Outback Steakhouse

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Outback Steakhouse is an Australian-themed American causal dining restaurant chain and has been around since the late 80’s.  They specialize in American steaks, but they also offer fish, pasta, burgers, and chicken dishes.  They are well known for the “Bloom’n Onion”  a delicious flowered deep fried onion treat!

Play area upstairs.
Play area upstairs.

Outback Steakhouse is located in Tahlia Street in Teatro Mall.  We have classified it as a family friendly dining facility because they do offer a small play area/game room for kids.  The play area was pretty sparse but if you had a toddler it would be great as there is a little slide, swing and sea-saw for them to play on.  They also have two video game consuls, but they were turned off during out visit so I can not tell you the games that are offered.

Great lunch specials are available for a fair price.
Great lunch specials are available for a fair price.

A great time to visit Outback Steakhouse would be during the afternoon for lunch (after 1pm) because they have an amazing lunch special.  I believe you get a soda, soup or salad, plus a main course for 33-39 Sar depending on what you order.  The kids menu consists for chicken fingers, burger, mac n’ cheese, pasta (red sauce is spicy), fish, or grilled chicken.  The meals vary in price from 20-25 Sar depending upon what your child orders and include a drink and side dish.  We have eaten at Outback Steakhouse several times, the first time we did the lunch special with the steaks and really were not that impressed.  The steak is a sirloin steak on the special which is one of the toughest cuts of meat so we didn’t enjoy this special very much.  However, we have gone back and had higher quality steaks and I had a lovely fish and shrimp dish last time I was in that I would defiantly order again.  May daughter ordered the pasta, but found the red sauce to be too spicy they were kind enough to return it to the kitchen and bring her plain noodles instead.  I would say the service is average–there times when our server was right there and other times when we couldn’t track him down.

Hours: 12pm-1am Saturday to Friday
Phone: 012-289-2990

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UNO Chicago Grill

images-33UNO Chicago Grill is located on Amir Sultan in Al Nahdah District. This restaurant specializes in “Chicago Style” deep dish pizza, but they also have pasta, salads, burgers, chicken, steak and fish options so there is really something for everyone. I found this restaurant to be a great birthday venue as well as a fun family dining experience.

Deep dish Chicago Style pizza.
Deep dish Chicago Style pizza.

Our lunch consisted of one Chicago Style pizza, a lunch special and a kid’s pasta.  The lunch special was a fantastic deal; for 39 Sar you get a drink (soft drink/tea), salad or soup and your choice of entree.  The entree selection was great with several pizza choices, mini burgers, or chicken dishes.

My daughter did like the pasta but she told me several times that she thought the marinara sauce was “spicy”. I found it to have a bit of a kick as well, but really enjoyed the taste. I found the pizza to be fairly on par with what I have had in Chicago–nice deep crust, lots of toppings and quite tasty, though a bit short on sauce compared to what I have experience before. I found the service to be superior, compared to many of the restaurants I have experienced in Jeddah.  We received our drinks in a timely manner, salads arrived before main course, dirty dishes were cleared as we finished—really top notch.

Playground at UNO Chicago Grill.
Playground at UNO Chicago Grill.

I consider UNO Chicago Grill to be a family-friendly venue because they have two activities that kids love: playing on a playground and making their own pizzas.    I found the playground to be clean and well maintained it was partially shaded by trees as well. The kid’s menu has several choices, all for 18Sar:  pizza making, pre-made pizza, mini-burger, nuggets, mac ‘n cheese, or pasta.  The kid’s drink is NOT included in the price, nor is the dessert.

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Children make the pizza at the table then follow the server to the kitchen where they watch their pizza be put in the oven.

BIRTHDAY PARTIES:
There is no set party package, but you can call ahead and reserve some tables with easy access to the playground and the kids can all make their own pizzas.  You are free to bring in your own cake and of course, the friendly staff are willing sing.  To make a reservation, for a party please call 012-622-1320.

Location:  Al Nahdah District on Prince Sultan Road
Phone:  012-622-1320
Hours of operation:  1pm to 1am Saturday to Wednesday, 1pm to 2am on Thursday and Friday

Fakieh Aquarium

Entrance to Fakieh Aquarium.
Entrance to Fakieh Aquarium.

Fakieh Aquarium is a small aquarium located where Sari Road meets the Corniche Road.   There are three attractions for visitors: an indoor aquarium, a dolphin/sea lion show and an outdoor cafe.

Fish tunnel
Fish tunnel

The fee for entering the aquarium is 50 Sar per person, but children under 2 are free.  Discounts are available, though.If you have the 2015 Entertainer Book, there is a coupon for buy one admission get one admission free and on their web page they are currently advertising 1/2 price aquarium admission on Sundays (please check the valid times).   This aquarium is quite small, but has a nice variety of fish to view.  They have many floor to ceiling viewing areas and the majority  are low, so kids can easily see into the tanks.  My favorite part of the aquarium is the fish tunnel.  I loved watching sea creatures such as Blacktip reef sharks, sea turtles, groupers, and stingrays float by overhead.

For those who need a sweet snack, half way through the aquarium, there is a candy/toy shop.  I would highly recommend planning your aquarium trip so after you tour the aquarium you then enter the dolphin area for the dolphin show.  Depending on how “into” fish you are you will need between 30-60 minutes to view the aquarium.

When exiting the aquarium there is a gift shop and a small cafe where things like nuggets and burgers can be purchased.  They do have shaded tables available in this area and in the courtyard where you can enjoy your snack or light meal before proceeding into the dolphin arena.

The dolphin show was really quite good.  It began with the trainers bringing in two sea lions and having them do various tricks like catching rings, balancing balls, and walking on their flippers.  After the sea lions 5 beautiful dolphins are brought out and the show begins with a series of impressive in-sync jumps with all 5.  Lots of ooooh’s and ahhh’s  were heard followed by a huge round of applause!  The dolphins preform a series of tricks— some alone, some with a trainer in the water.  The show lasted about 30 minutes and the fee for the dolphin show is 50 Sar per person (adults and kids) children under two are free.  A small warning, this show is outside.  We were there for the 11am show and though shaded it is still quite warm.  I would imagine during the summer months the afternoon shows might be quite miserable.

Dolphin show.
Dolphin show.

Dolphin Show Times:
Sunday to Thursday:  11am/7pm/9pm/11pm
Friday and Saturday:  5pm/7pm/ 9pm/11pm
Holiday/Vacation:  7pm/9pm/11pm/1am

After the Dolphin show, particularly in the evenings it would be very enjoyable to find a table by the sea, order for their restaurant and just enjoy the fantastic view.

BIRTHDAY PARTY:
Fakieh Aquarium does host birthday parties, currently we have requested information and are waiting for return info.

Location:  Al Shatae District along Corniche Road and Sari Street T
Hours: Sunday to Thursday 10-11pm
Saturday 1pm to 11pm
Friday 130pm to 11pm
Holiday/Vacation Hours:  1pm to 1am (except Friday 130pm-1am)
Fee: Aquarium Tour 50Sar
Dolphin Show 50Sar
Free-children under 2
phone:  012 880 2081
Click here for the link to their web page.