Baked bolognaise at eggspectation
What’s the best mealtime for pasta? Well, we know some kiddies who don’t mind getting carby for breakfast. At this family-friendly JBR venue, the bolognaise is made with slowly-stewed Angus ground beef blended with hidden seasonal vegetables (good trick for picky eaters), then topped with fresh mozzarella cheese. So yes, we’ll have it for “brunch”.
Dhs30. Open 7am-midnight. Eggspectation, various locations including The Beach, opposite JBR (04 430 7252).
Chicken mushroom shell pasta at Kad Ché
This bustling eatery in Business Bay has a lot to offer when it comes to pasta, but the real winner in our eyes is this dish. Shell macaroni is served with mushroom, chicken and the signature Kad Ché sauce, a mixture of blended smoked bell peppers and cream, then sprinkled with crushed pistachios. The ultimate in Italian comfort food.
Dhs48. Open daily 8am-11pm. Bay Square, Business Bay (04 526 9367).
Gnocchis à la tomate fraiche at Carine
We’ll admit that some purists out there might say gnocchi isn’t technically pasta. But it’s often served instead, so we’re including it here. Especially because a list like this deserves an entry this good. This laid-back restaurant has a wealth of top dishes, but this fresh tomato gnocchi knocks our socks off.
Dhs65. Open Sun-Thu noon-3pm, 7am-10.30pm, Fri-Sat 8.30am-3pm, 7pm-10.30pm. Emirates Hills Golf Club, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 417 9885).
Gnocchi di spinaci al 4 formaggi at GIA
It’d be hard to distract us from views of The Dubai Fountain, but despite the spectacular vantage point on GIA’s outdoor terrace, we’re fixated on the pasta here. The spinach gnocchi is bathed in a sea of cheese, and it’s as visually impressive as it is delicious – fresh, flavourful and authentic, with the dumplings studding the rich truffle-infused gorgonzola sauce. Add to that the light and airy interiors – designed by company Hecker Guthrie and based on 1950s films and architecture – and GIA is a top spot for families serving Italian food as it should be.
Dhs78. Open daily, 10am-1am. Fashion Avenue, The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai (04 234 9986).
Lasagne alla Bolognese at Bianca
There’s nothing better than liquid cheese – especially if it’s smooshed between sheets of fresh pasta, layered with a meaty Bolognese sauce and baked until crispy. The classic lasagne is an oldie, but when it’s done right it’s hard to beat. Bianca has hit the nail on the head and the authentic lasagne is hearty, moreish and flavour-packed. It’s also massive.
Dhs56. Open daily noon-midnight. The Beach, opposite JBR (04 554 9459).
Linguine with Bolognese sauce at Le Gourmet
Le Gourmet’s “dine around the world” concept is all about international dishes, but the L’Italien menu’s pasta is what we’d like to tell you about right now. The kids’ linguine is a worthy contender in the world of colour-in menus, and you have the option of ordering it with pesto or tomato sauce too.
Dhs23. Open Sun-Wed 8am-11pm, Thu-Sat 8am-1am. Various locations, including City Walk, Al Safa (04 339 9933).
Lobster macaroni cheese at Bread Street Kitchen
Would you believe us if we told you this one is actually considered a side? Because it is. But really it’s worthy enough to be a dish in its own right, it’s that big and tasty. Gordon Ramsay’s kitchen serves up a hearty dish that’s lifted by the addition of fresh chunks of lobster. The tender crustacean adds to the indulgent feel of this dish that breaks all the rules of traditional Italian pasta, in the best of ways.
Dhs86. Open daily 12.30pm-3.30pm, 6pm-10.30pm. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 526 9228).
Mac ‘n’ cheese at The Chickery
This macaroni and cheese is a kids’ favourite combining a mix of three freshly-grated types of cheese slowly blended with whole organic milk, mixed in with the perfect size of elbow macaroni, and served with mini fries and organic juice.
Dhs25. Open daily, 10am-midnight. The Chickery, La Mer, Jumeirah 1 (04 385 5300).
