By Johara Al Mogbel
Funnest food places to take your little ones.
The Turkish favorite has been a big hit with Riyadhis, and it’s not hard to see why. With a clever menu that mixes both Turkish and international cuisine, and a bubbly interior, it’s the perfect casual dining option for families. Mom and Dad won’t have to give up decent dining to appease their offspring, but at the same time they won’t have to worry about the kids destroying anything. Our favorite bit? Their place-mats are designed to be the nostalgic paper game of Name/Animal/Thing, which will most definitely keep your kids busy till the food shows up.
Location: Mira Hotel, Tahlia St.
Romano’s Macaroni Grill
The Texan pseudo-Italian franchise is the current It place in the city. With a well crafted menu that manages to be both bountiful without seeming too much, it has enough options to appease any child. And keep them busy, because their table cover is paper, and the waiters usually hand you crayons to create your own masterpiece. Call us infantile, we’re all for uninhibited artistic opportunities. Especially when it makes us feel like we’re doing something we shouldn’t be, bringing back our early memories of drawing on our living room wall.
Location: King Abdul Aziz Rd, Al Ghadir
Few people know this, but the café that belongs to Stationary Fantasies is actually very decent. We hold a special place in our hearts for their fries, and their pizza is our kids’ favorite. Add to that the simple fact that each activity usually takes 20 to 25 minutes, and all that adds up to the fact that you’ll be able to have a (quick) meal that’s blissfully quiet and less hectic while you watch your kids have the time of their life safely ensconced behind giant glass windows. It’s the best hidden secret for parents in Riyadh, we’ll have you know.
Location: Azizia Mall, King Fahad Rd.
It’s kind of obvious by now that we’re in love with Piatto. Their food is happy, the atmosphere chill, and the service is impeccable. The branch in Panorama does not stop serving for prayer until every order is out of the kitchen, and it makes so much more of a difference when your tot is hungry and the food arrives on time instead of having to wait 30 to 45 minutes to order, then an extra 20 for your order to arrive. Also, kids get their own dough and pizza sauce to make their own pizza, and every children’s meal comes with a free gelato. Win-win all around!
Location: Panorama Mall, Takhassosi St
Chuck E Cheese
No list for fun kids’ places can go without an entry about Chuck E Cheese. It’s a journalist’s rule. We’re definite. It’s not our first choice for child entertainment since it’s loud, sticky, and causes most children to go hyperactive, but we’ve got a soft spot for their pizza, and we firmly believe that every child should have at least one intensive experience in an arcade. And their pizza! It’s fun. It’s really fun.
Location: Olaya St.
This is purely nostalgia. At least one of our fondest memories involves Fuddruckers, from pouring our own condiments in the little cups, biting into a rice krispie, or wearing off our parents enough to have them give us money to play in the admittedly meager arcade. And they won’t let us order off the children’s menu anymore, so might as well get a kid along for the ride, no?
Location: Takhassosi St.