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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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