Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2013 details - Timeoutdubai.com

Ronda Locatelli

Nominated for Best Italian 30 Comments

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There are few restaurants as dramatic as celebrity chef Giorgio Locatelli’s Italian in Atlantis The Palm. Situated in the tourist-packed avenues inside the hotel, diners must pass an arresting fire and water feature to gain entry to the boutique grotto that is the dining area. Swirling lightshades hang from the ceilings as blazing orange walls, asymmetric designs and imposing furniture create one of the city’s funkier spaces. Food, as should be demanded from a restaurant bearing the name of one of the world’s most famous chefs, is of a high standard. Cold cuts of meat are freshly sliced and portions are generous, while salads are hearty and zestily seasoned. Pasta dishes are of the old school and all the better for it. A simple seafood pappardelle (broad pasta), for example, is a favourite dish and comes with generous helpings of octopus, mussels and white fish and a light spicy sauce.
Open Sat-Wed noon-10.30pm, Thu-Fri noon-11.30pm. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, www.atlantisthepalm.com (04 426 2626).

By Time Out Dubai staff
Time Out Dubai,

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Posted by: ranbir on 24 Dec ' 14 at 19:25

the restaurant has a nice setting and the service is polite but there is a fundamental issue, they cannot cook pasta properly, consistently. the pasta served to us was very over cooked, now self respecting Italian chef would have ever allowed such pasta to leave the kitchen. therefore I can only assume the kitchen has unskilled chefs that are living off the Locatelli brand.

as for the pirce, £150 for lunch compirsing a salad, three pastas, water and a beer may not be extorionate but for poor quality pasta, it is poor value for money.

Posted by: Katy on 27 Jun ' 12 at 22:14
  • Best for: Family friendly

Very good restaurant very high quality of food and friendly and professional staff!
I really cannot image that all the comments up are talking about this place!
I will definitely suggest to everyone this place.!!!...

Posted by: occhipinti on 23 May ' 12 at 06:03
  • Best for: Family friendly

its a good italian restaurant,

Posted by: Jaime on 27 Apr ' 12 at 07:43

I would have to say this resturant is fantastic!

My, now fiance, proposed to me =) the staff were amazing. My fiance spent a week with them trying to plan everything perfectly. the food was the best food i have eaten and the manager was so lovely we could not thank him enough! he made the whole experience personal..
Celebratory champagne and dessert at the end with the ring =) every one clapped and congratulated us! very well done.

I would recommend to anyone who is planning to propose, or an anniversary or brthday even!

The ambiance, the food, the staff absolute perfection and i would definitly go back there again!

Posted by: David stephenson on 10 Dec ' 11 at 12:43

Average food and hesitant alcohol service considering it was inclusive. Children were pressed to drink soft drinks which were at extra cost. We will not be going back.

Posted by: Yuri and Olga (Honeymoon) on 27 Nov ' 11 at 16:17

very nice place, and pizza is the best in town

Posted by: Luigi Bork on 21 Nov ' 11 at 16:20
  • Best for: Family friendly

Pizza Nice, nice decor, but pasta is not up to Giorgio's quality

Posted by: Andrea on 28 Oct ' 11 at 13:37
  • Best for: Family friendly

I had a pizza, the best pizza I ever had in Dubai!! Nice staff, nice location.

Posted by: Fouad on 12 Aug ' 11 at 17:13
  • Best for: Family friendly

Well what can I say, been to the restaurant before, the food is decent nothing to write home about, but today I decided to treat my two babies, wife, wife's sister and husband and the help and boy was I shocked with the final bill. A whopping Dhs. 2000 ($600) for a meager lunch. My favourite was the Dhs. 200 shrimp salad, I'm not kidding you they gave us 2 very small shrimps and two lettuce leafs, considering the average price of a kilo of fresh shrimps in Dubai is less than than. To top it off my 6 tablespoons of pasta with a hint of lobster was Dhs.155, that's for the small portion apparently, the larger portion is an additional Dhs.40 or so. The pizza was so dry and bland we only managed to digest 3 slices before we gave upon it. And to make bad matters worse was that we had to pay an additional Dhs.25 each just to walk past the aquarium, despite the fact we told them repeatedly we were having lunch at the restaurant. The restaurant was 2/3 empty since it was Ramadan and all, a good piece of advice: stay home, learn how to cook and save your money, this place is not worth it. Sorry, I'm usually more poetic in my critiques, but such a price for such food and at such a time is seriously outrageous!

