Visiting Riyadh for work, I was taken out for business lunches at pretty awesome places. The first was a famous Turkish resturaunt Assaraya. The naan was 6x bigger than my head! We ordered the barbeque platter as well as some ganoush and hummus. With 4 people we did not even finish 2/3 of the bread. The food was quite delicious. I highly recommend checking this place out. The atmosphere and decor make it very elegant.
The next day we went to Shawarma House . Probably the best Shawarma I ever had. I got the spiciest flavor of chicken and beef. To me it was not that spicy but it was amazingly flavorful. The spices were from Saudi Arabia and they were quite unique and brought great tinginess and flavor to the Shawarma.
For the last meal after the project and presentation to sales was done, we ate pure Saudi Arabian food. We got a carpetted booth, sat down and ate a huge rice platter. Of course we did not finish it all but we took half of it back to give to the other guys at the office. I definitely gained a few pounds this trip..
We ate cross legged with shoes off, I used a bowl because I did not want to drop any on my pants. Traditionally you can eat with your hands on the plastic cover and dual wield spoons.
For desert we had Kunafeh. "Kunafeh is made of semolina dough and thin noodle-like phyllo pastry. It is stuffed with a white soft cheese such as Nabulsi cheese. Kunafeh is crunchy on the outside and is soaked in simple sweet syrup. Recently, the Middle East has seen variations of this dish with the addition of Mangoes." It was tasty and my lovehandles hate me for it
Later at my last night, I was able to see sight-seeing. Riaydh is quite beautiful at night and the lights are very well done. Thanks to Nightsight with my Google Pixel 2 XL, I was able to capture some awesome shots at night.
Later for dinner I went to Yamal Alsham. This was right next to my hotel. This BBQ platter was 55 Sar (which at the time 3.75 SAR to 1 USD so it was around $20). For the whole trip since there was no alcohol, they always had the same type of fruit juices for any meal. I always went with Grapefruit or Pomegrenate. If there was Kiwi, I would’ve instantly got it.
Before I left to the airport we went to a local resturaunt Give Me Five that might start expanding really soon. The resturaunt was AWESOME. Great outdoor seating, pretty awesome service and the food came out fresh and hot. The Naan was great and there was nice outdoor seating.
I stayed at the Rosh Ray haan by Rotana. This was a pretty awesome hotel, one of the most comfortable beds and pillows from my vast experiences of hotel stays. The pricing is decent and the location was only a mile from my work site. I ate the breakfast and dinner buffets once each and they were very good. Highly recommend staying at this hotel if you are in the area. The end notes here is that Saudi Arabia is pretty awesome, great food and people were genuinely very nice. It is nothing that you hear in the media so I really do not think anyone should be afraid if they have to go there for business. I never felt unsafe and I even met a woman around my age who was traveling to Saudi Arabia at the airport and we had a short talk. It was her first time visiting for work and she was not nervous or afraid at all.