This year's Winter at Tantora festival, which runs until January 21, celebrates fine dining and unique culinary experiences atop mountains deep inside the lush oasis of the ancient open-air museum city of AlUla in Saudi Arabia.
The city's first food festival, called Flavours of AlUla, is running until January 14, giving visitors the opportunity to attend masterclasses with world-renowned chefs, indulge in international cuisine, participate in multisensory activities and try new food trucks and dishes, from bubble tea to sweet crepes and organic bowls.
Those participating at the festival include chef Karim Bourgi, an artisan pastry chef who works in Dubai and the founder of Kayu Bakehouse and Calla Cafe, Saudi self-taught chef Omar Alwatban and Saudi chef Samira Sadiq, among others.
Activities for all the family are also on offer, including a Black Box experience — a blindfold taste test and a tour of mystery boxes — as well as classes on sushi rolling, how to make edible pottery, fruit decoration, using food as art and the benefits of the superfood moringa.
Here are some of the restaurants visitors can experience during this year's Winter at Tantora festival.
Overlooking the vast valleys of Harrat Uwayrid from a mountain, Okto has some of the most beautiful views of the city.
The Greek restaurant offers a range of authentic flavours from the islands. Thinly sliced aubergine crisps are served with salty feta cheese, gyros and fried calamari. Juicy lamb comes with a side of fresh Greek salad. Many people head to the restaurant to enjoy hot drinks at the lava-black bar and cosy seating area that doubles up as a stellar viewpoint of the valley.
Nestled in the oasis of AlUla’s AlJadida district, Somewhere offers a mix of international cuisine with a refreshing twist of Mediterranean flavours. On the menu are hummus, short rib kibbeh, fatteh, chicken shawarma bao and chicken musakhan rice. The karak-flavoured French toast is a particular highlight.
Making its way from Marbella, Mamzel is renowned for its live entertainment and performances, and it has descended on the ancient land of Nabataeans. Performers light up the stage with fireworks, dance routines and vocal performances for customers throughout the evening.
Mamzel has a set menu priced at 600 Saudi riyals ($160) per person on weekends, which includes zaatar hummus for starters, seabass with subtle herbs and seasoning, homemade linguini with black truffle and cream sauce for mains, and ice cream with fresh fruits for desserts.
Entrecote Cafe de Paris
In the Old Town, Entrecote Cafe de Paris is a steak lovers' dream. Steak is served on sizzling hot platters infused with aromatic butter, with a "secret sauce" and a side of salad that's drenched in mayonnaise and comes with crispy fries. Tiramisu is popular for dessert.