I can’t explain my choice of T.G.I.F. in Riyadh to a friend when she asked me where do I want to eat next. I grasped the air for choices and blurted ‘Friday’s’ with no specific dish in mind. Who can go wrong with a popular American restaurant chain serving steaks, BBQ ribs, and appetizers? But then again, what can go right?
I first thought nothing could go right for Fridays. Why? First, their name stands for ‘Thank Goodness It’s Friday’ when we all know it should have been ‘Thank goodness it’s Wednesday’ here in Riyadh. Second, is there something more to be desired on this kind of casual dining restaurants when other franchises of the same kind are scattered in the city offering the same food and fare?
I tend to eat my words. Yes, I do. Friday’s is now one of my favorite casual dining restaurant in the city. Their BBQ ribs had me at first sight. Of course I also saw the signature red and white stripes, the antiques, and the wooden furniture inside their lone branch in Takhasossi Street. But none of it can take my eyes off the BBQ ribs that my friend and I ordered and was soon served in our rather long table (we were just two). The slab of ribs was covered with thick sauce and accompanied by mashed potato and shredded corn. I pushed the rich sauce a little to cut the meat; prepared in case the beef puts up a fight. Oh boy, my knife sliced through painlessly! The meat was tender and and juicy; the barbecue sauce sublime in its sweet and savory glory. The fat glisten alluringly and did not harden immediately. The buffalo wings was a treat too. I could not keep myself from using my fingers in picking up a piece and chomping ’til the last shred of chicken meat is gone and the bone was just a bone. The only thing that I didn’t like was the mashed potato because it was tasteless and compact; refusing to budge in its perfectly flattened and shaped space in the huge plate. I had the margarita too, which I’m not too thrilled to drink because I kind of know what to expect. Well, I was still surprised that it didn’t have anything spectacular to it. Just an ordinary margarita sitting pretty in a glass with a salted rim.
The service in Friday’s is adequate. The place has a lot of chairs for those who are waiting to be seated inside cubicles which are properly fitted with curtains. The couches are long and can sit large groups of family and friends. It’s a little bit noisy when it gets crowded but it’s still manageable. Besides what’s a week night without the chaos and madness?
Overall, it doesn’t matter if there are a lot of restaurants offering the same menu as Fridays. There’s only one TGIF in Riyadh. And it doesn’t matter whether we go on a Friday or a Wednesday or any day at all. We can go all days of the week and we’d still be left longing for their nice array of the familiar and the unique dishes. More ribs on this table, please!TGI Fridays,