Where We Are Going Today: Armin restaurant in Riyadh

Where We Are Going Today: Armin restaurant in Riyadh
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Where We Are Going Today: Armin restaurant in Riyadh
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Where We Are Going Today: Armin restaurant in Riyadh
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Updated 17 May 2024
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Where We Are Going Today: Armin restaurant in Riyadh

Where We Are Going Today: Armin restaurant in Riyadh
  • Armenian cuisine is a blend of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Eastern European influences

RIYADH: Riyadh’s popular Armenian restaurant, Armin, takes visitors on a journey of authentic flavors with its heartwarming, aromatic and herby dishes.

Armenian cuisine is a blend of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Eastern European influences with ingredients such as rice, lamb and sumac.

Armin hits the taste nail on the head with a selection of Middle Eastern dishes featuring chicken and lamb kebabs, tabouleh, fattoush, vine leaves, and a popular eggplant dip, muttabal.

The menu provides guests with options aplenty, with vegetarian and omnivorous diners catered for, making it an ideal spot for dining out.

Upon arrival, guests are spoiled with freshly baked pita bread, perfect to plunge into their dipping of choice.

The best appetizer on the menu is the hummus with meat and topped off with crispy pine nuts, making a perfect combination of nutty flavors.

A must-have side dish is the spicy potato, cooked to perfection with a kick of spice and a touch of garlic and coriander.

The star main course is the shish barak, a traditional Armenian dish consisting of dumplings made with a thin dough wrapper and filled with flavorful beef or lamb with onions and a mix of spices.

Shish barak is boiled, unlike Chinese or Japanese dumplings, which are usually pan fried or steamed.

The only downside of the visit is cost — Armin’s prices are on the high side. But given its customer service and delicious food, it is a price worth paying. Although many dishes on Armin’s menu can be found in Middle Eastern restaurants for a fraction of the price, the quality of the ingredients here is unmatched.


 


Where We Are Going Today: ‘911 Pizza’ in Riyadh’s Sulaymaniyah

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Updated 23 July 2024
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Where We Are Going Today: ‘911 Pizza’ in Riyadh’s Sulaymaniyah

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If you have not done so already, and for a welcome change to the usual fare in Riyadh, it is time to try 911 Pizza. This American-style outlet offers a unique twist on the pie for those who prefer a crispy, thin crust.

It has a lively, diner-like atmosphere, complete with American pop culture-inspired decor and neon lights.

The menu, though limited, focuses on quality rather than quantity, featuring a selection of classic margherita, buffalo, pepperoni and truffle varieties.

One of the standout features of 911 Pizza is its commitment to the thin crust experience. Unlike many of the thicker options found elsewhere in Riyadh, the pies here are crisp and allow the flavors to shine through.

The margherita offering, with its rich tomato sauce and melty cheese, is a particular highlight, while the truffle mushroom pizza offers a more sophisticated and indulgent flavor profile.

The pricing is reasonable, with a medium-sized pie starting at SR44 ($12). This makes it an accessible option for families, groups, or anyone looking for a satisfying and affordable meal.

While the menu may not cater to those who prefer thicker crusts, the quality and attention to detail more than makes up for it.

The chicken wings are a must-try and provide a delicious counterpoint to the crispy, flavorful pizzas. But they were a bit too moist for my liking as I was expecting crispier wings.

911 Pizza has wisely chosen its first Riyadh location in the Sulaymaniyah neighborhood, a district renowned for its growing concentration of fine-dining establishments.

This strategic positioning speaks volumes about the restaurant’s understanding of the local market and its desire to cater to a discerning clientele.

Overall, the eatery is a welcome addition to the capital’s dining scene, offering a satisfying experience for those seeking a break from the norm.

With its lively atmosphere, high-quality ingredients, and attentive service, it is sure to become a new favorite for pizza enthusiasts in the city.

For updates and more details check their Instagram @911pizzasa.

