Pranzo Italiano

Roberto's foodie-centric affair in chic surroundings

The venue: The purple and orange, uber-stylish Roberto’s is a great spot for a chilled-out Friday brunch. The atmosphere is trendy with a hint of elegance, but without being conceited. Kids are welcome, although there’s no separate area for them.

The food: This Italian brunch is a gastronomic delight. A seafood tower is served to the table, stuffed with oysters, shrimps, mussels, crab and lobsters over ice. There’s also an unlimited live oyster bar which you can visit as often as you like. Plates of sharing appetisers follow containing everything from pasta to wagyu mix cold cuts. Mains are chosen from the à la carte menu and there’s a small but decent selection with pasta al forno, lobster thermidor and various other handpicked dishes. A selection of delicious mini Italian pastries is served to finish.

The drinks: The grape package includes good quality Italian red, white and rose varieties, while the premium package includes Ferrari bubbly, grape and mixed drinks. Unfortunately, water and soft drinks are charged extra.

The crowd: The brunch concept hasn’t really caught on yet, so expect to be dining with a smattering of couples, families and small groups out for a stylish Friday lunch. That being said, the place is big enough that you can ensure you’re seated away from any hyperactive kids.

The dress code:
You can dress it up or go for jeans and heels, but whichever you choose keep it stylish – this place is a favourite with the city’s fashionistas.

The service: Superb on arrival; we were greeted warmly, seated swiftly and served our starters and drinks with a smile. Half way through, the original servers disappeared and were replaced with a team who were a bit too snooty for our liking.

Highs & lows: The venue is pretty cool with a European sense of style. It’s Italian without the usual clichés – there’s not a red chequered tablecloth in sight. The dishes are first class, definitely a brunch to impress your foodie friends with, and the low-key music from the DJ keeps up the cool atmosphere without being intrusive. The service was the big let-down of our visit; fantastically friendly when we arrived, it went rapidly downhill mid-afternoon. Also, being charged extra for water, when shelling out for unlimited grape, seems like a dangerous ploy.

Extras & entertainment: There’s a seriously stylish DJ, who keeps the funky house tunes flowing all afternoon.

The after party:
Roberto’s lounge is a pretty popular spot and the fashion-conscious crowd begin to filter in just before brunch wraps up, so all you need do is mosey on over and join the fun.

Best for: a chilled-out brunch

Dhs350 (with soft drinks and mocktails), Dhs425 (with Italian grape), Dhs495 (with sparkling). Fri  12.30pm-4.30pm, Roberto’s, DIFC, www.robertos.ae (04 386 0066).
A la carte, family friendly, outdoor seating

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