We believe that great food should be shared and exceptional restaurants, celebrated. Hence, to end the year at the service of foodies across the Kingdom, Destination has partnered up with online food bloggers to put together a list of our favorite restaurants that dominated the dining scene of 2018.
In no particular order, feast your eyes on these:
RISE & SLAY
Top Breakfast spots for 2018
1- Urb Kitchen
As Salamah District, Jeddah
A relative newcomer in Jeddah, Urb Kitchen was able to capture the fascination of diners with its fresh take on classics.
Loai Arif says: Try the Eggs Benedict, the hollandaise sauce is rich and flavorful. Go for over easy yolks, to truly appreciate this dish.
2- Acoustic Café
Prince Muhammad Bin Abdulaziz Rd, Riyadh
Acoustic Café gained popularity through word of mouth, due to its impeccable service and relatable menu. We love the support it gives local talents, allowing artists to exhibit their work on their walls.
Foodies.sa says: A great place to have Lebanese breakfast while listening to Fairouz. Where to start? A delicious foul mint labneh and you must have the rose latte it’s marvelous.
3- Eggsplosion Food Truck
Zaid Ibn Alkhattab St, Al Ulaya Dist, Al Khobar
Pick by Shane Haridas
The “Smash Sandwich” from this Food Truck is noteworthy. The eggs are super creamy and the chives and the smooth cheddar augments the flavour. There was a hint of sriracha and the onions complemented the eggs so well. I like my bacon crispy even if it does cost a little extra.
Prince Turki Ibn Abdulaziz Al Awwal Rd, Riyadh
Middle Eastern Brekkies from Foodies.sa:
A great Turkish breakfast experience in a sunny haven.
5- Ward Restaurant
Al Urubah Rd, Al Mathar Ash Shamali, Riyadh
A quiet and neat place that is full sunshine. They have a delish contemporary Levant breakfast.
6- Yemeni Village
Abdul Rahman At Tubayshi, Al Andalus Dist, Jeddah
Dive into Yemeni cuisine and motif. All dishes are cooked in clay pots, you can get liver, shakshooka, foul, etc. together with Adani Tea and Yemeni bread.
Over in Riyadh, “Vegan options” are headlining morning menus. Check out these spots: Urth Café, Bateel, and Circle Café.
Indulgent Favorites of 2018
If you’re looking to be pampered to the fullest, no matter how much the cost, then this is for you. This category is for gold star restaurants. What we looked at as a jury is the best dining experience we had this year, taking note of the complexity and refinement of the menu paired with a platinum service, and upper scale ambience.
Musad Bin Jalawi, As Sulimaniyah, Riyadh
Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz Street, Ar Rawdah, Jeddah
An irrefutable winner picked by three of our jurors and the staff. Contemporary Japanese cuisine done close to perfection, a table at Nozomi is coveted. Our editor’s favorite dish: grilled black cod.
Foodies.sa says: Great decoration, lighting, and music. A perfect place for small or large gatherings, and for that I recommend the set menu. My special dishes are Duck and watermelon salad, mushroom takikomi Gohan, and Samurai for dessert. Food is exquisite; a dining experience to remember.
Centria Mall, Riyadh / Teatro Mall, Jeddah / Al Yarmouk, Al Khobar
Established in Riyadh, Lusin is the culmination of authentic flavors, interiors, and impeccable service. Lusin was able to remain consistent with its quality while conquering the three major regions.
Foodies.sa says: Lusin Special dishes such as Lusin hummus, rice with qawerma, are unique and amazing. And we always have to leave room for dessert, the Armenian delight topped with a special rose ice cream is a wonderful way to end your dining experience.
Centria Mall, Riyadh
The Pink Tarha says: For Chinese food that goes beyond the usual, Hualan is the place to be. It has artful and noteworthy dishes from Asia that are executed with elegance and style that are not seen in the many Chinese restaurants that dot Riyadh. Their creative mocktails, tasty dimsum starters, flavorful main courses, and one-of-a-kind desserts make us want to go back again and again.
