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The best restaurants in Riyadh to try at least once

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We explore some of the best restaurants in Riyadh which offer spectacular views, exceptional cuisine, and a unique atmosphere in the Kingdom’s capital.

Due to the prohibition of alcohol, there isn’t much in the way of bars and nightclubs to explore in Saudi Arabia. Like in many strict Muslim countries, life here is more centered on family-oriented activities such as dining out rather than going on a date. As a result, an extravagant and vibrant restaurant scene can be found in the Kingdom’s capital, Riyadh.

The cosmopolitan hub boasts Michelin-star restaurants alongside hole-in-the-wall eateries, where locals as well as expats gather to savor local and international cuisine. Here are some of the best restaurants in Riyadh that are well worth a visit, if you happen to live there.

Al Orjouan Restaurant

Widely regarded as one of Riyadh’s finest all-day dining restaurants, this Ritz-Carlton gem has become a firm favorite among hotel guests and local residents, alike. Its lavish Friday buffet brunch has proven to be immensely popular with those looking to feast on a sumptuous spread of Middle Eastern and international specialties. And with a whopping 20 food stations on offer, as well as a kids club to keep little ones entertained, it’s hardly surprising Al Orjouan has become somewhat of a Riyadh institution.

Al Orjouan Restaurant

Al Orjouan Restaurant, The Ritz-Carlton, Mekkah Road, Al Hada Area, Riyadh

Yokari might not be the cheapest restaurant in Riyadh, but for those seeking gourmet-style Japanese cuisine, nothing beats it. Don’t expect to see any sushi platters or omakase-style dining here either; this high-end establishment steers well away from the usual clichés. In fact, there is very little interaction with the kitchen staff. Instead, guests are encouraged to ask their waiter to explain the dishes; each of which is beautifully presented and prepared with technical precision. With its minimalist interior and small tables set in close proximity, this is definitely a place for serious foodies who enjoy a more intimate dining experience.

Yokari

The Globe

If you’re looking to enjoy a totally elaborate dining experience, then a visit to The Globe is just the ticket. Located inside the spectacular golden glass orb that tops the Al Faisaliah Tower, this exclusive fine-dining restaurant offers a diverse selection of Arabic and modern European cuisine. It is also home to a hugely popular afternoon tea set, which is served against sweeping panoramic views of the city. What could be more exquisite than sipping on a cup of delectable specialty tea and indulging in sumptuous desserts; all the while seated 240 meters up in the sky.

The Globe

 

Lusin

Nestled in the high-end Centria Mall, this critically-acclaimed restaurant in Riyadh takes its name from the Armenian word for ‘moon’; and explores the distinctive flavors of the culture. Despite its prestigious status, the venue maintains a warm and intimate feel. This is largely thanks to the soft golden lighting and cozy natural interior which features stone slabs inscribed with Armenian poetry. The menu offers a selection of hot and cold mezze, soups, salads, and grilled meats. All this is served against a musical backdrop created by a traditional Armenian woodwind instrument, called a duduk.

Lusin

Hualan

Also housed in the Centria Mall, Hualan offers a contemporary take on Chinese cuisine. This high-end restaurant combines traditional Asian cooking techniques with novel flavors and texture combinations to create innovative dishes. You will find things like fried prawns in pumpkin sauce and jasmine tea-smoked beef ribs on the menu. It also offers a wide selection of bespoke Jing tea and fruit smoothies with exotic Asian ingredients. As well as boasting a sleek all-natural geometric interior, the restaurant has a terrace overlooking Riyadh’s futuristic skyline. This makes it the perfect spot for al fresco dining during the cooler winter months.

Hualan

Najd Village

For a totally unique dining experience, Najd Village cannot be rivaled. This huge heritage building, which can host up to 1,000 people, serves traditional Saudi Arabian cuisine in its original style. Guests can enjoy their feast like in the olden days too; settling down on comfy, authentic cushions and taking in the beautiful museum-like décor surrounding them. The menu includes both vegetarian and meat dishes; matazeez (lamb dumplings in tomato sauce) and mogalgal (a peppery lamb dish) are two must-order specialties. Unsurprisingly, Najd Village is one of the most visited restaurants in Riyadh, so make sure to book ahead.

