Cult pasta dishes from Dubai's best restaurants
Spaghetti, ravioli, fettuccine: where to go and what to order to enjoy Italian cuisine on the Arabian Peninsula
From the simplest recipes to more gourmet creations, pasta is the most familiar, versatile and best-loved food on Italian tables. Its history can be traced back to the dawn of civilisation, when humans first cultivated wheat. Over time numerous pasta shapes came into being, along with new recipes and cooking methods.
Pasta soon became the queen of Italian cuisine, seen worldwide as a symbol of the country. It’s no different in Dubai, and on the menus of the city’s best Italian restaurants there’s no shortage of delicious, appetising dishes and authentic flavours that will take you straight to Italy with the very first mouthful. Together we’ll find out not only where to go, but what to order too!
At Armani/Ristorante the essence of Italy arises from a natural passion for the most sought-after ingredients, exquisite flavour combinations and contemporary presentation in an unparalleled and exclusive setting. The star of the Armani/Ristorante Il ContemporaneoDegustation Menu is the Ravioli with Blue Lobster, Baby Zucchini and Bisque Reduction, inspired by the marriage of lobster and courgettes. Baby zucchini feature in two different forms: a purée, showcasing the vegetable’s intense green colour, and a carpaccio, lightly dressed with extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt and lemon zest, which brings out its natural flavours. Similarly, lobster appears in several elements of the dish, helping to avoid waste, a central tenet of the chef and the restaurant (Armani Hotel, 1 Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai - ph. +971 48883888).
Located in the heart of Dubai’s financial district, Cipriani is furnished in nautical style with plenty of blue and white, wood detailing and classic Cipriani leather chairs. It’s an enchanting place that offers the full Venetian experience and warm welcome, and the chance to enjoy classic Italian food. Mouthwatering pasta dishes on the menu include Bucatini cacio e pepe: bucatini pasta sautéed with a fondue of Cacio Pecorino Romano, Parmigiano Reggiano, black pepper and butter. A delight for the eyes and the tastebuds (Dubai International Financial Centre, Gate Village 10 - ph. +971 43470003).
A very special foodie destination that transports guests to Italy thanks to the skill of renowned chef Beatrice Segoni, who brings to Dubai the power of simplicity and compelling flavour combinations, as the Pierchic menu takes diners on an exhilarating sensory journey. You can choose from artisan pasta specialities such as the famous Plin di faraona, a revisitation of the original Piedmont dish with a filling of pheasant and the addition of balsamic vinegar lending a bitter-sweet note, accompanied by a cream of 36-month aged parmesan. Try it and you’ll be enraptured by the rich, complex flavours (Jumeirah Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah - ph. +971 44323232).
The revolutionary concept at the heart of Il Ristorante - Niko Romito is the work of Chef Niko Romito, who brings his talent and creativity to the world of Bulgari Hotels & Resorts. The chef skilfully combines loyalty to his roots with a desire to reinterpret Italian flavours, rewriting tradition in a fusion of simplicity and boldness. One thing you absolutely must try is his Spaghetti e Pomodoro, a unique dish that stays on the menu regardless of season. Hand-picked tomatoes are roasted, peeled, oven-dried and then puréed - a process that takes many hours - to create a rich, intense sauce that’s like nothing else (Bvlgari Resort, Jumeira Bay Island, Jumeira 2 - ph. +971 47775433).
CHIC NONNA DUBAI
A unique place where the great Italian tradition of hospitality and fabulous food embraces the cosmopolitan soul of Dubai. Chic Nonna Dubai is the perfect mix of professionalism and service that goes beyond the food and creates the family ambience referred to by the name of the restaurant, making it a home that guests return to. Head Chef Ilaria Zamperlin learned the secrets of the trade from Vito Mollica (you can read our interview with the Chef here), and today she offers well-judged dishes founded on respect for and conservation of superb natural flavours. Don’t miss the Ravioli del plin della tradizione serviti nel tovagliolo, hand-made ravioli filled with braised leg of duck and served with a butter and sage sauce (Sheikh Zayed Rd - ph. +971 46052000).
