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FACT Review: Signor Sassi Riyadh

Sample signature Italian staples in As Sulimaniyah.

An official YouGov study in 2019 deemed Italian food to be the most popular cuisine in the world. Given our adoration for carb-heavy pizza and pasta dishes combined with fresh ingredients that scream comfort food, it’s easy to see why.

Riyadh is fast becoming a city of Italian restaurants. From Cipriani in Hittin to Mamo Michelangelo inside Al Faisaliah Hotel, it would seem that the Kingdom cannot get enough of arancini, carpaccio and the temptations of tiramisu. So, it was only fitting that FACT visited Signor Sassi on the cusp of its first anniversary.

Signor Sassi Riyadh

Signor Sassi has welcomed royalty and celebrities from across the world. Having first opened in London’s Knightsbridge in 1984, the restaurant prides itself on creating simple Italian staples such as grilled lobster, fillet of beef tagliata, whole fresh crab salad, spaghetti alle vongole, and filetto al pepe verde. In 2008, the restaurant expanded to the Middle East, opening a branch in Kuwait. Riyadh followed in 2022 and a Dubai location is expected later this year.

Judging by the packed restaurant on the Thursday lunchtime we visit, Signor Sassi is a trendy choice, and its popularity shows no sign of wavering. Housed in a grand villa in As Sulimaniyah, Signor Sassi Riyadh makes quite the impression. Intricate stone work, a charming foyer, and an expansive dining room that is both cosy and grand add to the appeal of the dining destination, where colourful bougainvillaea hangs seductively from the ceiling and glass skylights and an olive tree give the impression of dining al fresco.

Signor Sassi Riyadh

Service is snappy and personable as we navigate the expansive menu featuring over one hundred dishes. We begin with the Vitello Tonnato (SAR 112), which presents thin slices of veal tenderloin amidst tuna dressing, capers, potatoes, green beans and lemon. It’s melt-in-the-mouth good, and it’s easy to see why the dish has become a Signor Sassi signature. The crisp and moreish Baby Calamari (SAR 132) is another strong choice, as is the cool and creamy Burrata (SAR 112) served with confit tomatoes.

The main courses cover everything from homemade pasta to pizza and proteins. We can’t help but admire the Pizza Salamino Piccante (SAR 168) with its beautifully blistered base layered with mozzarella cheese, spicy salami and sliced red chilli. It’s a fiery contradiction to the delicate Seabass (AED 420), which is light, flaky and doused in a generous combination of olive oil and lemon garlic vinaigrette. If you’d prefer something from the grill, we’d suggest the tender Filetto alla Griglia (SAR 254) served with robust bearnaise sauce.

Signor Sassi Riyadh

While we’d always take savoury over sweet, the desserts at Signor Sassi may have piqued our interest a little too much. With options such as Crème Brûlée, Lemon Tart and Millefeuille competing for our attention, we settle on the frankly massive Tiramisu (SAR 105). Traced with the Signor Sassi logo in coco, the deep bowl of organic coffee-soaked lady fingers and thick mascarpone cream is a treat for your tastebuds and your Instagram stories.

Signor Sassi Riyadh

Showcasing local ingredients and masterful mocktails (don’t miss the housemade Limonata), Signor Sassi Riyadh has evidently made its mark on the Saudi dining scene and is in good company amidst Beefbar, Billionaire, COYA, Myazu and ROKA on the bustling As Sulimaniyah thoroughfare. 

Expect signature dishes but no signs of sass.

GO: Call +966 9200 11877 or follow @signorsassiriyadh on Instagram for 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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