Browsing articles in "Restaurant Reviews"
Jul 14, 2007

Review: CinnZeo – Al Masa Mall

CinnZeo is a bakery coffeeshop that has opened earlier this year in Al Masa Mall. The bakery is dedicated to making cinnamon rolls, its slogan is The Best Tasting Cinnamon Rolls on Earth, and I personally think that it probably is.

The place has two floors, the ground floor has the cashier, the bakery itself, and a couple of wooden tables and chairs, the place upstairs is very spacious, has sofas and is separated by a glass wall from the balling hall of Al Masa Mall, which makes up a a nice view. In the few times that I’ve been there the place was generally quite and not very crowded. (I have never been there during weekends.)

Cinnzeo’s menu starts with standard cinnamon rolls, chocolate cinnamon rolls, and pecan cinnamon rolls. I can’t say much about them other than they’re SO GOOD. I am not a hardcore fan of cinnamon rolls or anything, but I was really blown away by those of Cinnzeo. They’re well cooked, tender, and watery and man the chocolate rolls are so damn good. The rolls come in two sizes, standard (miniroll) and large (cinnaroll).

Cinnzeo also offers cinnamon sticks, dippers, twists, swirls, and a set of take-out packs. None of which I have tried.

For beverages Cinnzeo offers a variety of espressos, iced espressos, cream blenders, fruit smoothies, and some fresh juices and soda drinks. The last thing I had was a Caramel Cooler, a cold caramel and cream drink which I thought was pretty good. A friend of mine had some time ago a more interesting drink, Italian Soda, which is made of plain soda and your choice of fruit syrup that they add to the soda and mix for you.

The price of a regular sized cinnamon roll (miniroll) starts from RO 0.700, and take-away boxes of 4 or 6 rolls start from RO 3. The drinks at CinnZeo cost about Ro 1 to RO 1.5.

I had great time at Cinnzeo, their seating area is awesome and the food is amazing.

Jul 6, 2007

Review: Santino’s – Jawharat Al Shatti

Santino’s Bistro Italiano is an Italian restaurant located in Jawharat Al Shatti mall in Shatti Al Qurum. This is not a fast food take away outlet like the one found in the Food Court of City Centre (which I’ve never tried), but a dine-in restaurant. Santino’s is one my personal favourites in town, love their food, the staff are all Asian and are generally very friendly, but the place is relatively small and could get quite packed at peak hours, also there isn’t a toilet in the restaurant.

During my first visits to Santino’s we always had a problem with the starters, while they are good, they’re as big in quantity as some main courses in other places. The waiter’s were not very helpful in this department as we were never advised on how much we should order. They have a couple of really good calamari starters, my favourite is the Calamari Piccosi, a spicy calamari and beans dish served with two garlic breads. We share this among two. There are loads of different starters, unfortunately I did not take a copy of the menu and I cannot recall the Italian names of the dishes.

There are five different main course types in Santino’s: salads, rice meals, sandwiches, pizzas and pasta dishes. I never tried the salads or the rice meals, so I cannot tell you much about these two. Sandwiches at Santinos are served in very thick pizza-like bread, along with potato wedges and salad. You can select up to four fillings for your sandwich from a collection of 15 or so fillings. I only had this once long time ago and though it tasted good, but it was very messy and quite hard to eat because of the hard bread.

Pizzas at Santino’s are what I usually order, there are again a variety of beef, chicken, sea food, and vegetarian pizzas made on a thin base, the ones I remember having are Mia (chicken, pepper and mushrooms – I think), Margherita (cheese and tomato sauce), and Santino’s Special (beef, pepperoni, chicken, pepper, and loads of other stuff). All of which I recommend. Santino’s Pizza’s come in a standard size and a larger one to share among a group.

I recently tried having pasta at Santino’s and had a Penne Santino’s (pictured above), a rich chicken pasta with olives, red pepper, and spinach – which was good, but not as memorable as the other meals I had here. I am generally not a pasta person, that might explain. One of my friends had a Tagliatella Alfredo (pictured below), which he thought was good.

As usual, nobody experimented with their drinks and had only Mountain Dew, that is a habit I think we should stop. I previously tried their chocolate cake which was more like a chocolate mousse rather than a cake, but which we still enjoyed nonetheless.

Starters are Santino’s cost around RO 2, a main course about RO 3. A dinner for three (2 starters, 3 main courses, and 3 drinks) cost us around RO 15 – taxes included.

Santino’s is one of the of nicer little places in town, great food and good service. Anybody going there has to try to the Calamari Picossi!

