An elegant wooden table with polished glasses atop it is surrounded by lush green plants in a high-end restaurant. Spreads of artistically arranged Greek specialities, including tzatziki, Santorini salad, eggplant dip, and meat gyros tacos, are on the table. A diner might initially believe they are in the Greek Islands, or at the very least, in a posh Mediterranean restaurant in London or Dubai.
Yet this restaurant is Meraki Riyadh, a well-known brand of luxury Greek restaurants that debuted in London in 2017 and in the Mandarin Oriental Riyadh in September 2021. While Meraki wouldn’t likely startle diners in any other major city, it might do so in Riyadh, a city that historically had a quite unremarkable food scene. Meraki Riyadh, a popular upscale Greek restaurant chain, launched in Mandarin Oriental Riyadh in September 2021.
A plethora of fine dining establishments has popped up in the Saudi capital over the past three years, coinciding with Saudi Arabia’s massive social and economic reform led by Vision 2030. The ambitious reform program of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman seeks to boost household spending on leisure and culture to 6%, up 2.9% from when the Vision was launched in 2016.
Numerous international dishes, including sushi, caviar, tapas, babka bread, dim sum, and fondue, are now available in the Saudi capital thanks to the opening of some of the best chains and restaurants in the world and the growth of locally owned restaurants serving both traditional and fusion cuisine.
Local and foreign guests enthusiastically enjoy meals like caviar on masabeeb pancakes, including caviar from locally farmed sturgeon, and whipped cream created with local dried limes at the new well-liked luxury Saudi contemporary fusion restaurant MAIZ.
One diner remarks, “Fusion offerings of this scale weren’t accessible just a few years ago.”
Take over, New York City: Riyadh is the city that never sleeps when it comes to the excellent food on offer. You can eat whatever you want at any time of the day, from nibbles to quick food to serious fine dining, according to Philips.