Have you been to the Najdi village restaurant in Riyadh yet? I would highly recommended visiting this amazing Saudi restaurant as a learning experience for all expats about the traditional Saudi lifestyle, architecture and of course food!. The Najdi restaurant is also THE place to take guests visiting Riyadh for the first time.
The below is my article which was published in the first-ever issue Destination Riyadh magazine.
There are two other branches of Najd Village restaurant, one is located on Takhasousi rd. but is open to singles only during the week, Fridays being the only family days. There will soon be one branch opening in the newly renovated Historical Diriyah.
The building itself has many interesting details and vividly displays the traditional Saudi lifestyle, decor and architecture. Guests will enjoy not only the delicious Saudi heritage cuisine, but the entire building and little details which make it almost like visiting a cultural museum. Stepping into the restaurant is like stepping back in time.
The restaurant is divided into singles and family sections. The men’s entrance is lined with intriguing artifacts, colorful old doors, cooking utensils, Bedouin jewelry, spices and food items. Guests are lead to an open air courtyard typical to Najdi homes from back in the day when ventilation and light was provided through it. The courtyard is surrounded by the dining majlis and a watermill.
The family entrance is from the side of the building, visitors pass by some antique cars on the way. Najdi style decorations, architecture and friendly waiters dressed in traditional Saudi attire welcome the visitors.
There’s a choice to dine in an open area, tent-like rooms or private rooms decorated to look like Najdi living rooms, majlis. There’s a watermill in the center of an open air courtyard which allows the natural light to enter during daytime and star gazing during the evenings. The majlis are complete with air-conditioning and fireplaces. The tents are very romantic with lanterns hanging from the ceilings. No chairs or tables here, seating is on cushions on the floor and food is served from traditional plates placed on large straw mats.
The food is very tasty and reasonably priced allowing the visitors to order many different Najdi specialties. For groups of more than seven people the best way to sample all the different flavorful dishes is to order the elaborate set menu. It includes everything from various freshly baked breads, dips, salads, soups, chicken, vegetable, lamb and camel dishes, dessert and Arabic coffee, tea and dates.
A meal with five dishes would cost around 100 riyals. Portion sizes are so generous that it’s enough for two persons to eat a filling meal and still have some left to take home. Najdi Village is the best place to try unique and authentic Saudi dishes and of course camel meat!