Food & Restaurants in Riyadh
Eating out is one of the pleasures of Riyadh — there's a pretty good selection of restaurants for various cuisines, ranging from cheap and hearty to fancy and expensive. The famous Saudi "Kabssa" is worth trying, this spiced up rice, served with chicken or lamb is the main and most favourable dish/meal in the kingdom.
Your best bet for cheap, filling meals are Riyadh's countless small Pakistani/Indian restaurants, which can fill you up with curry and rice for about SR 6-11.
Fast food places abound in Riyadh's shopping malls, with a full meal with drink averaging around SR20. If you want something other than the usual hamburgers and kebabs, Pizza Hut offers a pretty good salad buffet.
- Al Fawar, Olaya St (across the road and one block south from al-Faisaliah), +966-1-4657776. Cheap and cheerful Lebanese eatery offering tasty shwarma, kebabs, dips and more. Shwarma SR3/6.
- Al-Malaz Restaurant, off Olaya Rd (behind Holiday Inn al-Qasr). No-frills, somewhat fly-blown South Indian eatery that's always packed thanks to tasty food, low prices and generous portions. At lunchtime, you can get four curries (meat or veg), pickles, fresh veggies, rice, chapattis, pappadums, dessert and tea, all with infinite refills, for the scarcely credible price of SR6.
- Mama Noura Juice Center, Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz St, Al-Rahmaniyah (and three other franchises), +966-1-4708881. Immensely popular chain which does excellent thick, fresh juice cocktails as well, but the main draw here is the famous shwarma, arguably Riyadh's best. They're minuscule in size but cheap at SR4 a pop, so most people order at least three! The menu (available in English) also covers freshly baked pastries, kebabs and some Lebanese treats. Place your order and pay first, then queue at the counters. You can eat in at the diner-style high counters among towering piles of fruit, but most opt for take-away. Under SR10.
- Paragon Family Restaurant, Batha (Opp Suncity Supermarket), 4083852 ([email protected]). 5am-2am. Providing traditional Malabar cuisine, North-Indian and Chinese. Paragon specials are biriyani, kudukka biriyani (served in a pot) and traditional style fish items.
- Shayah, Kingdom Centre B1F Food Court. Iranian restaurant offering a good range of kebabs and a better range of mezze like tabbouleh, hummus, eggplant, vine leaves etc. Single portions under SR10, huge set meals SR21.
- Ya Mal Asham, Olaya Rd (off Musa ibn Nosayr St, next to Jarir Bookstore). All the ambience of a giant school cafeteria, but there's a great selection of Arabic food from shwarma to soups, grills, stews and desserts and the "take a tray and point" style of ordering makes it easy to choose (although they do have an English menu as well). Shwarma SR4, full meals SR15-20.
- Cafe Amore, Tahlia St. (Heading east on Tahlia with the Olaya intersection behind you, the restaurant will appear among a row of restaurants on your left. Take the next u-turn.). Probably the best, slickest and most professionally-run Italian restaurant in Riyadh. SR30.
- Najd Village, Takhassusi St. (On Takhassusi about 500 meters southeast of Euromarche.). Probably the restaurant with the nicest decor in Riyadh, traditional saudi food, you will be sitting on a the floor." SR75.
- Abdulwahab, Tahlia St. (Heading east on Tahlia with the Olaya intersection behind you, the restaurant will appear on your right.). Modeled after a restaurant in Beirut of the same name, this restaurant has quickly become one of the most popular and reputable Lebanese restaurants in town. SR30.
- Burj Al-Hamaam, Takhassusi St. (On Takhassusi opposite to Takhassusi Hospital.). One of the older Lebanese restaurants in town, this sparsely-decorated restaurant has had an enduring reputation. It is especially known for its "Sayyadiyya" and its "Kibbe in pomegranate sauce." SR30.
- Tokyo, Oruba St. (At the eastern end of Oruba St.). This is an oldest Japanese restaurant in town (dating from the 80's). It is said to be run by Japanese and to serve excellent Sushi. Closed on Fridays. SR30.
- Assaraya, Talatheen St, +966 1 464 9336. This very popular Turkish restaurant is packed during the evening hours. Meat is the name of the game here, and it comes in numerous tasty variations. The bread is superb! SR30.
- Chilis, Tahlia Street. Quite good rendition of TexMex with a typical American look-and-feel. If you're from the Northeast of the US, the Buffalo Wings / Tenders are recommended - excellent hotsauce.SR60.
