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Bargain alert! If you love Italian… the pasta, the pizza, the fruity wines, the tiramisu, the works, you can have it all in unlimited quantities for a mere AED 144 per person.

This amazing offer is available for both lunch and dinner throughout the week at Ricetta, Four Points by Sheraton’s authentic Italian restaurant.

You get a taste of provencal Italy as soon as you walk into the restaurant with its cheerful red checkered tablecloths, the make-believe fruits and vegetable market and a wall plastered with classy black and white photographs of Italy. 

Friday brunches have become a foodie institution, and as Dubai dwellers we really are spoilt for choice with all the options out there. But my only qualm about most brunches is the timing. The standard norm is a 1 pm start, but Friday sleep-ins are so precious. We usually crawl out of bed by noon, and then there’s the Friday prayers to attend. We therefore never really make it to a brunch before 2.

And then I get invited to try out a ‘Linner‘, a New York concept now adapted by Cucina, Courtyard Marriott. Here’s how the foodie equation works:

Breakfast + Lunch = Brunch

Lunch + Dinner = Linner!

“Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.” – Sophia Loren.

If one of the world’s most beautiful women credits her beauty to spaghetti, why haven’t we come up with a pasta diet yet? And so was my excuse last Saturday, as I indulged in not one but a total of 9 decadent pasta creations by artisanal Head Chef Antonio Lacovelli at Trattoria Toscana.

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Matto translates to ‘crazy’ in Italian, and this much-hyped new restaurant in The Oberoi Dubai, has worked hard on living up to this theme. The ambiance here is more in tune with a gastro-pub; the lighting is dim, a DJ revs up tunes from an amputated scooter, and a dominating wall displays this stunning graphic of a man swallowing a fish.

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We walked in with our little 6 year-old, and felt a little out of place. This is not a family-friendly space, and given we got there on a Thursday night, the tables were filled with boisterous co-workers and doe-eyed lovers ringing in the weekend.

Chef Glady has a huge fan following, yet he is too humble to notice. His impeccable plating skills at Per Te saw his creations going viral across social media, and his artsy retakes on Italian classics have made native chefs go green with envy.

I featured Chef Glady in my food blogger column in Ahlan Masala! magazine, and was eagerly awaiting a chance to visit him at his newest venture; 24 Karat at the Marriot (Al Jaddaf, Dubai).

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The brand new restaurant opened its gilded doors to the public only a few weeks ago, and looks every bit the fine-dining Italian restaurant that befits the works of this genius chef.I loved the deep brown wooden finishing, the plush seating and the very European-style chandeliers that lined the counters, exuding a magical hue of gold across.

Le Meridien Hotel & Conference Centre (conveniently located near Dubai International Airport), is one of the oldest hospitality institutions of the city and also happens to be a treasure trove of foodie finds.

One such gem is Casa Mia. Aptly translating to ‘my home’, I absolutely love the cottage-inspired interiors of this space. The service is topnotch, the wine selection immaculate and above all, the food here is incredibly ‘delizioso’.

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Sandwiched between Grand Habtoor and Le Royal Meridien Hotel in JBR Dubai, I have discovered yet another hidden gem. Cucina Mia is an Italian restaurant owned and operated by Italian Chef Domenico Serra, and is located on the ground floor of Trident Grand Residence (JBR).

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‘Cucina Mia’ translates to ‘My Kitchen’, and this very endearing name lives up to its promise of offering unabashedly authentic, homely Italian dishes. But don’t take it from me! I was introduced to Cucina Mia by an Italian friend who vouches that the fare is just like how her Mama does it 🙂 What better way to explore a country’s cuisine than to dine with someone who grew up eating it? 

When I walked into The Cavendish, exuding the charms of old-school grandeur (white starched linen, immaculate tableware, a grand piano… the works!), I felt rather out of place. There I was in my ‘Boho meets Soccer Mummy’ getup, a breezy floral tunic paired with super-comfy slacks, when I really should have donned my pearls, red lippie and LBD.

Google has a major part to blame for this wardrobe malfunction. You see, I usually do a Google scan before I visit a new place, and this time round, this trusty search engine spat out a very colourful room that resembles a play pen: Picture16.jpg

 

Oscar Farinetti opened the very first Eataly store in Turin (Italy) in 2007. Today this ‘mega-store’ has a presence across 6 different countries, and their extensive range of Italian produce can also be bought and delivered worldwide on their online store.

Eataly is an Italian restaurant, but most of the restaurant’s expansive space is taken up by Eataly’s ‘mega-store’. The brand sells everything you could possibly need to whip up an authentic Italian meal!

I am a regular at their Dubai Mall branch. I find it to be the perfect spot for a mug of Italian mocha and a fancy sweet treat. Last week, I got invited to Eataly’s newest branch at Dubai Festival City. Till then, I thought Eataly was a cafe-cum-Italian food store. I now know they have a full fledged menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner 🙂