Sicilia

Impressive Italian restaurant in the Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel 10 Reviews

sicilia_1
© ITP Images
 
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Our three-visit tour of Ibn Battuta Gate’s culinary offerings, which kicked off two weeks ago, concludes at Sicilia, the hotel’s Italian restaurant. The venue feels far more spacious than stablemates Chor Bazaar and Shanghai Chic – contemporary chandeliers hang from high, arched ceilings, while the cream walls are lined with a multitude of gold-framed photos depicting random snippets of iconic Italian imagery.

The pleasant, though slightly sterile aesthetic (Sicilia will look great in a few years when it’s a bit shabbier) is let down slightly by the restaurant’s soundtrack – overbearing Italian pop songs and a few marching anthems played at a rather loud volume. It wouldn’t be so much of an issue if and when there are a few more customers to compete with the music, but Sicilia is in its infancy and only one other table was taken when we visited.

The lack of customers explained the attention we received from the amicable maître d’, who talked us through the concept of the restaurant, as well as regaling us with tales of his travels and the temptations of Dubai – an interesting, amusing precursor to our meal, which was then described in great deal by the gravel-voiced Italian chef. While his word-for-word recital of the menu was impressive, it wasn’t entirely helpful – all we wanted was a couple of recommendations for a starter. When pressed, the chef obligingly suggested the octopus and the prosciutto, and we’re glad he did. My date’s caramelised octopus was a revelation – one long, juicy tentacle presented atop four slices of scalloped potatoes, accompanied by dots of ink caviar and a side of tomato confit. The tentacle tasted as good as it looked: sweet and meaty, and perfectly balanced by a dollop of pistachio di bronte pesto. My starter, the prosciutto San Daniele, was more conservative, but excellently executed nonetheless. The soft slivers of pork went well with the tart onion compote, which in turn was balanced by the rich and creamy cheese scamorza brulée.

After the surprise of the starters, we were curious to see what the mains held in store. My date went for the grilled beef tenderloin with baby root vegetables, while I switched to seafood, ordering the home-made square spaghetti and lobster. It seemed I had the better fortune this time– the al-dente spaghetti and regal lobster were coated in a rich cherry tomato sauce, and given an extra edge by the fire-roasted bell peppers. It was excellent. My date’s steak and the fresh, crisp baby root vegetables combined to make a very good dish, though it was by no means awe inspiring.

I’ve previously suggested that Sicilia’s neighbours don’t have what is needed to entice diners out to Ibn Battuta. While both Chor Bazaar and Shanghai Chic are good restaurants, they lack that extra edge. The dishes on the menu are all well crafted, though don’t offer anything that would linger on the palate or in the memory any longer than the time taken to leave the hotel and head back into town. However, Sicilia is one step ahead. It has managed to raise itself above its Chinese and Indian cousins thanks to its menu, which is punctuated with surprising flashes of excellence. The octopus and the lobster were enough to have us wondering whether there were any more gems hidden in the menu. Such speculation is enough to warrant a return visit, and it’s for this reason that Sicilia succeeds.

The bill (for two)
1x Caramelised octopus
Dhs72
1x Prosciutto San Daniele Dhs74
1x Beef tenderloin Dhs180
1x Spaghetti and lobster Dhs108
Total (including 10 per cent service) Dhs434

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: Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate, The Gardens, Dubai
  • Tel: 04 444 5613
  • Travel: Gardens Cross Road
  • Website | Send mail

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Sicilia On The Map

User reviews

ValueAmbienceService
DecorFoodOverall
  • Users voted this restaurant most suitable for: Romantic

User reviews:

Posted by: wided atta on 06 Nov ' 12 at 14:33
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

we always visit sicilia and its really a best italian restaurant in dubai,, the food is amazing and the value. but just i wish if this resaturant located somewhere else with outside area and nice view, just this is missing from it.. everything other regarding this restaurant is matchless....

Posted by: Ahmed on 20 Mar ' 12 at 18:31
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

i was in sicilia last week and i note that they add more itmes new I am really enjoyed there

Posted by: Aileen on 15 Jan ' 12 at 13:46

Amazing experience at the restaurant.Quiet and great ambience for a relaxed evening.Great uniform style,knowledgable and pleasant staff..altogether with the food..oh..it was just awesome.Thank you Sicilia..and for all the reviews from TimeOut.

Posted by: Said on 14 Sep ' 11 at 08:25
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

I went to this restaurant yesterday to celebrate my wife's Bday.
On the booking they asked if it was a special occasion - very proactive.
Once reached, table was booked and nicely decorated with stars and Happy Birthday stickers + Free little chocolate mousse cake with candle
We loved the place and had a great moment - Just the music in the restaurant next door was a bit too loud, but didn't spoil the experience. For the rest, I would just agree with above comments from Maya (and yes the Octopus is striking in the mouth).
They also have a good value meal at 110dhs (any starter + any pizza). But you have to mention it on order. I didn't so they charged both separately a la carte price. But staff and manager nicely reviewed my bill and deducted the equivalent amount. Impressive procreativity.
Restaurant was almost full and yet we got very good attention.
Thanks all for your recommendations

Posted by: Said on 13 Sep ' 11 at 09:32
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

I went to this restaurant yesterday to celebrate my wife's Bday.
On the booking they asked if it was a special occasion - very proactive.
Once reached, table was booked and nicely decorated with stars and Happy Birthday stickers + Free little chocolate mousse cake with candle
We loved the place and had a great moment - Just the music in the restaurant next door was a bit too loud, but didn't spoil the experience. For the rest, I would just agree with above comments from Maya (and yes the Octopus is striking in the mouth).
They also have a good value meal at 110dhs (any starter + any pizza). But you have to mention it on order. I didn't so they charged both separately a la carte price. But staff and manager nicely reviewed my bill and deducted the equivalent amount. Impressive procreativity.
Restaurant was almost full and yet we got very good attention.
Thanks all for your recommendations

Posted by: Maya on 09 Jul ' 11 at 10:31
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

This restaurant is a hidden jewel, probably one of the best Italian restaurants in Dubai if not the best!

The food is amazing, the octopus is heavenly and just about everything else is cooked to perfection! Thank you chef Stephano!

The staff are also amazing, alert and attentive. Wonderful experience, I am recommending this place to all my friends now!!

Posted by: Fiorella on 15 May ' 11 at 16:17
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

The food is exelent... cook to perfection

Posted by: Lezel Martin on 04 Jan ' 11 at 11:00
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Amazing food and service! The quality is first rate.......you must try the octopus and the fresh made pasta! We will be back over and over again!

Posted by: Dario on 23 Dec ' 10 at 13:21

Amazing Restaurant,amazing staff,food super quality.

Posted by: jai on 23 Dec ' 10 at 11:37

great food, great amabience, cool unifroms.....

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