Jeddah Blog

Discover the best of Jeddah!

Archive for the tag “Abdullah Yahya”

Elegant Fine Dining at Le Traiteur


Ramadan is a time of spirituality, self-control and self-reflection. Muslims around the world fast from sunrise to sunset choosing to spend the holy month mostly with family and close friends. Iftar is the evening meal, the breaking of the fast that becomes a special occasion every day. Whether we choose to dine at home, or savour the meal outside, it becomes more than simply a meal and takes on a higher meaning.

When it comes to dining out at Iftar time, Jeddawis are positively spoilt for choice. Food courts and malls become packed and popular restaurants reach their peak. However, what about those restaurants tucked away from mainstream? Those elegant venues not openly advertised, but the quality of their food and service is whispered about in closed circles?

In our latest blog post, Jeddah Blog’s extreme foodie Abdullah Yahya spills the beans on one of the hidden gems of Jeddah’s food scene, French restaurant Le Traiteur. After reading this review, you’ll be sure to want to experience the elegance, quality and personal touch of this fine dining restaurant.

Do you know of any hidden gems that you would recommend? Secret restaurants that only a select few know about? Let us know in the comments below.

I don’t know about you, but in Ramadan I try to avoid going to open-buffet restaurants for Iftar. They are usually overcrowded, way overpriced, and they induce overeating. I know many foodies like myself who are hesitant to dine out in Ramadan because of that. That is why if you are anything like me, you should consider visiting Le Traiteur. Tucked away in a beautiful small villa in a residential area in Ash-Shati Dist., Le Traiteur is a hidden gem that not many know or talk about.

Approaching Le Traiteur

It’s a fine dining French restaurant that I can only describe as simply elegant. The restaurant is small and intimate, it has perhaps 10 – 15 tables at most, and when you enter from the main door, you feel you have been transferred to a French ballroom.

Beautifully classic French decor

I have dined at Le Traiteur several times during the years, but I have not been there for what seems like forever, which is something the restaurant manager noticed as he greeted us at the door, saying ruefully: “Mr. Abdullah, it’s nice to see you again, even though we only see you in Ramadan lately”. It struck me that he is absolutely right. I should be visiting more during the year, because even though I enjoy dining there in Ramadan, just like many restaurants in the city, they swap their regular menu in favour of a more Ramadan themed one, which in not necessarily in keeping with the restaurant cuisine.

Tastefully decorated tables

As we sat at the table minutes before the Maghrib (sunset) calling for prayer. I was busy admiring the elegant surroundings, from the classic furniture and wallpaper, glass displays of China and glassware, elegant table cloths and silverware, to the napkins that were folded to resemble the restaurant emblem. The dim lighting gives you an intimate candle-lit feeling that enhances the experience, and just shortly after the prayer ended, they began to play some classic music in the background that added majesty to the whole ambience.

The service was ever-friendly and attentive, and our waiter took extra care of my 15 month old child and made her feel welcome too.

The Arabic appetizers.

As soon as it was time to break our fast, dates, water, laban (buttermilk), and Arabic coffee was served, with pita and French bread, and a plate of Arabic appetizers. The appetizers consisted of a variety of cheese samosa, beef samosa, kibbeh, and spring rolls. I enjoyed the samosas, and I thought the kibbeh tasted good, but was too brittle and fell apart in the plate.

The soup table: Creamy Seafood and Lentil

Then it was time to head to the buffet and choose a soup. There was a choice between creamy seafood soup and lentil soup, and we opted for the seafood soup, which did not disappoint; it was hearty and warm, but was not heavy. I took a glance at the foul jar next to the soups pots, but then I decided against it, as I needed to be more selective.Next was time to visit the salad bar, and there were more than enough items to keep us happy for the next portion of our meal, and they tasted good as well.

Great variety at the salad bar.

Our waiter then asked us to choose our main course. Every day there are three dishes to choose from, and on this particular day the choices were between Beef Picatta, Chicken Cordon Blue, and Fish & Chips. We opted for the chicken and the beef and neither disappointed, especially the chicken, which was fantastic. I liked the beef too, but by the time I swapped plates with my wife, it was a little cold, but the rice was excellent and I wished I had room in my stomach to finish the plate.

