King Salman holds annual reception for senior officials performing Hajj

1 / 3
Saudi Arabia's King Salman hosted an annual reception for heads of states and dignitaries performing Hajj this year. (SPA)
2 / 3
Saudi Arabia's King Salman hosted an annual reception for heads of states and dignitaries performing Hajj this year. (SPA)
3 / 3
King Salman meets New Zealand police superintendent Naila Hassan in Mina on Monday. (SPA)
Updated 13 August 2019

King Salman holds annual reception for senior officials performing Hajj

  • King Salman said the Kingdom has made the safety of pilgrims the the top of their concerns
  • Guests from Yemen, Djibouti, Guinea, Iraq and Mauritania attended the reception

MINA, Saudi Arabia: King Salman held his annual reception on Monday for heads of state, Islamic dignitaries, guests of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, government bodies, and heads of delegations and pilgrim affairs offices who performed Hajj this year.
At the Royal Court of Mina Palace in Makkah, the guests were led by Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi; Djibouti’s Prime Minister Abdoulkader Kamil Mohamed; Guinea’s Prime Minister Dr. Ibrahim Kasuri Fofana; former Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, head of the ruling party of Mauritius, Shaukat Sudhan, who is also in charge of Hajj affairs; President of the Malaysian People’s Justice Party Anwar Ibrahim; Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Wan Azizah bint Wan Ismail, who is also minister of women, family and community development; and speakers of houses of representatives from a number of Islamic countries.
In his speech, King Salman said: “In Hajj, the fundamental call of Islam is reflected in the unity of the nation, as in this great gathering in these holy sites at one time and in one place, responding to the call of Allah for Hajj to the ancient house of Allah, leaving behind the adornment of the worldly life.
“Allah has honored Saudi Arabia to serve the Two Holy Mosques and the guests of Allah, a service we are proud of; we have made their care and safety the top of our concerns and harnessed everything that helps them to perform their Hajj by integrated projects aiming to facilitate the performance of Hajj and the safety of visitors to the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque, complementing the great efforts exerted by the kings of this country since the era of its founder, the late King Abdul Aziz.”
Later, King Salman arrived in Jeddah having been reassured of the comfort of pilgrims and their Hajj journey in Makkah and the sacred places on the outskirts of the holy capital, and of the quality of the services and facilities that enabled them to perform their rituals in ease and safety.
Upon departure from the Royal Court, the king was seen off by Makkah Governor Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, Interior Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Naif, and a number of senior officials.


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

Updated 15 December 2019

LA Italian eatery Amadeo 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 Amadeo 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 Amadeo

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.

Amadeo 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 Amadeo 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.