Posted by: Mark on 03 Apr ' 11 at 15:26

The staff were pleasent enough but having a Filipino and Indian waiter call you Signore or Signora every time they approached you quickly became annoying.

The setting was good as we sat outside which allowed the kids to play on the grass, a blessing in disguise.

On to the food, the pasta was cold and hard, the arribiata sauce was the least spicy I have ever tasted and to be honest it was bland. My wife had a different sauce with her pasta but same outcome. Cold, under cooked and tasteless.

The fish was tasty enough but again cold and a very small portion. One of the kids ordered a starter for a main course, it was 2 pcs of Ravioli, I cant believe the waiter didnt tell us that it would be so small. The other kids had pizza and I must admit it was tasty.

Not wanting to eat anymore overpriced substandard food, we went on to the coffee. I ordered a double espresso, which wasnt very warm and had to ask them to confirm to me twice that it was a double, it was basically a mouthful. I told them that I would hate to see the amount in a regular espresso!!

All in all we agreed that this was quite possibly one of the worst Italian restaurants that we had the pleasure of being in. Our bill was circa 1500dhs which we would quite happily have paid had the food been decent, unfortunately, it was far from decent. We felt like we had been done out of the money like someone had stolen it from us!!

Please do yourself a favor and dont go to this restaurant unless your life depends on it.

Posted by: Shelka on 01 Apr ' 11 at 22:38

It was horrific, like a bad nightmare.

How on earth is the guy Michelin-starred? The bread wasn't even hot, the dip was alright but I've had better... But the mains! Ay caramba!

My gnocci was overcooked and glutinous, my pizza was alright but nothing spectacular, my tortellini 'packets' were bland. Everything lacked - let alone flavour and colour - SALT! First time I've seen a 70+AED pizza nearly fully wasted.

We hurried away without bothering with dessert, leaving much poorer and very unsatisfied. Oh, btw they tried to give us a marzipan macaroon like thing and the waiter muttered what it was but I didnt catch it - i think I heard Amaretto but I didn't taste the Am for sure and it was just way oversweet.

And so much for hospitality. Yeah, we told them while making the reservation that it was a special event, but there was no mention of that.


Posted by: Disappointed on 08 Mar ' 11 at 08:38

A disaster from start to finish.
Unattentive staff - we had to ask them for menus....twice!
Never informed us that the bottle of wine we ordered was the last one in stock.
Out of 4 we had to send 2 meals back. When an Italian restaurant can't cook pasta, you know something is wrong!
No apologies from the staff on the poor food or service and after that we had to wait 15 minutes for the bill to arrive!
As is custom in Duabi, we were charged for everything except for the coffee. How kind!
Will never return!

Posted by: Olivier on 06 Feb ' 11 at 19:14

Service: ok, food :-(, price: Arghhhhh

Posted by: Domino on 01 Nov ' 10 at 16:56
  • Best for: Family friendly

Whilst at the Atlantis,, we went to Ronda Locatelli. We all had pizza and they were very nice however we thought the menu was very poor for an italian restaurant. Italian food is very simple yet flavoursome. There was no Spaghetti bolognese or carbonara on the menu - not even veal milanese. These are dishes you expect to find in an Italian restaurant. The pizza menu was quite varied but the pasta side of the menu was pretty much inexistent. Otherwise apart from disorganised staff and pizzas not all getting to the table at the same time, it was ok.