Mac n’ cheese at Todd English Food Hall
There are few things in life more comforting than a piping hot bowl of cheesy carbs. Admittedly this dish is more American than Roman, but we couldn’t entirely ignore the celebrated food. The mac ’n’ cheese from US celebrity chef Todd English’s new restaurant at The Dubai Mall is smothered in a rich homemade sauce that retains that cheesy stringiness that we can’t get enough of. It’s not classy, it’s not authentically Italian, but it’s tasty nonetheless.
Dhs22. Open daily, 10am-midnight. Ground floor, Fashion Avenue, The Dubai Mall (04 526 9086).
Petit pasta at Couqley
Kids love to get picky when it comes to macaroni, and this French restaurant gives them the chance to do just. The base is pasta shells, which they can have plain, with a touch of butter, or add mini meatballs (with mixed in apples, carrots, leeks and white onions). They can even add rainbow capsicums or mushrooms to the mix. Maybe because Mum and Dad said so...
From Dhs33. Sun-Wed, noon-1am; Thu-Sat noon-2pm. Cluster A , Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 526 0747).
Seafood linguine at Carluccio’s
It may be a chain, but the pasta dishes at Carluccio’s are ace. We love the signature giardiniera, packed full of cheese, courgette and those moreish fried spinach balls. However, for a fishy fix, this linguine hits the spot every time. Prawns, mussels and squid rings are paired with cherry tomatoes and garlic for a classic and delicious dish.
Dhs86. Open daily 9am-11pm. Various locations including Springs Souk, Emirates Hills (04 587 8606).
Spaghetti a lla chitarra carbonara at Le Dune
For little ones who crave a bit of beefy crispiness, this spaghetti incorporates little pieces of bacon. The dish, served as part of Bab al Shams’ Italian restaurant’s new menu, is a combination of capellini pasta, organic eggs, olive oil and fresh ground pepper– a yummy combination.
Dhs85. Open daily, 6pm-11pm (except Mondays). Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa, Al Qudra Road (04 809 6100).
Sphagetti frutti di mare at La Vigna
We love a good, customisable pasta – because what if we don’t like red sauce? La Vigna can make their spaghetti for you with white sauce, or even a mix. You can add a special blend of Italian herbs to the seafood pasta, and it’s served in small swirls for easy eating too.
Dhs95. Open daily 12.30pm-2am. La Vigna, Century Village, Al Garhoud (04 282 0030).
Tagliatelle and meatballs at Bistro Des Artes
Not only does this restaurant have a super well-equipped kids’ area, it has a pasta that kids just LOVE. Italian egg pasta is mixed with homemade tomato sauce, a little cream and parmesan. Minced beef tenderloin meat balls are sculpted with fresh herbs and onion, lightly pan-fried, then cooked in the tomato sauce.
From Dhs40. Open daily, 7.30am-11pm. Bistro Des Arts, Dubai Marina Promenade (04 551 1576).
Penne Contadina at Social House
Like it or lump it, kids love their pink sauces. Thankfully, at Social House it’s used to absolute perfection. This penne dish screams messy lunch with lots of sauce on the pasta and big bites of mushroom thrown into the mix. And with the exquisite terrace views overlooking the Burj Khalifa, it’s absolutely worth it. Don’t forget to try the spinach and broccoli pasta while you’re at it, maybe it’ll win the kids over.
Dhs66. Open daily 8am-1am. The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai (04 339 8640).
Five pasta facts
Pasta was first eaten in China!
The first recorded reports of people eating pasta came from China. Legend has it that famed explorer Marco Polo introduced the noodles to Italy in the 12th century. We’re not convinced.
It comes in 600 different shapes
That’s according to the International Pasta Organisation, and means we have many, many more varieties to try. Hooray!
Italians get through approximately
600 million kilometres of spaghetti every year That’s enough to wrap around the planet 15,000 times. Greedy lot.
Eating pasta makes you happy
This is one we can definitely believe, and there’s science behind it. Carbohydrates in pasta increase the body’s production of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that trigger feelings of happiness and wellbeing.
It tastes better than it sounds.
In Italian, “spaghetti” means strings, “vermicelli” are small worms, “farfalle” are butterflies, “orecchiette” means small ears, “linguine” are little tongues and “ravioli” means small turnips.