Zait o’ Za’tar

Growing up in Al-Ahssa (aka Hassa, Hofuf), one of my favourite meals was pastries served in these little diners run by Turkish workers that spread at different corners of the city. These pastries are similar in many ways to the famous Lebanese mana’eesh. When I moved to Riyadh few years ago I started to miss the pastries because I could not find any place in Riyadh that serves good pastries in reasonable prices. I mean: why oh why would a little man’oshat za’tar cost 5 or 7 riyals? No, thanks. I can get the best za’tar in Al-Ahssa for just 1 riyal.

But last week, thanks to a good friend of mine, I stumbled upon a new restaurant in the trendy Tahlia St., or what many people here like to call “The Champs Elysées.” The restaurant is called Zait o’ Za’tar, and I should say I was very surprised and pleased with the quality of their food. They simply serve the best pastries I had since I came to the city in 2002. You can always go for traditional choices such as labneh or cheese, but you probably should try some of their special offerings such as Mexican chicken or Za’tar with tomatoes and onions. And for those of you on a low-carb diet, they also offer ‘Lite’ variations of some items on their menu.

This time of the year is absolutely the best to visit Riyadh because the weather is really, really nice. It is still warm, and there is this refreshing cool breeze in the air. Considering the mild weather and that many restaurants in Tahlia St., including Zait o’ Za’tar, have tables on the sidewalk, it would be a good idea to enjoy a meal out there if you have some time. Know of another place in Riyadh which offer good pastries? Please let me know in the comments.

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20 thoughts on “Zait o’ Za’tar

  1. pastry*: a SWEET baked food made of dough esp.the shortened paste used for pie crust and the like.
    A danish for example is a pastry, but i dont think fa6ayr bil za3tar are called pastries.

  2. Not necessarily:

    Dough or paste consisting primarily of flour, water, and shortening that is baked and often used as a crust for foods such as pies and tarts.

    pastry, general name for baked articles of food made of paste or having paste as a necessary ingredient.

  3. Btw, we lived in the compound two streets away from Zeit o Zaatar. You should try Hashem next to that place, its one of the most famous falafel places in Jordan. The king had s7oor there in the end of Ramadan. Picture here:
    http://sabbah.biz/mt/archives/2006/10/17/sa7teen-king-abdullah-queen-rania-and-prince-hussein/

    As for the best Turkish pastries, there’s this little Turkish restaurant in front of the Salah Il Deen mosque on Salahil Deen Street (the one where the big mall is, damn I’m forgetting all the names!) I don’t remember its name, but it’s so yummy that my dad buys them in dozens, freezes them, and sends them to Amman!

  4. Hey Watz up ? R u the only person whoz blogging from riyadh lol. cuz i searched a few months ago and ur blog poped up … r u a guy or a gurl ? oh i’m vipez nice to see ur blog itz Awsome ! i got dialup :-( so i cant blog frm riyadh. Im from bangladesh , but u can chk out ma blog >> dhakaunderground.blogspot.com

    well i just wanted to ask u , imma digital photogtapher and i wanted to photograph the old part of riyadh , any suggestions ! thanx a lot !!

  5. Salaam aleikum – a question.
    I used to know al-Hofuf quite well when I worked in Rahima. Now the khubz arabi in the Eastern Province was the very, very best. And the best of the best came from a small bakery next to the Police Station in Rahima. WE just cannot get bread like this in the West – especially Spain where I live.

    Does anybody know how to make it, please?

  6. God I miss those zatar fatayer. The Turkish fatyeer are called lahmajon btw (not correct spelling off course). Those are so good too! I found a great restaurant that makes them here in New York, and now I can live happily ever after!

  7. try Al-Reef Ellebnany “الريف اللبناني” it’s on Tahlia st too
    its very tasty yet so fancy but the prices are little high

  8. Want the best manoosha/fatayer in town (Riyadh) go to Manoosha!, it has a branch in Sulaimania to the corner of Hashem, and a branch on the corner of Takhassusi road with King Abdullah road (infront of Kudu).

    The food, atmosphere, and service are great.

    P.S. for those who are in Riyadh and looking for an excellent Hot Dog check out Hot Dog Expess in Al-Faisaliah Mall, King Abdullah road (Othaim complex before Olaya street), and/or just off al Tahlia Street.

  9. omg omg omg i totally looove zaatar pie!can anyone pls tell me how to make it?? cuz i’ve been craving it for it but im not in riyadh nemore! pls pls pls!!!

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