Today, Jeddah Is continuing to completely shift on its axis into a full-fledged booming tourist hot spot. It is on everyone’s radar and for good reason with everything from opening its luxurious new marina to it being the host of yet another successful edition of the Red Sea International Film Festival. It has also been flourishing its food scene, opening up upscale restaurants known to take risks, experiment, and innovate.
International restaurants from all over the globe have made Jeddah their latest home with global chefs arriving to present their finest to both Saudi locals and visitors. Along with attending the film fest, to truly feel like you are traveling the world these are the finest restaurants across the city you should visit.
Le Vesuvio (Italian)
Established in 1969 in Cannes, for over 50 years this Italian restaurant with a French flair served the celebrities and socialites of the French town. Today, it has made its way to the Kingdom, opening its doors at the bustling seafront Jeddah yacht club. Just as it serves the attendees of the Cannes Film Fest, Jeddah’s Le Vesuvio can also be a crowd favorite among the Red Sea Film Fest crowd.
Diners will surely be lured to its waterfront location as well as its exceptional menu. Many of the dishes draw their inspiration from Cannes’ heritage like their fresh oysters but many also play around with Italian classics like their perfectly thin-crusted milk-fed veal Milanese. If you want to dine like an A-lister, be sure to head to Le Vesuvio.
Rasoi by Vineet (Indian)
Known as the brainchild of award-winning Michelin star chef Vineet Bhatia, Rasoi is all about raising the bar when it comes to what is possible with Indian cuisine. Bhatia is all about experimenting and taking risks and that is why he is known as the chef who applies Indian techniques to ingredients that are unknown in India. When it comes to Rasoi, the Indian restaurant that has taken over Al Andalus district, its interiors are inspired by the old parts of Jeddah while its beating hub, the kitchen offers a refreshing window into Indian cuisine.
Expect everything from their slow-cooked boneless mutton smothered in tomato sauce flavored with spices, lemon, yogurt, and pickled onions and served below a crust of caramelized onion bread to a multi-layered Raj Kashor (crispy fried shells filled with everything from potatoes to lentils) covered in beetroot yogurt and a herb chutney drizzle.
Lucky Llama (Peruvian)
Bringing something completely fresh to the table is Lucky Llama and its name says it all as the eatery is all about Peru’s rich cuisine weaved in with some Japanese flair. It is known to serve Nikkei cuisine that combines Peruvian and Japanese techniques giving birth to a synchronous combination of colours, flavours and aromas. Opening up at Al Mohammadiyyah, the eatery was born out of the many years that its Saudi Moroccan founder and chef Nihal Felemban traveled around the world.
To truly experience all that Lucky Llama has to offer, we recommend going as a big group to share many dishes and work your way through its eclectic menu. Start things off with their raw bar by getting a taste of their wagyu flank carpaccio made with truffle miso sauce and truffle ponzu then follow that with some hot bites like their beef yakis made of grilled black Angus tenderloin skewers smothered in gochujang sauce. Change the pace by digging into their Peruvian seafood rice filled with prawns, octopus and scallops mixed in their Peruvian aji Amarillo sauce.
After already making a name for itself in the Kingdom at Riyadh as well as nabbing several awards, the Japanese eatery known as Roka has also found its way to the city’s stunning cascade retail and entertainment complex within Jeddah Walk. Now this fine dining establishment introduces a very special type of Japanese cooking known as robatayaki that involves cooking different ingredients at varying speeds over hot charcoal.
Dining out at Roka means you’ll get to indulge in delicious Japanese cuisine made with a special twist. Special dishes on their menu include their translucent yellowtail sashimi with yuzu truffle dressing, their ROKA “Baked” potato with yuzu cream and chives as well as their juicy beef fillet accompanied by a chili, ginger and spring onion sauce. We highly recommend going for their desserts as well especially their lotus-shaped milk chocolate mousse served with banana ice cream and coconut crumble.
From being named Jeddah’s Favorite Restaurant of 2023 at the Fact Dining Awards Riyadh to making it on Time Out Jeddah’s top Restaurants of 2023 list, the Lebanese eatery Niyyali has been making a big name for itself in the kingdom. The chef behind Niyyali, Ali Al Haj, is special as he hails from Beirut and spent 15 years at the stoves of Lebanon’s best restaurants. Now he is turning his attention to Jeddah, bringing the soul of Lebanon all the way to the Red Sea.