Jun 27, 2007

Review: Meknes Restaurant – Al Khuwair

Meknes (proper Arabic pronunciation is Mik’naas) is a Moroccan cuisine restaurant located in Al Khuwair, it is two blocks after the Oman Mobile headquarters if you are coming from Muscat – its flashy sign cannot be missed.

Meknes is a proper restaurant suitable for business dinners and special events. It’s very well decorated and looks quite fancy. The place is bigger than what it looks from the outside as the upper floor spans across multiple units. The restaurant has a semi-separate sheesha joint on its other side, we did not see any smoke or smell any sheesha during our stay, but I do not know if that was because the sheesha place was well isolated or because they had no customers in it at that time. There isn’t a non-smoking section in the restaurant, but the place is very spacious and did not have many actual customers when we were there, so again, we do know how it would have looked like in a busy/bad day. There are a couple of cabinet-like rooms in which people could dine in if nobody else was already in there.

Meknes’s menu has loads and loads of funny names of Moroccan food, we were given the Arabic language menu and really couldn’t understand much of it. We asked the waiter to give us the skinny on what this menu says, for starters, there were about four types of salads, Moroccan soup (Hareera), a samosa mix, and a whole set of weird sweet starters (chicken and honey wrapped up in a Qatayif like dish?) – we did not feel very adventurous so we did not try that. I had a hareera soup that came with a thick layered flat bread (we call it Mardhoof bread at home), and it was awesome. We also tried their samosas, which really took some time to come, my friend liked a lot and thought that it was well worth the wait. It came boiling hot when it finally did, it nearly burned my tongue – I can’t deny that it was quite good, but not as memorable as the soup. (Which I badly wanted to have as I loved it the first time I tried the restaurant)

For main courses, Meknes had mixed grills, fish grilled on coal, cuscus with vegs and chicken, cuscus with vegs and meat, chicken with olives and lemon, chicken with nuts, and about 15 other dishes with funny names that made no sense to us (eg. بسطيلة – بايلا – طاجين – رفيسة). I had chicken with olives and lemon (image below) which came with three huge buns of sweet spongy bread. I do not know how to eat with that sort of bread, I tried tearing crumbs of the bread and eating the chicken with it, it was hard and I really couldn’t taste the flavour of the chicken because of the sweet bread. I eventually gave up and started using the cutlery to eat the chicken with the sauce and managed to actually enjoy the meal, the chicken was very tasteful and very well cooked. I enjoyed it, it was good, but as I person who likes spicy food, I did not think that it was mind blowing.

My friend had cuscus with vegetables and chicken, he thought it was very good. We thought that the quantity of the food was a lot for a single person, especially if you are going to have a three course meal.

Meknes also offers fresh juices, soft drinks, special Moroccan tea, and a coffee. They have a weird selection of desserts and sidelines that we did not try. Actually, we were very boring and only had the Omani survival drink, Mountain Dew.

Starters in Meknes cost from RO 0.8 to RO 1.5, meal courses cost RO 2.5 to Ro 3.5, there are special discounts for ordering larger dish for two or more people, drinks cost about RO 1 and desserts about the same. We paid around RO 12 for our meal.

The restaurant is currently running a special Business Lunch where you can have a three course meal for RO 3.250 (hareera soup, main course, and a dessert). You can call 2447 5497 for more information. (I was NOT paid to write this!)

A funny thing that happened was that they were shooting an Omani TV series in Meknes on the day that were there, it was hilarious, Omani super star Fakhriya Khamis was there, so we thought we’ll play paparazzi and take some photos, of course it is not as exciting as shooting Beyonce on a nudist beach.. or well, it actually could be on Omani standards.

Jun 23, 2007

Guest Post – Review : Flavours Al Athaiba

This post has been submitted by Amjad Hayder, a high school student in Muscat, he keeps a blog that he updates regularly at http://amjad248.blogspot.com. Please feel free to share your recipes and reviews with the rest of the Omani Cuisine community by emailing us at contact@omanicuisine.com.

The other day my friends and I went to this new restaurant in Athaiba called Flavours. This is a new international cuisine restaurant in Muscat owned by PFI group. It is located off the the Sultan Qaboos Road next to the Mazda showroom in Al Athaiba.

We went there for lunch at around 2pm. The customers we saw were mainly employees from different nationalities having their lunch break probably coming to Flavours for its special buffet offer for lunch.

The atmosphere at Flavours is great, it is a spacious restaurant with two additional halls, one for families only and the other for ladies only. There is a billiard table and some internet facilities for anyone feeling like hanging out in Flavours.

Flavours serves different types of meat or chicken rice meals and sandwitches. Their menu has a variety of items for desserts such cream caramel and fruits. They also serve Baskin Robin’s ice cream.

