Saudi Food at Al Romansiah

Raise your hand when you’ve already dined in a restaurant that serves authentic Saudi food! Have you? Are you sure? When Saudi food is mentioned, the images of shawarma and kabsa immediately come to mind. And why not? They’re widely-popular and considered by many as the national food of Saudi Arabia. They’re available in most food stations in the street and you probably have your suking kabsahan in Riyadh.
One night, we were cruising along Exit 30 when we passed by a restaurant that one of the bros claim as being a popular Saudi restaurant. Piqued by that information and the magenta building, I highly suggested (read: annoyingly force) that we eat there even after the father decided to park in front of Kudu. So we had to take a turn in the residential area to go back. The restaurant was still closed for salah but a waiter ushered us to the family entrance and let us in.
Al Romansiah Restaurant serves local Saudi food at affordable prices. It’s one of the highly-recommended restaurants for kabsa and kebabs.
Being new to the place, we looked for the English version of a menu. There was none. We looked for a waiter or cashier to talk in English, there was none. I thought, “wow, this is such the real deal in Saudi cuisine that everything must be in Arabic!” We felt like tourists in a new country. However, I was still feeling giddy in our cubicle. The restaurant is divided by low concrete walls (in marble?) into tiny booths with long curtains as doors. There were booths that you can sit on the floor. We picked one with a table and chairs nearest the exit.
The father, more fluent in Arabic than any of us, ordered at the reception area. Of course, being a kabsa place, he definitely ordered it. He said he also ordered a meal package good for sharing that the cashier recommended or pointed on the menu. After that got settled, we waited for the food… and waited… and waited…
Until the food finally arrived. (Ten years lang ang peg?!?)

Clockwise from bottom: tabouleh, mutabal, babaghanoush, and hummus

Kebab galore!

The starters and dips of babaghanoush, mutabal, hummus, and tabouleh were good. The khubz, individually packed, was a bit warm and chewy. The mixed kebabs, made of chicken, lamb, and various meats, were tasty but a bit dry. The highlight of our meal would probably be the kunafa which came in a paper bag. It wasn’t too sweet and cloying; it’s not soaked in sweet syrup alleluia!!! I don’t usually eat kunafa but this is yummy I had to make an exemption. While we were quite satisfied with the spread, we can’t help but notice something was missing… uhmn, where’s the kabsa?!? 


Our table spread… without the kabsa.
A little bit annoyed that the food was already too late in getting served, we asked the waiter where our kabsa is. The waiter said it wasn’t on the order. Now we go back to the cashier who said we didn’t order it. Seriously?! How can we not order the bestseller in your restaurant? The dish that we came here for? Being a patient family that we are (cough, cough), we just tagged it as a case of miscommunication and waited (yes, waited again) for another half an hour for the kabsa that we decided to order to-go.
Al Romansiah is a good restaurant if you want to taste authentic Saudi food. It’s a good restaurant to take your guests who are new in Riyadh. However, please be reminded that this restaurant is so popular that the service suffers poorly in some areas. I like their food but we waited close to an hour for the food to be served in our table. When we exited, I saw a lot of people in the bachelor’s section. Waiting also. It can really get crowded, especially in the family section. Maybe we did just come at a busy time.
They have other branches scattered in the city that’s for take-out only and for singles only. They also offer catering for your special occasions and events.
And about that kabsa? I didn’t get to taste it because it was relegated to our ref and I completely forgot we had it in there. Argh! Next time!
Al Romansiah Restaurant
Exit 30, Khurais Road
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Arabic Food

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