Coming to you all the way from the desert, where there is sand and pale colored buildings and houses as far as the eye can see, I have gone to Saudi Arabia Riyadh to visit the family for a while. Since the aspect of Tourism is out of the questing, I will be posting restaurant reviews for those able to enter this country for work or family purposes.

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In the attempt to keep this interesting, I decided it best to try and explore the many diverse cultures of food we are lucky to have in this pearl of a country. Being part Greek and part Lebanese, I decided to go for the in-between, all the way to Turkey.

Located at the start of Jumeirah road, the restaurant looked very inviting and spacious. With the weather still in our favor, we were able to opt for the outdoor seating and very much enjoy the the unpredictable coolness of the air.

Our waiter was at our table directly offering a very warm and friendly smile, which made it very easy to overlook the very obvious language barrier. It was actually a nice touch that most of the staff were Turkish. We decided to take our servers advice on most of our choices. They started us off with a bread basket and a plate of different dips, the bread was obviously reheated and I honestly would have appreciated if they had taken the time to quickly state what the dips were. Now i’m not sure if he would have been able to explain it in English, but we survived.

We started off with the Gavurgagi Salad, which is your basic Mediterranean type cucumber, bell pepper, tomato, parsley and onion mix, however I am thankful that they went for more flavor with vinegar than the usual plain olive oil. It was a very refreshing salad that we enjoyed. Our next starter was the Red Lentil Soup, a very hearty, and fulfilling soup, not as thick as the regular lentil, and with more subtle flavor. The Mini Lahmacun  (The Turkish Meat Pie) was nice, however that was after I added a generous amount of salt to actually taste anything, but the crust was very thin and crunchy. The real disappointment was the Shrinp Casserole, which I should have seen coming from the typing error on the menu (written as seen). With hardly any shrimp at all, the casserole was filled with large vegetable chunks, obviously straight from a can, and topped with a cheese that didn’t help the casserole much. I would have to guess that it was not a very traditional Turkish dish, definitively not to be recommended.

Now I don’t want to give you all a negative vibe about the restaurant, seeing as how the main course was delicious! Having around six different type of kebabs to choose from, we opted for the waiters choice. The Iskender Kabab a kind of doner kabab with thinly sliced lamb, basted with a mouthwatering tomato sauce mixed with spices, that is layered on top of chunks of pita bread that were clearly pre-soaked in butter. The meat was accompanied by a generous scoop of yogurt. Now this, in complete honesty, deserved a little happy dance with every bite. The meat was tender and flavorful, with a dab of yogurt to contribute a bit of creaminess in your mouth.

Usually i’m not one to order dessert, but for the sake of the blog, I decided to sacrifice my routine to give you a proper three course criticism

As our waiter had mentioned that we should not miss the Turkish Kunafa around three times, that’s what we chose. We were only able to take one bite each and the rest home, but it was clear that this is one of those guilty pleasure desserts that you reward yourself with once in a while, or risk the unwanted coronary due to the sinful amount of butter. Apart from the butter, it was also lathered in syrup and topped with a very heavy cream.

A very satisfying and heart-burning dinner, with the exception of a few disappointments.

Very family friendly and even more appealing to ones wallet, all we ordered plus a large bottle of water only for the mere amount of 175 DH.

A definite repeat restaurant.

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Every time I drove past this Lebanese restaurant, the same thought popped into my mind, would it even come close to “Moms food”?

I decided to try it out. Located in the Marina parallel to JBR I was very surprised to find an indoor parking lot right next to the restaurant, in that area it usually takes a few turns to snag a spot, first plus. Since it was late afternoon and there were barely any customers, my friend and I decided to sit outside with the weather still not too hot. The staff was quick to greet us with a smile and hand us our menu (keep in mind we were one of their only customers). They had around the same variety of dishes you usually find at a Lebanese restaurant. After a quick scan we decided on the Hommos and Moutabbal as starters and the Fatteh with hommos and mixed grill as our main.

Right away our waiter returned with our drinks, mixed pickles and hot Arabic bread. The appetizer quickly followed, and five minutes later the rest arrived.

