Our resident gastro gnomes went on culinary adventures this year, transporting them to the countryside of Italy to the backstreet food havens of Hong Kong, we’ve dined by the beach and overlooking sierras— all within the Kingdom’s safe borders.
Despite being faced with unprecedented challenges, Saudi’s F&B scene managed to maneuver its way, with certain international outposts managing to debut strong and local concepts redefining dining standards in Saudi Arabia.
Upscale Restaurants bring new lessons into town
Riyadh’s Dining Blackbook
It’s no surprise that international fine dining franchises opt to plant their flags in Riyadh before expanding to other cities. These past couple of years saw the rise of noteworthy outposts:
The Italian Job:
From fine to chic dining, restaurants are vying for the head of the table
- MAMO Michaelangelo
Location: Al Faisaliah Hotel, Riyadh
- Walton St. Scalini
Location: Signature center, Hateen District Riyadh
- San Carlo Cichetti
Location: Kharijat Ibn Hudhafah, Riyadh
A revitalized menu that offers in-house made Bresaola
Location: Malik An Nasir, Al Sulimaniyah, Riyadh
Location: Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Rd, Al Olaya, Riyadh
Location: Olaya St, Riyadh
Location: King Fahd Rd, Al Anoud Tower 2, Riyadh
Location: Tahlia Street, Al Olaya, Riyadh
In the Spotlight Suhail, Where Heritage Meets Hospitality
Setting up an elevated dining experience while maintaining authenticity is a tricky balancing act. More so, when you’re attempting to conquer a cuisine that the local palate knows from the inside out.
Saudi Executive Chef Rakan Al Oraifi and Sous Chef Soliman Alrefai together with the purveyors of Suhail’s dining experience took on the challenge by learning from the true masters of the cuisine— regional grandmas, moms, and celebrated home cooks from the different regions of Saudi Arabia.
The result? Rich flavors that stir nostalgia while your eyes feast on plating (and interiors, as well) that are becoming of a fine dining address. The menu is a tasting landscape for newcomers, discovering regional iconic dishes presented in a modern, non-cliche way.
The Kbeibah Hail is and Manto Al Medina are strong dining openers. Our editor’s must-mains include Suhail’s Saleeg (creamy savory goodness), Asir Haneeth (falls off the bones), and samak jazan. The gracious host will end your meal with complementary gahwa and lugaimat— however, if there’s room in your belly for sweets, the Suhail Kharbaz, will punctuate your experience at this house of culinary delights and authentic local hospitality.
Al Khobar: 2020’s Culinary Dark Horse
Maybe it’s the borders closing down, or simply being ripe for the picking— but late Al Khobar is upping its game, and with that, the promise of what would be the biggest flagship Nozomi in the world. As it is, the recent opening of Eat’sy by Chef Susy Massetti made our tummies giggle, good Italian food that isn’t in Bahrain? You bet. And we’re super stoked for the local concept outposts that have brought us some nifty eastern vibes:
- Play games and chill at:
- Get Your Vinyls and Coffee at:
The Bohemia Art Cafe
To the Tune of Fusion:
Cultural Mash Ups at Medley
When you orchestrate the use of seasonal ingredients and find the harmony between flavors, you come out with a masterpiece of sorts. A big part of attempting modern Arabic food is finding the right combo and technique, applying them to the local recipe without diluting its essence (not necessarily being authentic). So far, Medley is whistling a happy tune, one that so far, is better than most attempts we’ve seen in recent years.
Tried: Lamb Shank Bayti, Truffle Mutabal, and Wagyu Hummus
Culinary Trends Diary 2020
Prime Cut Meateries of the Year
- Lamb Shack
Location: King Abdulaziz Rd, Ar Rabi Dist.
It only opens 4 days a week (Wed-Saturday), for 4 hours (8 PM-12 MN) each night. Is it worth it? Yes! 4 items on the menu, all done well, this is a carnivore’s dream.
Location: Turki Al Awwal Plaza
Shall we brunch?
Timings: 7am – 2pm
Timings: 7am – 3pm