Let’s take you on a tour of some of the perfect Riyadh restaurants.
As alcohol is prohibited in the Kingdom, you won’t find any in the way of bars and nightclubs in Saudi Arabia. In most strict Muslim countries, life here is centered around family-oriented activities. Of which dining out is one.
Since eating out could be the mainstay of a family’s entertainment, a lavish and vibrant restaurant scene can be seen in the Kingdom’s capital, Riyadh.
As a cosmopolitan city, Riyadh boasts Michelin-star restaurants and hole-in-the-wall eateries. Locals, as well as ex-pats, savor local and international cuisine on offer at these restaurants.
Here are some of the best of Riyadh’s restaurants that certainly warrant a visit and more.
Al Orjouan Restaurant
This Ritz-Carlton gem is widely known as one of Riyadh’s finest all-day dining restaurants. This one is a firm favorite among the hotel guests as well as the local residents.
Its Friday buffet brunch is immensely popular among those looking to feast on a sumptuous spread of international and Middle Eastern specialties.
With 20 food stations on offer and a kids club to entertain little ones, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Al Orjouan has become a Riyadh institution.
Yokari is certainly not the cheapest restaurant in Riyadh, but nothing beats it for that gourmet-style Japanese cuisine.
There are no sushi platters or omakase-style dining here; this is a high-end establishment that steers away from the usual clichés.
Diners are encouraged to ask their waiter to explain the dishes on offer. Each dish is presented beautifully and prepared with the precision of a technician.
Yokari, with its minimalist interior and cozy table set, is a place for foodies who enjoy an intimate dining experience.
The Globe is your ticket if you’re looking to enjoy an elaborate dining experience. Located inside the golden glass orb atop the Al Faisaliah Tower, the spectacle alone is worth the trip.
This exclusive fine-dining restaurant offers a wide selection of Arabic and continental cuisine.
It is also the home of the hugely popular afternoon tea set, served against the panoramic views of the city.
What can be more exquisite than sipping on a cup of refreshing specialty tea, enjoying a sumptuous dessert, all the while perched 240 meters up in the sky?
This critically-acclaimed restaurant in Riyadh lies nestled at the high-end Centria Mall. Lusin takes its name from the Armenian word for ‘moon.’
It offers distinctive flavors of the Armenian culture. Even with its prestigious status, the venue maintains an intimate and warm feel.
This feeling is largely contributed to by the soft golden lighting and a cozy natural interior that features stone slabs with poetry inscribed in Armenian.
Lusin’s menu is a selection of hot and cold mezze, salads, soups, and grilled meats, served against a background of music played on a traditional Armenian woodwind instrument, ‘Duduk.’
Hualan, too is housed in the Centria Mal, that offers modern Chinese cuisine; this high-end restaurant combines different traditional Asian cooking techniques plating novel flavors and textures to create innovative dishes.
Here you will find exotic food like prawns fried in pumpkin sauce and jasmine tea-smoked beef ribs. It offers a wide selection of bespoke Jing tea and smoothies infused with exotic Asian ingredients.
Hualan also boasts of an all-natural geometric interior, with the restaurant’s terrace with Riyadh’s skyline view.
During the cooler winter months, it is the perfect spot for al fresco dining.
Dining at Najd Village is an unrivaled experience. The huge heritage building can host up to 1,000 people. But, it also serves traditional Saudi Arabian cuisine as per the original style and flavors.
Guests enjoy their feasts as in the olden days, sitting down on comfy, authentic cushions breathing in, the beautiful museum-like décor around them.
Furthermore, the menu comprises both vegetarian and meat dishes. ‘Matazeez,’ lamb dumplings in a tomato sauce, and ‘Mogalgal,’ a peppery lamb dish, are the two must-have specialties.
Make sure to book ahead; Najd Village is one of the most visited restaurants in Riyadh.
‘Elements’ stands out for its ‘interactive’ dining experience.
As the diners select dishes from the International menu, the chefs provide entertainment at the live cooking stands by creating dishes in the open kitchen.
It is a part of the Four Seasons hotel chain. ‘Elements’ serves world-class breakfast, lunch, and a la carte dishes under the careful supervision of Chef Ahmad Sleiman.
Moreover, the restaurant lives up to its claim of a cosmopolitan and vibrant dining spot among Riyadh’s culinary destinations.
