Top 5 Restos that Must Come to Riyadh

Riyadh is not in short of restaurants already, but there are just some world-famous joints that we haven’t had the pleasure of enjoying here. Now why is that restaurant universe?! We do appreciate the restaurants of Riyadh, but as foodies, we would always want more of the good stuff. And besides, isn’t it human nature to always look for something else even though there is already something served right in front of you? It’s called the chase for adventure, people. Or the quest for the unknown. Haha! (Or is it?)

While I was in Jeddah about a month ago, I made it a point to only visit restaurants that cannot be found in Riyadh just so I can experience them and perhaps we can all sign a petition to bring these restaurants here in Riyadh so that we would not have to travel hundreds of miles towards Jeddah just to have a plate of these yummy munchies. We are the capital city after all, are we not? We deserve them and we demand them! LOL

1. IHOP

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Short for International House Of Pancakes, this all-day breakfast place is a haven for foodies like me who love a big, fat breakfast. They have an extensive menu of pancakes, omelettes, french toast and some A-OK lunch items too. My friend and I went to IHOP in Jeddah on a Friday morning and it was packed! As in people are queued up to take a seat. So, that speaks a lot yeah? We had about six numbers before us and luckily, since my friend and I were just two, a table was made available to us in less than 10 minutes. Here’s what we ordered:

Their brewed coffee was quite good!

Their brewed coffee was quite good!

Blueberry Pancakes.

Blueberry Pancakes.

Four syrups to choose from. I tried them all and loved the classic maple the most.

Four syrups to choose from. I tried them all and loved the Old Fashioned the most.

I poured blueberry sauce over the blueberry pancake.

I poured blueberry sauce over the blueberry pancake.

Beef bacon omelette.

Beef bacon omelette.

Poached egg, beef bacon over a hash brown. With a dollop of hollandaise on top!

Fried egg, beef bacon over a hash brown. With a dollop of hollandaise on top!

What's inside?

What’s inside?

Food presentation is obviously nothing fancy and the place itself is pretty crowded and rowdy with lots of kids, especially since it was the weekend. Price range is definitely above average but if you’re up for lovely, fluffy, world-renowned all-American pancakes, this is one hotspot not to miss. It’s best to go before 8AM to avoid the madding crowd.

2. Shake Shack

Very New York.

Very New York.

Ahh, the elusive Shake Shack. I saw a branch of this once in one of the airport terminals of UAE but since I was trying not to miss my flight, I couldn’t brave the long queue to it. I’ve known Shake Shack to be a master burger joint in New York City thanks to the word of mouth of one Jimmy Fallon. Ever since then, I’ve been dreaming to taste one of these burger delights. When I got to Jeddah, this was on my must-see list.

Three orders of Smoked Burgers.

Three orders of Smoked Burgers.

Cheese-y fries.

Cheese-y fries.

Their ordering scheme was rather different with customers lining up downstairs with their orders and then you are ushered upstairs to wait and come back when your order is done. Since we all didn’t want to get caught up in the line, we just had one of our friends line up for us and I supposed the easiest and fastest way to go was to order the same thing for everyone. Luckily, we I am a fan of smoked-smelling food and beef bacon so I was not left unsatisfied with the SmokeShack burgers that we got. The burger was meaty and the patty-to-cheese ratio was just right. The fries were nothing to rave about but melted, gooey cheese always has a place in my heart. Here are some photos of the menu that I took for all y’all to see:

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Aaand last but not the least, this is the Shake Shack Story.

Aaand last but not the least, this is the Shake Shack Story.

 

3. P.F. Chang’s

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P.F. stands for Paul Fleming and Chang is for Philip Chiang. Both are the brains behind this famous Asian restaurant that’s gone worldwide (except in Riyadh, cough, cough). It can be compared to the style of Applebee’s or Chilli’s but mainly serving Asian/Chinese food in a casual dining setting. They are particularly famous for their Dynamite Shrimp and were the ones who actually kickstarted this successful recipe that has gone down to most other restaurant chains with just a different name (i.e, Kickin’ Shrimp).

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The rockin' Dynamite Shrimp!

The rockin’ Dynamite Shrimp!

Chicken Lettuce Wrap.

Chicken Lettuce Wrap.

Mahi Mahi.

Ahi Tuna with Veggies.

Lime Mojito

Lime Mojito

We didn’t order much that time coz by Night Two is was already evident that all we’ve done was eat, eat and eat during Day One. We just savored the delicious and spicy Dynamite Shrimp with fresh Jeddah shrimp and had fun with the Chicken Lettuce Wrap that had us assembling them into rolls ourselves. The Ahi Tuna was something that piqued my interest, however, despite the well-seasoned veggies in the middle, I’d say the Ahi Tuna and the way it’s been cooked is an acquired taste and I don’t think it’ll sit well with most people. Anyway, here’s some parts of their menu for your viewing pleasure also:

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4. Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf

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I’m a huge fan of CBTL back in the Philippines and have always found it to be a comfortable reprieve from the always busy, always bustling Starbucks Cafe. When I saw that they had CBTL in Jeddah’s airport, I didn’t think twice of ignoring Starbucks and heading down their way. I’ve always been a fan of their Black Forest Iced Blended Frap. But since I had a long night still ahead of me, I settled for a nice cup of joe.

Waiting for my flight.

Waiting for my flight.

I did learn from Janelle that a CBTL branch has long been due to open here in Riyadh but until now, it hasn’t. So please, please, open your doors in Riyadh CBTL. Your avid fans are waiting. 🙂

 

Last but not least, the Top 5 restaurant chain that definitely Riyadh must have is….

 

5. AL-BAIK. 

Need I say more?

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If you would like us to write a petition for these restaurants to open in Riyadh, please feel free to sign up in the comments section below. 🙂

 

IHOP, PF Chang’s and Shake Shack is located in the Le Mall Block of Tahlya St. Jeddah. 

CBTL has locations in Rawda St.  and Ahmed Al Attas St. and King Abdulaziz International Airport.

Al Baik is almost everywhere. 🙂 

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About Author

Reina
Reina

The Communications Editor loves rock n' roll, food trips and is a self-proclaimed, arbiter of taste.

7 Comments

  1. Avatar Shereen Al-Ghamdi Reply

    I’m all for a petition! But let’s not forget On The Border in that list! We are in desperate need of a GOOD Mexican restaurant.

  2. Avatar Anonmyous Reply

    Shake Shack is going to open in Localizer Mall 🙂

  3. Avatar JT Reply

    When is the opening of Shake Shack? 🙂 Panda Express should not be forgotten. It will also open soon in Dabab. 😉

  4. Avatar Anonymous Reply

    PF Chang’s is also opening in Riyadh soon

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