From pizzas to pastas, here’s where to grab a slice or three.
Whether you’re craving pizzas from Naples or gelato from Florence, there’s a restaurant in Riyadh to suit your needs. The capital is packed with global and homegrown brands, which serve top-quality Italian food. So, leave room for tiramisu – here are the best Italian restaurants in Riyadh.
Altopiano – Bujairi Terrace
We love homegrown concepts at FACT. So, we were excited to hear about the Saudi Arabian-born brand Altopiano. The chefs embrace fresh, quality ingredients and go the extra mile to produce dishes evoking an authentic taste of Southern Italy but with a Middle Eastern twist. The restaurant even uses Saudi ingredients to bridge the gap between Italy and Saudi Arabia worlds.
GO: Follow @altopiano.sa on Instagram for more information.
Annabella Ristorante Italiano – Levels Mall
The life-size FIAT at the front of the restaurant lets you know that you’ve arrived in Italy – well, almost. The menu doesn’t just cover pizzas and pastas, as there is also meat and vegetable dishes. Look out for the upper floor, which is inspired by a cellar that includes old barrels and cute chandeliers. Plus, there is a terrace for the evenings and winter.
GO: Follow @annabellaksa on Instagram for more information.
Azzurro – The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh
Located inside the luxurious The Ritz-Carlton Riyadh, Azzurro serves Italian food with finesse. The fine dining experience is open to hotel guests and the public. The dining room includes plush pillars, marble features and overlooks an indoor swimming pool. The menu is inspired by dishes from Sardinia and offers authentic flavours with a modern twist.
GO: Visit www.ritzcarlton.com for more information.
Cipriani – Hittin
Cipriani is an institution. The brand is known across the world for its famous Venetian fine dining. The family motto is “to serve is to love”, and they’ve bought a piece of that passion to Hittin in Riyadh. The décor includes the signature nautical colours, which range from blue sofas to white tablecloths. Plus, the menu prides itself on using simple ingredients to a high-quality standard and offering signature dishes from Harry’s Bar in Venice.
GO: Visit www.cipriani.com for more information.
Cova Il Ristorante by LVMH – Bujairi Terrace
Did you know that Cova Il Ristorante by LVMH is almost 200 years old? The original concept can trace its roots so far back, and it is believed to be one of Italy’s oldest pasticcerias. Diners can expect artisanal Italian authenticity combined with creative craftsmanship, which create elegant Mediterranean dishes. The menu includes Risotto alla Milanese, pasta and seasonal salads.
GO: Visit www.pasticceriacova.com for reservations and more information.
Il Baretto – KAFD
There are few places where you can feel a neighbourhood charm in the capital. The London-based eatery opened its first international location in Riyadh. The concept has been created by restaurateurs Arjun Waney, who is behind Zuma, Coya and LPM, and Giuliano Lotto, who is behind Zafferano and Memories of China. The menu is all about simple Italian dishes that draw their inspiration from regional produce.
GO: Visit https://ilbaretto.sa for more information.
Mamo Michelangelo – Al Faisaliah Hotel
Mamo Michelangelo is located in Al Fasaliah Hotel, and has a loyal fanbase in Riyadh. In 1992, the flagship restaurant opened in the South of France, and it has bought plenty of charm to the city. The venue is decorated with lemon trees, market-style stalls and cellars. The ingredient-driven menu includes pizzas and pastas – we loved the Tournedo Rossini, which came with tenderloin, foie gras, truffle and Périgueux sauce.
GO: Visit https://mamo-michelangelo.com for more information.
Morini Riyadh – Jareed Hotel
A slice of Italy via New York landed in Riyadh and made its Middle East debut. Morini Riyadh opened in the five-star hotel, Jareed Hotel, and made its mark. If you’re after pasta in a plush Art Deco-inspired setting, then book a table at this Italian restaurant. The menu ranges from Golden Seared Salmon with asparagus, gnocchi in Pomodoro sauce, to Lobster Ravioli in a tomato and chilli basil sauce.
GO: Visit www.altamareagroup.com for more information.
Oulu – As Sulimaniyah
At Oulu, you can eat like a prince for the price or a pauper. If you’re after pizzas, pastas and risottos, then you’re looking at a starting price of SAR 52. The menu ranges from Margheritas to Mushroom Fettuccine, and Spicy Chicken Rigatoni to Saffron Shrimp Risotto. The decor oozes old-school pizza house vibes, as there are black and white photos on the wall.
GO: Follow @oulu.sa for more information.
San Carlo Cicchetti – As Sulimaniyah
In 1992, San Carlo Cicchetti opened in Birmingham, England. Today, it can be found in Bristol, Leicester, Manchester and London, and across the globe. The restaurant can also be found in Jeddah and Riyadh. Great for groups, the menu draws inspiration from Cicchetti bars in Venice, which serve small plates for sharing. The specials range from an Italian Mac N Cheese to Goccia Di Ricotta.
GO: Visit https://sancarlocicchettisa.redro.menu for more information.
San Pablo – Al Takhassusi
San Pablo aims to bring authentic flavours of Italy to Riyadh. The menu includes starters, steaks, salads, pizzas and pastas. The signature dishes include Carbonara Pasta, Pesto Pasta and Truffle Pasta. Located in Huna Takhassusi, there is a casual, community vibe, as it’s a hub that nurtures creativity.
GO: Visit https://sanpablo.com.sa for more information.
Santini – Laysen Valley
Created in 1984 by Gino Santin, Santini is one of London’s oldest family-run restaurants. Now, it has made its way to Leysan Valley in Riyadh, and already made a big impression. The menu covers Crab Salad, Homemade Fettuccine Lobster, Milanese Santini and Truffle Mushroom Lasagne. The décor has drawn its inspiration from an unlikely source – the artichoke. The humble ingredient has been elevated, and can be found throughout the interiors.
GO: Follow @santini.riyadh on Instagram for more information.
Serafina – The Esplanade
The original New York restaurant is popular with celebrities and recently opened in The Esplanade in Riyadh. The tag line is “where everyone feels like home”, and it has a menu for adults as well as children. The menu includes pastas and pizzas, which are created on a thin and bubbly crust. Don’t overlook the Steak and Chips, which is tender-tastic.
GO: Follow @serafinaksa on Instagram for more information.
Signor Sassi – As Sulimaniyah
If you’re after opulence, then head over to Signor Sassi in As Sulimaniyah. The restaurant is already popular with A-listers in London, as it has served celebrities from Rihanna to Lionel Richie. The menu is oh-so expansive that it includes more than one hundred dishes and generous portions. Leave room for the signature Spaghetti Lobster.
GO: Follow @signorsassiriyadh on Instagram for more information.