This Restaurant has everything! And you don’t have to speak a single word of Arabic to get a good meal. The Alhamra’a Restaurant looks like a McDonald's Restaurant from the outside and like a Kebab shop in the entrance. Don’t let that fool you. This is a large complex that includes the following:
• Fast Food (shwarmas, etc.)
• Full Service, but fast restaurant
• Family orientated restaurant
• Lovely garden area with a large fountain
• Dinning hall for large events
• Prayer area
• Clean Toilets and wash area
• Hygienic cooking areas/staff
Above all it has great food! And the best part is this:
Where the cashier is located is one real example of every food item and drink they do, covered up. They do this every day. You can see what they make, as they make it, and the price is written on each one. Look closer at the 2nd picture. Great food, great prices and the staff could not be more friendly. They do local dishes and do them well. A fantastic experience and worth a visit. Enjoy.
I am not normally a lover of Lamb, but the oven roasted lamb was excellent and a kebab here is to die for. Everything is made fresh and hot. Ask the staff if you can take a picture and they will pose for you!
If you are visiting the mountains towns and villages of the Haraz Mountains, Hanida Restaurant is the best place to stop for lunch or dinner. Although its rather shabby exterior would not attract your attention, inside both the decor and food are sumptuous. You will sit on the carpeted floor and be served a variety of traditional Yemeni dishes, such as shurba wasabi and salta, served with flat bread, and, if you are lucky, you might meet Hanida, who, with her daughters, runs the restaurant and, unusually for Yemeni women, is happy to pose for photographs.
The otherwise unspectacular village of Shibam (west of Sanaa - not the Shibam in Hadramaut) has a good restaurant with an interesting history: Granny Hameeda started her business by catering for soldiers in the Civil War, then set up a restaurant and subsequently catered for tourists who came in increasing numbers to visit the nearby cities of Kawkaban and Thulla. As I understand it, her business is run entirely by women, quite unusual for Yemen. The food quality is good, the best dish is a traditional honey-covered bread. Easy to find as tour busses and 4WD will probably crowd before the restaurant.
There is only one chinese restaurant in Aden - Ching Sing in the Malla`a quarter, along the main road - the food is really cheap, and rather good (though I`ve eaten better elsewhere). One of the few places that serve alcoholic drinks in Aden.
Unexpectedly, Yemen is quite good for vegetarians, compared to most Arabic countries, as although most meals are served with a meat stew or piece of lamb or chicken, there is enough variety in the accompanying dishes. I ate veggie every lunchtime in the local restaurants.
There is plenty of hot fresh pitta bread, spicy vegetable stews, tomato dips, fenugreek and flavoured rice. Fresh fruit is usually bananas but in coastal areas you get mangos, papayas and melon. Look out for “bint cake” or daughter cake, which is pastry with honey.
They prefer you to refuse the meat if you are not going to eat it, rather than waste it.
We ate lunch in the local "Tourist" restaurants each day. The name is actually misleading as there were usually more local people than tourists eating in them as lunch is the main meal of the day in Yemen.
Tourists are served at the tables while the locals, all men, eat sitting on the floor in a separate area. It looked great fun in that section with groups of men sharing big plates of food, with their Kalashnikovs placed on the floor beside them.
Our tables were mostly covered in newspaper or disposable plastic cloths and we usually had plastic forks. They were generally very clean and the staff would rush to set up the tables for us, cleaning them and bringing the bread very quickly.
The local bread is corn bread but the one we saw most of in restaurants was the feshly baked pitta bread. Lunch was normally chicken (sometimes fish), bread, flavoured rice, vegetable stews and spicy tomato dip.
Bananas are compulsory after every meal for tourists! We never had a day without them.
I expected coffee but we always got tea, which I really enjoyed once I got used to the sweetness - it is almost always heavily sugared.
Mineral water is widely available and very inexpensive. Coke and fizzy drinks are also widely available but not diet varieties.
The food in the local restaurants we visited was much better than that in some of the hotels.
Favorite Dish: Freshly baked and delicious pitta bread which is a huge flat circle and arrives at the table very hot.
Tasty vegetable stews served as a side dish. Nice and spicy.
Fenugreek served very hot in a bowl like a thick soup. Delicious to dip the pitta bread into.
I stayed in good quality hotels, when possible, where we ate dinner most nights. Lunch was eaten at the local "Tourist" restaurants.
Certainly the the 4 and 5 star hotels in Yemen can produce a buffet at dinner time equal to many good hotels in Europe, and some even better. The best were the Movenpick in Sana'a and the Sofitel in Taiz. They both served a large selection of International dishes - pasta, curries, fish and meat dishes, soups, pates, plenty of locally grown fruit and vegetables and some very good desserts!
The medium class hotels did not do so well with the food. The worst of these were the Golden Tulip in Aden and the Taj Awsan in Hodeidah. Watery soup that tasted like dishwater was a speciality of the house in both these places, along with tinned vegetables. Overcooked frozen fish at the Taj Awsan (and it's close to the fish market!).
