FoodKSARestaurant ReviewsRiyadh

FACT Review: Il Baretto Riyadh

Italian food executed with finesse in the heart of KAFD.

International imports appear to be the trend du jour right now in Riyadh. BeefBar, COYA, LPM Restaurant & Café and ROKA have all successfully made their mark on the Saudi capital in recent months, but this London import should be added to your dining bucket list ASAP.

Located amidst the glittering skyscrapers of the King Abdullah Financial District, the charming Il Baretto offers a modern approach to Italian cuisine. Instantly recognisable for its marble façade, gold-trimmed doors and quaint teal awnings, Il Baretto was the first restaurant to open in the city’s financial district, marking the neighbourhood as a fine dining enclave to rival the likes of Dubai’s DIFC or London’s Canary Wharf.

Il Baretto Riyadh

Il Baretto is seen by many Riyadh residents as the home of Italian cuisine in the capital, offering a chic environment to enjoy pizza, pasta and parmigiana. The interiors capture the essence of “la dolce vita”, where vibrant artworks line the walls and Murano glass sculptures take pride of place. Several comfortable seating areas extend out across the dark wooden flooring and onto a small terrace, but it’s the central bar area with its high seating and masterful mixology that proves most popular during our lunchtime visit. 

Famed for its à la carte offering, the Riyadh outpost of Il Baretto offers a selection of Italian favourites and modern classics that draw inspiration from regional Italian specialities. The menu combines dishes that have proved popular in the London flagship, such as veal Milanese and salt-baked seabass, with modern classics like lobster linguine and wild seabass carpaccio. 

Il Baretto Riyadh

Offering an elevated dining experience compared to its London counterpart, our lunch at Il Baretto Riyadh begins with a crisp mix of Calamari e Zucchine (SAR 128) that comes alive with a spritz of lemon.

Never able to resist Burrata (SAR 140), Il Barretto’s version is adorned with a generous shaving of black truffle to bring an earthiness to the creamy Italian cheese. However, the Foie Gras Crème Brûlée (SAR 140) impressed the most. Served with red onion chutney and toasted brioche, this lighter preparation method embraces the decadent dish’s richness without leaving us feeling heavy.

Il Baretto Riyadh

Premium ingredients such as oysters, wagyu beef, lobster and truffle anchor much of the dining experience. You can even order saffron risotto with aged Parmesan cheese that arrives ceremoniously garnished with an edible gold layer. Yet despite the glitz and glamour, the classic dishes remain popular and are prepared with finesse by the culinary team. Don’t miss the plump and perfectly cooked Beef Fillet Rossini (SAR 412) topped with seared foie gras, spinach, crouton and black truffle or the popular Pizza Pesto (SAR 136) with mozzarella, potato fondue, French beans and pesto that is cooked in an open wood-burning oven.

Desserts range from traditional Millefoglie (SAR 78) and Crème Brulèe (SAR 98) to more experimental choices such as the Chocolate Cloud (SAR 98), which offers an alluring mix of dark chocolate bavarese, salted caramel heart, banana and peanut butter. Yet the intense and creamy Tiramisù (SAR 85) would be our preference.

Il Baretto Riyadh

With colourful mocktails and proficient service working not only to match but enhance the vibrancy of the dining room, Il Barretto has become a trendsetter in KAFD. With Amazónico, SushiSamba and Zuma all taking up residency close to Il Barretto, it’s clear that a dining revolution is underway in the Saudi capital, and we’re here for it.

GO: Visit for reservations and more information.

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David Tapley - Editor-in-Chief
As editor-in-chief of the region’s most fiercely local lifestyle publication, David is a self-proclaimed hip-hop aficionado, championing all things food, travel, street art, and streetwear across the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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