Posted by: Ben on 28 Oct ' 10 at 12:00
  • Best for: Business lunch

Crudites and starters were all very nice (I had the smoked cheese), however the kingfish was disappointing as it was undercooked and ended up tasting very fishy (it shouldn't).
Although I did like the simplicity of the plates, having never eaten there before it wasn't made clear in menu or by waitron that main courses didn't come with accompaniments (the listed veg or salad seem to be for decoration or flavour only) .
Reasonable, but too expensive for me.

Posted by: Kavita Bhatia on 02 Sep ' 10 at 13:20
  • Best for: Romantic

I would like to bring to the attention of Gulf News readers the horrible experience we had at the above named restaurant at the Atlantis Hotel.
We were there to celebrate my birthday and my husband’s 40th birthday together with our family and friends. We had made a reservation for 8 people and when we arrived we were seated on a long table at the end of the restaurant.
1)The waiter came with bottles of Aqua Panna water which was not opened at our table. WE LET IT GO..
2)They didn't bother to ask us if we wanted cold water or water at room temperature? Sparkling or still water? WE LET IT GO..
They just assumed we wanted still water at room temperature and were served this without asking our preference.

This was followed with cocktails and then we ordered our red wine and starters.
3)The wine took a very long time to come to the table and
4)The vegetarian pizza that arrived at the table was cold; seemed they had forgotten all about it, left out for a while and then served.
5) When we told the head waitress about this she would not agree…!! And offered to reheat it for us..!!
6)Whilst we were having our starters the wine arrived and when my husband asked to see the back label of the red wine to read the label the waiter just left the bottle in his hand and went away. Didn't offer to serve it. He had to be called again and told to serve !!
7)If that wasn't enough, my sister had ordered a vegetarian lasagne only to be served cold. As if it was a frozen lasagne and slightly warmed in the microwave. When we informed they offered to warm it up again... which we declined.
8) My sister opted to order the same dish as the rest of us veggies were having..
9) Again…the waiter did not bother to ask us or make sure what it was we were having. He just assumed it is the exact dish on their menu…
Well, it was, only a vegetarian version..and they served chicken an bacon to her..
You guessed it..she had lost her appetite by now..
In the end we spoke to the Manager..who listened carefully..but not once admitting their follies..
Left us promising that he will see what he can do…
Lastly…the bill came to 1500 dhs..

Posted by: jonathan swift on 14 Apr ' 10 at 15:09

well i was brave enough to go to ronda locatelli after reading all sort of comments.i went with my kids and wife without a booking as we never planned to dine out that nite but changed our mind cos it looked like a good restaurant and really wanted to try it out.!!! as we entered an italian hostess with a sarcastic smile greeted us good evening and without a word more said "sir if ur looking for a table it will be atleat 2 hrs waiting time"!!! I was shocked.That was so rude.i was somehow able to convince that my kids are hungry and would not take more than 1 hour to finish our meals and asked her if she could acommodate us.To this she took her time at her laptop and with a few clicks on it she said "ok sir we only have the pizza counter tables where ur kids can see the chef make the pizza and enjoy. As i had no choice i sat there and she merely dumped the menu in front of us and ran away to the enterance.She might have her priorities but for a resort of this standard it was very sad.we were in a hurry so called a waiter straight away and we said we are ready to place the order,He spoke english with a crazy accent i could hardly understand.But when he spoke some strange smell came from his mouth that just put me off.He said"my manager will take your order" Sounded so crazy to hear i have never heard something like thart.To my surprise a Italian guy with a black coat came upto us (looked like a manager) and started to take our order.When asked him if they have kids drinks with their meal he said"its all on the menu"well i know that as well.by this time the whole experience has started to put me off but i was concerned about my kids as they were hungry.my wife was just pissed of but i tried to make her calm .We ordered 2 kids margerita . i ordered for pizza with egg on top and my wife pizza tuna that was the fastest to get.food came soon but my wife didnt get her pizza cut and mine was cut. when asked why the funny waiter said "the chef wont cut it "so we requested him to please ask the chef to do it.so suddenly he called out to a chef looked italian wih a deep voice .he went on the other side with my wifes pizza and siad something to him.The chef then looked at us like we asked him the most difficukt thing in the world.He then gave us a smile and cut the egg pizza and bought it to us personally from over the counter and asked if he could do anything else to make our feel at home .We were surprised that a chef took that initiative to ask us what the manager , waiter and lady failed to do.To his question my wife aswered can the kids take a picture with you He said "of course why not!!!!" Then he told kids to come in the front of the pizza counter and as soon as he turned away from us . i heard him say 2 great words"funkulo" n katzo" .i totally understand what it means.it then i realsied its really nt worthing coming there anymore.We smply had the food and went away to tell our experience to a hundred more people