Beef Picatta

Finally, we got round to dessert, and they were no dearth of choices, as the dessert buffet was full of many choice sweets, whether Arabic or Western.

Desserts galore.

There were also many fresh cuts of fruits, and even a chocolate fountain. I especially liked cheesecake and mahlabia (rice pudding) with pistachio and flower essence, and my wife was smitten by the chocolate pudding.

The Chocolate Fountain

Overall, we were very satisfied with our experience in Le Traiteur. It is a place for one who wants to savour one’s meal slowly in a sophisticated ambience. The price is 150 SR pp, which is moderate if you compare it to similar iftars in similar restaurants in Jeddah.

The choices are not very wide making you feel the need to binge, but they are varied enough that you feel satisfied. So, if you want to escape the crowds and have a pleasant experience away from the hustle and bustle of Ramadan buffet in five star hotels, here is your chance. However, if you’re still not convinced that you need to go out in Ramadan, I understand, just make sure to visit the restaurant after the holy month for the same elegant treatment only with proper French cuisine. Note to self: “Practice what you preach, and make sure to visit the restaurant yourself after Ramadan”.

Hospitality 9/10

Ambience 9/10

Soups, salads, and appetizers 9/10

Main dishes 8/10

Dessert 8/10

Value for money 8/10

Address: Abu Al Abbas Ibn Abdulmutalib, Ash Shati, Jeddah 23513, Saudi Arabia

Phone: +966 12 605 5111

Tea and Falafel


If there’s anyone in this city who has their finger on the collective Jeddawi pulse, it’s Jeddah Blog’s Abdullah Yahya. Whether it’s honest advice on the best coffee shops  or the latest restaurant openings and dining options this is the one person you want among your handy Whatsapp contacts.

For this blog post, Abdullah has been on the hunt for a speciality breakfast hangout and he chanced upon the charmingly named Tea & Falafel on Madina Road. Scroll down to read Abdullah’s review, see what he ordered and find out how much he awarded the outlet in the all-important Jeddah Blog rating.

Breakfast is not only the most important meal of the day, but many agree that it is indeed their favorite meal of the day. As Jeddawis, in the past we only had limited options for breakfast places, but this has been changing quickly in recent years.

If social media is any indication, breakfast joints are all the rage, and of all the times we eat out, the longest we wait for an empty table is usually when we go out for breakfast.

Rustic and homely at the same time

One of the latest places to open in Jeddah is Tea & Falafel which is located on Madinah Branch Road (address: 6614 Abi Haitham Al Ansari, Al Muhammadiyah District, Al Muhammadiyah District,, Jeddah 23624). Although it is still in its soft opening phase, it is very popular already.

The tastefully decorated single’s section

It has a single section downstairs and a family section upstairs. It’s not a large restaurant and there are less than 10 tables in the family section, and maybe as many in the singles section. It is nicely decorated and brightly coloured with upbeat quotes. My favourite is their take on BFF as “Best Falafel Forever”

The spice bar

Part tea shop, part restaurant, it serves Arabic food with an emphasis on falafel. You can indulge in all of your falafel fantasies here with creations such as falafel nachos, falafel waffles, manakeesh with falafel, etc.

We loved the bright sunlight pouring in.

Since it was our first time, we played it safe and ordered an Arabic breakfast plate (40SR) which came with samplers of Arabic traditional biggest hits (hummus, falafel, foul,  manakeesh, hummus, foul, labneh, tahini, makdous, jam, potato wedges, pickles, and pita bread). It comes with a pot of English breakfast tea but we replaced that with Karak tea.

I also ordered fresh orange juice (SR14 ), falafel stuffed with nuts (serving of two pieces, SR6), and zaatar mankeesh (SR8)

Everything we tried was good, but the falafel, we thought, were exceptional. They were not too greasy and they tasted pretty good especially the falafel stuffed with nuts. I also liked the Karak tea.

Next time inshaAllah we will be trying other items on the menu, and you can bet there will be a next time, because not only did we like the food, but the service was good, the ambience was cool, and the prices were excellent. We ended up paying SR68 for 2 persons. Great value for money.