- Korean Palace, Makkah Rd (opp Holiday Inn al-Qasr),+966-1-4631102. Korean-run eatery offering reasonably authentic Korean, Japanese, and Chinese food at reasonable prices. Popular with the local Asian community. SR50.
- Mirage Restaurant, Al-Takhassosi Rd, North West Riyadh (west of Kingdom Tower), +966-1-4834127. Taiwanese-Saudi run Chinese restaurant offering a variety of foods from throughout Asia, stick to the Taiwanese or Chinese menu items. The pigeon is a great appetizer as an alternative to the deep fried appetizer menu. The restaurant is accepting of business mixed gender groups. Ask for a table on top of the illuminated fish tanks in the center of the restaurant. Getting there can be difficult as it is in a side strip mall, look for the pagoda top and the neon Chinese gate. SAR80.
- Piatto(formerly Duo), North Ring Rd. (directions). Chain Italian restaurant that caters to families. The selection is decent, but quality is lacking. If you go, try the Spaghetti Curry dish - fried chicken, peas, pineapple curry pasta - sounds weird, but tastes good. If going as a bachelor group (all males), the room is off to the side with limited service. SAR100.
- Steak House, North Ring Rd. (directions). Basic chain steak house - think Ponderosa - with a decent selection of steaks and other meat products. One of many locations throughout Riyadh. SAR100.
- Teatro, between Olaya and King Fahad Rd. next to Pizza Hut on Olaya. Teatro is an amazing find in the small area between Olaya and Kind Fahad Road. The bachelor side (the only side visited this trip) looks like a very odd dance club. We were escorted to the "VIP room" and were not told about the extra SAR 30 charge per person. Although this was disappointing, the area is a mix of 1960's mood lighting, lava lamps, odd kitsch, and a hunter's room with hunted animals every where. Add in Pink Floyd's "The Wall" (a bit of irony for the Kingdom) and a few huge screen TVs - the place is a den for sports fans in Riyadh. We were told the place sells out on football nights. The food was international in style and average. The pizza had too much cheese. Overall the food was average, but the decor and oddity of finding a place like this in Riyadh will entice a return visit during a football match. There is a family side that looks just as interesting. SAR 60/SAR 90 VIP.
- Avadh, on Tahlia across the street from Outback Steakhouse (go West on Tahlia from Olaya until you see Avadh on the left, across the street from Outback Steakhouse). Avadh is a traditional north Indian restaurant on the Tahlia strip (western style shops/restaurants). The family section is quite nice. The food is traditional, authentic, and expensive in comparison to other Indian restaurants. The naan and roti are fresh. The lamb "dum style" was the best dish of those ordered. SAR 120/person.
- Taste Of India, Batha Main Str (Near 2nd Cross Bridge, just behind the Mist multi-shop.), 4091333/0505923330. regular. Indian (North and South) food at reasonable rates. The settings are nice and clean, dishes range from delicious biryanis and tandoors to south Indian rice specialties. 10-40 SAR.
- Mondo, Intercontinental Hotel 7F (across King Fahad Road from the Ministry of Interior). Probably the most expensive and highest quality restaurant in Riyadh, with varied, international cuisine.SR100-300 per person, not including service or drinks.
- Al-Nakheel, Khozama Centre 7F (next to Al-Khozama Hotel). Dubbed no less than the best restaurant in Saudi by a certain well-known travel guide, one can only presume that either standards in Riyadh have skyrocketed or this place has gone into terminal decline. With decor unchanged since the 1970s and an uninspired buffet (no a la carte menu) of the usual Arabic standbys, the only visitors seem to be tour groups and hotel guests -- the locals know you can get better stuff for a fraction of the price elsewhere. Dinner buffet SR110, not including service or drinks.
- Sheraton Riyadh offers a very rich buffet for breakfast, covering a wide spectrum of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern delicacies, as well as regular European food. The Italian restaurant in the ground floor of Sheraton Riyadh is excellent. The pasta with its freshly prepared sauce is recommended.
- Spazio: located at the top floor of Kingdom Center, this restaurant is nominally Italian but in fact serves a varied international cuisine. Despite the view and cost, the food is not especially impressive.
- Fairuz Garden: Excellent Lebanese restaurant with outdoor seating. Driving north on King Fahd road, just a few blocks from Kindgom Tower, you will see it on your right. The setting is lovely and food is delicious.