Carluccio’s with kids

If you’re looking for a romantic dinner a deux, turn away now. If, on the other hand, it’s family-friendly fresh food with a view that rocks your boat, then Carluccio’s in The Dubai Mall could be just the spot.

Bright and cheery, kids are welcomed with open arms, from an abundance of high chairs, easily wipe-able surfaces, crayons and a creative kids’ menu. This may put some people off, but don’t think this means Carluccio’s is a soulless diner, churning out bland, run-of-the mill, kid fodder that parents wouldn’t otherwise touch with a barge pole.

As you’d expect from an Italian deli, pasta features prominently, which is music to the ears of many a mum and dad. Ravioli, penne or spaghetti, smothered in fresh tomatoes, a ragout sauce, a cheese and cream concoction or just plain with a bit of butter, there’s a shape and sauce to suit even the pickiest eater. Carluccio’s does a kiddie combo for Dhs32, which includes bread sticks to start, juice, a main course (a selection of pasta dishes, plus a chicken option) and a scoop of ice cream.

We ordered good old lasagne for our ravenous tot, which arrived both quickly and at a reasonable temperature – so two big thumbs up there. Dad was so impressed with the nibble he snaffl ed, he ordered the full-sized portion for himself. Hardly an inspirational choice, we know, but for a hungry family after a morning of shopping, it ticked all the right boxes, as did mum’s penne giardiniera (penne with courgette, chilli and deep-fried spinach balls).

Other plus points included great coffee and tasty bread (although, be warned, you will be charged for this separately) as well as a fabulous view of the Dubai Fountain. We were there during the day – apparently Carluccio’s takes on a more grown-up vibe in the evening – but the kids were still impressed with the water show. The deli at the front looks tempting but, be warned, it’s pricey. All in all, though, this is a great spot for families with reliable, healthy family food.
Carluccio’s The Dubai Mall (04 434 1320) Open daily 8am-midnight. All major credit cards accepted. Average price of a meal for a family

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