Recreate iconic cinematic food scenes at Dubai restaurants
From fortunate meetings and cheesecake snaffling to flying snails, we bring you iconic movie and TV scenes where the food speaks for itself.
Eat, Pray, Love
When Elizabeth Gilbert decided to spend one-third of her journey towards self-discovery eating, she went for the best. She consumed a phenomenon that involved hand-stretched dough rolled out with practised imperfection, topped with rich tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, extra virgin olive oil and fresh basil, at L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele. We suggest you go there to devour this pizza too, and chant your own mantra of elation. Via Cesare Sersale, 1/3, Naples, www.damichele.net (+39 081 553 9204).
Try it here: Head to open-air pizzeria Bussola for deliciously authentic Italian fare, and thin, crispy crusts. The Westin Dubai, Al Sufouh Road (04 511 7136).
Friends (the one with all the cheesecake) Which New York-based sitcom is complete without depicting the city’s famous cheesecake? In this episode of Friends, Rachel and Chandler’s mantra – Love Thy Neighbour’s Food – is done justice by their display of gluttonous lust for a cheesecake that isn’t theirs. They scramble on the floor and relish every last morsel of the unattended glorious dessert until Joey walks in, fork ready in hand. While the cheesecake restaurant mentioned in the episode doesn’t really exist, Junior’s comes closest. You truly ‘won’t be able to say goodbye’. West 45th Street, between Broadway and 8th Avenue, New York, www.juniorscheesecake.com (+1 212 302 2000).
Try it here: You’ll be spoiled for choice at the appropriately named The Cheesecake Factory, which boasts 50 different cheesecakes and desserts, from classic strawberry to the ‘Oreo Dream Extreme’. Various locations including The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai (04 325 3521).
Midnight in Paris Woody Allen’s fanciful perceptions are evident in the midnight reminiscences of Gil Pender as he parties away 1920s-style and meets Ernest Hemingway at a local bistro. The Polidor, and its famous guest list, lets you relive this whimsicality. 41 Rue Monsieur Le Prince, Paris, www.polidor.com (+33 14 326 9534).
Try it here: While it may not quite boast such a famous following, get a hearty fix of all things français at Madeleine Café & Boulangerie. The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai (04 438 4335).
Pretty Woman Escargots, or these ‘slippery little suckers’ are Julia Roberts refers to them in the movie, are no longer on the menu at Cicada, the restaurant in the film where she eats them. But you can try your hand at forking the buttery, garlicky snails at the nearby Cafe Beaujolais. 961 Ukiah Street, Mendocino, California, www.cafebeaujolais.com (+1 707 937 5614).
Try it here: If you fancy snails in upmarket surroundings, there’s really only one place to go in Dubai – Traiteur. Park Hyatt Dubai, Deira (04 317 2221).
Ratatouille A film about a French dish and a French rat, Ratatouille animatedly takes you on a culinary tour of Paris. Auguste Gusteau’s restaurant in the film is inspired by the interiors of Parisian eatery La Tour d’Argent, while The French Laundry restaurant owner chef Thomas Keller’s confit byaldi a variation of traditional French ratatouille is featured on the menu. It would be your lucky day if you get to try Keller’s version at his Michelin-star restaurant, whose menu changes daily. Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry, 6640 Washington Street, Yountville, California, www.frenchlaundry.com (+1 707 944 2380).
Try it here: French eatery Le Serre Bistro & Boulangerie serves classic ratatouille as a fresh, tangy side. Vida Downtown, Downtown Dubai (04 428 6969).
Seinfeld New York soup vendor Al Yeganeh is the inspiration behind the character in this foodie episode of Seinfeld. The vendor has strict, regimented rules about purchasing soup and in the show, when a customer defies them, the vendor belts out ‘No soup for you!’, swiftly taking back the purchase and refunding the cash. The unsmiling Al Yeganeh may not know how to digest a joke but his lobster bisque is still the best soup around. The Original Soupman, 259a West 55th Street, New York, www.originalsoupman.com (+1 212 956 0900).
Try it here: Dubai isn’t exactly brimming with low-key lobster finds. You’ll need to look a little more towards luxury. Prime 68 serves up the classic in one of the world’s tallest hotels. JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 414 3000).
Serendipity Serendipity 3, a cutesy Manhattan café, was used as the backdrop for one of Jonathan (John Cusack) and Sara (Kate Beckinskale’s) many happy accidents to play out, in the movie Serendipity. Glove shopping at Bloomingdale’s followed by a frozen hot chocolate at the restaurant on Christmas Eve may just be your ticket to meeting your own Jonathan or Sara. 225 East 60th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, New York, www.serendipity3.com (+1 212 838 3531).
Try it here: Few beverages could be more perfect for a barely chilly festive period in Dubai. Try a ‘frrrozen’ hot chocolate at Second Cup. Various locations including The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai (04 434 1445).
When Harry Met Sally One of the most memorable lines came out of a power-packed scene in this movie. ‘I’ll have what she’s having’, was directed towards Sally (Meg Ryan) after her epic display over lunch. Sit at the same table and order the pastrami. Trust us, you’ll love it. Katz’s Delicatessen, 205 East Houston Street, New York, www.katzsdelicatessen.com (+1 212 254 2246).
Try it here: Fraîche Café & Bistro serves up pastrami for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Have what Meg’s having whenever the urge takes you. Swiss Tower, Cluster Y, JLT (04 369 7821).
Film and TV tours
New York TV & Movie Sites Tour From the pub in How I Met Your Mother to The Original Soup Man from Seinfeld, this NYC tour will keep you coming back for more. www.screentours.com.
Eat, Pray, Love Rome Tour Experience that Italian food magic with this walking tour of Rome. Indulge in espresso shots and cacio e pepe (pepper and pecorino spaghetti). Buon Appetito! www.romaround.it.
Midnight in Paris Tour Retrace the steps of Gil Pender with this Parisian night tour and enjoy 1920s jazz as well as drinks at Hemingway’s favourite spots. www.parisunderbelly.com.