Eating Out

Middle Eastern fare might dominate the dining out scene in Riyadh, but there has been an increase in international eateries springing up in recent years, creating even more choice for avid foodies. Now, everything from spicy Indian food to good old American favourites like cheeseburgers and fries are on offer. Head to Tahlia Street for both fine dining and cheap eateries where the bright lights and catchy slogans of fast-food outlets like McDonald's and KFC line the street too. Many travellers will opt to dine at their hotel restaurant where many of the five-star eateries are owned by celebrity chefs and provide a one of a kind dining experience. Travellers should note that these hotel restaurants have done away with segregation between men and women, as well as the family section but they should not be alarmed if they come across this in other restaurants. A service charge is usually included in restaurant bill, but a tip of 10 percent is the norm.


You won't find a street in Riyadh that doesn't have a string of shopping malls, boutiques, or markets. One of the biggest and fanciest shopping malls in Riyadh is Al Faisaliah on Olaya Road, which also has a fun park in the basement and is open to families and single women only from Wednesday to Friday. Al Mamlaka, also on Olaya Road, has a third floor Ladies Kingdom reserved exclusively for women. The Kingdom Tower offers great deals on luxury brands like Hugo Boss and Lacoste.

Other popular malls include Sahara Mall on King Abdul Aziz Road, and Granada Mall near the airport. Shopping centres can be confusing to foreign visitors, however, as most have some restrictions on visiting hours for men, women, and families, so it's best to be sure of restrictions before visiting.

There are two enormous sale seasons in Riyadh, taking place at the beginning and in the middle of the year. At these points, the shops in Riyadh offer bargains up to 90 percent off the regular price and the malls are packed with customers. Riyadh also has a few traditional souks, including Souk al-Thumairi, which is most popular with tourists for its wide range of Arabic goods and English-speaking touts. Remember in Riyadh markets, haggling is obligatory.

Shopping in Riyadh is tax-free, so you can find good deals on luxury brands and high-end products. Popular Riyadh souvenirs include Persian rugs, leather goods and handbags, and local jewellery.