The movie “Eat Pray Love” has always inspired me to globetrot but I only remained inspired, to date. The reason is financial constraints as usual for a commoner like me. Besides, yours truly is just a simple traveler who exploits ordinary, available places around him. That being said I will grab every opportunity to travel to Europe, Africa, Antarctica, or the United States. Until then, I will make use of the many wonders I can find in the ordinary.
I have been frequenting casual dining restaurants since the current year started. This is because of the uniform suggestion from this blog’s subscribers, critics, and readers since last year, which is to decorate the site with foods if not talk about them. I decided to do both when I noticed the blog’s traffic continuous spike. As of today, I already shared a few (sort of) food reviews and garnished the blog with some exotic and common fruits as well as Japanese, American, and Italian cuisine. Sorry to burst your bubble though this time.
Going back to the movie, one of the many things about it that really made a mark on my wandering feet and mind was the setting of the main character’s first unusual spiritual journey when she indulged into the pleasures of eating. Italy’s idyllic streets and restaurants in the countryside are simply charming and literally appetite rousing. Italian foods particularly pasta dishes, which I saw from the movie, can make anyone succumb to the temptation of ordering a table over and over again. This explains why I and my friends, at the very division I belong to now, keep on coming back to Piatto in Al Masif, which is near our workplace in Al Izdihar, whenever we want to eat out for special occasions. A couple of weeks ago, I was with two connoisseurs (Randy and Clemen) who have already frequented the place countless times.
Piatto projects a swanky impression from the outside.
What awaits a guest upon setting foot on in front of Piatto are quarterly pruned shrubs, at the left side, that provides an aesthetic appeal and a fountain, in the middle, that is something seen in castles of medieval times. The former makes up for a tempting al fresco dining which is typically European.
Seeing that in a “desert city” just leaves a different feel.
The Vespa scooter is what will hug your optical organs upon opening the main door. Vespa is famous for their painted, pressed steel unibody which combines a prominent front fairing (providing wind protection) into a structural unit, a flat floorboard (providing foot protection), and a complete cowling for the engine (enclosing the engine mechanism and concealing dirt or grease).
This kind of display is a guaranteed original Italian concept.
No wonder the scooter still looks shiny, sexy, and new like a virgin touched at the reception area. Let me stop there.
Opening the door of the singles section made me feel like I was entering an old but beautiful house in Italy. The interior states a feel of old and modern Italian restaurant bedecked with traces of European flare, like the exceedingly shiny, antique looking manual espresso maker parked next to a big glass bowl flaunting two “empty” bottles of wine.
The ornamentation is a little multifarious yet relevant and eye-catching.
Some Piatto products are displayed around and pictures of old and narrow Italian city streets gild the walls.
Seeing the bulletin board that informs guests of their awesome amenities (free high-speed Wi-Fi Internet service, fax, and copier) is simply cheering at least for me.
I fell in love with the restaurant’s open concept. Piatto brags it on their ground floor. This is the compelling 360° ambiance of a revered scenic Italy via the piazza area located just behind the cobblestone wall where the Vespa scooter leans. The catch is, the piazza is open but covered. The rationale is not to disrupt the guests from gorging on the views when sandstorm pays an unexpected visit. The whole place has enough space to make the concept of a covered courtyard dining possible. No wonder this eating place also holds business events such as a meeting, training session, client presentation, etc. Add to that hosting get togethers like a birthday or family or class reunion.
Bad news: The whole view of the piazza is only for the eyes of families. Good news: I got a photo of it from their website. The atmosphere just looks gorgeous because it mottles with lights that register exquisitely at night.
Nevertheless, the photos I snapped in plain sight made me quickly feel that breathtaking Italian countryside vistas. According to their website, the restaurant also has a second floor but it is only for families too.
From there, you can find playrooms that are equipped with fun rides and games and a Gelato shop that gives a complimentary ice cream.
See, I almost forgot to talk about the food. The pulchritude of the place during our visit is far more engaging I must say. Anyway, the three of us ordered the succulent best seller among their lunch special choices: breaded chicken breast topped with mozzarella and marinara sauce, which was served with a side of quatto formaggio penne, coupled with refillable iced tea.
While waiting, we were offered appetizers in the form of a free fresh garden garden salad with garlic bread.
We had such a delight indulging in our respective meals and this has been the case with whatever we order ever since. The empty plate says it all. Now you know why I almost forgot to talk about he food. Add to that taking photos. All because the food really makes you focused on consuming it once you tasted it. It was that good. It is that good!
The Piatto experience would not be complete without the fast, light, creamy, multi-flavored, and free Piatto Gelato that is purely home-made! As for the restaurant staff, I have nothing but good adjectives, like efficient or friendly, for them.
When I was reading reviews about Piatto, I learned that this restaurant is one of very few pizza houses in the world that carry the actual VPN approval, meaning they make a true Naples pizza made from fresh ingredients and cooked in a wood fired oven. I vowed to try their pizza the next time around.
I can sum up our Piatto experience in a combination of great gastronomic pleasure and free tour to one of Europe’s most visited countries. Funny how a place can transport a guest like me to the rustic city streets of Italy just by their well-conceptualized decoration.
That is how I visited Italy and dined therein straight from Al Izdihar, Riyadh by car.
The featured Piatto branch’s business hours are 11:00am to 1:00am (Saturday-Wednesday), 11:00am to 2:00am (Thursday), and 1:00pm to 2:00am (Friday). It is located at Al Masif, Exit 5, Beside Steak House North Ring Road, Riyadh and can be contacted at 011-200-6868 or via email here. Visit their website at piatto.com.sa for more information.
A Pleasant Piatto at thepinktarha.com
Kid friendly restaurants- Piatto at lostinriyadh.blogspot.com
Piatto (fresh italian dining) in Riyadh City at rorikarose.blogspot.com
Kiwi In Saudi: Dining in Riyadh: Piatto at riyadhdining.nzpounamu.com
6 Dining Places In Riyadh You’ve Got To Go With Your Children at destination.com