Najd Village

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Food

Saudi female baristas break taboos and gain respect

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JEDDAH: Saudi female baristas in cafés in most larger cities in the Kingdom say they have enjoyed widespread support from the people they come into contact with at work.

Arab News has been talking to some of them about their experiences.
Taibah Ibrahim Al-Ruhaili, a barista in her early twenties, joined Joffrey’s café in Jeddah 15 months ago after applying for barista jobs in many coffee shops.

She said her dream to be a barista finally came true thanks to her passion for coffee.
“I am a coffee enthusiast, and I would love to learn more about the secrets of making good coffee,” she said.

The biggest challenge she faced was work pressure and customer connection. However, she said she managed to overcome all the obstacles.

Remembering her first day, Al-Ruhaili said: “The team members who were working with me were very cooperative and I quickly learned the skills baristas need in their work. This made me come every day with more eagerness and readiness to learn something new,” she added.

Al-Ruhaili said that she learned how to both satisfy her customers with cups of coffee that hit the spot and shoulder responsibilities and bear work pressure.
“I learned self-discipline and commitment. I also learned how important work achievements are. In fact, I have learned many things that I was not aware of before.”

This was not accepted in the past, but with time people have become more civilized, and it has become normal to see women working everywhere. Some of my male customers proudly introduce their families to me. These families are now my frequent customers.

Entasar Hubail, a barista from the Eastern Province, joined Starbucks in 2019 and has since been promoted from barista to shift supervisor and now to assistant store manager.
Hubail said she loves coffee and had volunteered in coffee exhibitions and even bought a coffee machine for her brother, although she is the one who ended up using it.

“I still remember when I bought my first coffee bean bag from Starbucks and made coffee from it. I enrolled in coffee roasting courses and learned new techniques,” she said.
She is also a chocolatier and is into pastry-making. The time came when she had to decide whether to pursue cooking or join a coffee company. She chose the latter and ended up in Starbucks.
Speaking about what attracted her to this job, she said that when she applied, she was surprised to have been accepted for the job, which she thought showed the company’s focus on promoting gender diversity and attracting local talent.

When she started, Hubail had mixed feelings of surprise, happiness and fear. “I was afraid because I was a very shy person and suddenly I was going to have colleagues and customers to deal with. I, in fact, wanted to take this job opportunity to overcome my inhibitions and focus on understanding more about the coffee industry and building a future at this big company.
Like Al-Ruhaili, Hubail’s biggest challenge was dealing with customers; it was her first time communicating with strangers. She said that with time and practice she was able to overcome her fears.
“The first day I went to work was a truly frightening experience. It was something like my first day at school. I even wanted my mom and sister to go to work with me. Thankfully, I was able to get over my fears by pushing myself more and more,” she said.

  • Passionate coffee makers have found full support from the coffee companies, their male coworkers and customers

JEDDAH: Saudi female baristas in cafés in most larger cities in the Kingdom say they have enjoyed widespread support from the people they come into contact with at work.

Arab News has been talking to some of them about their experiences.
Taibah Ibrahim Al-Ruhaili, a barista in her early twenties, joined Joffrey’s café in Jeddah 15 months ago after applying for barista jobs in many coffee shops.

She said her dream to be a barista finally came true thanks to her passion for coffee.
“I am a coffee enthusiast, and I would love to learn more about the secrets of making good coffee,” she said.

The biggest challenge she faced was work pressure and customer connection. However, she said she managed to overcome all the obstacles.

Remembering her first day, Al-Ruhaili said: “The team members who were working with me were very cooperative and I quickly learned the skills baristas need in their work. This made me come every day with more eagerness and readiness to learn something new,” she added.

Al-Ruhaili said that she learned how to both satisfy her customers with cups of coffee that hit the spot and shoulder responsibilities and bear work pressure.
“I learned self-discipline and commitment. I also learned how important work achievements are. In fact, I have learned many things that I was not aware of before.”

This was not accepted in the past, but with time people have become more civilized, and it has become normal to see women working everywhere. Some of my male customers proudly introduce their families to me. These families are now my frequent customers.

Faten Bahussein, Barista

Entasar Hubail, a barista from the Eastern Province, joined Starbucks in 2019 and has since been promoted from barista to shift supervisor and now to assistant store manager.
Hubail said she loves coffee and had volunteered in coffee exhibitions and even bought a coffee machine for her brother, although she is the one who ended up using it.

