We explore some of the best restaurants in Riyadh which offer spectacular views, exceptional cuisine, and a unique atmosphere in the Kingdom’s capital.
Due to the prohibition of alcohol, there isn’t much in the way of bars and nightclubs to explore in Saudi Arabia. Like in many strict Muslim countries, life here is more centered on family-oriented activities such as dining out rather than going on a date. As a result, an extravagant and vibrant restaurant scene can be found in the Kingdom’s capital, Riyadh.
The cosmopolitan hub boasts Michelin-star restaurants alongside hole-in-the-wall eateries, where locals as well as expats gather to savor local and international cuisine. Here are some of the best restaurants in Riyadh that are well worth a visit, if you happen to live there.
Al Orjouan Restaurant
Widely regarded as one of Riyadh’s finest all-day dining restaurants, this Ritz-Carlton gem has become a firm favorite among hotel guests and local residents, alike. Its lavish Friday buffet brunch has proven to be immensely popular with those looking to feast on a sumptuous spread of Middle Eastern and international specialties. And with a whopping 20 food stations on offer, as well as a kids club to keep little ones entertained, it’s hardly surprising Al Orjouan has become somewhat of a Riyadh institution.
Al Orjouan Restaurant, The Ritz-Carlton, Mekkah Road, Al Hada Area, Riyadh
Yokari might not be the cheapest restaurant in Riyadh, but for those seeking gourmet-style Japanese cuisine, nothing beats it. Don’t expect to see any sushi platters or omakase-style dining here either; this high-end establishment steers well away from the usual clichés. In fact, there is very little interaction with the kitchen staff. Instead, guests are encouraged to ask their waiter to explain the dishes; each of which is beautifully presented and prepared with technical precision. With its minimalist interior and small tables set in close proximity, this is definitely a place for serious foodies who enjoy a more intimate dining experience.
Yokari, 2/F, Centria Mall, 210 Olaya Street, Riyadh
If you’re looking to enjoy a totally elaborate dining experience, then a visit to The Globe is just the ticket. Located inside the spectacular golden glass orb that tops the Al Faisaliah Tower, this exclusive fine-dining restaurant offers a diverse selection of Arabic and modern European cuisine. It is also home to a hugely popular afternoon tea set, which is served against sweeping panoramic views of the city. What could be more exquisite than sipping on a cup of delectable specialty tea and indulging in sumptuous desserts; all the while seated 240 meters up in the sky.
The Globe, King Fahd Branch Road, Al Olaya, Al Faisaliah Tower, The Geodesic Orb, Riyadh
Nestled in the high-end Centria Mall, this critically-acclaimed restaurant in Riyadh takes its name from the Armenian word for ‘moon’; and explores the distinctive flavors of the culture. Despite its prestigious status, the venue maintains a warm and intimate feel. This is largely thanks to the soft golden lighting and cozy natural interior which features stone slabs inscribed with Armenian poetry. The menu offers a selection of hot and cold mezze, soups, salads, and grilled meats. All this is served against a musical backdrop created by a traditional Armenian woodwind instrument, called a duduk.
Lusin, 2/F, Centria Mall, 210 Olaya Street, Riyadh
Also housed in the Centria Mall, Hualan offers a contemporary take on Chinese cuisine. This high-end restaurant combines traditional Asian cooking techniques with novel flavors and texture combinations to create innovative dishes. You will find things like fried prawns in pumpkin sauce and jasmine tea-smoked beef ribs on the menu. It also offers a wide selection of bespoke Jing tea and fruit smoothies with exotic Asian ingredients. As well as boasting a sleek all-natural geometric interior, the restaurant has a terrace overlooking Riyadh’s futuristic skyline. This makes it the perfect spot for al fresco dining during the cooler winter months.
Hualan, 2/F, Centria Mall, 210 Olaya Street, Riyadh
For a totally unique dining experience, Najd Village cannot be rivaled. This huge heritage building, which can host up to 1,000 people, serves traditional Saudi Arabian cuisine in its original style. Guests can enjoy their feast like in the olden days too; settling down on comfy, authentic cushions and taking in the beautiful museum-like décor surrounding them. The menu includes both vegetarian and meat dishes; matazeez (lamb dumplings in tomato sauce) and mogalgal (a peppery lamb dish) are two must-order specialties. Unsurprisingly, Najd Village is one of the most visited restaurants in Riyadh, so make sure to book ahead.
Najd Village, Takhassusi Street, Al Olaya, Riyadh