Monday, November 19, 2012

Centro Restaurant And Lounge-In Need Of A Serious Face Lift!

Centro restaurant is located on Tahlia street opposite Chili’s and nestled between a Lamborghini and Bentley shop. Although it might seem rather uninviting and boring from the outside, this restaurant is more alluring and romantic inside with its red and black interior design. The restaurant is divided into the lounge and the restaurant side, the lounge is for men only! Why would women need to lounge in public anyways(sarcasm)!
 Centro has a central location (is that where the "creative" name comes from I wonder) and is surrounded by posh stores like the Lambo Riyadh dealers but despite the surroundings the food is still reasonably priced.
When this cool new restaurant had just opened its doors back in 2008 it was often jam-packed on weekend nights. Centro seemed like a hip hang-out place for young couples and guys with fancy cars parked outside used to chill out in the lounge watching football from the flat screen TV's. A few years after and Centro comes across as a worn-out and boring place. 
When we visited this time the restaurant was completely empty, it was Ramadan though and it might have something to do with it. They didn't have a buffet on offer so we ordered from the menu. Not sure if it was because of Ramadan that the restaurant didn't play any background music, but this made the place feel even emptier and a little bit gloomy.

Because of the emptiness I now somehow realized how corny the decor actually was. I suspect the restaurant is still using all the same furniture and other items than it had five years ago. The theme is red and black but everything just seems so tacky. I noticed the ugly rails on the ceiling and the red chandeliers were not exactly pretty either. Oh well, we had such great company I forgot about the not so great surroundings.
Centro definitely needs a face lift to compete with all the new trendy eateries sprouting like mushrooms on Tahlia street.
There is a large round table in the middle of the restaurant which can be closed off with black string curtains.
We sat in an open area table but there is a choice to close the tables off with heavy black velvet curtains. The polite waiter brought us menus that looked eroded and it seemed like the same menu as years before. I think it's time they renewed their menu too! The cuisine is international and there's a fairly good selection of hot and cold appetizers on offer. We ordered the rocket salad and nacho platter.
The dishes arrived promptly and the service was cordial, but nothing extraordinary. We were still the only ones there though. 
Same goes for the appetizers; they were good, but nothing special. The salad had too much vinegar poured on top and ordering the dressing on the side would be advisable. It was more like a vinegar soup if you ask me. Some of the nachos tasted stale and we didn't finish the dish.Portion sizes are generous but there sure was room for improvement in the presentation of the dishes. Everything looked rather dull and pretty much as if just thrown onto the plate.
For the main courses we had several different pasta dishes and tried the shrimp pizza. All pastas tasted satisfactory but again, nothing to be too excited about or to return for. The pizza on the other hand was downright soggy and so greasy I had to pat the grease on a napkin to be able to eat it! The center of the pizza was mushy, cold and unappetizing.For desserts we ordered the Martha Stewart apple pie and chocolate cake. The Chocolate cake was fabulous in appearance, consistency and taste and was quickly finished. It was the best dish we had that evening. The Martha Stewart’s pie however was a letdown; I couldn't imagine this was what the household guru had in mind when she created the recipe. The pie was dry, lacked flavor and it crumbled into small pieces when eaten.
Centro offers a trendy environment and a once cool design in a prime location but that ‘something special’ on our visit was missing. This place is dire in need of a cosmetic intervention and renewing the menu to keep up with the similar restaurants in the area.

For more restaurant reviews go to:
Star ratings:
Decor: **
Value for money: ***
Kid Friendliness:***
Romance Factor: ***


Aventura Jeep said...

Really Very Restaurant, I Like this Blog.

fatima J said...

Since you like to rate restaurants in Riyadh, I suggest you start using Forkly (

Forkly is a social network for rating restaurant dishes. It’s like twitter for foodies! It’s an easy way to check out what dishes are people eating around you & to easily recommend the dishes you love & discover new restaurant.

It’s really fun! It is worth checking out. It is becoming really popular in Saudi Arabia, especially Riyadh.
And they have tools for bloggers like you:

Here is their iPhone app to get started:

And keep up the great work with your blog =D