“I still remember when I bought my first coffee bean bag from Starbucks and made coffee from it. I enrolled in coffee roasting courses and learned new techniques,” she said.
She is also a chocolatier and is into pastry-making. The time came when she had to decide whether to pursue cooking or join a coffee company. She chose the latter and ended up in Starbucks.
Speaking about what attracted her to this job, she said that when she applied, she was surprised to have been accepted for the job, which she thought showed the company’s focus on promoting gender diversity and attracting local talent.

Entasar Hubail, a barista from the Eastern Province, joined Starbucks in 2019 and has since been promoted from barista to shift supervisor and now to assistant store manager.

When she started, Hubail had mixed feelings of surprise, happiness and fear. “I was afraid because I was a very shy person and suddenly I was going to have colleagues and customers to deal with. I, in fact, wanted to take this job opportunity to overcome my inhibitions and focus on understanding more about the coffee industry and building a future at this big company.
Like Al-Ruhaili, Hubail’s biggest challenge was dealing with customers; it was her first time communicating with strangers. She said that with time and practice she was able to overcome her fears.
“The first day I went to work was a truly frightening experience. It was something like my first day at school. I even wanted my mom and sister to go to work with me. Thankfully, I was able to get over my fears by pushing myself more and more,” she said.

Faten Bahussein, a university graduate of Islamic studies, is also a coffee aficionado whose mornings begin with a cup at home before she goes to Chocochino café, where she works.
“I had an old coffee-making machine, and I practiced making coffee during the curfew period. This has helped me to become good at it, and that reflected positively on my current career,” Bahussein said.
After nearly four years working as a barista, Bahussein said that she has noticed how people look much happier when they see a Saudi girl working in a restaurant.
“This was not accepted in the past, but with time people have become more civilized, and it has become normal to see women working everywhere. Some of my male customers proudly introduce their families to me. These families are now my frequent customers,” she said.

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Food

Avocado Chicken Salad

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2 chicken breast

2 cups Arugula
1 Avocado
1 Basil, leaves
1 handful Cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup Dill, fresh
4 cloves Garlic
1 tsp Thyme, dried
2 tbsp Avocado dressing
1 tbsp Olives

Oils & Vinegars

2 1/2 tbsp Olive oil

Nuts & Seeds

1 tsp Nigella seeds

Liquids

1/4 cup Water

Other

1 cup Purslane leaves

 

 

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Food

Upgrade Your Plant-Based Diet With The Help of These Restaurants

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Upgrade Your Plant-Based Diet With The Help of These Restaurants

Riyadh restaurants have surely been meeting our desires and expectations with so many innovative dishes to offer, and now more restaurants are embracing veganism as a lifestyle and that’s why more restaurants are now upgrading their menus to cater to Riyadh’s vegan community.

If you’re part of the vegan community, then check the below list of places that offer a delicious plan-based meals, guaranteed to have you crave for more.

Blac

This restaurant offers the best of both worlds with the menu including both vegan and non-vegan options, their plant-based burgers are a must try and their side dishes are quite delicious as well. It’s basically a guilt free fast food spot!

Wabi Sabi

The menu has endless choices of vegan options from pastas to burgers and even appetizers, so choose those who follow your same diet from your friends and take them out to this restaurant that you surely won’t regret.

Greens

If you’re a picky eater then this place is for you! It allows you to make your own salad or sandwich and choose from endless options and different toppings, so you can go crazy on your requests and still not feel guilty about your meal! Oatmeal, fresh juices, salads and sandwiches, they truly have vegans/ vegetarians back covered.

Yogi

https://www.instagram.com/p/BrFNXwEBe3x/

 

Yogi is a place that accepts and respects people of all diets! So that whatever it is that you’re craving, you will find there. If you have a nut or dairy allergies, they have got you covered. Their smoothie bowls are a must try, so don’t leave without trying one.

Operation Falafel

Falafel is for everyone! Especially for vegans and especially if it comes in different colors, flavors and with mouthwatering sides! Try one of their iconic plant-based mezza plates, such as foul, hummus, manakeesh and tabbouleh!

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