FACT Review: Robata sets Riyadh alight with its fireside cooking

FACT Review: Robata sets Riyadh alight with its fireside cooking



The Favourite Newcomer at the FACT Dining Award Riyadh 2023 has mastered the finer details. 

When you enter Robata, there’s a painting on the wall that may pass people by. It contains broken fragments in a frame and represents the Japanese concept of kintsugi. The idea celebrates the art of repairing broken objects with gold. The philosophy relates to the restaurant, as it showcases how the smaller details can have the biggest impact.

Located in The Canopy in Hittin, Robata offers a Japanese fine dining experience. Created by the same team behind Myazu, it is also a hit with locals – rumour has it that even royals have dined at the restaurant. Residents in Riyadh loved it so much, that they voted for it to be awarded 'Favourite Newcomer' at the FACT Dining Award Riyadh 2023.


Robata draws its inspiration from the Ainu people in Hokkaido, Japan. The Saudi designed décor oozes an understated elegance and combines navy with soft brown, bronze and gold. The subtle touches range from the pillars of wood by the window to the plants on the shelves, which are a nod to Japanese nature. Spanning two floors, there are indoor seats and a rooftop terrace with a view. 

When we entered, we had a choice between plush blue chairs and grey sofas. At the heart of the restaurant is the robatayaki and fireside cooking. The menu champions charcoal cooking and mixes traditional techniques with modern flavours. We’d recommend sitting so you can see the kitchen’s theatrical flames. 


The service is professional without being pretentious. The staff knew the menu with forensic detail, and shared popular as well as personal recommendations. The innovative menu spans salads; sushi; cold, hot and robata small plates; and robata large and hot large plates. Great for groups, there are superb sharing dishes and a business lunch throughout the week.

Robata’s starters included a perfectly presented Hamachi Ceviche. The fish soaked up the coconuts and chives, giving it a fresh, delicate touch. The Crispy Aubergine took the tried and tested popcorn shrimp and gave it an upgrade, and had a soft centre and crispy coating. Plus, the A5 Wagyu Gyoza boasted a bold, buttery taste.


The must-order mains were the oh-so juicy The Black Angus Tenderloin with yuzu bearnaise, and the epic Miso Black Cod with its flaky and flavourful texture. “Every Japanese restaurant has a Miso Black Cod, and it is world-renowned as a wonderful combination. We add in a little bit of spicy with the sweet, bury it on a bed of sundried tomatoes, and you get the sweet and sour. We grill ours on the robata, which brings that smoky beetroot charcoal texture and aroma into play” management explained.


The desserts have elevated childhood favourites and given them a Japanese influence. The options range from a Raspberry Soft Serve to a White Chocolate Hazelnut Egg. We felt like a kid eating the Cinnamon Milk Bun, as it combined cinnamon, pecans and miso cookie dough in the ice cream. 

The marvellous mocktails range from a Robata Sangria to the Aomori with pineapple, passion fruit and blue raspberry. The drinks are prepared with finesse at the bar and have gorgeous garnishes. 

Robata: it’s all in the details.

GO: Visit www.robatas.com for more information.