Set against the glittering backdrop of Dubai’s Jumeirah Al Naseem di Dubai resort, Il Borro - owned by the Ferragamo family - offers modern cuisine showcasing the rich, authentic flavours of traditional food from Italy, and Tuscany in particular. Here you’ll find numerous locally-produced organic olive oils, seasonal vegetables and honeys. The menu features fabulous dishes such as Pici all’aglione, handmade Tuscan spaghetti with a sauce of organic tomatoes, garlic and basil (906 Jumeirah St, Jumeirah Al Naseem, Jumeirah Street Umm Suqeim 3 - ph. +971 42752555).
The luxurious European atmosphere, vibrant cuisine, impeccable service and a world-famous beverages list will please even the most exacting diners. At Roberto’s, a Roman passion for food, Venetian hospitality and Milanese sophistication come together for a cosmopolitan experience, encompassing less conventional flavour combinations as well as more traditional choices like the Fettuccine Roberto’s, home-made fettuccine sautéed with asparagus, lobster and a light sauce of cherry tomatoes. The chef’s aim is to respect tradition without neglecting more unusual gourmet pairings (Gate Village, 1 - ph. +971 43860066).
Neutral shades and traditional furnishings make Scalini a restaurant with the sophisticated and nostalgic feel of southern Italian coasts. The menu encapsulates the essence of classic Italian pasta, with inviting and generous dishes designed for sharing with friends and family. The chefs prepare most of the dishes in front of diners, creating a special bond. If you’re unsure what to choose, try the Tagliolini with caviar and lemon-butter sauce, which will delight both the eye and the palate (Restaurant Village, near Four Seasons Hotel, Jumeirah Road - ph. +971 43490068).
An innovative and chic experience in which simplicity flirts with luxury in a setting reminiscent of the best of Capri. This iconic restaurant, located on the magnificent terrace of the legendary Burj Al Arab hotel, offers a menu inspired predominantly by the sea, designed for sharing and packed with authentic flavours. In the sophisticated and fun atmosphere of Sal, you can admire spectacular views of the beach and the pool while enjoying some delicious Trenette al Granchio Reale (Ground Mezzanine Floor, Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah St - ph. +971 44323232).
Located on the magnificent Bluewaters Island against the stunning skyline of Jumeirah Beach Residence, Alici invites diners to explore the extraordinary seafood specialities of southern Italy, and the Amalfi Coast in particular. A relaxing yet lively place to enjoy a wonderful plate of Spaghetti alla Chitarra con ricci e ricciola (Bluewaters Island - ph. +971 42752577).
On the top floor of the Grand Millennium Hotel Business Bay, Bella is ready to bring you the most genuine flavours of Italy with a truly special dish: La pasta del giorno dopo. How is it made? Simple! You take last night’s leftover or unused pasta - spaghetti is best for this dish. Heat olive oil and crushed garlic in a frying pan and sauté the pasta gently for 50-60 seconds, moving constantly. Then add datterini tomatoes, tomato sauce and salt. Cook some roughly chopped aubergine separately and add that too. In an ovenproof dish, place a layer of sauce, then the spaghetti and some more sauce, and top with breadcrumbs. It’s a mouthwatering dish that also helps to avoid food waste (rooftop - 20th Floor, Grand Millennium Business Bay Hotel, Al Abraj Street, Business Bay - ph. +971 48733377).
A restaurant that embraces longstanding tradition, awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2022. Fi’lia offers honest Italian cooking with a focus on fresh ingredients prepared in the wood oven or on the grill and the simplicity of home-made artisan bread and pasta. Fi’lia celebrates a fresh, pure approach to food and drink, served in an unfussy setting. We recommend trying the Pappardelle al ragù… even in Dubai you’ll feel like you’re in Italy (Marasi Dr Business Bay - ph. +971 46070737).