Italian 04 344 2550 Jumeirah

Hungry residents and tourists alike are drawn to this increasingly popular part of town, and Sapori di BiCE is a strong choice for those after an Italian meal in City Walk.

Pitching itself as “casual chic family dining” is pretty spot on. Interiors manage to pull off that tricky blend of upmarket yet not overly fussy, ensuring it appeals to families and couples alike.

There’s a lofty, bustling feel to the eatery and it’s busy on our visit.

An Italian bread basket of olive and cherry tomato focaccia, arrives first, served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar containing dabs of goat’s cheese and an incredibly moreish homemade basil pesto. Next up, it’s calamari fritters accompanied by tempura-style courgette and mushrooms – the calamari is tender enough but lacking a little in seasoning, and not as enjoyable as the vegetables.

Don’t miss the traditional lasagne Emiliana, which is rustically presented in a mini cast-iron pan and is voted by our group as delicious as home-made would be (unless you’re an Italian grandmother, that is).

Despite the Italian-twist, paella is packed full of seafood and fresh herbs, it somehow lacks the real punch of flavour expected from this sort of dish.

Desserts are authentic and tasty, so opt for the salted caramel pecan pie for a treat. Plump for scoops of intensely-rich black cherry and pistachio ice cream on the side, which work surprisingly well.

Dishes are mostly well thought out and tasty, but there’s room for improvement in some areas. With the amount of top-notch restaurants popping up in the area, will this continue to be a family favourite? We’ll see.

The bottom line
Worth a visit if you’re in the area and craving lasagne.

British 04 590 5444 Jumeirah

PERMANENTLY CLOSED

City Walk is one of the most rapidly growing areas on Dubai’s dining scene, and licensed zone The Square is gradually becoming a hit.

Sitting next to Toro + Ko and Time Out Dubai’s Best Latin American restaurant 2018, LIMA Dubai, is Galvin Dubai. The latest venture from Michelin-starred brothers Chris and Jeff Galvin opened in late 2017, and so it’s with high expectations that we head to this chic restaurant.

The dishes take influence from Italy, the South of France and North Africa, promising an “innovative yet accessible” take on classic flavours.

We visit on a weeknight and it’s extremely quiet. But the restaurant is elegant and, thanks to the pocketed dining areas, manages to feel intimate rather than empty.

We opt for the menu du chef – based on the fact that it’s decent value for a seven-course meal from such a star-wielding duo, coming in at Dhs398 a head. It will also give us an excellent overview from the menu curated by executive chef Luigi Vespero, who has been entrusted with the role after several years working with the Galvin brothers.

The feast kicks off with a trio of signature starters, which includes steak tartare (rich and meaty), yellow fin tuna (tangy and fresh) and a beetroot salad (a fruity accompaniment).

The risotto of wild mushrooms is a highlight – a delicate serving of al dente rice in a creamy, shroomy dressing, lifted by a crunchy scattering of hazelnuts. The lasagne of Devon crab is also a big hit, and a far cry from any limp pasta bake you might envisage. Beef tenderloin with caramelised shallots and wild mushrooms is tender and a perfect flavour combination, while a chocolate fondant rounds it all off expertly.

All courses are petite, delicious and a great showcase of the famous brothers’ dishes. The only thing that lacks is the atmosphere. With a few more diners in, it could be top-notch.

The bill (For two)
2x menu du chef Dhs796
Total (incl service) Dhs796

The bottom line
Excellently executed dishes but lacks vibe.

Breakfast +971 4 430 7252 Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR)

Eggpspecation’s flagship eatery on The Walk at JBR is a firm favourite for a weekend breakfasts, and if you can get a table without at least a 15-minute wait then you’re doing better than the rest of us. So when we heard of a new, even bigger, version in City Walk we were curious to try it.

We decide to try it out for an early-evening meal. The restaurant is fairly quiet, so we suspect the word has yet to spread about just how stunning the views across to the Burj Khalifa and Business Bay from the outside terrace actually are.

Service is swift and friendly and we pour over a menu it’s incredibly difficult to choose from – it all sounds so good. We opt for a creamy lobster mac and cheese, that we wish would never end, and wish we could have ordered two of the brie and walnut crostini starters.

Portion sizes here are incredibly generous so it’s a wonder we have room for dessert. But the chocco-banana pancakes prove too difficult for us to resist (they’re not just for breakfast) and we have to hold back from licking the plate clean.

Granted, there’s not the view of the ocean, or a mere hop and a skip to the sand, but there’s still a lot to like about the newest location of the Canadian chain. We can’t wait to go back for breakfast.

Spanish 04 590 5433 Jumeirah

Despite Dubai’s rich and varied dining scene, Spanish food has always been somewhat proportionally under-represented in the city. Enter Toro + Ko, which has arrived to bring Barcelona-style tapas to City Walk, following the success of outlets in Boston, New York and Bangkok.

Set in the licensed The Square, the interiors follow the same funky-urban-industrial blueprint that has defined many restaurant openings in recent years. Nothing new, but it does manage to feel smart, cool and unexpectedly cosy, particularly on the small outdoor dining patio adjacent to the bar.
Service is, initially, swift and polished, but throughout the course of the evening becomes significantly less so. And it soon becomes apparent that the whole dining experience is going to vacillate between two extremes.

Keen to be transported to a Catalonian tapas bar for the evening, we skip over some of the less likely offerings (lobster roll, beef sliders) in favour of more familiar Spanish classics.

First to arrive is a beautifully presented trio of pintxo de queso de cabra – goat’s cheese toast with caramelised onions, topped with a drizzle of honey infused with just a whisper of truffle. It’s sensational, and heightens our anticipation for the rest. Moments later, a waiter flips a pan with flourish to reveal a perfectly golden tortilla. Only, we didn’t order one.

Nor did we order those sliders. (Though perhaps we should have.)

Thankfully, our gambas al ajillo and pulpo a la plancha quickly find us. More fortunately still, the Galician octopus is at least tender and meaty, because the prawns – oddly crunchy, overly salty and savouring strongly of burnt garlic – are nudged to the end of the table.

Desserts follow the same pattern. The crema Catalana brûlée is an un-set disaster that not even the (bizarre) waving around of chilled wafers from a jug of liquid nitrogen can rescue.

But the churros (oh, the churros), with their crunchy, bronzed, sugar-rolled exterior and squidgy, doughy innards are the best you’ll find in the city. Bar none.

But amid a wildly competitive restaurant scene, you can’t build a major dining hotspot on a doughnut. Toro + Ko has its work cut out.

The Bill (for two)
1x pintxo de queso de cabra Dhs58
1x padron peppers Dhs42
1x gambas al ajillo Dhs68
1x pulpo a la plancha Dhs92
1x Catalan cream Dhs38
1x churros Dhs46
1x large water Dhs35
Total (excluding service) Dhs379

The bottom line
You’ll want to like this place – they just won’t make it easy to.

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