RIYADH: Hotel Cartagena in Riyadh, despite its name, is a Latin American restaurant — but the impressive vibes will have you wishing they had a room for you to stay in.
Entering the restaurant venue is a rainforest experience, with its plants, flowers, funky wallpaper, bird decor and vibrant aesthetics of a rustic hotel in the Amazon. Featuring various performances throughout the week, including live DJ sets, singers and bands, Hotel Cartagena brings a taste of spicy Latin entertainment to Saudi Arabia.
The joint also hosts trivia nights and weekend brunches, and almost every hour, the staff breaks out in a dance sequence with music mixes blasting, encouraging guests to join along — and they often do.
There is truly no dull moment here, especially with staff bringing a fire and dance show to every customer’s table who orders their most popular dish, the Coffee Aged Tomahawk Steak. The downside to this level of showmanship, however, is that the food can sometimes take a back seat. The steak isn’t always cooked properly, and the coffee rub might not have broad appeal. The order can either be made with Wagyu beef or US prime, both of which are arguably overpriced for a single order.
Some of their popular Latin delicacies include their classic fish ceviche, crispy duck confit salad, chili prawn nachos, and ropa vieja empanadas. Must-try sides are their sweet potato fries and creamy congri, which is a version of classic Cuban rice and beans.
Diners can enjoy refreshing mocktails, most notably the sweet and spicy Flor de Jalisco and the sweet and sour Mai Gai.
We wouldn’t recommend this spot as a vegetarian-friendly joint, as they don’t offer vegan or vegetarian dishes aside from their selection of salads and bites.