Posted by: mr marini on 13 Apr ' 10 at 16:41

i have just returned from staying at the atlantis with my family of 4 we phoned to booke a table for 8pm but couldnt get one until 9.30 thats fine mst be good as ment to be very busy! i thought! arrived at 9.10 and given table emediatly plenty empty my order was starters 2calamari,caprese,1melon, main was pizza and three veal milianese i asked the waiter if he had ketchup and was informed that this was a good restraunt and dont use ketchup but i have ate in many fine restraunts that have KETCHUP! Then we had our veal mines was cooked but my wifes and daughters were very under cooked and never even had the colour or texture of veal .the waiter then took 1 veal of the bill and presented me with a bill inc 1 bottle of wine for 1453dirm shame that these people can do this to someonelses buisness as im in the same buisness! but not to worry we then went to the bice restraunt in the hilton in jameria the next 4days same kind of money but excellent food and service and sorry also ketchup

Posted by: Nick on 16 Feb ' 10 at 18:23

This is one of the most underrated restaurants in Dubai.

What people don't seem to get here is that the food's simplicity is what makes its success. Authentic flavors are present in each dish, and refined cooking techniques bring out the most in each ingredient. Dish presentation is top-notch. The ingredients themselves are of excellent quality, and I have found out that many of them are shipped in from Italy exclusively for the restaurant.

Extremely friendly and helpful waiters and hostesses are bound to make your dining experience pleasurable. They know how not to be too intruding. Just remember people: they are not your slaves. You treat them right, they will treat you right. I had to remove one star for the awkward idea of placing a bread basket, oil and pepper paste on the table without any side dishes.

Very contemporary for authentic Italian food. Shades of brown and orange are soothing to the eyes. Great lighting sets a nice mood at the tables, and even though you're sitting a bit close to other tables, you're easily immersed in your food and your partners.

Some restaurants I read reviews of and I don't bother visiting. But I was quite surprised by the ratings given here, and thought it deserved much more. The service might have been shaky to some customers, but every one of my four visits have been pure heaven. I really recommend forging your opinion about "Ronda" as it is time and money well spent.

PS: Time out states that this is a AED 500+ restaurant. It is not. More around 350 per person. 400 with wine.

Posted by: Nousha on 09 Sep ' 09 at 09:50

Very average food... did not even look like fine dining!!

Disappointing staff were so not trained... !

through out the dining, we found it very hard to grab the attention of one of the waiters.

when they brought the bread basket, me & my friend eventually had to ask for a side plate as they did not bring it & then the head waiter came with two different side plates explaining rudely this is for your bread & the second one for starter.... we could easily tell that from the size and shape of the plates! daahhh!!

very small glass for the orange juice & lousy cups for the coffee!
Looked like some average coffee shop cups! and average quality coffee too!

The waiter even read the bill amount in front of my guest which was very disappointing!

very disappointng!!

Posted by: Zoe on 26 Aug ' 09 at 17:21

I have just come back from dining at Ronda Locatelli and whilst I personally found the food quite pleasant (I had a pizza), my partner opted for the "boneless" sea bream which ended up having at least 10 bones in it. To make matters worse, we ordered a double vodka and a mixer each and when the bill came, we were charged 147 dirhams per drink which is totally outrageous given the restaurant itself isn't that special. On the basis of the ridiculous pricing, I will not be making a return visit and I suggest that all pizza lovers head to Bussola instead!

