Piatto, a restaurant formerly known as Duo, is making waves across the Riyadh cityscape with its reinvented concept of particularly fresh Italian dining. A brighter and better ambiance welcomes you as they zone in on the trademark traits of Italy with fountains, a vespa display and an outdoor dining setting that will somehow make you forget that you are in fact, in Saudi Arabia.
Since its revamp more than a year ago, Piatto has experienced not mild, not fair, but a great amount of success with their customers. This is proven not just in the numbers tabulated by their annual gross sales, but by the continuous flocking of guests to their restaurant even though it is around 30 minutes away from the city center. Customers are also willing to wait to be seated even during evening time just to be able to dine there. (Yes, I’ve seen it happen before when I went there for my birthday dinner with the family and upon leaving, I saw the waiting room packed!) So what is it with Piatto? 🙂 Read on to find out.
Here’s a rundown of what our palates enjoyed that day. Be warned though, may cause excessive salivating (as our pictures always do):
To begin with, expect a close-to-authentic Italian cuisine when headed to Piatto. It’s a bit on the other end of the spectrum than that of the Asian palette so, don’t be surprised if you don’t encounter the usual sweet or spicy flair of Asian food. Featured above is one of their hefty starters and a good choice if you want to taste a lil’ bit of everything. The three are topped with Pomodoro (tomato+basil+olive oil aka “tomato” in Italian), Warm Goat Cheese+Chive and Wild Mushroom with Eggplant. I particularly enjoyed the Wild Mushroom and Eggplant Bruschetta because it had the most flavor of them all.
In fairness to this one, they did serve it “warm” as the name implies. I liked how the spinach didn’t overpower the rest of the flavors and this one actually lets you distinguish the artichoke for what it is. Sometimes, this particular dish is often mistaken to be made of purely made of cheese because other restaurants capitalize on that aspect of the recipe rather than the artichoke itself. (Oooh, am I starting to speak like a judge on Food Network’s Chopped? Hahaha, jk) It was a well-balanced recipe and this, I will definitely order again.
Oh and must I not forget! These two items (salad and bread) are staple freebies upon ordering at Piatto. The salad, made with lettuce, arugula leaves and tomatoes, is served in generous proportions that you could fill yourself up easily (in a healthy way of course) if you’re not careful. Their bread is baked in butter, herbs and salt which is perfect with balsamic vinegar (my personal choice).
To tuck our appetizers right in are of course the smoothies of summer! Freshly made drinks that are refreshing in this heat! I am not a fan of sour fruits, so I would prefer the Mango Frappe over the Kiwi Smoothie.
Their line of pizzas has got to be the most-ordered item in the menu and we opted for the half-and-half which allowed us to taste our preferred flavor (you can do the same too!). I am a HUGE fan of Arugula leaves (I think they’re also known as “rocket leaves” or “girgir” in Arabic) plus I like caramelized onions and I like the word “wild” so that’s why I chose that. 😛 I forgot why we chose the meatball one. Anyway, the Wild Mushroom, Caramelized Onion and Arugula delivered in terms of taste, but it’s quite messy to eat unless you clasp it like a mini-sandwich. Also, I think they can come up with an easier name for it, it’s quite long and hard to mention every time I want to tell people that I found the Wild Mushroom, Caramelized Onion and Arugula Pizza from Piatto very delicious. Diba, kapagod? Hehe. The Meatball Pizza was a bit blah for me and perhaps I’d try out the other flavors next time.
This one is a must-order! I know how chicken is such a safe choice whenever we dine out but this one will not disappoint. The meat was very tender and complimented well with the savory cream and punch of the mushrooms. I think the Filipino palette will find this very likable. Highly-recommended.
The ladies and I must like the word “wild” coz this is the third dish we’ve ordered that had that name on it. Haha! Anyway, if you’d like a more spiced flavor to a steak, this would be the best choice. It’s a bit pricey though and we think that we can get a similar-tasting steak at a lower price range somewhere else. Nevertheless, steak really isn’t Italy’s strong suit.
This was a splendid dish to show off their talent in making Pomodoro sauce. It is a bit on the fairly sour side but that’s what you get out of fresh tomato sauce. A little salt can do the trick and I would be on my way to finishing this dish off the plate.
We always say that we can live on salmon alone, and on this dish, we say that again. The lemon cream sauce was tasty but the pasta on this dish wasn’t quite al dente just yet so it didn’t go well as an complete combination of all the elements of the dish.
I love capers, period. Haha. Now this was my actual order since I wanted to try something different from everyone else (and see previous sentence, “I love capers”). The parmesan’s flavor is kind of lost to me since it was deep fried but indeed, it gave the fillet a crusty frame. The fish inside though felt “wet” (it’s not necessarily a bad thing) but it isn’t very exciting either.
For dessert, we had the Chocolate Fondant as usual, with their most-ordered gelatos: Vanilla and Oreo flavors. They have btw, a very quaint gelato corner where your kids will surely enjoy pointing at and asking you to buy for them (sorry, we weren’t able to take a photo of that).
They may have reinvented their restaurant, but they sure kept the prestige of their Chocolate Fondant! You very well know how I described this luscious dessert before, so now I will keep it simple: It’s orgasmic! I mean it people!!! 😀
To sum up our Piatto experience, it would be safe to say that the major factors that contribute to the loyalty of their customers are the restaurant’s ambience and their food, particularly the pizzas and pastas. That little sense of liberation that you get once you’re seated in their al fresco dining area would be enough to relax your mind and listening to the flowing water from their center fountain can easily make you forget the worries and stresses of the day. Combine that with an order of their generous salad, freshly-made pizza or pastas plus their chocolate fondant for dessert, then consider your day a well-punctuated one with a plate (or plates) that was well-worth your time and money.
Piatto opened their latest branch at AlKhobar so to the rest of our readers in Saudi Arabia, don’t worry. They’re not keeping the fun to ourselves here in Riyadh. 🙂 You too can experience the Piatto goodness that we speak of. Oh, and look how festive their facade looks as they join in on the Ramadan season?