Mamma mia! 8 incredible Italian restaurants in Dubai
In the mood for pastas, pizzas and all things Italian? Look no further than these eight fantastic restaurants in Dubai.June 2, 2016
The Italians are famed the world over for their simple yet flavour-packed cuisine, and Dubai has no shortage of Italian restaurants.
Finding dishes in the UAE city that wouldn't go amiss in Milan, Rome or Naples is easy when you know where to look.
Here are eight Italian venues we tried, loved, and rate as the best:
Carnevale, Jumeirah Beach Hotel
With its masquerade wallpaper, mirrored ceiling and velvet seats, Carnevale certainly evokes a classic European theme. But if the weather’s not too hot secure a seat on the terrace with its stunning views of the Burj Al Arab and JBH’s tranquil gardens.
Carnevale is not all about its looks though, as stunning as they are. The Gamberoni Grigliati (grilled tiger prawns and spaghetti) or Tagliolini al Nero di Seppia (Black ink tagliolini and crab) will transport you to the Amalfi Coast, which as a honeymoon favourite is appropriate, given Carnevale’s romantic vibe.
Splendido, Ritz-Carlton JBR
You won't get much better Italian inspiration than the charming villas and patios of Tuscany. Splendido’s gorgeous terrace, surrounded by tress and plants transports you to central Italy's olive groves and vineyards, while inside feels like someone’s very smart but warm home.
With artisanal Italian cuisine using seasonal ingredients the menu features creative interpretations of classic dishes, including some fantastic fish options. Don’t miss the unique selection of apéritifs and digestifs either.
Alta Badia, Emirates Towers
The problem with talking about some of Dubai’s lesser-known great restaurants is that if you keep doing it, they’ll eventually become part of the cool crowd. Hopefully that won’t happen with Alta Badia, as its relative obscurity and calm atmosphere are part of its appeal.
Named after an area nestled in the heart of the Dolomites surrounded by stunning meadows and woods, the view from the restaurant’s 50th floor location is entirely different, but no less jaw dropping. Using traditional Ladin cuisine and inspired by old recipes and seasonal produce, Alta Badia certainly has a business feel during the day, but it’s a romantic couples fine dining hideaway at night.
Trattoria Toscana, Madinat Jumeirah
Sometimes Italian cuisine just doesn’t seem right without a bustling, atmospheric venue, with customers dropping in off the street and waiters pulling up tables in any space they can find. That’s what you can expect at Trattoria Toscana - walk-in only - perfectly placed by the water of the busy Madinat Jumeirah.
The traditional homely food ranges from small bites and flatbreads to delicious sharing dishes such as Picci allo Scoglio (seafood spaghetti) and Risotto ai Finferli e Manzo Marinato (beef, mushroom and black truffle risotto). The restaurant also does a truffle menu during the winter season and a daily Italian breakfast until midday.
Bussola, The Westin
Bussola offers two options - a fine-dining restaurant downstairs and a casual pizzeria on the upstairs terrace. While the downstairs restaurant is undoubtedly very good, with an innovative menu of superbly presented and innovative dishes, the real chilled-out Italian experience takes place in the pizzeria.
This isn't a place where any of those ghastly American deep-pan, stuffed-crust pizzas with topping spilling over the sides will be served. The pizzeria focuses on classic pizzas with thin crust and a few complementary ingredients that are proven to work together perfectly. The bufalotta pizza (tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomato and basil) is as good as pizza gets.
Details: visit bussoladubai.com
Segreto, Madinat Jumeirah
The Madinat Jumeirah can be a bit of a rat run at the best of times, but those looking for Segreto should bring a compass and map because this place is seriously hidden away in the innermost conclaves of the expansive resort. It may sound like more trouble than it's worth, but the hidden location is actually a massive bonus, as the restaurant has the air of seclusion instead of the hectic atmosphere found along the Madinat's busy waterways.
And the food is well worth the trip, as classic Italian dishes of Parmigiana di melanzane (aubergine, tomatoes, mozzarella, Parmesan and basil), Ossobuco di vitello (braised veal shank with saffron risotto) and Gamberoni (jumbo prawns with olives, lemon mashed potato and fresh herbs) all impress. The food, the service, and the setting are all simply superb, so find your way there, grab a secluded outside table and enjoy the flavours of Italy at one of Dubai's best kept secrets - but shhh... Don't tell anyone!
Details: visit jumeirah.com
Solo, Raffles Dubai
The atmosphere in Solo isn't necessarily what one would expect from an Italian restaurant, with elements of modern-day Dubai such as the minimalist hanging lighting and gleaming polished marble floors playing off against rustic exposed brickwork, simple furniture and quirky ceramic table decorations more typical of a trattoria. However, while the decor may be slightly confused, the food is straight down the line Italian - and every bit of it is cooked to absolute perfection.
To start, the tempura courgette flower, filled with lobster salpicon and served with saffron aioli, is a decadent upgrade on an Italian classic; the tender rack of Welsh lamb with truffle fondant potato is a rich and delicious main; and the warm tiramisu is the perfect pick-me-up to end the meal. Details: visit raffles.com
BiCE Ristorante, Hilton JBR
Following the lead of the original BiCE Ristorante, which launched in Milan all the way back in 1926 and is still going strong to this day, the Dubai version certainly has a lot to live up to. First impressions are certainly good, as crisp white linen tablecloths, dark wood floors and smartly dressed service staff hark back to the golden years of fine dining.
And when it comes to the food, the fine-dining experience continues, with the fresh lobster carpaccio with crispy artichokes and caviar a stand-out starter; fresh homemade spinach and ricotta tortellini with truffle sauce a rich pasta option; and the oven-baked sea bass with porcini mushrooms and asparagus a superb seafood offering. With classic decor, impeccable service and traditional cuisine that transports us straight back to bella Italia, this place is more than fit to bear the famous BiCE Ristorante name. Details: visit www3.hilton.com