Posted by: Carol on 02 Aug ' 09 at 09:10

After reading the reviews for this restaurant I was concerned about going, however, I went with a party of 5 people and we all had a delicious meal. The staff were very attentive and happy; offering to take a photo of us all etc. The restaurant, although big, was very pleasant and had a nice atmosphere. The only bad point was the wine which was expensive, but this is always the case in Dubai and my tiramisu dessert wasn't particularly authentic. But, I would go back and recommend it to others.

Posted by: Paul k on 24 Mar ' 09 at 16:04
  • Best for: Romantic

The restaurant is stunning and the feature as you walk in is really nice. The service was not that good and the food was ok...I had the bresola starter which was nice and then had a pizza which was not bad but nowhere nearb the standard of say Apres...the sweets were a big disapointment...I had the tiramusu which was served in a glass and that was it...no plate or anything just a glass...very poor.
i saw Georgio Locatelli at the recent Taste of Dubai...He should have been at his restaurant and not there.

Posted by: herve on 16 Mar ' 09 at 21:40

Posted by: Arash on 16 Feb ' 09 at 08:51

A week before valentine's day, i decided I wanted to take my single mother out for dinner and be a good loving son. Afterall, this was the first valentine's day we were together in years. I had heard that Locatelli's food is excellent. So I booked a table for two 4 days before valentine's day. I was sent an email confirmation saying I had a tabled booked for 2, Saturday the 14th of February, at 7:30 pm, and I also received a call from an Italian lady saying the same, table for 2 at 7:30 pm. When we got there, the hostess, who spoke very little English, showed us to a table for 3 right in front of the pizza oven. Seiing that the place was empty, I asked the hostess to give us a table for 2 in a better part of the restaurant. I wanted something more cozy. The hostess just smiled and waved to a waiter to come over. I'm not sure she understood what I was saying. The waiter came over and said that he's sorry but all the other tables have already been reserved. There were no more than 3 or 4 other tables occupied at that time, yet they didnt want to move us to another table. He also said, " Sir, what is nice to you and what is nice to us is different. We think this table is nice because you can see the pizzas being made." No I'm not kidding. That is exactly what he said!!
A few seconds later the Italian lady who had called me to confirm approached the table. She said with a very straight face, " Sir this is the only table we have and we need it back by 9:30." She meant business....it was clear she was telling us "stop complaining and order your food. We need you out of here in less than 2 hours!" Then she just left.
So after they made us feel so special, I did not even want to think about the rest of the wonderful service we would have gotten after that. We decided we would end the horrible experience and leave without trying the food. After alll, what is the point of having good food when you are being treated like scum. I strongly believe a restaurant's service is as important as its food. I wonder what Mr Locatelli would think about all this.
And I'm not finished. On our way out I stopped to ask the Italian hostess for my valet ticket. My mother took this opportunity to tell them how terrible their service was and how they didnt even want to try to rectify the situation. The Italian turned to a gentleman on her left and said, "sir would you like to talk to this lady. She is upset about her table and wants to leave." she then turned to my mother and said, " here is the manager, you can talk to him," in a tone that made it sound like, I don't want to hear anymore, talk to the boss.
The manager of course just stood there with his mouth open, dumbstruck. He had absolutely nothing to say. We walked off. As soon as we got out of the place, another gentleman approached me and asked if he could help. he said he did not know what was going on but he wanted to help. After I told him the whole story he apologized and said, "would you like me to help you get a table at another restaurant here at Atlantis?" Not that it was a great solution to our immediate problem, but I decided to take him up on the offer. So I said sure, what about Rostang? He said sorry it's fully booked. I said ok what about Nobu. Again he said, sorry they are fully booked. Ok I said, what about the steakhouse. Guess what he said.....yup, it's fully booked. At this point, I'm thinking this guy just came out to mock us more. What he should have done, and what any good establishment with even the slightest sense of good service would have done, is offered us another table, or a free something maybe, if we came back. Instead he made us feel like we were just poked fun at and left.
2 star Michelin chef you say? I say you could have a better night at any shwarma cafeteria in Dubai. I should have listened to the reviews I read before going. Instead, I thought I would give them the benefit of the doubt and try it. Well, lesson well learned and it ruined our night.

