Here’s where to try one of the best spag bols in Saudi Arabia.
Few restaurants in the world have been namechecked by rappers. Hollywood’s Madeo has made its way into Drake’s Diplomatic Immunity, where he rhymes “I prefer Madeo, calamari rings and tomato”. Now, if you want to make like the superstar(s), you don’t have to board a plane, as Madeo has opened in Saudi Arabia’s Via Riyadh.
Madeo was born in 1985 and prides itself on being a family run business, so much so that it is named after one of the family members. Over the years, it has built a reputation for its fine-dining Italian food. The menu spans Tuscan dishes, which have been created with high-quality ingredients. Plus, it has served celebrity guests, from Frank Sinatra to Leonardo DiCaprio, who regularly visits the OG with his mum and dad.
On our Via Riyadh visit, there were no famous faces, but we did meet head chef and family member, Gianni Vietina. Great for a sophisticated night out, you’re guaranteed to have a memorable meal. The restaurant oozes an old-school charm, and we were welcomed in as though it was our second home – albeit, a very grand one.
Madeo’s décor boasts floor to ceilings windows, high ceilings, indoor trees and white tablecloths. Look out for the FOMO-inducing private dining rooms. Plus, the statement bar is decked out in the brand’s signature cream and green colours, with gold touches and emerald stools.
Madeo’s menu covers antipasti, salads, seafood, meat, pizzas, pastas and dessert. We started with the Insalata Di Polpo, which is an octopus salad. Bright and beautiful, the dish was full of fresh flavours. The light starter lets the octopus shine, which is sliced into bite-size pieces and seasoned to perfection.
The Cotoletta Milanese, a pounded and breaded milk-fed veal chop, is a classic main. The thin piece of meat came with the bone attached, and was crunchy on the outside yet tender within.
Do not leave without eating the Spaghetti Alla Bolognese, which is Madeo’s signature dish. As the waiter garnished it with an oversized pepper shaker, we were struck by its simplicity. Thanks to the rich but high-quality ingredients, it is one of the best spag bols in Riyadh. The dish is return-worthy, heck even travel-worthy.
Gianni explained: “At our Hollywood restaurant, the Saudis love the Spaghetti Alla Bolognese. It’s a very simple thing with veal and beef sauce. It’s cooked for three to four hours, but it’s not a complicated dish. We get the best but the least ingredients, so the main one can shine.”
For dessert, we finished with the Millefoglie, better known as a mille-feuille, which was texture-tastic. The layers of puff pastry, custard cream and whipped cream combined together for a crispy yet flaky finish. Best of all, the delicate dish did not suffer from the Saudi sweetness, which is common in the market.
Madeo’s team clearly have a passion for Saudi Arabia, and it won’t be long until they win the hearts (and stomachs) in the Kingdom. Gianna declares: “Riyadh’s dining scene is going to be the capital of the world. There are more than 40 famous restaurants opening this year. A bunch opened last year, and more will open next year. Here you have the crème da la crème.”
Madeo, that includes you.
GO: Visit https://coolinc.com.sa for more information.