Do you prefer hot drinks to cold drinks or vice-versa? I prefer cold drinks than hot but sometimes, I’m undecided and when I have two of the most famous brands in front of me, I’m pretty sure I’ll have a hard time choosing between Tim Hortons’ French Vanilla Coffee or Cold Stone Creamery’s Milkshake. Good thing, these two are almost always side by side to each other here in Riyadh so it’s easy to choose one and pick another after.
Tim Hortons is Canada’s largest quick-serve restaurant. (It’s also the name of a National Hockey League legend.) The first ever Tim Horton’s opened in Hamilton, Canada in the 1960s when donuts and coffee just cost 10 cents each. It has come a long way since then (see price difference to now, haha!). Tim Hortons get its coffee from several of the world’s renowned coffee-producing regions and they use a premium blend of 100% Arabica beans. They promise an “always fresh” quality, serving their coffee within 20 minutes of brewing. Tim Hortons is known for their French Vanilla Coffee and their Iced Cap, a frozen cappuccino that I loved since I first had it in their Granada Mall branch, their first in Riyadh. They also have much-loved donuts, apple fritters, Timbits, and newly-introduced sandwiches and wraps. Cold Stone Creamery, on the other hand, is an American-based ice cream parlor chain that is known for their premium ice cream made with approximately 12-14% butterfat. Servers mash the ice cream and mix-ins on cold marble slabs and do it in elaborate, fun manner (like throwing the ice cream up in the air and catching it in a cup). Cold Stone introduced more items in their menu like ice cream cakes, smoothies, and milk shakes.
In 2009, Tim Hortons and Cold Stone Creamery announced co-branded restaurants across North America and that’s what also happened here in Saudi Arabia. So don’t be surprised when you almost always see them together in one location. Their partnership gives us more options! Recently, we were invited to try the savory sandwiches and wraps of Tim Hortons and the signature ice cream concoctions of Cold Stone Creamery. We went to their Oruba Street branch, one of their more popular branches in Riyadh. We like the cozy interiors of Tim Hortons; it has a “friends” feel to it. It’s that place where you can gather your families and friends on a busy night and find a table to converse away! I like their green and blue colors which are easy on the eyes. The overall vibe is relaxing. We also like that they introduced warm sandwiches and wraps in their menu because if we want some light dinner and coffee and desserts after, we don’t have to move restaurants and coffee shops to do just that.
Here are what we tried from their robust menu:
My personal favorite is the Peri-Peri Chicken in Spinach Wrap (not in photo because it was served last, lol) because the filling is really tasty. I couldn’t tell a huge difference between the normal wrap and the spinach though, except of course for the green color of the latter. The whole wrap is mildly spicy and a bit creamy. I like how they go together nicely.
I also like the Chicken Barbecue Wrap because of my love for the smoky, sweet flavor of barbecue. It’s a familiar taste that can be the answer to those who can’t decide which one to order. The Fusion Shawarma Wrap tastes nothing like the street food shawarma we love and their take on it tastes subtle and simple. The Fusion Falafel is a modern take on the falafel sandwich; it has an herby taste and the falafel are creamy with no crisp to it (if compared to the fried ones we usually order and eat). The white tortilla in all these wraps are grilled to perfection, as you can see with their brown marks. I like how warm and chewy they get once served.
Reina liked the Chipotle Chicken with Cheese Panini the most. The chicken pieces are really spicy but the melted cheese balances it perfectly. The panini has nice grilled marks too. There are other flavors of their wraps and paninis like Tikka and Mesquite. We like how simple and no-fuss the sandwiches are. They have clean, straightforward looks and tastes that go well with their beverages.
Speaking of beverages, Tim Hortons is of course, known for their French Vanilla coffee and Iced Cappuccino drinks. But they recently launched two new cold drinks with Oreo as the main ingredient: the Iced Cappuccino with Oreo and Frappe with Oreo (pretty much straightforward with the name huh). We prefer the former because it’s not as sweet as the latter. It has the signature flavor of coffee that we crave and the Oreo pieces are well-mixed into the blended drink. The frappe version is okay for the sweet tooth out there (as if we aren’t haha).
For those who are not in coffee, Tim Hortons has fruity drinks! Avail of their fruit frappes and refreshers in Honey Dew Melon (always not available), Peaches and Cream, Wildberry Yogurt, Fresh Mint Lemonade, and Fresh Brewed Iced Tea. I’ve always wanted to try the honey dew melon frappe but it’s always not available (why???). We tried the Peaches and Cream and while it really tasted like peaches, I didn’t like the fact that it reminded me so much of my peach-scented candles at home making the flavor taste like “plasticky” to me. You know, like drinking perfume? (It also happens to me when I drink anything rose-flavored.) Anyway, my absolute favorite among their non-coffee drinks is the Fresh Mint Lemonade because it’s sour and cold making it truly refreshing! (I didn’t order during our visit because I’ve had it for days in a row already.)
Of course, Tim Hortons are popular for their baked goods too and we went all-in with their sweet offerings: Maple Dip Donut (a staple fave), Nutella Donut, Apple Fritter, Honey Cruller, Oreo Chocolate Donut and their newest Lemon and White Chocolate Muffin. It’s a no-brainer that the donuts are good and the best companion to coffee. I always love any kind of donut in Tim Hortons. The other pastries though are so-so for us. Reina was really excited with the cruller but it disappointed her while I was looking forward to the Apple Fritter. It was a bit dry and I had to take a bite several times before I get to the part where there’s apple. The muffin wasn’t the greatest flavor too. If you’re trying Tim Horton’s muffin, go for the Red Velvet. It’s creamy and moist and just delicious!
Now that we’re done with the savory and sweet offers of Tim Hortons, our night wouldn’t be complete without a visit to its neighbor, Cold Stone Creamery. Because there’s no branch near our workplace, we rarely have ice cream from Cold Stone. That’s why it’s such a pleasant surprise to discover their flavors again. I’m a fan of their Cake Batter, Caramel Latte, Bubble Gum, and Cotton Candy flavors; they go so well together!
If you can’t decide, just pick from one of their Signature Creations like the Birthday Cake Remix, The Pie Who Loved Me, Our Strawberry Blonde, Cookie Doughn’t You Want Some, Cookie Minster, Creme Berry Brulee, etc. You see at Cold Stone, they just don’t scoop out the ice cream and out it in a cone or a cup… they create a cold work of art before they hand it to you. You can even personalize your order. Put various mix-ins as much as you want and choose whether to put it in a simple cone or a cone embellished with sprinkles or dipped in chocolate. Anything you want!
Their ice cream cakes are also good to go. Bring the ice cream of Cold Stone to your events and occasions. I tried their Chocolate Chip Mint Cake and Cheesecake with Raspberry Cake already and I like how they’re not too sweet. The balance of ice cream and cake are amazing and they’re totally worth drooling for.
It’s really a nice time to visit Tim Hortons and Cold Stone Creamery now that they’re so near each other (sometimes, they share the same store). You can choose from either and enjoy! We made live videos of both stores in our Facebook page. Check those videos out for more information and prices.
Tim Hortons + Cold Stone Creamery… this is a match made in heaven!
Tim Hortons and Cold Stone Creamery
a. Oruba Road
b. Panorama Mall, Takhasussi Street
c. Abu Bakr, Ar Razi Street, Suleimania (in front of Prince Sultan Medical City/RKH)
d. Tahlia Street
e. Granada Mall (Tim Hortons only)
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia