Al Forno

Quaintly cute Italian decor at this Mirdif City Centre restaurant 22 Reviews

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For shoppers, Mirdif City Centre is a dream come true: it’s virtually empty, meaning they can peruse stores hassle-free. However, the lack of people doesn’t do much for the atmosphere of its restaurants, which are, at the best of times, ghostly quiet.

Al Forno, the new Italian eatery, is no different. On our visit, despite the handful of people scattered across the L-shaped interior, the vibe was far from bubbling. However, the layout means that rather than sitting in full view of the mall’s bright white walkways, guests can tuck themselves around the corner and lose themselves among the quaint faux-Italian furnishings. We took our seats alongside a (fake) exposed brick wall sporting a multitude of photos depicting iconic Italian landmarks – the decor was certainly clichéd, but it had charm, and we were further enamoured by the friendly, if slightly hapless, staff.

I asked one for a recommendation and he reeled off a list of dishes, though I soon realised that he was simply reciting the names of the dishes that appeared in photos on the menu. We decided instead to take our chances with the bruschetta di fungi. While the waiter may not have been an expert on the menu, he was quick to bring our starter, yet despite its timely arrival the bruschetta was disappointing: the dry baguette slices were topped with a rubbery, turgid mozzarella. It turned out that the bruschetta was a telling precursor of the rest of the meal.

For mains I ordered the Favorita pizza, which looked promising on paper – pepperoni, sun-dried tomato, black olives and a sprinkling of rosemary. What made it intriguing, however, was its potato topping. Potato on a pizza? Well, if you can put pineapple on a pizza, why not potato? Because it makes the whole thing too heavy, that’s why. What’s more, the potato had gone crispy in the wood-fired oven, meaning the pizza was rendered crunchy. Not only did this make for an odd sensation when biting into the dough, but it smothered the other components, so the concoction tasted of nothing but fried potato. My date’s lamb chops were equally disappointing – the accompanying potatoes were competently prepared, but ultimately the cutlets were thin, tough and offered little flavour.

If Al Forno’s food lived up to its warm, cosy interior, then maybe there would be another reason to visit Mirdif other than for the shops. But it will take plenty of fine tuning before we’re ready to make the trek again.

The bill (for two)
1x Bruschetta di funghi Dhs19
1x Grilled lamb chops Dhs76
1x Favorita pizza Dhs39
Total bill (excluding service) Dhs134

By Oliver Robinson
Time Out Dubai,

Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.

Details

  • Location: Mirdif City Centre, Mirdif, Dubai
  • Tel: 04 231 6745
  • Travel: Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Times: Open daily 7pm-1am
  • Price: Dhs50-200
  • Credit Cards Accepted: Yes

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User reviews

ValueAmbienceService
DecorFoodOverall
  • Users voted this restaurant most suitable for: Family friendly

User reviews:

Posted by: wayne Blankley on 29 Sep ' 13 at 14:33
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Business lunch
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

I have been going to Abu Dhabi mall for lunch on a daily basis for the past year and a half. I eat here roughly 4 to 5 times a week and have never been disappointed.

my meal starts off religiously with a Bisto salad (i have never had a more lush salad anywhere) and the pasta with a mix of red and white source. on a few occasions i have had the Pizza and not being a pizza fan i really enjoyed it. the pizza wasn't greasy as they usually are in Dubai and hit the spot.

the staff are great and friendly and it is a little pricy compared to rubbish like Pizza hut, but you pay for quality.

I will be eating here for years to come....

Posted by: pierro on 01 May ' 13 at 10:42
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Excellent Italian Trattoria, their Pizza are quiet unique and the service is very good. will definitely come back.

Posted by: Patrick on 23 Feb ' 13 at 13:12
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Haven't tried their Pizzas yet, but main dishes were delicious, a very nice place with friendly staff.

Posted by: Durteger on 29 Dec ' 12 at 16:53
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

Ok first the good things: Nice Italian ambience, great decor, music, lots of space and comfy seating. Only visual thing that lets it down is the menu with pictures of Pizza etc. that give it a cheapo feel..

We came here for the 'Wood Fired' Pizza- having experienced Carluccio's, Pizaa 800, Pizza Express and Vapiano. Although the Gas oven does indeed use wood we didn't feel the benefit of it. The dough's texture was more like cardboard and frankly it was flavourless. Not sure how you can get something as basic as the dough wrong but but the proof is we ordered just two pizzas and left eating only one. If your looking for decent pizza this is not the place.
Good atmosphere let down by the food.

Posted by: S on 26 Aug ' 12 at 01:59
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Posted by: Manesh SS on 09 Jun ' 12 at 17:19
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Had Lunch in this restaurant.Very good ambiance and food was really great. We will definitively go back

Posted by: Robb on 20 Apr ' 12 at 14:17
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

I just tried this place tonight, ate by myself as my wife is out of town. The food was delicious! Service was very fast, restaurant was crowded on a Friday night. I had a pasta from one of the pictures with sausages and some chile sauce and the arincine. Both just great. Can't wait to go back. It sucks its in a mall and you can't have a glass of wine, other than that, perfect...

Posted by: Pierro on 04 Oct ' 11 at 11:42
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Excellent lunch, I knew Al Forno from Kuwait and I must say that they have replicated their success here in Dubai.
Enjoy !!

Posted by: Mohammad on 24 Jul ' 11 at 11:17
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

We ordered a pasta and a pizza... the pasta was very good, but the pizza was average at max. The place is nice and the service was good. Would not mind going back there again if I was around, but wouldn't go to Mirdif City Center specifically for it.

Posted by: Jade on 12 Jul ' 11 at 14:00
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

We were initially attracted to this restaurant by it's warm welcoming decor. However, it sure did NOT live up to it.

The service was awful. The waiter got our order completely wrong. Our bread basket was knocked off the table and was not even replaced, we did not even receive an apology.

The food was a huge disappointment. The favorita pizza was over powered with 1980's style potato sticks and the lamb ragu tasted of fatty slightly off meat.

We will not be going again!

Posted by: ryan on 18 Jun ' 11 at 10:19
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

best italian restaurant i have ever been in dubai excellent food very nice service the staff are very friendly and the young manager is very nice with the atmosphere he make in the restaurant

Posted by: dilyana dimova on 29 May ' 11 at 11:01
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Excellent food and great place overall.

Posted by: kamelie on 29 May ' 11 at 09:08
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Al Forno is one of the restaurants that visit often I am happy with the food quality, good value for money and customer service is good. You should try their favorita pizza, really yammi! :) Polo de fungi is good too...
The bruscheta are not wow, but u have to try their arancini!!
The only thing is that since they have opened they haven't update their menu. it will be nicer, if there are more options of appetizers, main dishes and deserts. And one more thing, they should serve brown bread as well..

Posted by: Bad food on 12 May ' 11 at 08:44
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

worsy italian resturant ever, so bad service and the food it's seem to me like fast food resturant we couldn't tell that it's an italian resturant
so dispointed !!!!

Posted by: john on 01 May ' 11 at 09:41
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

alforno is the best restaurant i have ever got o very delicious food very good service and excellent prices i recommend all to go to it and specially the staff and the manager the arabic man and the italian owner

Posted by: Barefoot Contessa on 09 Feb ' 11 at 12:26
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

I went to Al Forno it's first week after it opend, I admit it wasn't that good so I didn't go back for awhile. After awhile I did go back and the food quality has improved greatly. I would rate as more of an American Italian resturant.

Posted by: Skinny on 30 Dec ' 10 at 10:44
  • Best for: Brunch served
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

No doubt , the food was nice .Iv been there twice already.

Only thing is some waiters are not so friendly to serve cutomer.

They need to improve their customer Service.

Posted by: Lisa on 29 Dec ' 10 at 05:39
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

Best for family friendly? Not really. No kids menu, no kids activity (crayons, coloring page). My family and I have gone there two times and sadly, both times we were disappointed. Bruschetta wasn't fresh (dried basil, dried bread). Pizzas were good. Risotto was really really heavy with a thick mushroom sauce. My dining companion ordered the pasta which had the identical sauce and was also really heavy. No kids menu at all. 19 DHS for a bottle of water.

Posted by: jojo on 21 Dec ' 10 at 17:46
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Business lunch
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

the place was not very nice
their way of dealing with the customurs was rude!
they treat locals and non locals differently!!


Posted by: Annabell on 15 Dec ' 10 at 20:46
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Unlike to article I would definitely recommend the restaurant Al Forno. I went there several times, pizza and pasta were always really good. The owner is from Italy so he knows what he's doing. Whenever I went to Al Forno the owner came to our table chatting with us and making sure that everything is alright. In the evenings and at the weekends it is well frequented. The only thing that I don't like is that the restaurant is in the middle of a mall, what makes the atmosphere suffer.

Posted by: mario rossi on 14 Dec ' 10 at 18:38
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Definitely Alforno in Mirduff is one of my favorite restaurant, I don`t know how this "jurnalist" come out so disappointed.
I love the fresh pasta an the thin crispy pizza, the service was always friendly, I feel like at home there.
me, my family and my Italian friends love it!!!

Posted by: Chris on 14 Dec ' 10 at 16:58
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Just had lunch in this Italian restaurant, which we heard of through medias. Warm service, great pastas and very affordable prices.
Will definitely be back !!!

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