After eleven months of voting, the winners of the FACT Dining Awards Riyadh 2023 have been revealed.
The inaugural FACT Dining Awards Riyadh 2023 saw 37 awards given out across 17 categories, covering more than 100 hotels and independent restaurants.
The primary objective of the FACT Dining Awards Dubai is to acknowledge excellence within the food and beverage industry the capital. The winners were chosen through a combination of public votes and the evaluations of industry critics. So, without further ado, here are the 2023 winners – according to you.
All Day Dining
Al Orjouan at The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh
The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh is one of the most glamorous hotels in the capital. Al Orjouan is its all-day dining restaurant, which hosts buffets and themed nights, which range from Butcher’s Night to Seafood Night. Diners can indulge in international and Middle Eastern flavours in the opulent setting.
Flour & Firewood at As Sulimaniyah
If you believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, you’ll love Flour & Firewood. The casual restaurant serves an all-day breakfast, and the menu includes Spiced Peanut Butter French Toast, Olive Tomato Confit and Baked Feta, and Simple Avocado. The menu also includes lunch, dinner, cake and coffee creations. The fun flavours include Basil Olive Oil Cake, Carrot Spice Cake and Mini Basil Cake.
½ Million at Various Locations
Saudi Arabians know their coffee. The homegrown brand, ½ Million, caused quite a stir in the Kingdom’s coffee scene and is loved by locals. The hot and cold drinks range from a Spanish Latte to iced mocktails, and the sweet treats range from cakes to ice creams. The brand recently expanded to London’s Soho and is just as popular with queues around the block.
Mamo Michelangelo at Al Faisaliah Hotel
Mamo Michelangelo has brought a touch of the South of France to Riyadh. It is located in the Al Fasaliah Hotel and has a loyal fanbase in the capital (and beyond). The venue feels like a French country house, decorated with lemon trees (they’re even hand-painted onto the plates), market-style stalls, and cellars. The ingredient-driven menu includes pizzas and pastas – we loved the Tournedo Rossini, which came with tenderloin, foie gras, truffle and Périgueux sauce.
ROKA at As Sulimaniyah
ROKA showcases the brand’s world-famous Japanese robatayaki concept and unique style of cooking. At the heart of the menu is the robata grill, which is a traditional Japanese cooking method. Inspired by fishermen cooking fish over charcoal on boats, it brings to life authentic Japanese flavours. The menu includes sashimi, salads, maki and more. The terrace brings the relaxed yet refined vibes to Riyadh – look out for the DJ nights.
North American and Caribbean
Smokey Beards Q at Hittin
Smokey Beards Q may serve American food, but it was created in Saudi Arabia. The homegrown concept has been impressing diners with its welcoming atmosphere and generous portions. The menu draws inspiration from the southern states, and includes burgers and brisket. American rapper Mutah Beale is behind the brand, and Kanye West was recently spotted at the restaurant.
Billionaire Riyadh at As Sulimaniyah
Even if you’re not a billionaire, you’ll be treated like one at Billionaire Riyadh. Created by Formula 1’s Flavio Briatore, the luxury hospitality brand has already been successful in Dubai. With performances at its core, it boasts singers and dancers. The food is presented with a theatrical touch and spans Asian to Italian, from sushi and sashimi to burrata and ravioli. Make like DJ Khaled, who visited the venue, and order the Lobster Salad.
MNKY HSE in Hittin
MNKY HSE made the jump from London to Riyadh, and became one of the city’s hottest reservations. Expect a vibrant dining room with monkey motifs, tropical foliage and a DJ. The menu includes ceviche, tacos, sushi and meats from the robata grill. Make sure you order the show-stopping Spnk The Mnky dessert – a piñata filled with petit fours, truffles, fresh berries, dulce de leche candies and lollies, no less.
