Blending Middle Eastern and Asian cuisines, Jeddah’s restaurant scene is full of spice, sharing platters, meter-long kebabs and sushi. Eating out in the capital of Saudi Arabia is a truly multicultural experience, where international culinary influences cross paths with typical Saudi food. Unmissable for their elaborate decor, signature dishes and stunning views, here are ten of Jeddah’s must-visit restaurants.
Guests can dine like an Iranian king in this elaborately decorated red and gold marquee-style restaurant. Al Khayam is located in the lower lobby of the Hilton hotel. With a sparkling gold chandelier as the centerpiece and the romantic red of the furnishings, this is the perfect restaurant for couples wishing to share a platter together. The moreish Iranian breads are made in an on-show Persian clay oven and the kubideh (minced beef and lamb kebab) is one of the best in the city. On the menu there is also a variety of kebabs, masto-khiar (a Persian dip) and a selection of caviars.
Authentic hearty Italian cuisine at its best, Piatto is a restaurant chain throughout Saudi Arabia that prides itself on using only the freshest ingredients to cook up authentic, Italian dishes. To give customers the sense of dining in Italy, the restaurant is arranged like a cobbled piazza and the walls are adorned with photographs of Vespas, iconic landmarks, gondolas and Fiats. Arrive with an appetite to enjoy the complementary salad and bread to start, followed by a wood-oven baked goat’s cheese and sundried tomato pizza, homemade wild mushroom fettuccine or a melt-in-the-mouth char-grilled Gorgonzola steak. And it wouldn’t be a true Italian eatery if they didn’t have a gelateria on-site too.
The Bellevue Complex is home to an exquisite selection of internationally inspired restaurants sure to satisfy everyone’s taste buds. The aromas wafting from the Persian bakery taunt guests with the delights that await them in whichever restaurant they choose to dine in. The Amara’s menu changes seasonally to ensure that only the freshest and tastiest ingredients are used. Guests can enjoy the healthy Arabic food whilst looking out over the hypnotic Red Sea. Next door, Ajji serves sushi and other Asian dishes with a unique Bellevue twist, all prepared at the live-cooking station in the centre of the restaurant. The Lumiere completes the public dining set as the newest member of the Bellevue family. It is only open for dinner and the pink and gold luxurious décor makes it the most fairy-tale like of them all.
Toki Restaurant offers a variety of East Asian dishes | Courtesy of Toki / Lub Creative / Rumman Company
Serving the usual Chinese, Thai and Malaysian blend of classics, Toki could get overlooked if it wasn’t for its elaborate interior beauty. The ornate pillars, glass-topped tables, exquisite chandeliers and dressed ceilings make Toki an impressive restaurant in which to dine. The large circular tables have spinning centerpieces making sharing dishes easy. Start with dumplings steamed in a traditional Chinese bamboo basket, follow with crispy Peking duck and pancakes, and then finish with beef in black bean sauce, chicken satay and egg fried rice. To drink, the lemon and mint juice is the perfect refresher during those hot summer days.
Jeddah locals try to keep the traditional Middle Eastern fare at Al Nakheel for themselves. Dishes include traditional food, barbecued meats and shrimp, and locally caught najel (or Red Sea grouper). Portions are big but staff are happy to wrap up any leftovers for you to take home. In the family area women are allowed to remove their abayas and the atmosphere is much more relaxed than in other traditional restaurants. Slouch on a low-slung sofa with the rippling waves in the background and watch football on the big screen or huddle around a fire-pit on cooler evenings while sampling the shisha.
Dine inside at Ginza i Chome and watch the chefs prepare the sushi at the central hand-carved stone bar or choose a table in the Japanese gardens to eat in a truly picturesque setting. Try the warm sushi and foie gras with Styria beef or call ahead to see when the next all-you-can-eat buffet will be taking place. Ginza i Chome offers diners a modern twist on authentic Japanese cuisine in a traditionally decorated setting with beautiful views across the Red Sea and the Jeddah Corniche. Situated on the second floor of the Rosewood Hotel, female guests must wear an abaya and men long trousers and sleeved tops.
The biggest Turkish restaurant in Saudi Arabia, Khayal is also determined to serve the longest kebabs in the country. Choose between a half meter or whole meter kebab and have it barbecued just as you like it (these can be shared), but be sure to save room for the famous kunafah dessert. A meat lover’s paradise, Khayal restaurant was founded with the hope of spreading classic Turkish cuisine to the Middle East and strives to make only the most succulent dishes.
As Jeddah’s only revolving restaurant, Le Ciel is expensive but worth every penny for its stunning views. Atop Al Suhaili Business Center, the restaurant rotates 360° over a period of 60 minutes, allowing guests to experience the panorama of Jeddah from every angle without having to leave their table. The red and gold décor, candelabra on each table and unique setting make Le Ciel one of Jeddah’s most upmarket romantic restaurants, even the sinks in the bathrooms are gold. The menu is a blend of international cuisines, although French and Italian influence takes center stage, and the steak is said to be the best in the city.
The restaurants are on stilts in the sea at The Green Island allowing guests to watch the fish swimming beneath them through the glass floor while they eat. Al Dana Fish Restaurant serves a buffet of grilled and fried fish, shrimp, calamari, crab and salads. Hadaek Al Bahr offers a menu of Lebanese, Chinese and Indian dishes as well as a selection of shisha. The Green Island Café is a great spot for a morning coffee or sunset mocktail, with views over the sea. Guests go to The Green Island for the magical location but the seafood platter, mixed grills and mezes are worthy of a visit on their own.
For a quick, tasty and affordable lunch or dinner 19th Century Burger is an ideal option for travelers and families alike. The certified Angus beef burgers and the restaurant’s special secret sauce draw the crowds so peak times can be busy. The bread buns are baked fresh every day in the restaurant and the burgers come with a choice of crispy fries or tasty wedges. The classic meal combination consists of the 19th Century burger topped with Swiss cheese, lettuce and tomato served with fries; it won’t disappoint.