Posted by: Gary Rhodes on 05 Feb ' 09 at 11:09

Was looking for somewhere to take Mrs Rhodes for that special night in Feb.

But who would have thought it - four reviews and they all say that they would not go back to the restaurant...

Not brave enough to find out if others are wrong.

Posted by: Cara on 05 Jan ' 09 at 09:25
  • Best for: Business lunch

I ate at this restaurant last night and was very impressed with the menu... delicious simple Italian food, nothing too fancy, just great food! It is slightly on the expensive side but I expected such prices from a restaurant under the patronage of a Michelin star chef, however that is where my compliments end! I totally agree with the above review, the customer service is ABSOLUTELY APPALLING! It completely ruined our evening... I found the waiters completely uninformed, when asked questions about the dishes we were rudely brushed off... example: what is in the lamb ragout pasta? Answer: lamb. Not very informative. The head waiters and managers were extremely rude and seemed like we were bothering them every time we asked a question or for more drinks etc. We had a different waiter serving us at every point of the evening; as a result whenever a waiter came with our orders he would dump the wrong plates down in front of the wrong person, for us to sort out among ourselves! This is very poor restaurant practice and caused much confusion throughout the night! I could go on but I’m sure you get the idea! When it came to paying the bill it took 45 minutes for them to process our payment only to be rudely told that it was impossible for them to split the cheque (I've never heard of this before!) and that we should go to the ATM, when asked where it was the manager rudely ignored my friend! All in all the wonderful food and atmosphere was COMPLETELY RUINED by the poorly trained, rude, inconsiderate staff, as a result I will never be returning to this restaurant, unless I read some very positive reviews in the next few months! WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT!

Posted by: Loz on 04 Jan ' 09 at 13:38
  • Best for: Family friendly

Lasagne was fantastic but was let down by the pizzas and the variety of them. Its more of a novelty to eat at the restaurants on the Palm Jumeirah than having an outstanding dinner.

Posted by: Vikas on 04 Jan ' 09 at 08:03

After hearing very mixed reviews but mostly negative reviews about Atlantis and this restaurant, I finally decided to take my pregnant wife as we had not celebrated new years and headed to atlantis on January1, 2009. Little did I know that it would turn out to be a nightmare lunch for us. We arrived at Atlantis and were told to park in some parking and take a shuttle...much to my chock a five star restaurant refusing to give valet parking and having called the hotel and restaurant, told them my wife is expecting and it will not be fair, they were to get back to me which hasnt happened till date. However, took another turn and reached Royal Towers entrance checkpost and he said valet parking is full and after much discussions he said u can try if u want to and we went to the hotel entrance and there were 10 valet guys sitting free waiting for cars to come.
We arrived at the restaurant and were quickly seated and given menus but from there the journey became even more pathetic. The initial waiter never returned, and 45 minutes and calling various servers, one lady did take our order but to my shock she took it wrong and the pizza we ordered half n half was instead made into a cocktail pizza for my wife who has vegetarian on that particular day had to remove chicken and eat the pizza being pregnant and receiving food after more than an hour of waiting for them to take order. We felt being cornered having been to so many five star restaurants in Dubai, we were not given a bread basket which others were given. The food was extremely bad and the service was equally pathetic...
I have been to various five stars but I must say this hotel is very bad for its service, I believe people are treated different according to their race..and type of cars although I drive an S class benz...but I can say in my entire life this was my worst dining experience and I didnt even stay for deserts and I felt I was being done a favour by them attending me in intervals. I am director of a group of companies and have been in Dubai all my life and having travelled all over the world I have never seen such a restaurant or hotel where treatment is so bad...I would appreciate if people know of my experience which my friends had warned i would be accustomed to at atlantis and this restaurant but felt i should give it a shot and i can say it was the most depressing experience i have encountered.

Posted by: Mr Potatohead on 01 Dec ' 08 at 13:28

Very disappointed.

Too large, no intimacy and appalling service.

Would not go back. Ever.


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