Middle Eastern & North African
Shababik at As Sulimaniyah
Shababik has been impressing diners in Jeddah and Riyadh. The all-day dining prides itself on offering authentic Lebanese flavours. The menu includes soups, hot and cold mezze, salads and mains. The specials include Kebbab Remman, Kibbeh Labaniyeh and Stuffed Cabbage.
Meat lovers will be falling knife over fork for BeefBar Riyadh. As the name suggests, it’s all about beef, glorious beef. The restaurant brings the glitz of Monaco to Saudi Arabia. Admire the opulent Art Deco touches including high ceilings, tall curved mirrors and gold hues. This is not your average steakhouse, as it is packed with personality – a cheeky emoji print on the plates, gold steaks and a chocolate bar designed to look like beef prove the point.
Maharaja East by Vineet at As Sulimaniyah
Maharaja East by Vineet prides itself on being a gourmet Indian restaurant. Vineet Bhatia, who is has been behind a MICHELIN Starred restaurant, has created the concept. The menu aims to offer a lighter take on classics, and offers a fine dining experience. The dramatic dining room includes a show kitchen, boardroom and terrace.
Signor Sassi at As Sulimaniyah
The charming and chic Signor Sassi is located in As Sulimaniyah. Having already wowed diners in London, this renowned Italian eatery has fed A-listers from Rihanna to Lionel Richie, and FACT’s Editor-in-Chief. The menu is so expansive, it has more than 100 dishes. Expect generous portions, but don’t leave without trying the signature Spaghetti Lobster and tempting Tiramisu.
Tatel at Bujairi Terrace
Tatel comes with the backing of footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and tennis player Rafael Nadel. The restaurant draws its inspiration from America’s prohibition era in the 1920s, and serves Spanish haute cuisine. The menu features Crispy Eggplant, Grilled Octopus, Seabass Ceviche, Slow Cooked Beef Ribs and Spicy Chicken Terrine. The Cheesecake, with its fluffy texture and gooey filling, is one of the best we’ve ever had – we’d rock up just for the dessert.
ROKA at As Sulimaniyah
ROKA has mastered being consistent across the world. Despite adapting its ingredients to suit the Riyadh market, it still shines. The contemporary Japanese restaurant offers an a la carte and tasting menu. The signature dishes include Black Cod, King Crab Dumplings and Salmon Tartare. Plus, the Lamb Cutlets with Korean spices are plated to perfection.
Homegrown Saudi Restaurant
Suhail at An Nakheel
Saudi restaurants just keep coming, but Suhail stands out from the restaurant crowd. In Arabic, the name means brightest star, which is a fitting moniker for a restaurant that is lighting up Riyadh and AlUla’s dining scene. Local favourites are given an upgrade, from the Jareesh Soup (traditional vegetable soup) to the Chicken Kabsa (rice and spiced roast chicken served with tahini sauce). The restaurant is all sorts of understated elegance and inspired by the soaring rocks in the AlUla desert – there are high ceilings, gold hues and tables nestled in quiet corners.
Al Khobar & The Eastern Province
Hellenika at Al Matal
The fine dining Greek restaurant Hellenika has made its mark in Al Khobar. Located in the Al Matal Complex on the coast, it pays homage to Hellenic cuisine. The venue feels like a breath of fresh air, and brings the chilled Greek vibes Saudi. The dishes include freshly baked bread, hot and cold mezzes and grilled meats.
Niyyali at Shangri-La Jeddah
Niyyali is a modern Middle Eastern gem, which showcases Lebanese dishes inside the Shangri-La Jeddah. If the sound of falafel, fatteh and fattouch gets your stomach rumbling, then you’re in luck. Located near the Formula One circuit, it takes comfort food and transforms it for a mass market. The dishes range from tender grilled meats to truffle hummus.
RŌBATA in Hittin
RŌBATA, as the name suggests, showcases dishes cooked on a robatayaki grill. Located in The Canopy, it boasts an Insta-worthy environment. The Japanese menu includes charcoal grills, meat, seafood and vegetables straight from the robatayaki grill. Don’t leave without checking out the terrace and the views of Riyadh.