It is not a secret; we have a fondness for Piatto. We feel that The Pink Tarha blog grew up with the brand. It was first Duo, a French-Italian restaurant, until they changed it to Piatto, a sole Italian Restaurant, in 2011. The Pink Tarha blog was just two years old then when we met members of the team that brought Piatto to where it is now today. During our third year, Piatto believed in us enough to grant us a venue for our The Pink Tarha Mornings in Riyadh and Jeddah. They have been sponsors to our contests, giveaways and even to The Riyadhizen Planner, a new journal concept in this city. We have both won awards in the Saudi Excellence Tourism Awards with them winning the Best Casual Dining Restaurant in Saudi Arabia on their second year and us winning the Best Website in Promoting Tourism in our sixth year online. It’s great collaborating with their team, greater to get to eat their delicious food throughout the years and come to pinpoint dishes that are now our favorites. (I am in love with their Wild Mushroom Chicken and Wild Mushroom Risotto.) We have seen Piatto grow, and with it our best wishes of nothing but the best for one of our favorite restaurants in the city.
Piatto (that means “plate” in Italian) has since opened branches in Jeddah, Al-Khobar, and other locations in Riyadh with a branch opening in Jubail soon! They opened to-go branches where people can order quick pizzas, pastas, and sandwiches and be on their happy, full way. They introduced hearty breakfasts meals in their Panorama Mall branch; best enjoyed on Saturdays when the morning is quiet and sunny and we’re free to enjoy our omelettes and French toasts ’til noontime just because it’s the weekend. It’s a blessing to have a restaurant that we personally like for their good food and great service support The Pink Tarha. And now that Piatto is celebrating their fifth anniversary, we’re glad to partake in their new dishes from their new menu.
Our default appetizers when we’re in Piatto are their free salad and bread. Sometimes we think they’re too generous to offer this unlimited combo for free; sometimes we think we should make the most of this and consider it our main meal already haha! But there awaits more food to choose from and we couldn’t resist them. The Warm Spinach Artichoke Dip is another go-to starter. It’s good for sharing and perfect for group meals. A dip of the crostini toast on the creamy artichoke and cheese mix is a perfect way to wait for the main meals. However, the launch of their Il Grande Piatto Italian-Style Anti-Pasto might just change our choice for starter. It’s a feast for the senses: the colors of the bits and pieces of mozarella and walnuts, pepperoni and bresaola meats, Grana Padano parmesan, marinated Roman artichokes, and Italian spring vegetables are a feast for the eyes, the smell of wonderful herbs and spices made our mouth water, and the taste made our buds leap with excitement. There are so many choices and different flavors to choose from in this one huge plate but they go all so well together. The rustic, oven-baked bread that comes with this appetizer is a treat in itself. It’s warm, fluffy and chewy. A bit heavy in the stomach but I couldn’t get enough of it. I’m pretty sure there will be a plea for this to be available for order on its own.
We also had a taste of one of their new salads, the Roasted Beets, Asparagus, and Goat Cheese Salad that came with arugula greens, oranges, walnuts and Umbrian Farro grains. This is the only dish that Reina can eat during that time because she was on the Whole 30 diet. This salad has a lovely contrast of texture and taste: the crunch of the greens and the walnuts with the softness of the goat cheese along with the sourness of the pieces of fresh orange and sweetness of the beets. It’s a merry medley of everything healthy.
When faced with the menu for Piatto’s pizza, we couldn’t settle for one flavor immediately. You’d be glad to know they added more, haha, so you can test your indecisiveness further. Apart from the well-loved Rosemary Potato, Bacon and Goat Cheese Pizza and the Meatball and Buffalo Mozarella, they added Beef Bresaola, Arugula and Gradana Padano and the one that we tried, Tri-Colore Margharita (SR 58). This reminds us of our habit to ask pizza restaurants if we can have our order of one large pizza in two different flavors, or four, just so we can try them all. Their three-colored pizza pays homage to the Italian flag and Queen Margherita of Savoy. I like the all cheese slice that I got but the ones with pesto and tomato sauces are both delicious too; I’m just a cheese loving person more. What I like about Piatto’s wood-fired pizza is the crust. It’s thin and crisp with a poofy, chewy inside and has a good char on the outside. It’s soft, not stiff, the slice almost melting with the cheese on it. It’s a true Neapolitan pizza.
Speaking of pizza… why not get that crust and lather on chocolate and nuts and banana for a truly satisfying dessert? Yes they did it! A dessert pizza that’s good for sharing! Upon looking at the brown pizza set before us, we thought it was just the usual Nutella Pizza that we know of but the surprise came from the “nutella” itself. They didn’t use the commercial one, rather they have their own homemade nutella that’s lighter and less sweet than the original. It went well with the nuts and bananas. The pieces of brie cheese that lay in between the other ingredients provided the respite from the sweetness. It lent a subtle saltiness to the pizza and we got an overall satisfying taste. This might be too much for dessert if you’ve already had their pizza for the main meal. However, there’s always the dependable chocolate fondant and gelato that we’ve grown to love over the years.
Apart from the new dishes we tried, Piatto also introduces the Sicilian Calamari Fritti, Steak and Wild Mushroom Risotto, and Baked Halibut. They also came up with their signature frappes. Try the Lemon Granita Frappe for a refreshing cold drink especially this summer and the Affogato Espresso Frappe for some cold caffeine fix.
We also revisited some of their classics. The Goat Cheese, Pesto and Sun-dried Tomato Ravioli is a delicious creamy dish. The pesto’s light, nutty taste cuts the richness of the pasta and cheese. One of the most overlooked dish in their menu is the Gnocchi (pronounced “know-ki”) but it proves to be one of the most delicious. Once I discovered and tasted their gnocchi flavors in Pesto Alfredo, Pomodoro, and Wild Mushroom, I think this dish will be in my staple of Piatto favorites.
While browsing Piatto’s new menu, we came across the phrase “Certified DOP”. They explained that DOP is Denominazione di Origine Protetta or “Protected Designation of Origin” which means that a product is certified to be locally grown and packaged in Italy. It’s a certification, a guarantee that the food was made by local farmers and artisans, using traditional methods. They’re more expensive but patrons are guaranteed of high quality. Piatto sources Certified DOP ingredients like their Grana Padano parmesan, fresh buffalo milk mozzarella, and the basil they use in their pesto. With this, we diners are assured of great tasting food in every bite.
Piatto also offers lunch specials from SR 49-SR 59 and they also have banquet services for your special occasions. Family to-go meals are available when you feel like celebrating in your homes without the hassle and effort of cooking. Their pasta and sauces are also for sale in store if you feel like cooking your own Italian dishes at the comfort of your kitchen with great attention to high-quality ingredients.
They still have one of the best ambiance in Riyadh offering diners an out-of-Saudi Arabia feel with the help of photos of countryside scenes, cultural landmarks, and iconic gondolas. Their cobblestone floors and central fountains are reminiscent of cafes and plazas found in Italian cities and hill towns. Piatto’s first branch in Exit 5 here in Riyadh has been renovated to accommodate an additional 100 seats. And you know what that means for us? Almost no waiting time! Half of their second floor was turned to a playground so your kids won’t get bored (bit honestly, who gets bored with eating? haha). Both adults and children have something awesome waiting for them at Piatto.
After six years, Piatto has maintained its reputation of giving their diners an excellent overall dining experience. With this new menu of even greater food, attentive service, and amazing ambiance and decor, Piatto Restaurant will no doubt last more years in the Kingdom (and in the Gulf in the future!). Congratulations Piatto on your fifth anniversary! Thank you for being our slice of Italy in the Kingdom!
Piatto Italian Restaurant
Check out all their branches and contact details HERE.
Check out their new menu HERE.