Riyadh’s evolving food scene has been fascinating to watch. As well as an elevation in taste and style, it’s seen a slow and gradual “permission” for open area dining, giving a dramatic change in terms of ambience. New additions to Riyadh, such as contemporary Japanese Nozomi, has introduced long waiting lists for fine dining with many scrambling to be part of the changing gastronomical scene.
The UAE is the “second home” to over two billion people from different geographical regions, languages, and backgrounds. Irrespective of nationality, food is the common language and the fusion of food traditions is one factor that molds the UAE into a culturally diverse nation.
The modern version of Riyadh’s cuisine is enormously rich and varied with influences from all over the world. The times of too much lamb and not enough salad or vegetables has gone and in its place, sits a gastronomical hub that could easily be placed on the global food map. Food in Riyadh today is entrenched in fine dining and health, especially when you head to one of these great restaurants. Each unique, these restaurants highlight just how far Riyadh’s food scene has come…
Lusin is an Armenian restaurant that relishes music, food, literature and nature. A brand by MIRA Foods Company, it provides a unique eating and pleasure experience, in a professionally designed environment. Located on the second floor of the Centria Mall, it offers a range of soups, appetisers, specialties, grills and desserts, with favourites including authentic Armenian manti, kibbeh labaniya and jigo lamb. Those looking to enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail will love Lusin’s Saudi cocktail too. Don’t let the idea that it’s located in a mall put you off, Centria Mall is home to the world’s most luxurious brands and provides an unparalleled fine dining experience. Attracting a highly exclusive and privileged customer base, Centria Mall is an upscale, majestic and centrally located environment.
2. The Globe
The signature restaurant at Al Faisaliah Hotel, The Globe is one of Riyadh’s finest restaurants. Located in the spectacular sphere atop Al Faisaliah Tower, this is destination dining at its best, offering sweeping panoramic views of the Kingdom’s political, financial and administrative capital. The cuisine is modern european, the dress code elegant casual. Open for lunch and dinner, as well as a high tea buffet, diners can enjoy an ever changing menu that includes specialties like cream of duck foie gras and oven roasted Wagyu beef served with black truffle. Service is first class and the captivating view together with the dim lighting creates a wonderfully intimate scene.
3. Al Orjouan
Widely regarded as one of the best restaurants in Riyadh, Al Orjouan is an exquisite dining experience located in the beautiful Ritz Carlton. Serving Lebanese and international culinary delights for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Al Orjouan offers a refined atmosphere in its aubergine dining room. The buffet style gourmet restaurant is well loved by both hotel guests and the locals for its spacious tables, elegant setting and delicious food. The food doesn’t come cheap for a buffet, but it’s well worth a visit. Just be sure to book as it fills up fast.
Nozomi brings an exciting and special dining experience to Riyadh from Knightsbridge, London. Set within a spectacular new building on Dabab Street, it serves contemporary Japanese food on plates for sharing. Designed to excite the palate while stimulating social behaviour, Nozomi is a breath of fresh air for the Kingdom. Home to a Singles Lounge, a Family Lounge and private dining rooms, the interiors are mostly nature-inspired with a combination of leather and wooden accents. The set menus (which start from SR330 per person) are popular and include dishes such as miso soup, edamame, black cod, chicken gyoza and chocolate fondant. Those preferring to order off the a la carte menu can enjoy food from three different kitchens; the Robata Grill, the Sushi Counter and the Hot Kitchen. Each dish is designed to be served and eaten with the sharing concept in mind.
This multi-buffet concept restaurant is the first of its kind in Riyadh and serves up global cuisine from China, Japan, India and the Middle East. Diners can see their food being prepared in the big open kitchens, offering an interactive experience that’s not repeated in the Kingdom. The buffet continually changes and with an a la carte menu to choose from as well, there’s plenty of choice for all.
Elements loves a good theme night and on most nights of the week it offers special dinner menus from Asian night and seafood night, to Middle Eastern night and Saudi night. There’s always a great selection of food from the live-action cooking stations, a generous salad buffet and a mouthwatering pastry shop. It’s also open until the early hours for hungry night owls.
Riyadh’s growing gourmet dining concepts and experiences are fast turning Riyadh into a food-lover’s haven. Cuisines range from contemporary Asian fusion to classic French, Italian aromas, and the succulent Armenian. There’s something to satisfy every taste, but it’s Riyadh’s focus on exclusivity that makes dining in this palatial city a real treat.
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