 


Where We Are Going Today: ‘Croi Bakehouse’ in Riyadh

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Updated 22 July 2024
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Where We Are Going Today: ‘Croi Bakehouse’ in Riyadh

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  • Their coffee is expertly brewed, using high-quality beans; from rich espressos to salted caramel lattes, there’s something to satisfy every coffee lover’s palate

Located in the bustling city of Riyadh, Croi Bakehouse offers a delightful escape into the world of artisanal pastries and gourmet coffee. Nestled in a cozy corner of the city, this bakery has quickly gained a reputation for its inviting ambiance and mouth-watering treats.

Upon entering the bakery, you’re immediately struck by the inviting smell of freshly baked goods. The interior is tastefully decorated with a blend of modern and rustic elements, creating a relaxed environment perfect for enjoying a leisurely breakfast or catching up with friends over afternoon tea or coffee.

The star of the show at Croi is undoubtedly their selection of viennoiseries, which are baked fresh daily. Whether you’re craving a flaky croissant with a savory pesto and sundried tomato or a decadent chocolate tart, the bakery delivers on both taste and presentation.

People often recommend their berry Danish pastry, which is perfectly baked with mascarpone cheese, custard, raspberry jam, and pistachio nuts. The pastries are not only delicious but also beautifully crafted, showcasing a dedication to detail that is evident in every bite.

In addition to their sweet and savory pastry selection, Croi offers a range of beverages to complement the experience. Their coffee is expertly brewed, using high-quality beans; from rich espressos to salted caramel lattes, there’s something to satisfy every coffee lover’s palate.

The staff is attentive and knowledgeable, whether you’re a regular or a first-time visitor.

Overall, Croi Bakehouse is a gem for pastry enthusiasts and coffee aficionados alike. Whether you’re stopping by for a quick treat or settling in for a leisurely afternoon, it is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Goodies from the bakery are available for delivery on the Jahez app.

For updates and more details, check their Instagram @croi.bakehouse.

 


Variety is the spice of life as Saudi Arabia ushers in dining renaissance

Variety is the spice of life as Saudi Arabia ushers in dining renaissance
Updated 21 July 2024
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Variety is the spice of life as Saudi Arabia ushers in dining renaissance

Variety is the spice of life as Saudi Arabia ushers in dining renaissance
  • Local eateries are nurturing a sense of community, providing valuable job opportunities to Saudis

RIYADH: In the bustling heart of Saudi Arabia, a culinary revolution is unfolding. Restaurant entrepreneurs are launching new coffee shops and fast-food restaurants that are redefining the dining landscape by offering high-quality food and drinks at accessible prices. The cherry on top? They’re hiring local talent, bolstering both the community and the economy.

Imagine walking into a newly opened coffee shop or fast-food joint with modest expectations, only to be pleasantly surprised by the taste and quality of your order. This is the new norm sweeping across the nation. These establishments are quickly earning reputations for delivering great food and drinks without the hefty price tags.

As more restaurant entrepreneurs enter the market, the competition is driving everyone to elevate their game. (Instagram/sawada.ksa)

“Honestly, I always look for a fair price when it comes to my coffee, and this place fits the bill perfectly,” frequent customer Khalil Al-Azwari told Arab News. “This coffee shop is one of my favorites, and they serve the best V60 for only SR10 ($2.67). It’s great value for money.”

A cornerstone of this transformation is the focus on employing local workers. By prioritizing job opportunities for Saudis over expats, these businesses are not only boosting the economy but also fostering a stronger sense of community.

Establishing a new business requires a deep and thorough study of market needs, sound management, and dedication to the business.

Talat Hafiz, Financial analyst

“Working here has been an amazing experience,” said Ahmed Saleh, a barista at a prominent coffee shop in Riyadh. “I get to work with top-notch ingredients and learn new skills. Plus, it’s great to see familiar faces enjoying the coffee and food we prepare.”

The allure of these new dining spots extends beyond just offering great food and drinks. By prioritizing local hires, these businesses are nurturing a sense of community and providing valuable job opportunities. This approach represents a refreshing change in a country where the service industry has traditionally been dominated by foreign workers.

As more restaurant entrepreneurs enter the market, the competition is driving everyone to elevate their game. (Instagram/sawada.ksa)

Local customers are equally thrilled with the shift. “I love that these new places are hiring people from our own cities,” said Bashayer Mohammed, a regular patron. “It makes the experience feel more personal and connected to our community.”

