Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Al Qaryah Al-Najdiya-The Najdi Village Restaurant

Have you been to the Najdi village restaurant in Riyadh yet? Highly recommended for all expats and this is THE place to take your guests visiting Riyadh! This is my article which was first published in the first ever Destination Riyadh magazine March issue! Destination Riyadh is a sister publication of the popular Destination Jeddah. It's about time that Riyadh gets its own English language city guide.Check out their Facebook page for more info:

Al Qaryah Al-Najdiya-The Najdi Village Restaurant

For the ultimate Saudi experience, a visit to the Najdi traditional village restaurant is a must for all expats and visitors to Riyadh. The restaurant, located on Abu Bakr Rd. opposite the Prince Sultan University, is a traditional Najdi style mud house. 
The building itself has many interesting details and vividly displays the traditional Saudi lifestyle, decor and architecture.  Guests will enjoy not only the delicious Saudi heritage cuisine, but the entire building and little details which make it almost like visiting a cultural museum. Stepping into the restaurant is like stepping back in time.

The restaurant is divided into singles and family sections. The men’s entrance is lined with intriguing artifacts, colorful old doors, cooking utensils, Bedouin jewelry, spices and food items. Guests are lead to an open air courtyard typical to Najdi homes from back in the day when ventilation and light was provided through it. The courtyard is surrounded by the dining majlis and a watermill.
The family entrance is from the side of the building, visitors pass by some antique cars on the way.  Najdi style decorations, architecture and friendly waiters dressed in traditional Saudi attire welcome the visitors.
There’s a choice to dine in an open area, tent-like rooms or private rooms decorated to look like Najdi living rooms, majlis. There’s a watermill in the center of an open air courtyard which allows the natural light to enter during daytime and star gazing during the evenings. The majlis are complete with air-conditioning and fireplaces. The tents are very romantic with lanterns hanging from the ceilings. No chairs or tables here, seating is on cushions on the floor and food is served from traditional plates placed on large straw mats.
The restaurant is quiet during daytime but in the evenings and especially weekends it gets very busy and reservations are recommended.

The food is very tasty and reasonably priced allowing the visitors to order many different Najdi specialties. For groups of more than seven people the best way to sample all the different flavorful dishes is to order the elaborate set menu. It includes everything from various freshly baked breads, dips, salads, soups, chicken, vegetable, lamb and camel dishes, dessert and Arabic coffee, tea and dates.

A meal with five dishes would cost around 100 riyals. Portion sizes are so generous that it’s enough for two persons to eat a filling meal and still have some left to take home. Najdi Village is the best place to try unique and authentic Saudi dishes and of course camel meat!
 Especially nice here are the Jareesh (barley grain with yogurt and caramelized onions), Haneeni, (wheat dough, dates, butter and milk) Marasiya (Saudi pancakes) and Mataziz (wheat dough pieces cooked with vegetables and meat). The chicken dishes are especially succulent and tender. On the menu are also some more "modern" Saudi foods such as chicken Kabsa.

All meals include complimentary flat bread, Arabic coffee and dates. Eating is with hands, but utensils are available for those not accustomed to eating the traditional Saudi way.
The best indication that the food here is delicious and authentic in taste is seeing how many Saudi families enjoy the Najdi Village restaurant. It doesn't get more authentic than this!


Dianne said...

I should have listened to my self...visit your blog tomorrow morning. It's midnight here in US and reading this made me hungry! lol!

Thanks for this review. I will keep this restaurant in mind if I visit Saudi someday. Hopefully we'll see each other! :)


Layla said...

Hi Dianne, I really do hope to meet you one day and maybe I can take yo there for dinner :)

muslimah mummy said...

WOW Jazakullah for sharing this place looks fantastic, inshaAllah would like to visit it one day. :) Your photography is great! x

C. LaSalle said...

Thank you so much for your postings. Every since childhood I've been fascinated by the cultures of the dessert! Your pictures and posts make it come alive for me.

Unknown said...

salaam waluakumm sister, :)

how can someone from canada obtain saudi fabrics like the one found on the majlis picture?? :))

I really am in love with saudi fabrics lol. jazak Allahu khayran sis <3

Sohaib said...

Went to this restaurant after your blog recommended it.
I loved this place.
My comments:

1. If only a couple are going, I would recommend the Chicken Badiah. This dish inludes Jereesh, 1/2 Grilled chicken with rice & Mataziz.
You may want to order a gravy/curry as well, in case this dish turns out bit dry. Costs only SR.25, and enough to fill 2 tummies and a half!

2. The majlis needs a minimum bill of SR.250. This makes sense when going in a group.

3. The best time to go on weekends is right after Isha prayer, around 830PM (during summer)

4. Service is pretty good and food is served quick and hot.

5. Ambience is amazing