Don’t forget their themed dinner menus, Sunday’s Asian night, Mondays Seafood night, Tuesdays Middle Eastern night.
Spazio is a favorite of Prince Waleed bin Tala, the billionaire nephew of the Saudi King. It serves Italian cuisine with other international dishes, the center of the venue is set up as a sushi bar in Art Deco style.
The thing going the most for Spazio is the view, which is at its best after sunset.
Not only this, but Spazio restaurant also serves its diners on the 77th floor of Saudi’s second tallest building, the Kingdom Tower skyscraper.
Also, once done with their culinary experience, guests are encouraged not to miss the incredible sky bridge experience at the top of the building.
Renowned for its innovative design, Set al-Sham is a popular restaurant in Riyadh.
Its Syrian, Egyptian, Lebanese-inspired decoration brings diners who enjoy the private dining rooms decorated with lanterns, wood, and a Syrian-style fountain.
Set Al Sham serves a Middle-Eastern buffet, and thanks to its wide assortment, it is the perfect place to explore Arabic food.
Reasonably priced, this restaurant offers many traditional Lebanese dishes, including falafel, shwarma, kebab, and hummus.
The desserts are a must-try, especially ‘umm ali,’ a nutty bread pudding, and the Rosewater rice pudding.
Mirage is the perfect choice for good Chinese food. It offers an expansive selection of Chinese dishes along with some Taiwanese additions.
The variety of choices comes with portions of sharable sizes. But, what really makes Mirage enticing is its beautiful interior décor of massive aquariums with colorful fish.
Its illuminated waiting areas, and a pond, right in the center of the dining space makes it more beautiful.
This decor keeps the children busy, making it most suitable for families. Despite its high-end interior, the prices at the Mirage are very reasonable.
Taste of India Restaurant
As the locals call it, TOI specializes in Indian food, the biryanis and tandoori’s to the lesser-known traditional specialties from around Indian. It has a strong reputation earned on the back of its homey view and quality food.
Flavorful food and budget prices, this accessible downtown spot is a firm favorite for Riyadh locals.
It’s a must for Lebanese food-lovers. Though portions are not generous, they make up for this with high quality, serving tabouleh, hummus, fatoush, baba ghanoush, kibbeh, and other traditional selections to the diners.
Fairuz Garden has a chic, relaxed atmosphere and interior design. With its dim lights, trendy furniture, and a large fountain, the spacious restaurant offers separate areas for families and singles.
Aside from this, the restaurant also has the option of indoor and outdoor seating. Visitors who opt for the terrace enjoy the view of the Kingdom Tower.
Al Nakheel Dining
Al Nakheel is a specialist in Arabic and North African cuisine. It serves cold and warm breakfast buffets and offers all-day dining.
The food and high level of service elevate it among the premier Arabic restaurants of Riyadh and the whole Kingdom.
Being on the top floor of the Al Khozama Center, the restaurant provides a marvelous view of Riyadh. April through November is the best time to visit Al Nakheel as this is when the restaurant opens its panoramic terrace to guests, giving them an al fresco dining experience along with a spectacular view of the city.
Riyadh has experienced a wave of burger joints in recent years. These pop-ups serve all sorts of new takes on classic fast food. Hamburgini has taken a straightforward, no-gimmicks approach to its burger menu. It’s simple:
- Choose chicken or a beef burger.
- A single, double, or even triple patty.
- Pick your fresh toppings and sauces, and combine them with an order of fries and a drink of your choice.
Additionally, the interior is orange, neat, and bright, with aesthetics that particularly appeal to a younger crowd. This restaurant serves some of the most affordable burgers in town.
A single patty burger costs around SAR 10 (£2). This is much below the price of a burger at a similar sort of eatery.
The famous family-run baklava shop first started in Turkey in the late 1800s. Over time, its business expanded to dozens of sweet shops, cafés, restaurants, and even a cooking school. That trains the best baklava chefs.
A few years ago, the baklava empire arrived in Saudi Arabia, with Gulluoglu opening its first branch in Riyadh. It has since become the go-to place for Turkish buffets in the capital.
Both restaurants offer à la carte menu as well as a buffet.
Experienced Turkish chefs prepare traditional flatbread pides, a dozen types of chicken, lamb, and beef kebabs, and other grills.
Gulluoglu’s sweet counter is the star attraction, with a range of desserts mostly imported from Turkey, while their world-famous baklavas are made fresh in-house.