Jeddah Blog rating:

Ambience 8/10

Service 8/10

Food 9/10

Value 9/10

Overall rating 8.5/10

-photo credits: Abdullah Yahya

Wagamama


Wagamama is one of the latest restaurants to hit the Jeddah food scene. Wagamama is an Asian cuisine chain that was first started in Bloomsbury London in 1992 by Chinese British restaurateur Alan Yau, and now has more than 140 branches in more than 20 countries worldwide.

Many Jeddawis had been eagerly keeping an eye on their upcoming site and now that Wagamama is up and running, Jeddah Blog’s very own reviewer Abdullah Yahya lost no time in trying it out. He reports back to JB readers in this exclusive report.

The concept of Wagamama, which means ‘self-indulgent’ in Japanese, is inspired by Japanese ramen bars with food served fresh and fast. Their menu is extensive and designed to suit different tastes. And although it’s influenced heavily by Japanese cuisine, it has different elements from other East Asian cuisines.

The newly opened restaurant is still in soft opening (or at least it was when we visited it a few weeks ago). It is in Rawdah District, on the intersection of Hail Street and Al Nahdaa Street (the street parallel to Tahliah Street to the north aka Flood Canal Street).

image-31634

Wagamama’s open plan seating

When it comes to the décor, the restaurant went for simplicity in its design. It gives a feeling of open space with its high ceiling. The lamps hang down towards sturdy wooden tables, which gives a feeling of communal experience. So, if you’re one to like cozy more intimate places, this place is not for you. It also has an open kitchen, which always assures me that my food is up to high hygienic standards.

image-31638

Clear and simple – an easy-to-read menu.

The menu for Saudi Arabia is smartly designed to help one decide what to eat. It has sections for appetizers, sides, salads, ramens, curries, teppanyakis, and more. Many of the main dishes can be ordered to your liking by changing the type of meat or turning up the level of spice to your taste.

image-31628

Lollipop Prawn Kushiyaki and Shrimp Gyoza

For our first visit, we wanted to order ramen, but sadly it was still not available. We ordered fried Shrimp Gyoza (duck was not available) and Lollipop Prawn Kushiyaki. I did not like the Gyoza at all, the taste of the dough was bland and starchy, and it did not make me want to have another one. The Lollipop Prawn on the other hand was very tasty, but the serving of 3 pieces is strange, I think they should make it an even number.

image-31616

Firecracker Chicken Curry – spicy and aromatic.

For the main dishes we had the Firecracker Chicken Curry, which was amazing. Spicy and very aromatic with a side of sticky rice. The other dish we chose was a Teppanyaki dish. We opted for Teriyaki Soba with rice noodles. This one was another home run, but gun to my head, I would give the edge to the curry. The drinks we had with these main dishes were fresh juices which we liked, but did not necessarily love.

image-31654

Teriyaki Soba with rice noodles

Finally, we checked the dessert menu, not all of the items were available but the Banana Katsu was, and it was glorious. It’s a play on the famous fried banana dessert with a scoop of ice cream. We had that with hot drinks, which were not all that special.

image-31661

The Banana Katsu – glorious!

If you would ask me whether I would visit Wagamama again, my answer would be sure. With the speedy friendly service, tasty food, and moderate prices, one must be crazy to pass that over. That said, I would wait to make sure all the items on their menu are available first.

JB rating

Food: 8.5/10

Service: 9/10

Ambience: 9/10

Approximate cost per head
SR150, including two appetizers, two main dishes, 2 fresh juices, one shared dessert and two hot drinks.

Your Guide to Third Wave Coffee and Where to Find it in Jeddah


The Third Wave Coffee phenomenon, also known as the specialty coffee movement, is a trend that has been taking off lately amongst coffee lovers. But what exactly is Third Wave Coffee or artisanal food? Guest writer and coffee connoisseur Abdullah Yahya explains the basics to us in this fascinating blog post, shedding some light on this latest trend, and taking us on a journey through Jeddah reviewing the city’s cosy third wave cafés.

We love hearing your opinions, so please leave a comment at the end of this blogpost. Have you visited any of these places? What did you think of them? Which is your favourite? Hoping to get lots of feedback so that I can persuade Abdullah to write another blogpost for us very soon.

