Erdogan, El-Sissi set for key Saudi talks

Updated 02 March 2015

Erdogan, El-Sissi set for key Saudi talks

Riyadh will witness this week a flurry of diplomatic activities beginning Sunday, when Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman will meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sissi.
The Turkish president, who arrived in Makkah Saturday night, will perform Umrah before proceeding to Riyadh for official talks.
In another meeting, “King Salman and Egyptian President El-Sissi will discuss bilateral, regional and international issues, including constructive cooperation in all areas of mutual concern,” said Affifi Ahmed Abdelwahab, Egyptian ambassador to Saudi Arabia. “King Salman has been invited to attend the Arab League summit as well as the high-profile international economic conference in Egypt,” he pointed out.
Abdelwahab confirmed that the Arab League summit would be held in Sharm El-Sheikh on March 28. On the other hand, the international economic conference to discuss investment and reform initiatives of the new Egyptian government will be organized in the same city on March 13.
Saudi-Egyptian ties are currently at an all-time high, with El-Sissi recently stating that his country’s relations with the Kingdom strengthen the security and stability in the Middle East.
The Egyptian leader commented on the issue during an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, in which he claimed Egypt would not forget King Salman’s political stance when he volunteered in the Egyptian Army during the 1956 war, as well as his support during other turmoils in the country.
He also highlighted Egypt’s close ties with the Gulf countries, especially with Saudi Arabia.
“We will have important and constructive talks with the Saudi leadership during our visit to Riyadh on Sunday, where we will talk about issues relating to the region and the challenges that surround it,” El-Sissi said during the interview.
“One of the issues we will also talk about are developments in Yemen and how to protect marine navigation through the Bab Al-Mandeb,” he said.
Regarding details concerning Erdogan’s visit, Turkish Ambassador Yunus Demirer confirmed the arrival of the Turkish leader, saying that “the official talks with King Salman will be held on Sunday.”
Demirer, who was on his way to Jeddah to receive his president, stated that the visit of the Turkish head of state will be an opportunity for top Saudi and Turkish officials to discuss the whole gamut of issues.
Turkish media have held an upbeat tone regarding Erdogan’s visit, with several reports saying that the talks between King Salman and their premier could well turn into a timely forum for both countries to review “their differing policies in the region and seek a new realignment.” King Salman will also be host to a few other important world leaders this week.

LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

Updated 15 December 2019

LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

  • Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one

RIYADH: Renowned Italian restaurant Madeo has opened up in Al-Murabba for Riyadh Season. 

The pop-up has started brightly, and head chef Gianni Vietina invited Arab News to sample the menu and chat about his experience.

Vietina, in Saudi Arabia for the first time, said that he loved the location he had set up in, and was very happy to be opening up in the Kingdom. 

“The location is gorgeous. At night, with all the lights on, the music going, it’s very nice.”

Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one and that the response was even better than he had expected. 

“Like anything new, you have quests, you have problems. Up to now, we’re doing pretty good. We are up and running. We’re comfortable now, which is a shame as we’re leaving pretty soon,” he said.

He added that he would repeat the experience in a heartbeat if he could: “They were nice enough to ask me to stay in Saudi a little longer, but I can’t. I need to go back home. But I would love to come back.”

He said that while he was not planning to open up a permanent restaurant in Saudi Arabia, he would not rule it out completely.  “I’ve been offered options, and friends have offered to show me locations while I’m here, but I can’t do it right now, I just opened a new restaurant two months ago,” he said.

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like.”

Gianni Vietina, Head chef of Madeo

The pop-up’s menu contains most of what the original restaurant offers, including his ever-popular penne amadeo and spaghetti bolognese, with the chefs using a combination of imported and locally sourced ingredients. 

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like,” he told Arab News.

For the pop-up, Vietina has stuck to using halal and alcohol-free ingredients. 

“It was challenging at the beginning. But the bolognese at Amadeo doesn’t contain pork, and I realized after we tried cooking without wine that almost nothing changed. I actually prefer it,” he said.

Madeo is a favorite of Saudis visiting Los Angeles, with Vietina going so far as to describe the restaurant as a “Little Riyadh” on most evenings between July and September. 

He even recognizes some of the customers who have come into the Riyadh pop-up, and always stops over to greet them.

Upon sampling the menu, it’s easy to see why the food at Madeo has remained popular all these years. 

The eggplant parmigiana is a perfect blend of crusty cheese and silky smooth eggplant, with hints of basil and rosemary. 

The bolognese is rich, meaty and decadent, without being too heavy and greasy. And the penne Amadeo, which Vietina has been eating since his childhood, is a timeless classic of crushed tomato, basil, finished off with butter and Parmigiano Reggiano for a creamy, rich flavor.