By Deepa Thomas-Sutcliffe
Over the last year and a half, I have been tasting my way through Riyadh’s restaurants. As a vegetarian foodie (yes, we exist), I was thrilled when a friend started Riyadh Vegetarians and Friends networking group on Internations and drafted me as her co-organiser. She then left the country and I invited Christine, another foodie to be my co-organiser. We meet alternate Thursdays for dinner with an interesting group of foodies, some regular members, some occasional members and some newbies from many different ethnicities and parts of the world. The group size varies between 6 and 12 or so depending on the restaurant and we usually order dishes for the table that we can all share. All food that we order is vegetarian so my perspective on restaurants is probably skewed as it would be representative of a proportion of the menu.
Through our dinners, I have enjoyed some really great food, some great and some mixed service and (thankfully) a few disappointing experiences. The majority of restaurants are quite happy to cater to vegetarians and occasionally have modified meat-only dishes to suit our tastes. The conversations at our dinners are a nice mix of cultural exchange, people’s lives and work at Riyadh and where we are going to travel next. Many of the members are not vegetarians but join us for good food and interesting conversation. No preaching about converting to vegetarianism or veganism from us, I promise.
Here are some of my favourite restaurants in Riyadh organised by cuisine. It’s hard to choose just one so I have mentioned a couple of restaurants:
- Italian: San Carlo Cicchetti and Serafina both tie for the best Italian food I have eaten in the Kingdom.
- Indian: Zafran stands alone for some really delicious food and great service.
- Lebanese: Lavash serves tasty Lebanese in a luxurious environment. Leila’s at Oud Square is pretty good too.
- Multi-cuisine – Urth Café – for a nice ambience, tasty food and yummy desserts. Check out the large trees in the restaurant.
- Desserts – Cioccolat Italiani for some of the best gelatos I have had here
What’s your list of favourite restaurants? WSB is happy to review new restaurants that members recommend so please mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to join us for a veggie dining experience, you can sign up on the Internations website. Just look for Riyadh Vegetarians and Friends and join over 250 foodies from 46 countries. Looking forward to dining together soon…