Engineer’s Dream Fulfilled With First Saudi Restaurant in LA

Nayif Fallatah, a seasoned electrical engineer from Saudi Arabia had a lifelong dream to open the first Saudi Arabia restaurant in Los Angeles. He’s traveled many places around the globe and fell in love with L.A., after attending college here. Chef Nayif recently opened the first authentic Saudi restaurant in Los Angeles.

He believes satisfying people’s senses through delectable cuisine, will bring people closer in understand kindness. He is also a firm believer in using organic produce, as well as hormone free, grass fed beef and wild caught seafood. “In Saudi Arabia we believe in organic cuisine, That is why I go to the Farmers Market every morning and hand-pick my produce,” Nayif says.

This is Nayif’s way of giving back to the Hollywood community and supporting local farmers. When he was asked how he chose the name iKabsa for his restaurant, he said it was the name of a signature dish in his homeland.

Our culinary journey for this evening began by sitting in one of the high-back booths,with original designs and material imported from Saudi Arabia. Most of the contemporary design was created by Nayif himself. Even the lighting, and staging for the jazz shows are his artistic work. But enough of the decor.

The dining experience began with a sampler dish of Hummus, Mutabbal, and Khiyar bi Laban. The Hummus is prepared fresh daily by preparing ground cooked chickpeas, mixed with sesame dip served with Arabic bread. The Mutabbal is a fire-roasted eggplant dip, served with Arabic bread. The Khiyar bi Laban is prepared with Organic Yogurt, mixed with mint, cucumbers, spices and a touch of fresh garlic.

saudi sampler dish.
Sampler dish of Hummus, Mutabbal, and Khiyar bi Laban.

After a nice conversation about Dubai with Chef Nayif, we ordered Chicken Kabsa, Saudi style where it is cooked slowly with authentic spices from Saudi Arabia, The Lamb Kabsa was prepared in the same way. What is great about these two dishes is the quality of the beef and chicken that are raised on the open range and grass fed. Ah, there are more dishes that Chef Nayif prepares, all from his Mother’s recipes. Jerish, prepared with crushed wheat yogurt, topped with cooked onions and black lime is a favorite. Very tasty.

Lamb Kabsa.
Lamb Kabsa.

I have traveled abroad, dined in some of the most elegant restaurants, but Ikabsa is one of the more pleasurable moments I enjoyed in my culinary journey to Saudi Arabia. It is the first authentic Saudi restaurant in Los Angeles and Chef Nayif and his staff are extremely down to earth and very kind. That in itself makes the service par excellent.

Chicken Kabsa.
Chicken Kabsa.

Celebrity Scene News awards 5 stars for a most memorable evening of dining and service, with just the right atmosphere. For reservations or catering call (310) 353-6296, Ikabsa is located at 1253 Vine Street, on the corner of Fountain and Vine.

Pete Allman and Chef Nayif
Pete Allman and Chef Nayif at ikabsa.
Pete Allman
Pete Allman, "The Man on the Scene," is based in Marina del Rey, California, concentrating on producing feature films, television projects, and commercials. Pete also has an office in Las Vegas, which he visits occasionally.Pete is also a restaurant critic, broadcast personality and celebrity interviewer. He produces inspirational messages for television and other media.Of all the investigations he makes, we suspect he likes critiquing restaurants the most, because he can taste the food, savor the atmosphere, interact with people, and photograph all the goodies.Subscribe to Pete Allman, Writer by Email