Prince Turki Ibn Abdulaziz Al Awwal Rd, Hittin Dist, Riyadh
King Abdul Aziz Rd, Al Khalidiyyah, Jeddah
With its mix of classic Asian dishes and their chefs’ modern renditions, Toki has made its mark as one of the top fine dining spots in the major cities. Their dumplings are on point and anything that promises a crunch must be tried: Wasabi shrimps, crispy seaweed, and crispy shrimp balls.
3155 Al Kayyal, Jeddah
Foodies.sa says: Fine dining crosses local fusion, this small Saudi cum French bistro has it all. You have to try their Briggs Sandwich which combines brioche bread, eggs, and slow cooked brisket! Their French Toast is also to die for.
12- Il Gabbiano
Al Kurnaysh Rd, Jeddah
When Kaki first introduced Il Gabbiano, it set the tone for what Italian fine dining should be in Jeddah. Patrons continue to come back for their risotto and comforting zuppe selection.
King Fahd Road, Al Hizam Al Akhdar, Al Khobar
Originating from the east and having made its way to Riyadh; Madeleine has made its case for being one of the best French bakeries around. While we love their breakfast, we also keep coming for their more international menu: Chicken truffle risotto, chicken ratatouille, and Seabass Souffle.
14- Social Kitchen
8420 Abdul Maqsud Khojah, Ar Rawdah, Jeddah
Having celebrated it’s first year, Social Kitchen has managed to be the go-to restaurant for local A-listers and gastronomy seekers. Basma ElKhereiji, the superwoman and restaurateur behind and in front of the Social Kitchen has created the ultimate dining trifecta: great food, impeccable aesthetics, and gathering the cool kids.
Star Plates: Wagyu steak, homemade gnocchi.
Hottest New Comers
All eyes and palates set on these breakout stars out to make a name for themselves.
15- 7 RIBS
Anas Ibn Malik Rd, Riyadh
The Pink Tarha says: If there’s one restaurant that we’ve eaten a lot of times at this year, it’s 7Ribs. It started as a food kiosk in Riyadh’s events last year but their restaurant in Anas Bin Malik opened last January. Their short and simple menu captured our attention; their ribs, brisket and ribeye held it. It’s our go-to restaurant when we want to feel good. It never fails.
Exit 2, Prince Turki Ibn Abdulaziz Al Awwal Rd, Riyadh
There is a prediction, if not high expectation that this will find its rightful place in the indulgence picks of 2019, Foodies.sa putting them on their VIP list. However, we thought this needed more time to see if they can live up to the hype.
Foodie.sa says: Their customer service is phenomenal. This very fine restaurant takes you back to traditional, but refined Italian dining.
The Pink Tarha says: Their pasta, particularly the baked white tagliolini is divine, and we don’t use our adjectives lightly.
17- Oak Smokehouse
Prince Faisal Bin Fahd Road, Al Hada Dist, Al Khobar
Shane Haridas says: The “Short Ribs” is some of the best ribs I have had to date and for SR. 99, you get a completely different experience. The ribs are smoked for over 7 hours and is garnished and served with delicious chimichurri, fried onions and with none of that hideous BBQ sauce. The meat falls apart at the slightest touch and the charred exterior gives the meat more depth and flavor. You are paying quite a bit, but this is worth all that and much more. This is currently, Khobar’s best rib joint, period.
18- Meez Street
As Salamah Dist, Jeddah
Foodies.sa says: This local restaurant launched by two young Saudi women takes local and Arab street foods like koshari, shawerma, manto, etc. with their own modern twist! The decor takes its inspiration from old Saudi Souqs in old Jeddah town. Its a must and also a perfect spot to take visitors from outside Jeddah or Saudi.
Riyadh Gallery Mall, Riyadh
When it debuted in Riyadh this year, this franchise managed to convert the curious into patrons of Indian cuisine. The butter chicken and biryani are unbelievable.
20- Shrimp Anatomy
Sari Rd, Al Khalidiyah Dist, Jeddah
There is no doubt that this seafood shack tops our list. It does not short change on flavor and a true experience.
TOP TRENDS OF 2018
- Smoked Meat Houses, these mmm-eateries elevated the dining scene like a boss.
- Bao Buns and pulled anything – these pillows of goodness is our favorite Fourth Meal of 2018.
- Iced Lattes – Is it the fourth wave for coffee in the Kingdom? or another artificial trend that will fade into the ether?