Just outside Bab Al Yemen on the right is a reasonable restaurant for the budget minded. Example of prices;
1/2 chicken + salad + coke = 350 R (rials) / $1.75 / UK0.90p ("dejaj wa salada wa coke")
They also have mixed vegetables at times ("moushaka") and "la'ham" which is just meat, often lamb in an unappertising stew which I didnt like much. Outside on a small terrace is a pleasant enough place to chill with a tea ("chai") and watch the traffic! 10R / $0.05c / UK0.03p
31 flavours they don't offer, but what they have is as good as you'd expect.
It's a growing chain, with outlets in Sana'a Trade Center (Al-Jazair / Algiers Street), a small one in between Pizza Hut and KFC, a counter in a coffee shop at Yemen Mall; in Aden at the "Stalin Allee". The latest shop is at Hadda (on the left hand side between 60 Metre Road?Sateen and Medina Zakania/Beirut Street). It is also the most conveniently located, as there is a dentist's practice on the floor above it (see picture).
Favorite Dish: Butter pecan shake.
Want a FULL SIZED lunch? The main meal in Yemen is at lunchtime and these folks really prove it! It is upstairs in the annex of the Hamedda Tourism Hotel. You cannot miss the chef as he cooks just inside the front door to the hotel! (Please see the pictures). Everything from meat to vegetables and several kinds of bread are laid out on a carpet for you and you eat as a group. Just ask for a spoon if you do not feel comfortable eating with your hands. Remember to order a soft drink before they bring the food as the staff leave you in peace once all your food has arrived. Please be aware that your driver and/or tour guide may wish to pray before eating, so wait until you see people gathering around the food before you start. Women eat separately from men in another room. Prices are amazingly economical for the amounts you get.
You will see all the tour guides vehicles outside in the middle of the day as this is the best restaurant for miles. They do have a restaurant in the Hanida Hotel next door, but this one is the king of meals!
With the generous variety they provide half the fun is finding out which dishes you like! I tried them all.
PLEASE NOTE: Most guide books give you the wrong phone numbers for this hotel and restaurant!
Excellent local non-fancy restaurant. We went three times in 6 days. The meal is simple and good. Yoy pick the fish you want upon entering the restaurant. They only have one type - don't know what kind of fish it is - but you choose according to size and you can check if it is fresh (they are very fresh in my experience). You can choose between two different types of marinades: a spicy marinade or a cumin marinade. They will grill the fish and bring it to your table with hot baladi bread. Eat it with your fingers and savour the taste! We paid between 1,200 to 1,700 rials for two (between US$6-US$9)
Many restaurants in Yemen are not recognizable as such to a western tourist. A restaurant is usually a small room with a few tiny tables and benches, a newspaper as a tablecloth, and very different standards of cleanliness. It is a different thing with the hotels, but don`t expect haute cuisine there either. The food though is usually tasty and delicious (especially ful and fassulja) and very cheap, but as there is no variety in the menu and non-yemeni restaurants are practically non-existent outside Sanaa, you will sooner or later long for something different.
The Kamusch is an egyptian-owned restaurant in Sanaa (new town) offering delicious pizzas. Dinner is served in a tent. Popular with Expats. Best take a taxi and ask the driver, as I don`t recall an adress.
Favorite Dish: Pizza Seafood
Yemen Food 101 in the photo are the basic yemen Dishes that you can safely eat all over yemen in small places and by the way in my opinion they are very tasty.
Fuul, or Fuul Medammis, cooked in a stone pot as seen in the photo is a very popular dishes in Yemen yo can find it anywhere. Cooked Fava beans with olive oil, coriander, cumin, lemon juice,
garlic, eggs, and fresh cilantro. (Survival food) safe to eat comes to your table boiling)
Saltah is a spicy green stew made with meat and veggies cooked in a stone bowl called a “Madr” or “Makli” ( Safe survival food) comes to your table boiling)
Shorbat Adas - Lentil Soup
Mohkbazat Sayd -- Clay oven kiln cooked fish served with spicy sauce.
Yemeni bread baked on demand frresh in a clay in a kiln-type oven.
Kibda wa Kalawi Mashwiya (grilled liver and kidney) not my taste but my wife loves this dish
Hummus which is a mashed chick pea paste with garlic and olive oil.
Favorite Dish: How my favorite is Shawarma this tasty dish is made putting thin strips of meat onto a skewer and cooked slowly on a rotisserie. The best one in Sana’a have the rotisserie fire burning with charcoal or wood not gas or electric. The fat at the top melts with cooking and flavors the meat. Half the fun is watching the cooks work the rotisserie and knife making it a show fit for Japanese steakhouse.
The shaved meat my favorite is lamb but beef and chicken are common is put on a slice of pita bread . Ttahini and/or hummus, tomato, lettuce, cucumber, onion are wrapped and tucked into the sandwich and eaten with Tabouli, Hummus, and Fattoush.
Not listed in guidebooks, grill-houses are an alternative for having a typical but delicious meal. You can either buy your fresh fish from the market or buy it locally and have it grilled. Try it!! Unforgettable experience. Specially the newspaper tablecloth!
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I didn't stay there, but went there in early afternoon hoping for a cup of tea. But they don't have...more
Al Hawta Palace Hotel is situated on the outskirts of Say'un and is set in lovely landscaped...more
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