Please ignore the title haha!
After visiting Landmarks Park (also known as World Sights Park), we were famished and the bro asked for suggestions. I was thinking of trying Primi, an Italian Restaurant in Exit 5. Good thing, before my brother can lodge a protest on how far it was from Exit 10, I consulted Foursquare. Lo and behold, there’s a branch in King Abdullah Road. Super near the Landmarks Park! Well, it’s near if we don’t consider the construction going on and the U-turns that we did. Anyway, they were curious as well so off we went to Primi.
Primi is an Italian restaurant the originated in South Africa. That’s why from the get-go it doesn’t look Italian to us. Even the neon signs and the color of their logo is not very Italian-y. Haha! It’s very interesting though. When we walked in the family section in the King Abdullah branch, there were a few customers so the waiters were very attentive to us. Being first timers in the place, we asked for recommendations and the guy serving our table obliged. He suggested a few pastas. The rest, I consulted Foursquare on what’s good. We ended up having:
Their bread came with three sauces and it was fun to mix and match them to get a flavorful appetizer. I didn’t really indulge myself on this so I have room for the mains. There are also other appetizers to choose from: Crostini (grilled ciabatta), Halloumi Lettuce Wraps, Shrimp Skewers, and Caprese.
What I like about their pastas is that they can be ordered in half or full. So if you’re going solo, you can actually order in an amount that you can finish. We Filipinos though are known for sharing so it’s also a good thing to have a full size that’s enough to feed 2 persons. And for their prices, they’re pretty affordable. There’s also a choice to use spaghetti, linguine, or penne.
The Recco was the one recommended by the waiter. It’s not why it’s called Recco though. Haha! This pasta is has a curry-infused Napoletana sauce flavored with garlic and fresh chili. It has fresh cream and garnished with coriander. There’s an option to add chicken for SR 11 or shrimps for SR 26. I had high expectations on this dish and it was okay. It doesn’t have a wow factor; it has a spicy kick though. The curry used is more of Indian origin and the cream nicely tempers the heat. The shrimps were plump and juicy and it’s a no brainer that it’s the first ingredient gone on the plate.
The Real Primavera pasta is simple and has a refreshing taste. For some reason, I didn’t have a photo of it haha. Anyway, it has spinach sauteed and tossed with pecorino (cheese made from ewe’s milk) and butter. It has tomatoes and basil too. This is a treat for vegetarians! The pasta is al dente and the lightly-cooked ingredients flavors are subtle yet delicious. It’s SR 30 for a half serving and SR 40 for full.
Other pasta choices in the menu includes Bolognese (meat and tomatoes), Pasta Campagnola (with chien, mustard, and rosemary), Calabrese (with rocket leaves and mascarpone), Al Tonno (with tuna and olives), and Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi (spinach and ricotta balls with Napoletana sauce).
It’s funny we didn’t order pizza and went with calzone, Italy’s version of a turn over, instead. We ordered the Primi which contains turkey ham, mushrooms, tomato, mozzarella, olives, and chili.
I love the bread of the Calzone. It was warm and chewy. Paired with the ingredients inside, it was filling and tasty calzone! If you’re looking for other varieties, there’s Diavolo which contains mozzarella and pepperoni and there’s Chilli Con Carne for a little Mexican flair of red kidney beans, chutney, peppers, tomato and onions. Based on the tender and fragrant dough of our calzone, I can say that their pizzas might also be good as their base is made from 24-hour matured and hand-stretched dough. I’d like to try their traditional and gourmet pizza flavors next time.
Primi has a nice selection of main courses from seafood to meat. I settled for the Spiedini Di Pollo, a chicken barbecue. It also reminds me of shish tawouk. It’s a skewer of chicken meat, red pepper and red onions. It’s brushed with paprika butter and served with a side order of mashed potato (my choice). People at Foursquare were digging this dish. And true to their claims, the chicken is tender and soft. It goes well with the pepper and onions and the dipping sauce it came with. I was disappointed with the mashed potato though. It was bland and mushy. They should have provided some gravy, it might salvage this side dish.
I was so happy with my drink, which I forgot the name. Haha! It was a mixture of apple and watermelon. Super refreshing! So good! I like the crushed ice. (I love any ice-cold drink!)
Here’s what to expect in their Exit 10 branch:
If you’re looking for something new in the Italian cuisine scene in Riyadh then try Primi. It has a nice atmosphere but a bit confused because it looks like a canteen with nice blackboards and “chalk” writings and illustrations in them but it also has plants hanging on the ceiling and plants serving as dividers. Their servers are attentive though. Based on what we ate, their food is a mix of healthy and comforting. So what’s not to like? They’re also open for breakfast from 9:00AM to 12:00NN. Then they’re open until midnight. There’s something for everyone at Primi!
Primi Italian Restaurant
a. King Abdulaziz Road, Exit 5
b. King Abdullah Road, Exit 10
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia