Among the cuisines that got a huge boost in Riyadh is Japanese food. Before it was easy to go to a Japanese restaurant when all we ever had as choices are Tokyo Restaurant, Sushi Yoshi, and Samurai. Sometimes we’re just happy eating in these restaurants because they cater to all who has Japanese food addiction (example: The Pink Tarha ladies) and they’re available in every price range we want. Nowadays, there are more restaurants serving Japanese food especially sushi and maki. Thank you so much for bringing more options in our lives! Hopefully, there will be more kind of cuisines available in the next year. From high-end (Yokari and Nozomi) with world class ambiance and high quality ingredients to inexpensive (Mee So Hungry and Shiro) with no family section but creative maki rolls, options abound. But where do you go when you want something in the middle? Not too expensive but has a good dining setting where you can enjoy good Japanese food? Easy: Sushi Art Restaurant and Nehon Restaurant.
This franchise recently opened a branch outside Mena Hotel in Tahlia Street. It’s beside Lebanese restaurant Zaatar Wa Zeit and a few feet away from newly-opened Lebanese grill, Kababji. Outside the restaurant are faux sakura trees used as a fence to their outdoor seating. For the bachelors, of course. Stepping inside Sushi Art’s family section seems intimidating; the restaurant looks posh and well-designed. Booths are made of U-shaped leather sofas with light brown wooden tables. The plate and utensils set-up looks minimalist but very pleasing to the senses. They have an open kitchen where diners can see their food being prepared. Sushi Art has branches in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, and United Arab Emirates. Their Tahlia branch is their first in Saudi Arabia.
Sushi Art promises to let diners embark on a unique journey to the heart of each Sushi Art recipe. They take pride in their food as not only delicious but also appealing and beautiful. And the pictures of their luscious maki rolls got to me. I didn’t want the plain-looking sushi or maki; I want their colorful maki rolls! We ordered their Rock N Roll and Dragon Tempura Roll.
We were impressed by the presentation. The maki rolls look so appetizing on the plate. The Rock N Roll has tuna, asparagus, avocado, masago, and spicy sauce inside. It’s topped with glazed salmon, teriyaki sauce, chili and some crisps. This takes a maki roll to another level. We were surprised with different texture at each bite. Its crisp turns soft turns crunchy; the ingredients were well-rounded and complemented each other. It was delight eating this. My husband enjoyed this very much.
I, on the other hand, favored the Dragon Tempura Roll. It has shrimp tempura, asparagus, and goma ponzu sauce and topped with avocado, teriyaki mayonnaise, salmon roe, and chili. The ingredients were generous, especially the avocado which I love in makis. Can you see how they beautifully cut them and laid them there like leaves spanning the entire length of the maki? Amazing! I was mesmerized by the green and orange and yellow of the dish. The tempura has the right crisp while the avocado is creamy. All of their uncooked ingredients tasted fresh. We love their Salmon Sashimi too but it’s a bit expensive for the amount we had to pay for those pieces.
We also ordered their Chicken Katsu with Yakisoba. It came out piping hot from the kitchen. We saw the staff cooking and preparing it at our back; with a glass wall separating us from the kitchen. The fried chicken fillet was cut into strips and sits on tops of a mound of noodles, vegetables, and sauce. The chicken was crunchy and has the right sauce. The yakisoba was a let down; it doesn’s taste like yakisoba at all. It must be the lack of a binding, salty sauce that made this bland. It was plain and didn’t go well with the chicken katsu.
On another day, I was with my husband and Reina when we were invited to Sushi Art. We ordered a lot of dishes to try most of their menu. We chose from their Signature Maki again (their Rainbow Roll and White Dragon Roll) but the one that differed from our first order was the bowl of Seared Angus Beef. The beef slices were chewy and has a subtle flavor. It went well with the side greens and rice. We also tried their Shrimp Gyoza for appetizer. It wasn’t a wow dish for us so don’t go wasting your money buying this for starters. Just go with a plate of sashimi or some of their simpler maki.
We also had a taste of their Mochi for dessert. In fairness to this tiny cold, soft goodness, they were close to the mochi I love eating in the Philippines. It has ice cream in the middle and come in four flavors. We picked Nutella and Sesame flavors, They were delightful to chew on, a fitting end to a filling Japanese meal.