However, not everyone is embracing this wave of new dining options. Some local business owners are feeling the heat as these large restaurant entrepreneurs gain popularity. Many local establishments, which often have higher prices, are struggling to compete.

“It’s tough,” said Saad, who used to own a coffee shop in Alkhobar. “We can’t match the prices of these big traders, and people are noticing. We’re losing customers, and it’s affecting our livelihood."

Saad opened his coffee shop in October 2021 with high hopes for success. “In the first month, the numbers were doing great,” he recalled. However, as the months went by, business began to decline steadily. Despite his efforts to adapt, the situation worsened. “It was surprising because it got way worse each month,” Saad said.

Determined to save his business, Saad tried everything. “We changed the menu, collaborated with coupon companies, and partnered with delivery apps. We even invested in advertising,” he explained. Despite trying every strategy he could think of, nothing seemed to work. “None of it made a difference,” he admitted.

On top of these challenges, Saad faced unexpected financial burdens. “The rent was much higher than I expected, and I didn’t fully account for staff salaries and insurance,” he said. These expenses quickly added up, straining his finances.

The increase in costs has led most merchants to reduce expenses, cut salaries, and lay off employees. “This is a sign of failure,” Saad added. “Successful merchants invest in the human element and intellect to create and innovate solutions for survival. The general public has a consumer mentality, not a problem-solving one.”

Desperate, Saad even tried to sell the coffee shop to investors. “It just didn’t work,” he said. Ultimately, the mounting losses forced him to close the coffee shop in 2023. “It was a huge loss for me,” Saad reflected.

As more restaurant entrepreneurs enter the market, the competition is driving everyone to elevate their game. Local businesses are starting to take notice and are striving to match the quality and affordability that these new players offer, although it remains a challenging transition.

In an interview with Arab News, financial analyst Talat Hafiz emphasized the crucial role that small and medium enterprises play in the Saudi economy: “SMEs in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere around the world are the backbone of the economy and business activities.”

Recognizing this, the Saudi government has been proactive in fostering the growth of these enterprises. It has made significant efforts to facilitate the growth of SMEs and enhance their contribution to the Kingdom’s non-oil gross domestic product from 20 percent to 35 percent by 2030, Hafiz added.

The establishment of the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises, also known as Monshaat, in 2016 is a testament to these efforts. “Monshaat was created to regulate, support, and develop the SME sector in the Kingdom,” Hafiz said.

Additionally, the Loan Guarantee Program, established in 2006, aims to overcome financing obstacles for economically viable SMEs lacking the necessary guarantees. Despite these avenues of support, many SMEs still face significant challenges. “There are still some companies that fail to continue their businesses successfully and close their doors within the first year or by the third year of operation,” he said.

Hafiz has identified several reasons behind these failures. “Most complaints from SME owners are due to various fees imposed by the government, especially violation fees,” he said. However, he believes that the primary reasons for failure lie elsewhere.

“The main reasons behind the failure of SMEs, especially startups, include a lack of careful consideration of market needs and different consumer preferences, lack of management experience, technical and professional expertise, and the imitation of adding value to the market,” Hafiz added.  

He also highlighted the importance of management dedication and sufficient financial resources. “Establishing a new business requires a deep and thorough study of market needs, sound management, and dedication to the business. It also requires specific talents that allow the company to respond quickly and effectively to market and economic changes,” he noted.

While the Saudi government has regulated fines to be more transparent, fair, and progressive, Hafiz stresses that the focus should not be limited to government fees. “The focus on business failures should also address the main and real causes of businesses’ failure. The government fines are transparent and progressive, and it is also not permissible to impose them the first time, as there is a warning that precedes the violation.”

