The Parisian hotspot brings French finesse to Via Riyadh.
It’s rare that a restaurant attracts top models, but that’s the allure of Ferdi. Bella Hadid, Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner are just some of the famous faces that have been spotted at the Parisian establishment. With additional locations in Geneva and London, Ferdi has now introduced its sophisticated ambience to Via Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.
Via Riyadh boasts celebrity chefs, state-of-the-art cinemas, world-famous fashion brands and a five-star hotel. However, the culinary concepts keep Riyadh residents returning time and again Restaurants have flocked from Los Angeles, London and Tokyo to be a part of Via Riyadh, and fashionably famous Ferdi joins the party from Paris. And, it is one of the few restaurants to open for lunch in the complex.
Founded by Alicia and Jacques Fontanier, a married couple who named the establishment after their son Ferdinand, Ferdi initially began as a cosy, family-owned endeavour. Throughout the years, it has blossomed into an essential stop for anyone seeking an authentic Parisian experience.
While toys may form an essential part of the decor, Ferdi in Riyadh caters to chic adults, offering a sophisticated dining experience that combines elegance with a touch of playfulness across a menu of delectable seafood and vibrant salads. Its renowned dishes include the famous Mac Ferdi’s Cheeseburger, Macaroni and Cheese, and the Mexican Beef Enchiladas topped with melted cheese.
Inside Ferdi in Riyadh, rough stone walls are hung with black and white portraits and Parisian street scenes, while shelves are stacked with toys. Pumba from The Lion King glances down at us between fire trucks and teddy bears. Black and red balloons float freely throughout the space, a stuffed orangutang hangs from the bar, and light fittings filled with Minions merge childhood nostalgia with a refined edge.
While Ferdi in Paris can accommodate a handful of diners, a ‘go big or go home’ attitude has been adopted for the restaurant’s debut in the Kingdom. The Riyadh restaurant is by far the biggest for the brand and can accommodate 60 diners across two dining rooms. It’s needed, as queues are out of the door when we visit for a mid-week lunch.
Simple wooden table tops are laid with vibrant red placemats that reveal the distinct Ferdi font in the bottom right corner. A small bar off to one side sees skilled mixologists churn out Lyre’s-inspired mocktails without toppling the Asterix & Obelix figurines that line the countertop.
The menu, while concise, features a selection of salads and raw plates. However, most guests come purely for the Mac Ferdi’s Cheeseburger (SAR 98), which is available in limited quantities each day. The burger stands alone in its greatness and is generously filled with a beef patty, confit fried and raw onions, Ferdi’s special sauce, mustard and pickles. Requests can be made to customise the classic with a double patty, beef bacon or a fried egg.
Beautifully juicy thanks to the flavoursome patty, the burger provides a hint of saltiness and a more than generous slathering of cheese. Sandwiched between a fluffy bun, it’s a surefire contender for the title of Riyadh’s best burger, and given its international notoriety, it’s easy to see why. The result is messy but delightfully delicious.
The Fillets of Superior Norwegian Smoked Salmon (SAR 110) stand out amongst the Ceviche, Micro Sardines, Salads and Risotto that grace the menu. It is served in thick, bite-sized pieces alongside an array of condiments. We devour the delicate fish while selecting from the small bowls of salt, pepper, onions, olive oil, sour cream and dill that line the plate-like soldiers poised to march.
Ferdi’s desserts range from Waffles and Cheese Plates to Churros with desirable dipping sauces. If you love the Spanish dessert, you’re in for a treat because the churros are crisp on the outside and fluffy within. These moreish doughy delights work best with the Nutella-like nucciola dipping sauce – thank us later.
Staff remain personable and well versed in the menu despite the influx of diners, ensuring care and attention are given to each table. At the restaurant, nearly every customer is tucking into the Mac Ferdi’s Cheeseburger – and you should, too. The response is the same: superb satisfaction. Ferdi in Riyadh: a model restaurant, which is popular with families and fashionistas.
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