Jeddah, one of the most easygoing areas in Saudi Arabia, has a long history as an important center for trade and cultural interchange. The city’s cuisine reflects this, blending the flavors of East and West to delicious effect. Jeddah’s restaurants, done out in elaborate Hijazi décor, make dining in the historic city a delight, so we’ve updated our Jeddah restaurant guide to bring you more unmissable venues in Saudi’s best culinary destination.
A signature burger at 19th Century Burger
Courtesy of 19th Century Burger
19th Century Burger
Without a doubt, the 19th Century Burger joint serves some of the tastiest burgers in the whole the city, if not the Kingdom. The popular hangout is ideal for a quick, tasty and affordable lunch or dinner, whilst accommodating both travelers and families alike. Be sure to book or get there early to avoid the crowds drawn by the 100% Angus beef burgers complete with homemade sauce. The burgers are served with a choice of crispy fries or wedges, and are served in warm bread buns, freshly baked every day. Highly-recommended is the classic 19th-century burger topped with Swiss cheese, lettuce and tomato served with fries; a very simple but satisfyingly delectable burger.
Byblos is an authentic Lebanese restaurant in the heart of Jeddah. The interior is a mix of classical Byzantine architecture with a contemporary twist. The result is a decidedly romantic restaurant serving the best Lebanese food in the city. The sought after appetizers are as authentic as they are delicious, from the meat samosas and hummus, to the fatoosh salad and laham bil ajeein, a Lebanese lamb pizza. The main courses consist of expansive sharing platters and a selection of mixed grills. The tasty selection of Lebanese pastries are complemented by the white coffee made out of orange blossom water; a perfect palate cleanser.
The Gold Sushi Club is a fine dining restaurant inspired by Japan’s culture and cuisine. The interior is an amalgamation of both modern and traditional Japanese architecture, resulting in a very contemporary and relaxing restaurant. Striking the perfect balance between minimalist, simple cooking and an elegant environment, the restaurant cooks up some of the best Japanese cuisine in the whole of Saudi. The sushi includes a wide range of sashimi, makimono and temaki, of which the spicy shake with salmon and togarashi come highly recommended. As for the hot main courses, the seafood teppanyaki, a selection of fresh seafood served sizzling on a hot plate with saffron rice, is a delicious alternative to sushi.
The Green Island is an exquisite complex of seafood restaurants on stilts housed in a series of little chalets which jut out into the Red Sea. The decor is as tranquil as its setting, complete with a translucent glass floor, allowing diners to watch swimming fish whilst they eat. The inspiration behind the menu is a fusion of continental, Lebanese and Indian, with seafood dominating the menu. The Al Dana Fish Restaurant serves a varied buffet of shrimp, calamari and crab as well as a variety of grilled and fried fish. The Hadaek Al Bahr restaurant is similar, but with a varied menu of Lebanese, Chinese and Indian dishes as well as a selection of shisha. For afters, head to the Green Island Café for some mocktails with romantic views over the sea.
A meat-lover’s paradise, Khayal’s ethos is to spread classic Turkish cuisine to the Middle East using the best ingredients to make the most succulent dishes. Khayal is also renowned for being one of the biggest Turkish restaurants in the whole of Saudi Arabia. However, the desire to be the biggest and the best doesn’t stop there. They also serve the longest kebabs in the country, with half meter or whole meter kebabs barbecued to perfection. The mixed grill is a house favorite, coming recommended by the chefs and consisting of succulent grilled chicken, beef cuts, long seekh kebabs, french fries and grilled tomatoes and peppers, all served on a bed of cooked rice. Be sure to leave room for the traditional Ottoman kunafa dessert, a sweet cheese pastry which is one of the restaurant’s best selling dishes.
This charming restaurant serves authentic Italian cuisine at its finest. Piatto has a number of restaurants throughout Saudi Arabia and prides itself on using only the freshest ingredients to create tasty Italian dishes. The decor of the restaurant is made to look like a traditional piazza, adorned with cobbles, fountains, indoor plants and cityscapes. The warm hospitality is immediately noticed, with complimentary salad and bread, a tempting opener for the ensuing cuisine. As well as serving a variety of Italian dishes, the wood-oven baked pizzas are some of the finest outside of Italy. The Tuscan vegetable and goat’s cheese pizza is simply divine. Topped with pesto sauce, eggplant, tricolore bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, artichokes, mozzarella, herbs and goat’s cheese. For dessert, there is also an authentic gelateria on site, serving a vast range of ice cream.
Toki is a lavish and elaborate Asian restaurant in the heart of Jeddah, serving the staples of Chinese, Thai and Malaysian cuisine. The elaborate interior is separated by ornate wooden screens, which create a very intimate and relaxing atmosphere. The traditionally large tables emphasize sharing, with spinning centers to allow diners to choose dishes from the other side of the table. The Chinese crispy half Peking duck with hoisin sauce is a must-try, as are the Thai chicken satay dishes. Following the mains, a wide selection of teas are available on the menu, which complement the vibrant dishes.
The Yildizlar restaurant is a local institution in Jeddah, serving a delicious mix of Lebanese and Turkish dishes. As well as the delicious Mediterranean mezze staples of hummus, tzatziki, falafel and moussaka, there are also more extravagant dishes on offer. From the boneless pigeon with truffles, to the grill section which includes the tender steak tartare, meat-eaters will be left spoilt for choice. With reasonable prices and great food, this place is extremely bustling on an evening and is an ideal place to mingle with the locals.
Regularly cited as one of the finest restaurants in Jeddah, Salmontini offers a fine dining experience twinned with excellent service and tasty dishes. Created by Hussni Ajlani and Joe Bassili, the restaurant started in Beirut in 2001, but later opened Salmontini Le Resto in Jeddah. The concept aims to serve the finest smoked salmon in the most elegant surroundings; yet despite the Scottish salmon being the signature dish, the restaurant is also renowned for its wider menu, excelling in surf and turf, which includes sushi, succulent steaks and home-made desserts. Amongst them is the delicious tenderloin grilled black Angus beef pavé, garnished with potato gratin and broccoli.
Over the past decade, Sushi outlets in Saudi have become extremely popular and widespread. Amongst other outlets in Jeddah, Wakame is a small sushi bar which aims to make the best-tasting sushi using only the highest-quality ingredients. The chic decor includes an open kitchen, a nod towards the transparency and openness of the freshness of the food prepared. The menu here excels in sushi and maki, which includes an array of fresh and innovative dishes. Specials are the gunkan spicy maguro, which includes spicy marinated tuna, nori, and rice. As well as the sushi, the restaurant also serves tasty teriyaki noodles, tempura and sashimi.