- Ok that’s always gonna be a very personal choice but in the 2 years I’ve been here, there are a handful of restaurants that I always long to return to and I want to share those with you. Jeddah is full of restaurants of all kinds, for all tastes, and for every budget and no matter what your favorite food is, you’re sure to find a restaurant for it in Jeddah. A quick look online will give you hundreds of options and with new restaurants opening up every so often, the choice is almost unlimited.
My three favorite places to eat are quite different. I can’t name ONE the best so in no particular order, here are my best restaurants in Jeddah:
The Palm Garden / Al Nakheel
Al Nakheel is a Middle-Eastern type of restaurant located in the North of Jeddah, on the Corniche. It is a really big place and most of the dining areas are outdoors which is one of the reason I love it so much. They have those big traditional outdoor “sofas”, it is comfortable and it feels great to be outdoors rather than in one of those AC-freezing restaurants.
The food is mainly Middle-Eastern / Mediterranean . The menu is not very big but all their dishes are excellent. You can really see that they use fresh products, everything is made fresh (including their delicious bread). The seafood is excellent and highly recommended. I also love their lasagna: it’s got a nice creamy pasta taste but with a Middle-Eastern twist to it. Surprising but totally delicious. Don’t forget some Moroccan tea at the end.
This is not a fast food or budget restaurant but neither is it expensive. I would recommend this restaurant for eating out once in a while or if you have guests you want to take out for dinner. There is no need to book ahead (unless it is Eid or another special day of the year), and every time we have been there, we have been pleased with everything from the setting, the food, and the service.
Side note: There is a small playground for children with slides, trampolines, and bouncy castles (you need to pay for that), as well as prayer rooms (including for ladies). The bathrooms are clean and well maintained.
Orient Pearl Restaurant
Now this is one of the best restaurants in Jeddah and a little hidden gem that I’m sure only a few people know about. Indeed, if we hadn’t been guided there one night by a stranger, we would have never found it. It is not on the road, and the little sign to indicate it’s there is easily missed. You got to go to the Corniche Market (not the big Corniche Center, not the shopping mall) and climb the stairs to the second floor. Don’t be put off by the fact that most shops are closed or that you have to use what looks like maintenance stairs. I can guarantee you won’t regret it. You can ask anyone of the shop/stall keepers for the Indonesian restaurant, THEY know exactly what you mean and will help you find it.
The restaurant serves all kinds of Asian food, mainly Indonesian style. The servers are friendly and polite and will help you choose among the many delicacies offered on the menu. Everything we have tried so far has been delicious. The products are fresh and cooked perfectly. I highly recommend the seafood in their various presentations. The mixed fried rice is a must, and so is their Tam yam Soup. I don’t usually like soup but this one is irresistible. If you’d like a refreshing drink, order a pitcher of their iced tea, you won’t be disappointed.
The price range is very reasonable for a once-in-a-while dining or when you fancy eating out with friends or guests.
Side note: The restaurant is quite large and they often hold (wedding) parties there. There is one screened off sitting area for more privacy and even a separate room to eat in with a large group. The view over the seafront over Al Balad is very nice. The bathrooms are basic but clean.
Applebees (Salaam Mall)
OK this is a little more conventional but still one of the best restaurants in Jeddah. Located in the food court on the top floor of the Salaam Mall (also available in the Red Sea Mall, the Mall of Arabia and others), the Applebees restaurant serves high-end American, Tex-Mex food that is simply amazing.
I keep going back again and again for the food, the impeccable service and the sheer friendliness of the staff. I highly recommend the salads, the burgers (a world away from fast food burgers) and my all time favorites: the cocktails! Try the banana and mango smoothie; it is to die for… well maybe not but once you try it you’ll crave it! I really like that they easily accept to make small changes to the dishes: you can request a different dressing, more or less spices, a specially made mix of fruit juices… they will accommodate. And with a smile!
Prices vary depending on your order obviously and it will be more expensive than the other food outlets in the food court but still quite reasonable for a really delicious meal. Mind that ordering steaks and other meat dish will seriously increase the total bill but it’ll be worth it.
Side note: Ask them about special promotion days and offer. One time, our 2 kids ate free with our adult meal orders. They also have special promotions during some days of the week.