KAFD Restaurants Worth Checking Out

When I was writing yesterday’s Top 5 Mega Projects in Riyadh, I kept on coming across the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD). This financial hub definitely changed the skyscape and landscape of Riyadh over the years. Did you imagine having that cluster of skyscrapers, including the current tallest buildings in Riyadh – the Capital Market Authority Tower and the KAFD World Trade Center, in one place? KAFD is planned to have 50+ towers, considered as a “city within a city”. One of the most notable Riyadh Metro stations is also in KAFD (I’m sure you’ve already seen the station designed by Zaha Hadid Arhictects from the UK and featuring three-dimensional lattice defined by a sequence of opposing sine-waves).

When was the first time you visited KAFD? I think it was checking out the newly-opened AMC cinemas in 2018 for us. From then on, we’ve been waiting for the district to burst into life. We’re still wondering now which of the buildings are already occupied. Apart from the buildings and AMC, KAFD held events in the past including Noor Riyadh. It also has pop-up restaurants which come and go. This time, there are restaurants that recently called KAFD as their address. Let’s check them out!


Il Baretto at KAFD (Photo from instagram.com/ilbarettosa)

A charming neighborhood in Italy brought to Riyadh? Why not! Okay, so Il Baretto has been opened for a time now being the first restaurant in KAFD. But we feel like we don’t know a lot about the Italian restaurant (baka di lang kasi namin afford haha). Il Baretto offers an Italian menu in their main dining area and an outdoor terrace. They serve specialty dishes using regional Italian produce. From their Instagram, we were smitten with some of their dishes: Octopus Salad (fresh octopus cooked for 7 hours), Fregola Sarda ai Frutti di Mare Zafferano (with hand-shaped pearl pasta), Lobster Linguini, and Cotoletta Alla Milanese (an Italian delicacy). Their well-crafted mocktails are so eye-catching too; from the pink hued Coralini, dainty Muse, and artistic Gianni Politi.

Il Baretto requires an elegant dress code with no sportswear permitted. For all dinner and weekday lunch, children under the age of 12 are not permitted. They allow children on lunch schedule only from Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Mouthwatering Octopus Salad (photo from instagram.com/ilbarettosa)


A.O.K at KAFD (photo from instagram.com/aokkitchensaudi/)

Everything is all okay at newly-opened A.O.K Kitchen, a restaurant that cares for your dietary requirements as it’s free from refined sugar and uses limited dairy and gluten. The restaurants started in Marylebone neighborhood in London and has an extensive list of inspired Mediterranean/Californian dishes that uses ingredients from small and artisanal producers. We’re interested in their Gluten-Free Pancakes, Avocado On Toast, Falafel Sandwich, and Honey-Roasted Salmon.

Fluffiest pancakes (photo from instagram.com/aokkitchensaudi/)


Crazy shakes (photo from instagram.com/blacktapksa/)

Craft burgers and crazy shakes? We’re there! Black Tap is a famous burger joint in New York and it has opened its first branch in Riyadh sporting its swanky NY ambiance complete with neon signs, graffiti art, brick walls, and black and white floors. The trendy space with 10,000 cassettes, 2,500 VHS tapes, over 140 Sneakers, and 500 Audio Decks, boomboxes and speakers was created and designed by Noriyoshi Muramatsu of Tokyo-based Studio Glitt. We’re mostly interested with their part-dessert and part-art milkshakes… so IG-worthy but might also be quite the sugar rush.

Crafted burgers (photo from instagram.com/blacktapksa/)

We haven’t tried any of the three restaurants we listed but hopefully, we’ll do so one of these days. Apart from these restaurants, Starbucks and Urth Caffe have also opened new branches at KAFD.

Have you been to KAFD and checked out its thriving gustatory scene?

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