I was at an industry event a few weeks ago and a prominent restaurant group head was asked to reveal the current global food trends. A very insightful answer came in the form of healthy food restaurants like vegan, a gap in the market in Filipino cuisine and moving on from unicorn food types and freak shakes to anything pink and edible.
Dubai sees trends that take place in other markets before arriving here, such as the Mexican burrito and taco style food a couple of years ago, to BBQ ribs of late.
We have seen a lot of Peruvian style restaurants open on the back of the success of places like Zuma and Coya.
However, are we looking in the wrong places and missing a trend that’s already right here?
Italian cuisine is a staple in any country you visit, there are probably more Italian restaurants around the world than any other kind. So we just taking them for granted?
What makes it a trend
In Dubai we have had many successful Italian restaurants’ the trattoria in Pulcinella to the higher end fine-dining restaurants in DIFC such as Roberto’s, we have also have Cipriani and Artisan, not to mention Frankies in the Marina and Rhonda Locatelli in Atlantis The Palm.
It’s not enough that a lot of restaurants of the same cuisine open at the same time, they must have something new about them, something fresh, accessible and buzz worthy.
Being located in the desert, fresh produce is of the utmost importance for anyone in the food business and for any customer looking for quality food. Sourcing ingredients directly from source is not new, but when it becomes the key USP for new places opening at the same time, it reminds us how good fresh food can taste.
On top of wonderful pizza and pasta dishes, what makes Italian restaurants stand out are the ingredients, the design and the service. Burrata, fresh from Italy, white truffle from Crumbier, and rare heritage tomatoes sourced from heritage sites In Italy.
Contemporary design from the masters of interior design, served up with Italian flare.
Here are three places capturing the imagination at the moment:
1. GIA Ristorante in the new Fashion Avenue extension in Dubai Mall
GIA is the Italian word for female, and this stunning new restaurant that overlooks The Dubai Fountain with terrace seating, has all the personality and hospitality of an Italian home.
GIA just opened this March, and is already packed daily with local Emiratis taking up the majority of the clientele. They seem to be on to a winner here, as the food is nothing short of exquisite.
Stand out dishes are the burrata and pan seared sea bass on a base of squid ink rice and the Cannoli Di Ricotta. They have specialty drinks, served with a performance, it’s well worth trying the Le Ferie pineapple based smoked fruit mocktail.
The next time you dread a visit to Dubai Mall for a shopping trip, take comfort in the knowledge that a break for a bite to eat at GIA will make it worthwhile.
Details: Will be open from 10am for breakfast soon to 12 midnight.
2. Luigia in Rixos Premium Hotel on JBR
This place is all about the food. It’s a spacious and bright restaurant, with welcoming Italian staff that are really passionate about the menu.
Again, like GIA, the tomatoes and cheese are sourced directly from Italy.
You’re going to want to try all the different kinds of bread here, trust me, and also the fried fish. Exceptional.
3. L’Arte in Dubai Design District
Apart from having the best burrata in Dubai, L’Arte is so welcoming, well designed and the food of such high quality, that you just feel good about yourself after visiting. Well worth booking a lunch or dinner here.
There are many more Italian restaurants and chefs adding their own flavor to this great city. If you have any recommendations of places to try or reasons why Italian cuisine is back in vogue, comment below.