The prices at Flavours are very reasonable. Their special rice and curry buffet is served for 2 riyals only! All their other menu items are also of a similar reasonable price as well.


(Photograph by Amjad)

I liked Flavour’s food and prices, but I did not like their waiters. The majority of their staff are Indian, they have one Omani woman and one Omani guy at the counter. I hope that you do not get me wrong, I have nothing against other nationalities, but I got really annoyed by the waiters who did not seem to feel like serving us. We were a group of ten and we stayed for a bit in Flavours, it was quite apparent to us that the waiters were irritated by our stay and one of them stood waiting for us to finish eating to collect the dishes from us.

Disregarding the attitude of the waiters, we had a great time at Flavours: great food, great atmosphere and reasonable prices. If you’re looking for these things, do not hesitate to have your lunch after work/college/school at Flavours Restaurant or even having a dinner there with your family or friends.

May 30, 2007

Review: Kobe Sizzlers – Qurum Commercial Area

Kobe is the relatively fancy relatively new sizzler restaurant in the first block of shops next to the Zawawi car showroom in the Qurum commercial area. I do not know when exactly it opened, but the first time I go to it was sometime last month.

The first thing you notice about Kobe is that it has a serious theme/identity crisis, the restaurant table paper sheets say that Kobe is a place (or a thing – can’t remember) in Japan and the restaurant is nicely decorated with bamboo sticks, but all the food served is Indian. All the staff members are Indian. And occasionally between the Britney Spears songs and the Nancy Ajram songs a random Indian song would be played. We consider Kobe to be an Indian restaurant regardless of their confusing mention of Japan here and there.

Kobe Sizzlers, as the name suggests, serves mainly sizzlers, these are meet, chicken, or fish dishes grilled or fried and brought to you sizzling. All the sizzler dishes of Kobe come with cooked vegetables (spinach, carrots, tomato, flower, and green beans) and either chips, boiled rice, or mushed potatoes depending on your choice. The menu has a long list of sizzlers in all various forms, shapes and falvours, along with soups, some random little sandwiches (e.g. cheese chili sandwich), burgers, one pasta dish, and three fried rice dishes. On the drinks side, Kobe offers a selection of juices which we did not try, ice tea which a friend tried and thought that it was okay, and good old soda.

Kobe has several things messed up, but the major thing that they do have right is the food itself as it is really very good. I have already been to it three times, my favourite dish is a delicious schezwan sauce chicken sizzler which is rich in flavour and quite spicy but not to a crazy extent. We thought that the amount of food served was good. The sizzler meal costs on average RO 3.500, a rice meal costs about RO 2. The total we spent for dinner for four was about RO 15.

Dinner at Kobe was a pleasant experience, we wished that it would have a greater variety of appetisers, but that section of the menu had only soups. A point that we think is worth mentioning here is that the whole of the Kobe restaurant is engulfed with the sizzling smell of the food, we do not think that you would like to go for an important meeting after staying inside Kobe for an hour.

May 11, 2007

Review: Hamburger Nation – Muscat City Centre

We went out today to try Hamburger Nation – the new burger restaurant in Muscat City Centre. The restaurant is located on the ground floor right below the escalator if you’re coming down from the horrible Emax.

Just as the name suggests, Hamburger Nation serves burgers and not much else. All their burgers are relatively massive in size and are served in sesame seed buns, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, and raw onion rings. Unlike some of the huge burgers served by other places, you can actually hold these in your hands and have a bite without creating a huge mess. I tried the Buddha Burga, which is basically a Thai spiced chicken breast burger, I thought that it was pretty good. Their 2-pages menu also has some beef, lamb, prawn, and some veggie ones as well.

The burgers do not come with anything, you have to order the drink and whatever sideline you wish to have separately. We did not feel adventurous and had regular chips – which was good. On the drinks side, they have milkshakes, soda, and some bottled organic juices.

The staff of the restaurants are all Asian and were very friendly. Burger Nation is your average noisy mall-restaurant, but the place still feels cozy even though it was a little bit tight in space.

The average price for a burger sandwich here costs RO 3, sidelines range in price from RO 1 to RO 1.8, drinks from RO 0.7 to RO 1.5, milkshakes from RO 1.5 to 2.5, and deserts from RO 1.7 to RO 3.0. So the average whole meal with a desert could cost RO 6 to RO 8 per person.

Overall, it was pleasant experience, the burgers were delicious and the service was really good. There isn’t much variety though, it is Burger Nation afterall, the quantity of the chips that we got was a bit questionable, and the 700bz soda was only for one bottle, not a refillable glass. This makes us wonder if the money we paid was really worth the food we got, especially when you realise that it was pretty close to what it would have cost us to eat at Chili’s.

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