Unlike the many Arabic restaurants, this eatery’s Hommos and Moutabal were actually made by an Arab! They had the right amount of seasoning and I found myself doing my “enjoying the food dance”.

For those who are not familiar with Fatteh with Hommos, it is a layering of chick peas, fried Arabic bread pieces topped with a generous helping of yogurt that are generally mixed with a bit of garlic and cumin. This is a dish I learned never to order seeing how every single time led to tasteless disappointment, but I figured it would be a good way to rate the food. I have to say, I was very surprised to find that at least ONE restaurant actually gave out a dish that tasted like it was meant to. Each mouthful was burst of flavorful goodness and it made me feel like I was in Lebanon.

Even the Mixed Grill (2kebabs, 2 chicken skewers, 2 meat skewers) was better than what I’m used to. The kebabs were nicely seasoned and very moist. The chicken was tender, and the meat was juicy and very nicely marinated giving you a burst of flavor with each bite.

From the items on the menu that we decided on, we could both tell that fresh ingredients were used and that the chef knew what he was doing!

Before leaving I took a peek inside the restaurant and discovered a very tastefully decorated space, giving of a comfortable homely vibe.

Very family-friendly, not too overpriced with a somewhat “moms” feel to it!

http://www.800mama.ae/ReviewMenu.aspx

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ImageI finally went to Aprons and Hammers, half the people I know were telling me how good it was and the other half were saying the complete opposite. So I had to see for myself.

First of all when I walked on the dock leading to the restaurant/Boat, I was not expecting it to be so elegent-ish with soft relaxing music, and if you get yourself an upper-deck table (which i would recommend) you have a beautiful view of Dubai’s lights.

The employees all had a smile on their faces and quick on service. The menu gives a good enough variety (http://www.apronsandhammers.com/) however if you like beer you’r stuck with bottled Budweiser!

We started off with the Crab Cakes, I cant seem to find the perfect Crab Cakes! and these didn’t turn out to be them, good but not consisting of the right spices.

Now we get to the GOOD part! As the main attraction are the crabs, we got a large bucket (for four people) cooked in Provencal Style sauce, and got the butter and lemon sauce for dipping.

Now not to be over dramatic, but what can be better than actually getting to play with your food! The process before eating is the best part, all using your hands you reach in grab a piece and start hammering away to get to that perfectly cooked meat with the Provencal sauce infused into every joint! I just couldn’t seem to get enough!

Now when you hear “butter and lemon” sauce, what we got was not exactly what you would expect, not real butter taste, but with the crab already cooked in a sauce you need nothing else. After we were done and every piece of crab meat had vanished and we were left licking our fingers, and patting out crab filled belly’s, a sliver of cheese cake seemed like a good idea. Of course after the meal we had we opted for one slice for the four of us. Not the best cheese cake I have ever eaten, a bit heavy but not too sweet which is always better.

Then again, you come to Aprons and Hammers you go for the crab not the dessert!! Definitely a place to come back to!

Family friendly, though in my opinion not a place to bring the very young ones.

Four people came out to a bill of 550, large bucket of crab, crab cakes, french fries, and drinks.

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Being a “Lady” in Dubai, you cant help but take advantage of the many many ladies night choices!

Thursday night at the Address Marina Blends is a non-stop flow of Cosmopolitans till 11 pm. At 9 pm it was completely empty except for our table, which was strange as i heard it was usually packed even that early in the night. It was a nice change from the usual overcrowded places of Dubai so that started the night in the right direction, and having our table closest to the bar gave us easy access to our many Cosmopolitan refills!

As not all of us were hungry at that time, 3 of us decided to go for the Mixed Platter, an arrangement of Crispy fried chicken strips, Crab cakes, calamari rings, prawns and french fries. all accompanied by a tasteless type of sour cream which was edible but nothing to brag about. The chicken was pretty good, then again you would have to really try, to get fried chicken wrong! The main disappointment were the overly salted crab cakes. Then again a bar is not were you usually go for good food!

At around 10 pm people started coming in and by around midnight the place was full of happy looking people dancing away to the not too bad choice of music.

putting aside the food, over all a pretty good place to go and have a good time!

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