Where We Are Going Today: ‘Jon & Vinny’s restaurant in Riyadh

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Los Angeles-based Italian restaurant Jon & Vinny’s has opened a location in Riyadh serving pizza, pasta, desserts and coffee.

Located in Al-Sulimaniyah, the Italian restaurant has four locations in the US, all in California: Fairfax, Brentwood, Slauson and Beverly Hills.

The Riyadh restaurant features a more casual laid-back dining experience as opposed to other Italian restaurants in the Saudi capital that offer a more refined dining atmosphere.

If you are looking for a luxury restaurant for a quiet date night, this is not the best option, but if you are searching for a trendy hang-out spot, Jon & Vinny’s is suitable for you.

The atmosphere and decoration of the restaurant are standard, with wooden bench-style seating and walls decorated using pizza boxes.

The restaurant founders, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, attended the grand opening in Riyadh on April 17, saying that their mission is to offer authentic food that captures traditional Italian flavors.

The prices on the menu are average, with dishes ranging from SR65-75 ($17-20).

The menu offers a wide variety of pizzas, from “The Rosy,” a tomato and olive oil pizza with parmesan, to the “The Lola,” with fresh burrata, tomato, basil olive oil and a dash of sea salt.

One thing to note is that the pizza is quite authentic compared to other options in the city. The pizza crust is crispy, light and airy, allowing the freshness of the tomatoes and herbs to shine through.

Unlike other Italian restaurants, Jon and Vinny’s also offers different options for crust dips, such as ranch, garlic, buffalo, creamy Italian, pomodoro and olive oil.

In terms of drinks, the options on the menu include juices, soft drinks and caffeinated beverages such as americanos, cappuccinos and other coffee.

You may try the house-made lemonade, which is refreshing but a bit on the sour side. It is definitely great for guests looking for something tangy and refreshing for the Saudi summer heat.

For pasta options, you can try the pesto pasta, known on the menu as the pesto parmigiano oregano. The pasta is perfectly cooked al dente and the sauce is tasty but nothing new or innovative.

The lemon pasta and the spicy fusilli are the two highlight dishes of the restaurant.

When it comes to meat, there are limited choices on the menu. You may try the braised meatballs with ricotta and garlic bread.

The meatballs are very flavorful and seasoned well, with the flavors of the spices in the meatballs complimenting the simple and fresh red sauce.

The garlic bread which is offered with the meatballs is a bit on the charred side.

Another notable option on the menu is the Caesar salad with cheese sticks.

The freshness and quality of the ingredients shine through in the simple dishes.

The restaurant is very trendy and social-media friendly. The wall of Jon and Vinny’s pizza boxes is the perfect backdrop for photos.

Although the restaurant is small, it does offer an open-style kitchen where guests can approach the kitchen area and see the chefs cooking each meal.

For dessert, the restaurant offers a variety of sweets, including cheesecake and chocolate cake.

You will find the staff incredibly friendly.

Jon & Vinny’s offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, and is open from 8 a.m. to midnight.

 

 

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