High Fives: Summer Picks

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DKSA’s nod to good food.


We believe in giving foodie credit where it is due. With all the theatrics and trend-chasing approach in the scene, we thought it was time to cut through the noise and go back to the bare basics: What makes great food? Destination KSA’s new series, High fives, is all about providing honest reviews of restaurants that managed to titillate our taste buds. Call it an incentive for a job well done and a push for restaurateurs to earn their rightful spot— (or our perfect excuse to eat well and call it research). Oh, the things we do for you.

social-kitchen-mainChief’s Choice: Social Kitchen (Jeddah)

Cuisine: Contemporary Mediterranean
Value for money: Prepare to Spend
Picks: Risotto (any), Wagyu ribeye, burrata, (tuna, agyu) tacos, pain perdu
Location: Abdul Maqsud Khojah, Ar Rawdah, Jeddah

Instagram:  thesocialkitchen.ksa

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WHY GO?

Experience
It’s safe to say that with its consistency throughout the years, the Social Kitchen has earned its place among the top echelon of restaurants in Jeddah. And this is what you’ll come to experience, a trifecta of great food, served by great people, in a great place everyone wants to be seen in.

 

Food/Ingredients
The menu’s curation has a globetrotter feel to it that’s delivered through a clear selection of fine ingredients. Truffle risotto, Scottish salmon– what you read is what you get and it makes a difference in the quality of the plate before you.

 

Space
Modern interiors with an intimate yet open vibe. Regardless if you’re dropping in for a business lunch or intimate dinner, you will feel the warmth of this place. And the attention to detail from cutlery to the interior accents is flawless.

 

Service
Friendly and very attentive, frequent patrons of the Social Kitchen know that they’ve made the list when the team starts knowing their preferences the moment they walk in.

 

Ask for the season special or off-menu items
The Social Kitchen has served up some very unique dishes that are limited chef’s choice options or based on what’s in season.

 

 

img_4404-copyTucked Away: Yunnan Silk Road Restaurant (Riyadh)

Cuisine: Chinese
Value for money: Great for groups
Picks: Peking duck, roasted duck, hand-pulled noodles with braised beef, mapo tofu in Szechhuan sauce, Chinese egg tarts
Location: Ar Rahmaniyyah, Riyadh

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WHY GO?

Experience
The Silk Road picks up from its Yunnan predecessors in providing an unassuming outing that ends with you being pleasantly surprised. Being slightly bewildered by the inconspicuous entrance to the Chinese-leading menu is part of this authentic restaurant’s charm for first-timers.

 

Food/Ingredients
This is authentic traditional Chinese fun fare. While you will find popular dishes, you’ll also get introduced to regional (Yunnan) specialties. A fair warning or invitation, depending on your palate— when they say spicy, oh boy, do they mean it. Servings are gracious. We would recommend having the cucumber side dish as a refreshing kicker or side to what’s about to be a very savory meal.

 

Space
First off, the opening soon sign at the front has been there for a while, don’t be deterred. Forge on and enter. This particular Yunnan outpost is one of the largest we’ve been to. Open space tables are available on the ground floor, and upstairs are private rooms perfect for families and larger groups.

 

Service
Most of the staff are Chinese, including the chefs, and you do get to experience their take on restaurant hospitality.

 

Most affordable
One of the best Peking DUCK in the city. We kid you not. You will get the real deal for almost half the price.

 

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Sofia’s Bistro (Jeddah)

Cuisine: modern Italian Fusion
Value for money: Moderately priced
Picks: Bresaola, La Dolce Vita, Truffle Fettuccine, Beef short rib taco, Tropical Freeze Mocktail
Location: Musheera Center, Al Andalus, Jeddah

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WHY GO?

Experience
Nestled within the Amkana concept store, Sofia’s bistro is a small space with limited seating, so reservations are a must; covered in a vibrant blue color palette, the restaurant is inviting and welcoming. The first thing you experience as you enter the restaurant is a wood oven with fresh pizza being made with its live station.

 

Food/Ingredients
Out of the many restaurants that may serve Italian fare in the city, Sofia stands apart with its flavor profile with many of its dishes being packed with flavor, especially their Eight Hour Spaghetti Bolognese being unforgettable with memorable flavourful depth.

 

Space
Cozy space, with limited seating but a calm and vibrant surrounding with modern decor. The space seems personal and is perfect for an intimate dinner with your loved ones.

 

Service
In lieu of the space is small the service is genuine, personal, generous, prompt, and homey. You will be treated as if you’re family with the chef visiting your table often.

 

Don’t forget to reserve
The restaurant has made its name as a must-visit diner spot in the city and is often completely booked so don’t forget to reserve your table before heading to the restaurant.

 

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New in Town: Anago by Masami (Riyadh)

Cuisine: Contemporary Japanese
Value for money: You will spend
Picks: Black cod, King Prawn robatayaki, Anago salad, and black cod gyoza
Location: Al Safarat, Riyadh
Instagram:  anago.sa

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WHY GO?

Experience
Having just recently opened, Anago is attempting to make a case in a city with a competitive roster of contemporary Asian cuisine. It’s a quiet dinner place, great for catching up with old friends or a simple date night. Being in the Diplomatic Quarter, it’s not as crowded as others
(at least for now).

 

Food/Ingredients
The black cod here is well-balanced, I’d dare say better than some old-timers in the scene, time will tell if it can be maintained. Take note, Anago is the upscale sibling of Masami, and it does show in the choice of ingredients. The wagyu teppanyaki was tender and quite delectable. I love my sauce, and I would say here, mix the butter from the teppanyaki with the bit from the cod, and it will go well with everything.

 

Space
We give points for being able to create an ambiance within an intimate setting. The contemporary rustic chic interiors are accentuated by a gazebo-like structure in the main dining area. We do like the attention given to the cutlery and tabletop elements that accentuate the dining experience. From the decor to the table setting, everything in the restaurant’s interior is screaming perfection.

 

Service
Friendly. I think it would get even better once they get more traffic and are interfacing with guests more which may add to the experience a bit more.

 

If you want to skip the club vibes of other contemporary Japanese restaurants
Great for conversations, and you can fill the awkward silence with a spoonful of good food.

 

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Hellenika (Khobar)

Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean
Value for money: You will spend
Picks: chargrilled lamb cutlets souvla, Black and white taramosalata, salt-crusted sea bass, anything from the sea and sea market, Resting on One’s Laurel mocktail
Location: 1st Floor, Al Matal, Alkurnaish
Instagram:  hellenikakhobar

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WHY GO?

Experience
Transported to the Greek islands, check. Mediterranean fine dining, why yes. The east has delivered with this one. The experience is at par with other upscale outposts.

 

Food/Ingredients
Quality ingredients, and it shows. Mediterranean cuisine is all about freshness. I’m a fan of Greek tavernas, and while the Hellenistic cuisine is more refined, I’m glad I found a place where familiar flavors are done exceptionally well.

 

Space
Hellenika calls it zenith Aegean design, we’ll simply describe it as gorgeous. Keen attention to detail adds to the charm of this restaurant. Did we mention that seaside terrace view?

 

Service
Impeccable

 

The mixology here is amazing
And the story behind each drink is quite amusing. Summer seaside vibe indeed.

 

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