Al-Segala is Arabic for â€œthe pierâ€, and it also happens to be one of the best restaurants in Jeddah, particularly for seafood and Middle Eastern BBQ. Getting there is part of the fun, as the restaurant is found in South Obhur. Iâ€™d recommend to try and catch a table in the late afternoon in order to catch the jet skiers and boats, to indulge in a nice meal, and to wrap up with dessert and coffee by sunset. Now letâ€™s get to the nitty gritty: what makes Al-Segala special in terms of food, dÃ©cor, and atmosphere.
First off, Al-Segalaâ€™s menu covers everything from starters to dessert. Please note that prices are an estimate, but a full-course dinner (soups, appetizers, entrees, dessert) for 2 will probably cost you between 250-300 SR.
For soups: The Lobster Bisque Soup (35 SR) is light, creamy, and delicious, with lovely bits of lobster meat. The Creamy Chicken (25 SR) is my personal favorite and a winnerâ€” the sweetness of corn, with the yumminess of chicken, and a bit of chopped parsley on top: yum yum yum!
For appetizers: The Fried Calamari (20 SR) is fresh and tasty. There is no generic, clumpy fried batter. Iâ€™m picky about my calamari, and Al-Segala does not disappoint. The Calamari is in strips, sauted with garlic and herbs, and drizzled with olive oil. If you prefer it deep-fried, just ask. We did on one occasion, and the calamari had a thin layer of crunchy goodness on top (it reminded me of tempura). Another fun appetizer is the Big Mazza Platter (45 SR) which comes with tabouleh (finely minced parsley salad), hommous (chick pea dip), mutabal (eggplant dip), and fatoush (salad with fried pita). If you like eggplant, I would recommend the mutabalâ€”so divine! The appetizers are a nice indicator of what Al-Segala does best: fresh seafood and traditional Middle Eastern dishes.
For entrees: If you are really in the mood for seafood, and want a little bit of everything, I would recommend the Segalla Grilled Seafood Mix platter (110 SR). This has grilled shrimp, fried shrimp, grilled fish (ask for the catch of the day; they always have fresh Najil and Hamour stocked), mussels, and sometimes grilled squid. This comes displayed in a big, garnished tray, much like a typical Middle Eastern BBQ platter. If youâ€™d prefer to just have fish, I would recommend either the Najil or Hammour, as the fish is fresh and properly cooked and prepared. In fact, they have the fish displayed on ice, and you can go and pick your fancy. This involves a bit of bravery (and on my part, many squeals), but it is a nice feature, and particularly helpful if you are not sure how much fish you should order for your table. You can ask for your dish to be prepared in a variety of ways: fried (85-100 SR), grilled (85- 100 SR), or baked (95-120 SR).
If you havenâ€™t tried Sayadiyah Rice (15 SR), try it! Itâ€™s a traditional Saudi rice that is served with fish, and I canâ€™t imagine eating fish without it. Donâ€™t ask me to how to make itâ€”but I think it involves fish stock, onions,â€¦and, um, rice. It is also generally served with 2 sauces: a light tahini sauce, and a light tamarind sauce. Delicious and so â€œJeddah, Jeddah, Jeddahâ€!
For non-seafood lovers (and there are many who go to Al-Segala for the ambienceâ€”more on that later!), I would recommend the Segala Oriental Grilled platter (55-75 SR), which comes with chicken tawouk, lamb kebab, lamb kufta, and Lebanese-style grilled sausages. All yummy, but my favâ€™s are the chicken tawouk and lamb kebab: both succulently moist, with just enough seasoning, and big portions. You can also order these items separately if youâ€™d like.
There is also a nice pasta dish also, Spaghetti fruiti de mare (45 SR), that is sheer perfection: thin pasta, light tomato sauce (just tomato, no yucky, thick, sugary red paste), and bits of seafoodâ€¦This dish could be a fair competitor with its counterparts at any of our big-time Italian restaurants in town.
Finally, if youâ€™ve got kids, or are more interested in a lighter meal, I would recommend any of the pizzas. These are done on a very thin crust, with just the right amount of toppings and cheese. Again, if youâ€™re in the mood for seafood, a nice one to try is the Seafood Pizza, with bits of fish, squid, and shrimp (40 SR).
For desserts: 3 big time desserts (if you can make it to dessert in the first place, and spare the calories!):
1. The tiramisu (25 SR)- YUM: light foamy cream, delicate lady fingers, powdered chocolate, all perfection! Every restaurant in town has their version, but I think Al-Segalaâ€™s is one of the best!
2. Segala Ice Cream (25 SR): pray that they have the mango and the berry flavoursâ€¦YUM & YUM.
3. The Titanic (25 SR): An appropriate name as you will be faced with the dilemma of gobbling up the hugest, moistest slice of chocolate cake in the world, and sinking whatever little diet regiment and gastronomical restraint you had!
For drinks: The Saudi Breezer (35 SR) is nice and refreshing and beats soft drinks hands down. There is also an assortment of fresh juices, but nothing beyond the typical offerings. For hot drinks, they have good cappuccino, and Moroccan tea with mint.
Ok enough about food already! Letâ€™s talk about the dÃ©cor and atmosphere. Al-Segala is at the end of a pier overlooking Obhur Creek. After the mayhem of Jeddah traffic, itâ€™s nice to just come to the restaurant for a nice meal, and let your eyes gaze at the sea and horizon.
I would recommend the open-air seating on the very top floorâ€”itâ€™s a nice view, and thereâ€™s something so good about hearing the waves hit (albeit even with the jet ski noise and teenagers screaming) and smelling the salt in the air! The seating is traditional style: long benches with intricate wooden carving, and there are partitions available. Also, if itâ€™s particularly humid outside, there are stand-alone water-based cooling fans available- just ask. As I mentioned in the beginning, I would recommend a late afternoon reservation, but Al-Segala is also nice at night with the moon and stars. On the ground floor, there is a nice dining hall, with an outdoor balcony. Although the dining hall is perfectly fine, I seem to always prefer sitting outside at Al-Segala, mostly because I tie eating there with being able to sit outside by the sea! The restaurant does have an elevator, so thatâ€™s helpful if you have elderly members, children, or are too stuffed to take the stairs!
I know this is amazing for Jeddah, but, luckily, weâ€™ve never had any issues with parking. If you are lucky enough, you can get parking on the pier itself, which is nice. If you have elderly or small children, you can even drive right up to the restaurantâ€™s front steps, which is also especially helpful. There is also parking on the main road, right outside of the restaurantâ€™s gates.
The service is very good, if not, exceptional. Weâ€™ve never had any problems with picky orders, last-minute order changes, drink refills, etc. The staff is very accommodating and they really want you to have a nice experience. At the end of your entrÃ©e, they even bring you a towel and â€œwash your handsâ€ bowl: a metal bowl filled with water, lemon slices, and rose petals. How indulgent is that!
Overall, Al-Segala is a great pick for good food, lots of laughs, and a nice view of the sea! I highly recommend it!Read more