Very stylish Italian restaurant for a romantic evening out. As a bonus ladies can take abayas off and you can sit by the poolside. Food is presented in fabulous ways and this place has high international standards.

10. Elements in Four Seasons Kingdom Center. A new restaurant with an exiting concept of four different interactive open kitchen stations. Very impressive modern decor and relaxed atmosphere. For families they have brunch with kids corner on Fridays. http://riyadh.fourseasons.com/2011/10/elements-adding-another-dimension-to-multisensory-dining/

What is your favorite restaurant in Riyadh?


Lina said...

riyadh must have hundreds of hamburger places! seems the saudis are crazy about burgers and do not appreciate other kind of food too much.
thanks for the list there are some I must try, but I like furosato and trader vics most.

Noor said...

I love all those places Ninos is also one of my favorites they have the best burgers and of course we love The Noodle House in Centria Mall oh and La Vela.

Layla said...

Noor-I wanted to include Noodle House, one of my favorites too! Vela is nice but their food has been a disaster a few times and service is slow.

Abdullah said...

I would like to see Finnish restaurant in alriyadh. Why don't you establish a new business and bring the Finnish taste to the the lovely desert. I think you can make this offer ''buy a meal and get Nokia mobile free''.

Dentographer said...

though not a luxury place or a place for a night out,i do love thier food,probably the only place that offers mexican food, its called Amigos,its on the street where tamimi is in King abdulaziz street if i remembe right.

well done Layla,ill plan to visit all those..and i have been waiting for my wife to take me to intercote which she promised me about two years before we got married :p

Layla said...

Dentographer-thanks for the hint I will check that one out! Haven't found a decent Mexican yet!

When are you guys coming back? I want to meet your wife!

Farooq said...

IMHO, the best chinese in Riyadh is Riyadh Chinese Restaurant in Sulaimaniya. The taste is great while the prices are very fair. Noodle house in Centria Mall has great food which tastes a lot like Singaporean food (my wife is Singaporean so you can understand the interest), but the prices are definitely on the higher side compared to other chinese places.

Layla said...

Farooq-thank you for this information I will have to visit this Chinese restaurant as well!

FST said...

They are all my favourites. I like Diamond, Noodle House, Avadh & Copper Chandni too.

Visited LenĂ´tre recently and loved it, not only the food is good but enjoyed the ambiance too. :)

Anonymous said...

We love Copper Chandni on Tahliya street. Their lentil soup is to die for! The ambiance is really nice. By the way Burger Boutique have a very rich menu ranging from grilled meats to sandwiches, great appetizers and salads!! We dont go there for Burgers, which by the way are not bad!

John david said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ovais said...

I would like to mention a restaurant that I have found to be amazingly good.

It is the Shogun Japanese Restaurant, in Radisson Sas Hotel, King Abdul Aziz Road.

The restaurant offers authentic oriental cuisine and an excellent atmosphere. Each table has a grillet in the center where the master chefs come and cook your meals in front of you while displaying some awesome cooking styles and juggling with ingredients. The food is delicious and authentic to the taste and the whole affair is an amazing family experience all round.

I would thoroughly reccommend it to all your readers and anyone who enjoys the eating out experience.

frank said...

TAO , is the best place on Middle East

i never found any place on all middle east that provide such high class food ,,

i love everything about that place

Anonymous said...

Lusin is good when the chef and cooks are in a good mood. They are often out of several items on the menu and lack consistency in quality and inventory.

Unknown said...

Hi Layla are you sort of food critic?

Layla said...

Hi Amad, well I guess you could say so :)

Sara said...

Hi, I follow your blog for a long time and must tell you that your posts always prove to be of a high value and quality for readers. Keep it up.

Get $5 off your first order for new customers, order food online now!

Marja said...

I left Riyadh allmost five (!) years ago after spending there wonderfull three years. I still miss Riyadh!
I still remember TAO-restaurant and the delicious Chocolate-fondue!
The Brasilian restaurant and TAO where my top two restaurants...I whish I could visit them...
There was one good Turkish restaurant...and a Moroccan.
This is a great blog!

Marja said...

I left Riyadh five years ago after spending there wonderfull three years. The Brazilian and the TAO-restaurants where on my top ten restaurants. I whish I could visit them one day! Still remember the delicious chocolate-fondue!
There was also a good Turkish and Moroccon restaurant.
This is an excellent blog!

Unknown said...

I miss Riyadh!!!!! Hopefully I get to visit those restaurants when I get back! Such inspirations.

Anyway, I'm actually a chef in our local community, and our restaurant just recently branched out. Problem is, I'm having a hard time managing inventories and recipes! Can you guys give me an advice on this? Thank you in advance!

Aixa Kay said...

Il Gabbiano, I hear, is very good. I will try it today.

My experience with Tao was in the negative. The presentation is great. The seating appears luxurious but which is distancing, overdone, and cheap in closeup, the staff is inexperienced and slow, and the food quality is in presentation, but mostly tastes like fast food.

Il Terrazzo is FANTASTIC.

Cento per Cento is also excellent in food quality and service. The seating, though, is overdone.

Alsayyad is great for seafood. Seating is, meh. Service is good. We usually like to order out large fish orders when we have guests at home.

Al Mayyas (the one on Share'i Thalatheen) is great in food quality, service, and seating. It is usually reservation only, which organizes the seating process.

Anthorium (off of Tahlia) is very romantic, warm, and the food is small portions but enjoyable.

Pizza Roma (off of Tahlia same block as Anthorium) is romantic as well, cozy, intimate, and the food is on the better side of Italian quality in Riyadh.