Eating Out in Jeddah

What’s Worth The Hype?


Saudi Gazette

Jeddah has become the breeding ground for new local eateries and unique franchises. Keen on exploring new cultures and tastes, Saudis have always been big on eating out with families and friends. But there came a time where most of the popular joints remained to be international chains and traditional places seemed to specialize only in Arab food. Today, the trend has changed. Be it food trucks, coffee joints or new concepts, Saudis have taken their experiences and turned them into new establishments. Even the international chains are not the usual names and are offering more diversity than just replicating overused concepts. When the scene is thriving, you expect better business which in turn means more compeition and hence better quality in terms of food and service. Those who are able to perform well at both are real winners, while those who pay less attention to either are losing out on customers and loyalty. This week we explore a diverse range of restaurants offering different cuisines and experiences. Here is what we found out.

Cafe Bateel- Great service and fresh food. First and foremost, the service is better than its competition. Management has played a crucial role in Bateel's success by employing the right tools and attitude when it comes to winning customer loyalty and numbers. Friendly and attentive waiters are quick to show you prefferable seating and cater to your food queries. Even on a packed night with limited space, Bateel has an intimate nature that allows you to have a private conversation and enjoy quality time with family.

Cafe Bateel has a new seasonal menu for the upcoming spring season. We tried the Lamb Confit and Farro Risotto, which was excellent. Rich in texture and well cooked, the steamy combination is a must try. The date shake is creamy and super sweet so if you are looking for something fresher, try the combination of banana with freshly squeezed passionfruit and creamy yoghurt. The chocolate fondant lacked moisture and chocolate filling so fails to hit the spot. Breakfast starts at 8 am and the options are great and well priced. Located at Le Prestige in Jeddah but you can also order online on

Noodle House- Poor service and average food.

You don't need to have many choices on the menu, we get that. But whatever you offer needs to be worth the time and money. First of all, the waiter crossed out all the options we couldn't have, further narrowing down our choices. If you have been to Noodle House you know that they have a selected course for each category and you have to tick the options manually when placing an order. So now we had less choices and were left in the hands of a server who would rather not be working there. Secondly, you realise there is no structure or protocol. Not all tables were given free starters, which is incomprehensible and unforgivable. Thirdly, waiters aren't trained to be attentive or sensitive to customer needs or wants. They lack knowledge about the food so don't be surprised if they read from the menu while trying to decipher what your dish actually means.

Once you try to get past the bad service you are reminded that this will be a difficult task because the food isn't that great either. Bland and probably cooked a day before, there is nothing fresh about the Tom Yum soup or the chicken. Lots of fresh vegetables are added to everything but there is nothing gratifying about the whole experience.

The friend banana works well as a dessert but with bad service, people would leave with bad memories of the restaurant.

Located on Tahliya Street.

Big Chefs- Great ambiance but average food.

Not as great as the one in Dubai, but the lavish layout and interiors create a great ambiance. Charming and cozy, books and jars of spices are used on shelves and walls to create a closer-to-home feel. While the menu is elaborate with a lot of Arab choices, the international cuisine fails to impress. However dessert and coffee are definitely worth going for. Also serving shisha outdoors, Big Chefs works as a good hangout spot. The restaurant is located on Prince Sultan Street in the New Khayat Centre.

Twenty Four- Great price and location. Situated on the second floor of the plush new Assila hotel on Tahlia Street in Jeddah, Twenty Four offers an international buffet spread for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with themed evenings celebrating cuisine from all around the world. It offers a great assortment of freshly baked bread, cheese platters, salads, soups, Arabic appetizers, Sushi, pasta and desserts along with complimentary tea and coffee at the price of SR 105 per person. If you want to order a main, that's an additional SR 70. You probably want to skip the pan fried chicken for the main course which was dry and hard to swallow and stick to the buffet spread. Desserts were extraordinary especially the freshly baked Umm Ali, Baklava and walnut ice cream. The dull setting and nostalgic background music doesn't help the mood and definitely leaves room for improvement.