Also, stay tuned for a detailed review of our recent visit to Medd Café coming up very soon. Please do take a minute to subscribe in the right-hand menu to ensure you don’t miss any future posts.

The philosophy behind Third Wave Coffee is that people should be treating coffee less like an everyday commodity and more like artisanal foodstuff. For this reason, much attention is focused on:

  • The type of coffee beans used and the quality, so they focus on using a single-origin high quality bean, as opposed to blends. They tend to have a direct relationship with growers, and only buy fair-trade beans.
  • In house roasting of the coffee beans daily to ensure the quality of the coffee used.

The preparation methods are carefully observed, including how much of the ingredients are added and how they are added. They treat coffee making as an art, but they use scientific precision as well. That means measuring the amount of coffee carefully, and the water, as well as the temperature of water and milk used.

New coffee brewing methods are used, as opposed to using the usual coffee filter machine, like Chemex, Hario V60, and AeroPress®.  They are in general slower and more elaborate, but the result is a superior coffee.

In the last couple of years, more and more third wave cafés have opened up in Jeddah and they are becoming increasingly popular. Some of the trendiest are highlighted below.

Caffeine Lab

This place sells coffee beans and all relevant supplies directly to the customers and trains them in how to prepare the coffee. You can also go there just to enjoy a cup of coffee. It doesn’t however, sell any food, cake, or snacks, so in a sense it is more of a retail shop that sells coffee.

Location: King Fahad Street, Al-Faisaliyah Dist, to the north from Al-Serafi Megamall. Tel: 059 911 0092

Medd Café and Roastery

screen-shot-2016-10-07-at-11-02-28-am

Coffee Art at Medd Café

One of the trendiest coffee shops in the city with friendly service and excellent coffee. It gets very busy on weekends so expect to wait for a table, and it takes a long time for your coffee to be ready, so don’t go there if you are pressed for time. I love the vibes in that place; the look, the aroma from the beans, and especially the coffee. For me, the best Chemex coffee I have had was there.

They get extra points for offering a delicious array of homemade cakes and snacks. They also have a retail section where they sell coffee-making equipment and very cool mugs.

Location: Beach Tower Northern Corniche، Jeddah 21452, Saudi Arabia. Tel: +966 12 613 2122

Brew92o

screen-shot-2016-10-07-at-11-05-10-am

Brew 92°

The friendliest of services coupled with excellent choices of coffee and coffee beans. Very good Chemex, and their Flat White is especially great. They also serve all-day breakfast, so do try their omelettes and waffles. They offer salads and a few other dishes too. The place gets busy on weekends. Prices are moderate for the quality you get, and because it is closer to the center, it is the place I actually visit the most.

Location: Prince Saud Al-Faisal Street, Al-Khalidiyah Dist., opposite Saudia City, Tel: +966-564699118.

Cup & Couch

Cup and Couch

Cup & Couch

One of the more recently opened coffee spots. Very intimate and run by friendly young Saudis. The coffee is very good and the atmosphere is very casual. I tried their barista recommended Kalita coffee, and it did not disappoint at all. I also had coffee latte with coconut milk which was nice too. They also offer homemade cakes, but I was not wowed by them, and to me this is my one point that I think they should improve.

As for the ambience, I enjoyed being there very much, and so did my friends, including young children. You feel you are in a party in someone’s home with all the chatter of the customers hanging around. Upstairs in the family section they have a bench and a few tables, with board and card games and that only amplify the homeliness of the place.

Location: Al Yamamah St, Al-Salamah Dist, near Ice Land. Tel: +966 59 727 3474

screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-11-46-29-pm

Cold brewing at Medd Café

Warm & Frosty Café

Warm and Frosty

Warm and Frosty

The smallest one I have visited so far. Their family section is not ready yet, so as of now they only have the single section or the coffee to go, which is what I had. The Chemex coffee was very good and strong. They are also a retailer for coffee tools and equipment. I would say given their location, they are more suited to serve the area around them, but I did not find them special enough for me to go back, not unless I am in the area.

Location: Hilmi Kutbi St, Al-Zahra’a Dist. Unit No. 16 Jeddah 23521 6172, Tel:  00966-12 616 4890

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: