Prego’s

Excellent Italian food in Dubai Media City 12 Reviews

pregos_1
© ITP Images

A recent spate of mediocre Italian restaurant openings in the city has made it difficult to maintain optimism in the face of another promised ‘authentic’ trattoria. So it was with leaden feet that I visited Prego’s, tucked away in the newish Media Rotana hidden in the obstinately far-off Greens, and disconcertingly sharing a name with my least favourite brand of tomato sauce.

All my cynicism, however, melted in the face of the restaurant’s menu, the very first page of which boasted the best assortment of Italian cured meats I’ve yet encountered in Dubai. Though many of the meat descriptions were useless (‘It’s not Bacon or Salami it is “Paisanella”’), the selection of these cured delicacies was unquestionably meticulous. To leave Prego’s without ordering the selection of five (there are 20 meats to choose from) is, as far as I’m concerned, a grievous sin.

Watching chef Mauro Cereda, who also mans the salumeria (a kind of Italian deli), haul fat-speckled rounds of dismembered shoulder and thigh, and slice them as thin as pages out of the OED, was almost as mesmerising as actually letting each delicate slice of ham melt on the tongue, taking turns to explore the nuances of a teasingly salty sliver of speck or rudely sweet, smooth strip of crudo di San Daniele. Forget Magic Planet, Ski Dubai or the Dubai Ice Rink; Prego’s salumeria may be the most playful spot in Dubai.

For all the milkiness of my date’s buffalo mozzarella, or the fineness of his pesto, nothing could force me to break my allegiance to the cured mound before me. Naturally, anything that followed this orgy of meat was destined to pale in comparison. Still, the main course didn’t fail to take me on a journey, albeit a slightly less… exotic one. Peppery, grilled lamb chops, tender, if cooked beyond what I’d asked, mingled with the sight of Spencer Tracy films playing on nearby television screens and the sound of ’50s crooners oozing out of the stereo in a soft hum.

The result was a course that evoked a sense of being home, though not home in the real sense, more home as I imagined it would be, were I to reside in an old black and white movie or a Nat King Cole song: home as a place that is as warm and safe as a favourite old cardigan. Such was the comfort I derived from that lamb dish, complete with a mound of airy potato gnocchi (all too often the dumpling is served chewy, dense and brick-like).

Meanwhile, large, pot-bellied tortellini stuffed with a silken pumpkin puree (a refreshing use of seasonal produce) was putting my date into a pleasure-induced coma. When asked for a description of his dish, he could barely utter a word beyond, ‘Nuts…’ referring to the tender hazelnuts marinated in hazelnut butter that accompanied his pasta.

The waitress, who managed to effect that winning combination of being both knowledgeable and unobtrusive, recommended the tiramisu for dessert. She came back with a large, bowl-sized glass filled with creamy, rum-soaked trifle, which came moist, fresh and perfectly layered. To the irritation of the part of me that aims to be restrained (and maybe one day, thin), I finished the entire bowl, even though I was full before I started.

Eating at Prego’s, I concluded, is like dining inside your own id: it is, essentially, a pleasure-factory, and though some menu items helpfully boast a heart-shaped icon denoting healthy eats, it’s best just to leave outside concerns, like calories and propriety, at the door.

The bill (for two)
1x Large bottle Acqua Panna Dhs22
1x Selection cured meat Dhs68
1x Mozzarella salad Dhs50
1x Tortellini Dhs62
1x Lamb Dhs89
1x Cheese plate Dhs50
1x Tiramisu Dhs32
Total Dhs373

By Daisy Carrington
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: Media Rotana, TECOM, Dubai
  • Tel: 04 435 0000
  • Travel: Al Barsha Road
  • Website | Send mail

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User reviews

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

User reviews:

Posted by: Grace on 17 May ' 12 at 18:32
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Business lunch
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Edited by TimeOutDubai.com

It's too dim and the seating arrangements are not that great. Food is categorized as okay.

Posted by: Naders Kotsob on 22 Sep ' 11 at 16:58
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

The restaurant is nice but it IS like a decent school cafeteria. The food is above average for Italian restaurants in Dubai but not keen on teh experience as a high quality restaurant (it's not).

Posted by: Kasia on 18 Apr ' 11 at 08:37
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

I cannot wait to dine at Prego's again.
The intimate ambiance and setting for a table booked for dinner for two, were well chosen by the staff. Unlike most restaurants in Dubai, the menu offered extensive choice of vegetarian dishes as well as great italian favorites such as risotto, pizza and pasta.
Presentation and flavour left nothing to wish for.
I am looking forward to the next visit.

Posted by: Pauline on 11 Jul ' 10 at 07:51
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

Been looking forward to a good Italian meal for ages but made a mistake by going to Pregos. The place had no atmosphere, the table configuration was boring, there was none of the delicious aromas one would expect from an Italian restaurant, the portions are extremely meagre and overpriced. The warm loaf of bread appeared with some kind of tasteless spread and slivers of cheese which was the same size regardless of whether there were 2 of you or 4!! Not the best experience in the world not good value for money.

Posted by: Diana on 22 Mar ' 10 at 07:54
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

I am an Italian, and cook Italian, and I found that the service was bad we waited for 20 minutes at our table before we got a menu. Then it was probably another 25 minutes before they took our order. It took 45 minutes for appetizers. When our dinner came, my husband veal was like the sole of the bottom of your shoes. My pasta was dull. During our dinner not once did our server come to our table and ask how are dinner was. When wanting for our bill I notice the when they were setting other tables the took glass and forks and knives from tables where the customers just left and they did not use these items so, the server just took they and wiped them with a napkin (gross). We have never been back and will not go back and we have never recommended it to any of my friends. The worst food I have had in Dubai.

Posted by: vidiesse on 15 Mar ' 10 at 14:12
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

the real italian food, simply served with good taste, good ingredients , avoiding creme and sauces not belonging to the italian culinary tradition.
fantastic salumi, excellent parmigiano, pasta and gnocchi and tagliatelle ....as good l as we make at home. very good pizza!
We have been there many times, always more than happy!!!
we will return and....reccomend Prego's!!!!

Posted by: Georgina on 07 Mar ' 10 at 14:53
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Love the crispy bread fresh from the oven and the gorgeous salami selection to start. We go there at least once a month and love it every time.
Decor is a bit clinical and cafeteria-like, but the space is nice and you are not all huddled up next to neighbouring tables so you have some privacy.

Posted by: Aleskander Prola on 08 Feb ' 10 at 06:40
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Posted by: sarah kaye on 07 Sep ' 09 at 11:57
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

the decor and ambience certainly leave a lot to be desired. It reminds me of those standard, hectic, hastily put together coffee shops that were de reguir in the 80's. but the food is very good and well priced. the piping hot bread with roasted garlic and olive oil at the beginning was demolished in minutes. the veal ravioli was rich, meaty and also a big hit, as was the pizza. overall a good pit stop for a casual meal but certainly not worth the trek for a special occasion. for those who love proscuitto, parma ham etc. there is a very extensive menu to pick from.

Posted by: Patrick on 10 Apr ' 09 at 19:08
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Food was pretty good, italian style. Risotto better than average, the carbonara spaghetti was too thin though. The Tiramisu was too sloppy, that's easy to fix. The head chef seems not to take too much interest in the kitchen instead chatting to friends all evening. Dubai lacks half decent Italian restaurants but this was good enough that we'll go back. Ambience needs a few more candles and it'll be perfect.

Posted by: Nicola Siotto on 16 Feb ' 09 at 20:57
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Business lunch
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

Reached there with a friend for a lunch treat. Ordered some tagliatelle with ragu of lamb and a pizza. The pasta was not bad while I have been disappointed by the pizza and being an Italian I have a critical opinion.

Waiters lack of proper training and passion for their job. The one that served us was like a programmed recording machine.

The chef (Italian) came to greet us and here's the disappointment, when we told him the pizza wasn't as expected in an Italian restaurant, instead of taking our comments and reassuring us he said the pizza will not change so that's what they will continue to serve. So we have noted this and rest assured we will not return there for a very long time.

Posted by: David on 10 Jan ' 09 at 06:42
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Whilst somewhat out of the way, the food and ambience at this restaurant were excellent. The Salumeria was extensive interesting and is well worth trying. Shame it was not pushed or explained by the waiting staff. 'Home-made' fettuccine, king prawn and rocket was also top notch, full of flavour and plenty of perfectly cooked prawns. The atmosphere is relaxed making it a perfect place for a meal out with friends. Our only criticism was perhaps the deserts. The crème brulee was disappointing with brulee soggy rather than crispy. Reasonably priced and well worth departing from the beaten track. Will be going back again.

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