The Artisan at DIFC is an Italian classic

The new Dubai restaurant brings Italian glamour, impeccable cooking and octopus that is out of this world.

Robert Chilton October 26, 2016

There’s a restaurant in Florence that has three Michelin stars and a wine cellar containing bottles worth a reputed 100 million Euros. It’s called Enoteca Pinchiorri and is owned by an Italian, Giorgio Pinchiorri, and a French chef Annie Féolde.

This highly respected restaurant that’s been dishing out top quality Italian food since the 1970s has now transferred to Dubai, with a name tweak: The Artisan by Enoteca Pinchiorri. It’s tucked away in the Burj Daman Building, across the road from Zuma and the Four Seasons Hotel.

Inside it feels like you could be in someone’s dining room. Just one simple, compact room feels pretty intimate as gorgeous panels in dove grey with gold piping are brightened up by colourful paintings of parrots and butterflies.

The wait staff and bartenders are pretty colourful too, with easy smiles and plenty of chat. Yes, they may wear ties, but that’s where the formality ends, especially when the soundtrack is mellow dance remixes of Sam Smith, Blondie and Years & Years. 

The cuisine is “mainly Tuscan” explains the manager. Exceptions include burrata from Puglia and tomatoes from Vesuvius near Naples. Yes folks, you can insert a joke here about how the tomatoes erupt with flavour.

A smallish menu has enough variety to excite but not too much as to overwhelm. Whatever you do, start with the octopus (AED 95), which had a powerful smoky flavour and sat on a deeply satisfying potato puree. Cut into the stuffed and fried zucchini flowers and they explode with mozzarella and pesto (AED 70) while a sea bream carpaccio (AED 55) benefitted from a gentle lemon sauce.

A second gooey explosion came with the agnolotti, (AED 90) rectangular parcels of pasta that the waiter insisted we order. They were filled with pureed pumpkin and sage butter and should be gobbled up whole one at a time – good advice Mr Waiter. Also in the vegetarian domain was the rich and earthy risotto with porcini mushrooms (AED 95).

Florence, the gem of Tuscany, is famous for its huge T-bone steaks and The Artisan proudly pays homage to this magnificent cut of meat with its own Bistecca alla Fiorentina (AED 240). Order it rare, share it with someone, and immerse yourself in the beautifully buttery, salty steak.

To finish, it has to be the house tiramisu (AED 54). An Italian classic – just like this restaurant.

Rating: 9.3 out of 10