Best Italian restaurants in Dubai
Time Out Dubai is the definitive voice on Dubai's best restaurants, including Italian restaurants. Here's a guide to where to get pizza and pasta, and more.
If you’re craving a pizza with all the toppings, could do with a carb-loaded pasta dish, or simply want to devour a ton of cheese, we’ve got the best suggestions from Rome to Naples abroad. Time Out has visited each and every restaurant to put them through their paces, assessing factors including quality of food, ambience and service. Popular or relatively unknown, we’ve gone undercover to find out what you’re getting for your money at each venue.
Armani. Just the name alone creates images of classic, upmarket interiors, tailored clothing and high-end glamour. And that’s what you get at the Armani Hotel. It’s luxurious, it’s moody and it feels refined.
Armani/Ristorante is the same. It helps, of course, that it’s nestled at the base of the world’s tallest building and boasts stunning views of The Dubai Fountain.
This Italian is the ideal restaurant for a treat – and treat it will be, as have no doubt, along with high-end décor and a world-class setting comes comparable pricing.
As we’re settled into a massive cream leather banquette, we peruse the menu and tuck into the bread basket (an inventive and tasty selection, of which the goat’s cheese croissant is a highlight).
And despite being seasoned Dubaians, we can’t help but still be awed whenever the Fountain springs to life.
However, for a restaurant with such a slick appearance, the service, surprisingly, doesn’t quite match. At best, it’s haphazard, at worst disappointing.
What isn’t disappointing, however, is the food. We opt for burrata and giant prawns to start, both of which are excellent. Creamy burrata comes with chunks of juicy, sweet tomato, while the succulent prawns sit on a bed of vibrant crushed peas.
Everything is beautifully presented, as you’d expect from a brand renowned for aesthetics.
We move on to a delightfully tender beef cheek that falls apart at first sight of the knife and lobster spaghetti which is tasty, but a tad chewy (both the shellfish and the pasta).
A live singer is a nice touch, but the vibe never quite feels relaxed. But if it’s a special meal on a big occasion you’re looking for, then the food and setting won’t let you down, just make sure your wallet’s prepared.
The Bill (for two)
1x gamberi Dhs135
1x burrata Dhs110
1x lobster spaghetti Dhs200
1x guancia Dhs200
1x La Sfera Dhs100
1x still water Dhs35
Total (including service) Dhs780
The bottom line
Delightful dishes and top location.
It’s often easy to underappreciate the rock-solid things in life, but we’re here to tell you that Roberto’s should be somewhere near the top of your list of places to eat out regularly. The venue is lovely, with a beautiful terrace, good bar are and a more refined dining room. Staff, too, are absolutely excellent, there’s not a misstep from the moment you arrive until home time. And then there’s the food. For classic Italian cooking, it doesn’t get much better in the city. Sure, it’s towards the top end of the price bracket, but we’d rather head here and pay for genuine quality time and time again. We heartily recommend any dishes where seafood appears, and, as you might imagine, the pasta is superb. A sterling choice.
With its regal, Tuscany-inspired interiors, Splendido is exactly the kind of restaurant you’d expect to find in any Ritz-Carlton hotel. Dark wood floors, gentle lighting and neutral upholstery lead out to a serene patio, which fills up with hotel guests on Dubai’s cooler nights. Despite a pleasant setting and gently buzzing atmosphere, the rest of the experience doesn’t quite measure up – food is good, but there’s little those hotel guests will find to send a postcard home about. Starters fare better than mains – the beef carpaccio with truffle oil is delicate and fragrant, while the burrata with grilled eggplant is beautifully creamy. Expect fish, meat and pasta from the selection of mains, but not pizza – unsurprisingly, this place has trained its sights a little higher.