 


Where We Are Going Today: ‘Katsu Sando’ Japanese sandwiches in Riyadh

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Updated 21 July 2024
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Where We Are Going Today: ‘Katsu Sando’ Japanese sandwiches in Riyadh

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  • For lunch, Katsu Sando’s bento delight is a great option. It features donburi chicken with rice, crab onigiri, a pumpkin slice, and a Coca-Cola, providing a well-rounded and delicious meal that’s sure to satisfy

Nestled in the bustling heart of Riyadh, Katsu Sando offers an authentic slice of Japan right in the Kingdom’s capital. This cozy eatery, with its minimalist yet elegant decor, beautifully marries traditional Japanese elements with modern touches, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Katsu Sando specializes in Japanese sandwiches, presenting a diverse menu perfect for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The restaurant’s commitment to cleanliness is evident in every detail, from the meticulous packaging to the tasteful decoration, ensuring a casual yet refined dining experience.

A standout on the breakfast menu is the tuna onigiri. This delightful dish strikes the perfect balance of flavor and texture, making it an ideal light start to your day. For those with a sweet tooth, the fruit sando is a must-try; it combines fresh fruit with soft, pillowy Japanese bread, offering a refreshing and satisfying treat.

For lunch, Katsu Sando’s bento delight is a great option. It features donburi chicken with rice, crab onigiri, a pumpkin slice, and a Coca-Cola, providing a well-rounded and delicious meal that’s sure to satisfy.

The restaurant’s menu is diverse, catering to various tastes and preferences. Whether you’re in the mood for a light breakfast, a hearty lunch, or a satisfying dinner, Katsu Sando has something to offer. Their creative combinations and high-quality ingredients ensure a unique and memorable dining experience.

Katsu Sando not only offers delicious Japanese sandwiches but also promises a pleasant dining experience that will leave you wanting more.

For more updates and information, visit their Instagram @katsusando_sa.

 


Squatwolf expands in Saudi Arabia with new warehouse, fitness events

Squatwolf expands in Saudi Arabia with new warehouse, fitness events
Updated 21 July 2024
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Squatwolf expands in Saudi Arabia with new warehouse, fitness events

Squatwolf expands in Saudi Arabia with new warehouse, fitness events
  • UAE brand opens warehouse able to handle 30,000 orders a day
  • Company was founded in 2016 by Anam Khalid and Wajdan Gul

DUBAI: From starting as a passion project to now serving athletes in over 200 countries, Squatwolf, the gym-wear brand co-founded by Anam Khalid and Wajdan Gul, is expanding in Saudi Arabia.

The founders have opened a  warehouse in the Kingdom.

The Saudi Arabia warehouse can process up to 30,000 orders a day and ensures same-day delivery in Riyadh and next-day delivery to major cities, including Jeddah, Dammam, Alkhobar and Makkah. (Supplied)

“We take pride in being the first gym-wear brand in the Kingdom that is supporting Vision 2030, fueling the power of the gym as a playground of self-improvement to all,” Khalid told Arab News recently.

“Our Saudi warehouse is a demonstration to our commitment as a UAE brand to support the region and go all in.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by SQUATWOLF (@squatwolf)

The Saudi Arabia warehouse can process up to 30,000 orders a day and ensures same-day delivery in Riyadh and next-day delivery to major cities, including Jeddah, Dammam, Alkhobar and Makkah, Gul said.

The brand plans to collaborate with retail and gym partners, local ambassadors and organize community events to support their expansion goals.

“We’re here to recognize every gym-goer, regardless of their fitness level,” Khalid said.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by SQUATWOLF (@squatwolf)

Gul confirmed that The Squatwolf Games, a prominent fitness event in Dubai, is set to make its debut in Saudi Arabia.

“Yes, Squatwolf Games is coming to Saudi and coming in big. We’re constantly evolving the games to something bigger and better.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by SQUATWOLF (@squatwolf)

The brand will also participate in the KSA Muscle Show, further engaging with the local fitness community.

The company was founded in 2016 by Khalid and Gul. “It all started when Gul and I realized there wasn’t a gym-wear brand in the region that matched our love for the gym, its community, and the impact it has on all aspects of our life,” Khalid said.

Gul believes the fitness and activewear market in the Kingdom is booming. “With the Saudi 2030 Vision in place, more gyms are opening up every day, fitness is becoming a way of life and staying healthy is on everyone’s radar,” he explained.

“Being the first gym-wear brand in the MENA region, including Saudi Arabia, gives us a competitive advantage to stay one step ahead across insight-driven product performance, local communities and gym-goer demands,” Khalid added.