Journey through the seven regions of Anatolia in the heart of the Saudi capital.
The Kingdom’s culinary scene has kept us intrigued, with new and diverse offerings catering to the most discerning of palates. There is, however, one gap in Saudi Arabia’s dining scene, and that’s Anatolian cuisine. Enter: Rüya Riyadh.
Known for its stylish restaurants in London and Dubai, Rüya brings the rich culinary traditions and cuisine of Türkiye to Riyadh’s popular As Sulimaniyah neighbourhood.
With its name translating to ‘dream’ ’in Turkish, Rüya’s mission is to offer authentic flavours, heartfelt hospitality, and beautifully designed spaces. Rüya in Riyadh lives up to this ethereal promise, creating a contemporary restaurant, lounge and bar experience focused on food and family. The 127-seat restaurant feels intimate and cosy, thanks to its Byzantine-inspired chandeliers, hand-woven Turkish carpets and striking three-dimensional tile work. The theatrical open kitchen, complete with a roaring bread oven, is abuzz with activity. As is the gold-accented bar, flanked by comfortable seating. Indoor and outdoor spaces aside, stand-out features include the suspended rolling pins in a cornucopia of colours and an ornate wooden door that dates back over 200 years.
Rüya’s food selection is anchored around traditional Anatolian flavours enlivened with a modern twist. Star dishes include the Adana kebap (juicy flame-grilled Turkish kebab), hot and cold Turkish mezes, and 24-hour slow-cooked short ribs.
We leave our meal in the capable hands of our server, who guides us on a culinary journey from the shores of the Black Sea to the Mediterranean coast, beginning with Pide (SAR 42). The freshly baked flatbread arrived fresh from the oven with an egg yolk, which was then smeared on top by the server. The egg and bubbling cheese gave comfort food vibes. Elsewhere, the crisp Börek (SAR 58) presents golden cigars of filo-wrapped feta cheese with carrots, courgette and walnuts, while the crisp Lahmacun (SAR 52) is a thin-crusted bread topped with a rich and robust combination of mincemeat and herbs.
Rüya Riyadh’s dishes are spot on for sharing and come in good-sized portions. The restaurant’s large plates include lamb cutlets and whole fish. However, the Kuru Fasulye (SAR 195) is Rüya Riyadh’s pièce de résistance. The remarkably tender lamb neck is slow-cooked in a traditional clay oven resulting in meat that melts in the mouth, is enviably tender, and offers a dish of bold flavours and beautiful aromatics.
Ensure you savour dessert while sipping on a cup of warming Turkish tea. Künefe may seem like an obvious choice, but Rüya Riyadh’s selection of ice creams are luscious and refreshing. For something heartier, the new-to-the-menu, orange-infused sponge cake comes FACT recommended.
Rüya’s DNA runs also translate to an innovative beverage list, with the team crafting creative mocktails using classic Turkish flavours and ingredients — hibiscus, rose, pomegranate, honey, spices, citrus and mint included.
Rüya Riyadh has been brought to the capital by prominent Saudi restaurateur Mohammed Jawa of MJS Holding, who has played a pivotal role in Saudi Arabia’s burgeoning food scene, introducing high-profile luxury and lifestyle restaurants to the Kingdom, such as Mr Chow, Il Baretto and ROKA Riyadh, in addition to the forthcoming Amazónico and Zuma.
With recent openings in Cannes and Doha, Rüya’s culinary star is clearly on the rise, and this is one Turkish delight you do not want to miss.
GO: Visit https://ruyarestaurants.com for more information.