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Middle-Eastern food places can be found everywhere in Yanbu (surprise!) but not so many offer good service (well, give it a year or two and you'll be accustomed to a lot of sub-par or unorthodox realities about living in the Kingdom).

    A Place to Eat in When in Yanbu

    Among the most common chicken dishes here in Saudi Arabia (or in the Middle East) are grilled, rotisserie, broasted, and shawarma, and most likely you have your go-to restaurant for each, off the top of your head. "Broasted? Kat Kot!"

    Chicken in Saudi is Life

    So one night in late March, we went to Damascene Grill as suggested by a colleague who recently came all the way from Khobar.

    This was just his second time in the restaurant and he liked the grilled chicken that he had when he was brought there by a former colleague, who said that it’s that one place in Yanbu that he, and some of the people that he knows, always come back to whenever in town.

    In Filipino, we call it 'binabalik-balikan'.

    It was actually not my first time in Damascene Grill, however. About two years ago, we had some kebabs (beef, mutton, and chicken) which I thought were good. But this time, we ought to try the highly recommended grilled chicken.


    From the outside, the store does look neat. You may immediately notice the walls inside are covered with wallpapers, and there are lights that are in the form of middle-eastern lanterns. I managed to take a photo of one wall where the wallpaper shows places from --I can only 'assume'-- Damascus, Syria.

    The dining area actually feelz cozy. The whole place isn't too big and only accommodates bachelors, and thus has no separate area for families or couples to dine in.

    It was taking too long for our orders to come in, though. In instance like this, I'd start to observe and look at other customers who came after us and would begin to question why their food got served first. Ha!

    Eating Time

    The serving of the food and the condiments was really nice. They have a big rectangular plate for the sauces/dips and pickles (laban, garlic sauce, and the red paste that tasted like a salty and dry-ish ketchup, probably tomato paste, which was good when combined with the garlic sauce).

    As recommended, we all had grilled chicken.

    The chicken indeed was juicy (for a grilled) as described by our colleague. Aside from the plate of sauce and pickles, the meal comes with a grilled chili and onion. I didn't try the onion until later and found that it was sweet tasting, and thought it would have been great together with the zesty chicken.

    As usual, it's best to eat with your hands when eating grilled chicken. On a piece of flat bread, I'd put a bite-size chicken and fries (and a few chopped parsley), wrap it, and dip into the sauce.

    Though one thing that isn't so nice about grilled chicken in general is the burnt skin. Sometimes, you would think it's sayang so you try to still eat some of the burnt parts, but it ruins the whole taste.

    Prayer Time

    As expected, the lights would be turned off and the blinds rolled down before we could finish, but we were done before we were asked to leave.

    For a cozy and clean restaurant (the staff wear masks, and that's important), it was a surprise that most of their foods are affordable. Didn't expect that that grilled chicken only costs 14 SAR (plus 1 SAR for the water).

    It seems Damascene Grill is only found in Yanbu, thus people who travel from other places and have tried it come back again and again whenever in town.


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