Overlooking the Red Sea, Niyyali serves up the diverse, rich and bold flavors of Lebanon to every diner. Visiting Niyyali means getting to bite into their earthy and musky truffle-drizzled hummus and creamy smoked salmon labneh. Taking things up a notch, there’s their special Wagyu Ras Asfour Bel Karaz, a dish made of wagyu beef served with potato cubes and cherry sauce. Knowing that the restaurant sits by the sea, seafood is a major aspect of their menu. For lovers of luxury and decadence, you can try their Octopus Provincial, an 18-hour slow-cooked octopus served with potato cubes or the Red Sea Experience that includes everything from lobster tail to Red Sea sea bass and tiger prawns.
Al Saddah (Saudi Arabia)
According to Time Out and even Arabian Business, if you are after a top Saudi meal in Jeddah, Al Saddah is the place to go. Its popularity is unmatched across the kingdom knowing that the eatery excels in making Saudi classics like madghout (rice, chicken & tomato puree dish) and madhbi (crispy chicken & rice dish). Rice and chicken are the superheroes of Al Saddah, a Saudi eatery that even Jeddah residents return to themselves.
At Al Saddah, you will live and breathe the Saudi experience, getting to dine in melt-in-your-mouth Mandi as well as beef Madfoon. You can also enjoy common side staples like crunchy sombusak as well as a hearty molokhia. Make sure to bring your appetite and get ready to relax and unwind at this special eatery.
Khayal Restaurant (Turkish)
Since 2005, Khayal has been serving authentic Turkish feasts to the masses. From the oven-baked breakfast pies with vibrant fillings freshly made in the morning to their coal-grilled juicy selection of meats served during the evening. Beyond Jeddah, the restaurant has made its way to Taif, Makkah, Aseer and Yanbu City. Its recipes span generations of family traditions, making it a dining spot perfect to enjoy with your own family.
On visiting Khayal, sharing their dishes is inevitable especially as they serve massive, family-size portions including their palace mix made of kebab, chicken cubes, meat cubes, meat and chicken shawarma, kibbeh and sambosak, a true feast. For some fun, you can even go for their gigantic 1-meter succulent kebab.
Toki (Chinese, Thai & Malay)
Within exquisite interiors of ornate pillars, elegant chandeliers and an elaborate ceiling is a restaurant that blends together the finest in Chinese, Thai and Malaysian cuisine. Known as Toki, dining at this eatery will give you a unique feel of the Asian continent as you will not only get to experience the taste of crispy peking duck served in pancakes or Cantonese prawn toast, but you’ll also get to try kunafa prawn rolls with spicy mayo and salsa sauce.
For true lovers of Asian food, Toki is a great spot to hit up to experience the finest in Far East cuisine at Jeddah’s popular wedding venue Leylaty.
Le Comptoir de Nicole (French)
Another Jeddah Yacht Club restaurant that exemplifies excellence in dining is Le Comptoir de Nicole, a French restaurant that is bringing Côte d’Azur vibes all the way to Jeddah. This restaurant is all about making guests feel like they are VIPs. Its interiors mirror its flagship restaurant in Nice as it includes its signature red and white striped decor as well as brass and wooden elements.
Their Jeddah menu makes a special ode to Mediterranean cuisine as guests journey through its starters of Onion Pissaladière and Niçoise Salad. Afterward, they get to indulge in succulent lamb chops with eggplant caviar and truffle mafaldine or their fresh sea bass fillet served with fried artichokes and fresh tomatoes.
Fogo De Chão (Brazilian)
Meat lovers rejoice as this Brazilian eatery is all about serving up every meat cut imaginable. Fogo De Chão is a Brazilian steakhouse with a global name as it has branches all over the world and has made its way to the kingdom by opening its doors in Jeddah. The restaurant specializes in churrascaria-style dining which is akin to a Portuguese barbecue and its cooking style is quite special as it involves slowly cooking the meat and steaks over an open flame to get the best flavor out of the meat.
Come hungry to this steakhouse as waiters will keep coming to your table with all types of meat cuts and they will even give you the knife to slice it to your liking. There’s everything from their juicy porterhouse cut to a sirloin, rib-eye, or filet.
From the East to the West, the seaside city of Jeddah is serving up global flavors alongside its booming touristic hotspots. Try them out before or after hitting up the festival to take your visit to new gastronomic heights.