Il Rustico

We may have developed a nice warm, homely feeling as we walked into this mock-Italian farmhouse kitchen – all roughly plastered walls, muted candlelight and huddled diners among hanging pans and bottles of olive oil 12 Reviews

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© ITP Images

As Italian tragedies go it’s up there with La Bohème. Il Rustico used to be one of our very favourite mid-priced Italians, the atmosphere invariably warm and inviting, the service exemplary and, most importantly the food was superb. But then things started to slip while the pizza and salads remained the best in town, the quality of the mains plummeted. So when news reached Time Out Towers that the restaurant had a new menu hopes were high that tides had been turned and the place would return to former glories. But as I peeled back the lasagna’s abjectly limp flap of cheese-sodden pasta to reveal a layer of sliced salami as floppy as a dead cat’s tongue and infinitely less appetising, it became clear that this was not to be. People have ended up in the Creek wearing nothing but a pair of concrete ballet shoes for less. But that wasn’t the only crime committed against Italian cuisine here.

We may have developed a nice warm, homely feeling as we walked into this mock-Italian farmhouse kitchen – all roughly plastered walls, muted candlelight and huddled diners among hanging pans and bottles of olive oil. But when the stereo blared ‘Unchained Melody’, being caterwauled by a frustrated classical tenor, I began to wish the chains had remained intact. Granted, we enjoyed tucking into warm, crusty focaccia bread and roasted garlic as we perused Il Rustico’s new menu. But eating the food was a different matter altogether. For instance, our seafood platter offered a miserly scattering of deep fried nuggets spread out with all the aplomb of a frisked hoodlum. The calamari made us wonder whether Mr T had dropped his earrings in the deep-fat fryer, and the mussels in breadcrumbs were so hot they could only have been cooled by an icy stare from Tony Soprano himself.

But Il Rustico’s vendetta against the paying public didn’t stop there. My friend’s tuna steaks were as dry as John Major’s memoirs, and tasted as foul as a Sicilian insult; while the accompanying mashed potato tower was as crumbling and precarious as the one in Pisa. Then, as if we hadn’t suffered enough, a disco version of ‘Happy Birthday’ was piped through the speakers as a waitress delivered a dilapidated slice of cake with a plaintive candle to an embarrassed diner, while the rest of the staff clapped vigorously like Lazio supporters at a neo-Nazi rally. Unfortunately, not even a very ordinary tiramisu and semi-palatable lemon tart could atone for Il Rustico’s past misdemeanours. So, whatever future crimes against cookery this organisation is plotting to wreak upon the good restaurant-going folk of Dubai, we’re begging them to go straight – straight back to the old menu.

The bill (for two)
Mineral water Dhs15
Seafood platter Dhs41
Lasagne Dhs39
Tuna steaks Dhs69
Tiramisu Dhs25
Lemon and lime tart Dhs22
Total (including service) Dhs211

By Time Out Dubai Staff

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

Details

  • Location: Chelsea Plaza Hotel, Satwa, Dubai
  • Tel: 04 398 2222
  • Travel: 2nd of December
  • Website

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User reviews

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

User reviews:

Posted by: Baker on 20 Oct ' 12 at 11:50
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

We visited on a Wednesday night with a group of 8 and had terrible service. I don't think we were ever actually assigned a server because every time we needed something we had to get up and ask. No one ever came by our table to ask how things were going. When we wanted to order, I had to get up. When we needed more water, I had to get up. When we wanted the bill, I had to get up. The staff seated us and delivered our food and that was it. The food wasn't any good either, my spinach ravioli was drowning in cream sauce.

Posted by: Nikhil Dayal on 03 Apr ' 12 at 05:14
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Visited this restaurant the other day for the first time and I must say - really good pizzas, decent wine list.
nice cozy decor, great ambiance and reasonable prices.
had a wonderful time there with friends. going to visit again next week to try their pastas.

Timeout - you should really visit this place again.

Posted by: Philip Elliott on 26 Aug ' 11 at 09:39
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

This is our favourite weekly visit. We have visited this cosy restaurant every week for the past 12 months.
Great ambience and service.
The food is good.

Posted by: Tanya on 17 May ' 11 at 13:18
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

The first time i went to this restaurant was for my birthday and my better half took me there for this romantic, candle light dinner.......if you are crazy about Italian food this is the place to be........dont forget to try the ponsotti pasta with bacon......i go down der only to eat this appetising, creamy, deliciously yummy pasta atleast once a week.......my all time fav italian restaurant........

Posted by: David Daly on 30 Jul ' 10 at 08:38
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

The time out reviewers obviously haven't been to Il Rustico in the past 6 months. Either that or they're confusing it for somewhere else.

This is a great little Italian, superb value for money and probably the best pizza I've had in Dubai. Always has an excellent specials menu any time I've been as well so plenty to choose from.

Service is quick but allows enough time between courses. It's never too busy or over crowded and has a really unique interior to it. Have made this one of my regular places to eat and thoroughly recommend it. It's such a contrast to many of the OTT and pretentious places you find in Dubai. Good for any occasion.

Posted by: Marian T. Magadia on 10 Apr ' 10 at 20:49
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Posted by: Alexis on 04 Dec ' 09 at 06:32
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Fantastic place for a nice family evening.
Tasty food at a very reasonable price, extensive choice to please all tastes, and a very decent wine list all adds up to a cheerful dinner.
Thanks for the tips, Time-Out !

Posted by: Nabila Usman on 01 Sep ' 09 at 19:21
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Just loved this little cosy place! Best bang for your buck. Vanilla ice cream and chocolate dipped strawberries to fight for :) Overall, a very scintillating experience.

Posted by: Troy McClure on 12 May ' 09 at 19:59
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Superb ambience. Great food. Polite waitresses. Desserts are heavenly. What more can you ask for?

Posted by: Kev on 14 Mar ' 09 at 10:47
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Loved the food in this cosy little place - will definitely go back!

Posted by: Roman on 05 Feb ' 09 at 12:09
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FoodAmbienceValue

Bit harsh there Time Out.

This is a cracking little, non-fussy Italian. It wears its heart on its sleeve and does what it says on the tin.

Good food, great service and good prices. And in a great location.

Try it again - you will be surprised.

PS Are you sure you have not confused this review with the one for Da Vincis at the Millennium Hotel? A once great Italian that is now awful.

Posted by: Graham Lawton on 29 Jan ' 09 at 15:02
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

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