Overall, we enjoyed Sushi Art. I’m excited to try their other offerings. They also have platters available for lunch and dinner. For SR 79 and above, we get a sushi and maki set good for sharing. Their prices are above average and you know this is not a restaurant you can always eat in (unless you really really want to, you rich you!). But it’s a great Japanese restaurant that’s beckoning at you behind those nice cherry blossoms.
4376 Prince Muhammad Bin Abdulaziz Rd,
As Sulimaniyah, Riyadh 12242, Saudi Arabia [MAP]
T: 9200 06514
Working Hours: 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM
RATING: 4 out of 5 stars
Disclaimer: We paid for our meals on our first visit. We were invited for a second visit by Sushi Art. All our views, opinions, and feedback are our own.
Nehon Sushi Restaurant
If you want to go out of your way to search for a Japanese restaurant that will give you some “away from home” vibes, visit Nehon Restaurant somewhere in Exit 6. I’ve read about this restaurant in Foursquare because everyone was gushing about their Dynamite Shrimps. I doubt I’ll go here for just that dish though but they have some dishes that might have contributed to my urgent appeal to my husband to drive us to the place. I couldn’t find much information about the restaurant so let’s just assume it’s not franchised. It’s a bit upscale but not that luxurious like Nozomi.
Nehon offers sushi, maki, and a lot of other hot dishes. They even have lobsters. Yes, why not right? They have a nice sushi menu. It wasn’t too long to make the decision hard and it wasn’t short to leave diners wanting for more. We chose the Nara Roll and the Caterpillar, mainly because of their names (obvious? haha). We were intrigued.
Both rolls came in four pieces. Truth be told, they look boring in the plate. I don’t know, maybe it’s just the lighting. The Nara Roll is shrimp and avocado covered in tempura flakes and drizzled with teriyaki sauce while the Caterpillar gets its name from the slices of avocado (which gave the look of a caterpillar’s back) that topped the maki filled with fried shrimp, cream cheese and cucumber. This one also has teriyaki sauce; I noticed late that we ordered an almost similar maki roll. Haha. Anyway, they are okay but nothing to be excited about. I like the sweetness that the sauce lends to the maki. Other than that, nothing unique. For the price of SR 35 per 4 pieces, I don’t think this is worth it.
The Dynamite Shrimp came in a sexy glass and the presentation is really nice. Balls of fried breaded shrimps forms a pyramid in a bed of shredded lettuce. I was looking forward to this starter. What I like about this is it has a nice hint of spice and the mayo didn’t overpower the shrimps. The crunch was on point.
We also ordered Fried Rice on the side and it has a great medley of shrimps and fried egg. The tiny pieces of bell pepper that gave the rice some color overpowered the seasonings’ flavors.
The Beef Melt is one of the most expensive main dishes in their menu. At SR 110, my expectation is high. Also, feedback from Foursquare is good for this dish consisting of Angus beef and slices of grilled potatoes. This is quite good because well, it has teriyaki sauce, haha. The beef is tender and juicy and complemented the potatoes. Again, nothing special. Meant for one person, this pretty much equates to an order of steak in a steak house in the city. It’s even more expensive. Again, I don’t see this being worthy of its price. I can easily find better beef dishes at this price.
The ambiance of Nehon is very simple yet romantic. If you’re looking for a restaurant for your next date night, then this is the place because it looks really cozy and we think there are not a lot of diners especially on the weekdays. However, since the family section is a bit small, it will get noisy when there are a lot of people. It might also be uncomfortable when the dividers are used in most tables.
Nehon Sushi Bar
Abu Bakr Assidiq Road, An Nafal
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia [MAP]
Working Hours: 12:30 PM to 12:30 AM
RATING: 3 out of 5 stars
Disclaimer: We paid for our meals in Nehon. All our views, opinions, and feedback are our own.
These two Japanese restaurant are unmistakably modern. The emphasis is on the various kinds of maki rolls and efficient, professional service. You bet there will be more restaurants like this sprouting in Riyadh! Itidakimasu!