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.