The weather has been great recently in al-Khobar, on the Arabian Gulf, in eastern Saudi Arabia. The temperature has been in the mid-70s (around 25 Celsius) during the day, I would say, and the evenings have been considerably cooler. For the past few weekends I have taken my family to the corniche and we have enjoyed some strolls next to the ocean among the palm trees and park near to the Fuad Center, a shopping and restaurant complex overlooking the ocean. I think this is our favorite part of the corniche because of the wide walkway beside the ocean, the well-tended landscaping in the park, and the views of the city of al-Khobar as well as the Gulf. It seems to be a very popular area with local people as much as visitors. It attracts all sorts of people, from joggers and cyclists, to families out picnicing and even fishermen, who perch themselves on the seashore defenses while throwing their lines out into the water. It is also a nice place to enjoy some quality coffee. One cafe that I discovered recently is dr. Cafe Coffee, which is located next to the corniche park on Prince Turki Street (road 617).
The location of this café is great because the corniche is just a short walk away behind the café and there is plenty of parking around it. The cafe is somewhat sandwiched between a McDonald’s and a Burger King, which may seem less than salubrious, but at least the cafe is easy to spot from a distance. This northern part of the corniche consists of a wide paved walkway with elegant street lighting and a solid-looking concrete wall that meanders along the coast. From the corniche path one has an unfettered view of the Arabian Gulf. Over to the right there is a view of the King Fahd Causeway stretching from al-Khobar across to the island kingdom of Bahrain. In the other direction, the most prominent landmark is the corniche Water Tower, an impressive-looking structure with three floors. The top floor contains a restaurant with what must be the best views of the Gulf and the city of al-Khobar. I have not visited the water tower building, but every time I’ve driven past it looks like it is still under construction, so the restaurant is probably not open at this time.
dr. Café Coffee is a Saudi café chain with cafes located throughout Saudi Arabia as well as some locations in Malaysia and Singapore. The company opened its first coffee outlet in 1997, in Riyadh, and is expanding rapidly, with plans to open cafes across the world, particularly in other parts of the Middle East and Asia, as well as in the USA and Europe. This particular dr. Café Coffee location is huge. The building is rather unusual in that its walls are curved at the front, which helps it to stand out from the crowd. Its interior is divided equally between a section for families and a section for men only, per Saudi custom. The décor is similar to Starbucks, with green and brown seating, and wood tables and trim. The café has lots of comfortable couches and tables and has a very relaxing atmosphere, as one would expect!
The dr. Café Coffee location on the corniche – and the chain has a few others in the city – offers a wide variety of coffee and tea drinks, both hot and cold, as well as blended fruit-flavored drinks and some really delicious pastries. I particularly like their spicy cheese bagels and chicken and vegetable panini sandwiches, both of which are made with delicious “artisan” bread. The café also sells its own merchandise, such as bags of different coffee beans from around the world and high quality coffee mugs with beautiful designs printed on them. The café can get quite busy on the weekend, especially because of its location on the corniche, where people like to get away from their work hassles and relax. Tall windows around the outside of the café provide plenty of light during the daytime. This cafe is a place to really savor one’s coffee and enjoy time with friends and family, or even to get away from everyone and enjoy one’s own company!