Food of love: A guide to Valentine’s dining in Saudi Arabia

Arab News discovers some of the best romantic restaurants in Riyadh and Jeddah for Valentine's Day. (Supplied/Huda Bashatah)
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Updated 12 February 2020

Food of love: A guide to Valentine’s dining in Saudi Arabia

  • Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest days for restaurant owners
  • Arab News finds out the best dining options in Riyadh and Jeddah

RIYADH: As the old saying goes, “the way to someone's heart is through their stomach,” and there is nothing better than enjoying a good meal with a loved one on a special occasion.

Although Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest days for restaurant owners, it is not directly advertised in some regions of Saudi Arabia as in the past it was illegal because it was not part of traditional Saudi culture and people said that it was un-Islamic.

Previously, restaurants were also not allowed to accommodate requests of a romantic nature such as engagement proposals and wedding anniversaries with cakes and flowers, but that is changing. Many in the Kingdom now find such celebrations increasingly appealing.

Here are some of the best romantic restaurants in Riyadh and Jeddah:

Okku $$$$
Okku, the multi-award-winning Japanese restaurant and one of the best fine-dining locations in Riyadh, has a spectacular interior and provides the perfect ambiance for a romantic evening. This year it is offering a Valentine’s set menu, including elegant desserts. Okku can accommodate customers with a special seating area for two. The restaurant can also arrange for customers to bring their flowers and gifts prior to the evening to surprise loved ones.


The Globe $$$$
One of the top high-end restaurants in the center of the capital, The Globe is located at the highest point in the Al-Faisaliah Tower overlooking the beautiful Riyadh skyline. The quiet, quaint restaurant is known for its variety of food, drinks and soft music to enjoy.


Lusin $$$
With two restaurants, in Riyadh and Jeddah, the Armenian restaurant features Armenian and Arab flavors in many of its signature dishes, serving home-style meals with a lavish twist. The atmosphere is warm with soft lighting and Armenian background music providing couples with a cozy atmosphere to enjoy meals.


Agave Restaurant & Café $$$
A nice atmosphere for couples to enjoy an evening with live music and open-air seating and a stunning view of Jeddah’s coast at sunset. Agave is famous for its hospitality and celebrations, and the staff can accommodate customers with special events and surprises that turn into a fiesta. 

Shrimp Zone $$
If you are not looking for a conventional white tablecloth dinner in Jeddah, getting your hands dirty here is not an option — it’s a necessity. Though not your typical romantic joint, it’s a fun and intimate way to have a good meal with different types of seafood options, and without exceeding your budget.


Organization of Islamic Cooperation to adopt Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam

Updated 28 February 2020

Organization of Islamic Cooperation to adopt Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam

  • OIC secretary-general notes that the organization continues to condemn the ideological rhetoric adopted by terrorist groups

JEDDAH: Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Dr. Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen announced on Wednesday that the OIC will adopt the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam (CDHRI) after it is revised in accordance with international human-rights standards. The foreign ministers of the OIC member states are expected to approve the CDHRI at their meeting in Niamey, Niger in April.

 Al-Othaimeen was speaking at the 43rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), held in Geneva on Wednesday, where he highlighted some of the efforts the OIC has made to fight racism and xenophobia — including Islamophobia — claiming that they are the result of “intellectual and political resistance to cultural pluralism.”

He said the OIC, in cooperation with its partners, has prepared “a comprehensive and consensual approach to address incitement to hatred, discrimination and violence on the basis of religion.”

Al-Othaimeen’s speech, which was delivered on his behalf by OIC Geneva Permanent Representative Nassima Baghli, stressed that terrorism, including religious extremism, is a major source of concern for the international community. He pointed out that the OIC continues to condemn the ideological rhetoric adopted by terrorist groups and has established the Sawt Al-Hikma (Voice of Wisdom) Center, which focuses on addressing the ideological rhetoric of extremists.

His speech also reviewed the most common human-rights violations suffered by Muslims, referring to the detailed documentation from the UN’s own human rights bodies and the OIC of discrimination and violence against the Rohingya Muslims.

Al-Othaimeen explained that America’s actions in Palestine in recent months required the OIC to stress that any peace initiative between Israel and Palestine must be consistent with legitimate rights, foremost among which is the right to self-determination.

He also stressed the OIC’s support for Kashmiris in their pursuit of their legitimate right to self-determination in accordance with international resolutions and highlighted the OIC’s condemnation of Armenia’s continued occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven regions bordering Azerbaijan.