Last weekend on a Thursday night just after midnight, I was heading home coming out of Star Avenue Mall with my wife when suddenly I craved pizza. It was late so I figured my only options are Pizza Hut or Dominoes But it turned out I didnt have to look further, for a few meters away of Star Avenue in Etoile Mall, I noticed Piatto, Just a couple of shops are between it and Rossopomodoro which itself opened a few months ago.
This restaurant when it was under construction had a sign reads Duo with the subtitle ciao, but now it is called Piatto. So where was I, oh yeah, I was curious and happy to have some pizza of an Italian restaurant as appose to American pizza chain (no offense to them), so I parked in front of the restaurant and asked the waiter who was standing at the door to give me the take away pizza. I took the menu to the car, and the wife and I picked two for take away. While we were waiting, we took a second look at that menu, and discovered that we liked what we saw. It was one extensive menu, and we decided, if we liked the pizza, that we would be coming back soon. When it comes to ordering pizza from a new place, we usually opt for the familiar, so we picked Quattro Formaggi with pesto, a combination that never disappoints, and Quattro Stagioni which gives you a chance to sample four kinds of pizza in one.
The prices of pizza in the menu vary between 35-50 SR, which is not that expensive. When we opened the boxes at home, the pizzas were not hot anymore, but they looked delicious and tasted even better. The Quattro Formaggi in particular tasted great and the pesto on it added a nice twist a familiar recipe. After finishing the pies, we decided that this place should be invaded sooner rather than later.
This Thursday, we decided its time, and we went their around 5 pm. When we arrived, the ground floor was already almost full, so the host asked if we would like to be seated in the second floor which was less occupied. We agreed immediately, even though I begrudged the fact that they dont have a non-smoking section, a new alarming trend that is catching up to many new restaurants in Jeddah. We were seated in a table at the wall with comfortable seats and a long table, and the waiter offered us a partition, which we asked him not bring until the food is served.
The restaurant was decorated to mimic a traditional Italian village, with pictures of Italian buildings and doors printed on the wall, and a picture of Italian fishing villages (possibly Cinque Terre) occupying a whole wall. There is a gelateria on display in the front, so everything surrounding you puts you in the mood for some Italian food. Also there is a childrens play room in the back, so the restaurant was so quiet except from the mix of Italian music and some jazz and classic songs that were playing. We scanned the menu fast, and decided we will take it easy on the food to leave room for gelato. We picked Bruschetta Pomodoro (18 SR) for starter, Chicken Marinara (52 SR) and Porcini arugula pizza (49 SR), and two soft drinks (7 SR each). They served us the bruschetta first, but it came with assorted bread basket and complementary salad. The bruschetta was very nice, not the best in town, but very good nevertheless, and the bread and the salad as well.
Then came the main dishes, we expected the pizza to live up to our previous experience, indeed it did. The chicken marinara came with a side of penne in a gorgonzola sauce, and it was extremely good. The chicken breast was seasoned and fried to be crisp, but not the slightest greasy, and the penne was a nice complement to it. After finishing these delicious items we picked the gelato from the display, I had a waffle with coffee and hazelnut gelato, while the wife picked berry and vanilla (10 SR each) which we each enjoyed immensely. Finally we asked for the bill, and it was (including the 15% service charge) 175.95 SR, a very modest price nowadays.
I think Piatto is a welcomed entry to the ever crowded ever popular Italian cuisine in Jeddah, and as long as it maintains this level of quality and service, it will be among the first names that pops up to my mind when I crave pizza or pasta even at midnight.