My husband, the foodie among us swears by Eataly. “It’s great! The pasta is good, the pizza, superb, the cheeses? To die for!”
“Make sure to order their in house mozzarella or burrata!”
He has taken me there a few times and this is the first time I’m actually going to write about it, because, during lunch today, a work colleague was asking me where to take his parents who are visiting and that they love Italian food (but make it affordable, please!).
Eataly comes to mind.
This very roomy and vibrant eating place inside the equally huge The Dubai Mall reminds me of a library but instead of books, it’s olive oils, different kinds of vinegars, cheeses, chocolates, salamis and a huge number of pasta varieties. The dozens of different brands of tomato sauce are blinding – how will I ever know the right one?
The dining area is wide and vast but can still become a madhouse on weekends.
I went to Eataly with a friend, like my husband, I too, found myself hurling adjectives to describe the food and non-apologetically insisted on the Burrata Carpaccio di Pomodoro. I could not pinpoint anything negative about this starter. Even my friend loved it. It’s also interesting to note that this cheese is made in-house and did not have to travel from Italia to Dubai, so freshness is guaranteed. I could eat this every day, honestly!
We also ordered “Elegante” – corella pears, parmigiano, mixed green salad, wild rocket with walnuts in balsamico sauce. This was a delight as the sweetness of the pears went so well with the nutty taste of the rocket leaves, the salty cheese and that tangy balsamic sauce.
My friend ordered a pasta dish: Penne ala Norma, penne pasta served with antonella tomato sauce with fried eggplant topped with ricotta cheese. The pasta was perfect at al dente but the overall taste could use some kick, a little salt or something.
Being a carnivore that I am, I ordered Tagliata di Manzo as my main dish. Grilled sliced fillet of bed on a bed of wild rocket leaves topped with parmigiano reggiano, and drops of balsamic vinegar. What a great way to still stick to my Paleo-ish diet with this one (though I’d fail at the next but whatever…human!). The meat was tender and flavorful enough for my liking.
My friend and I were already getting full but I thought, what would an introduction to an Italian restaurant be without PIZZA. You can’t miss out pizza in an Italian restaurant, can you?
Now pizza. When it comes to “pizza talk”, I have to be honest. And disclose that I am not a fan of pizza. There I said it. Why go to an Italian if you don’t like pizza?
I hear you. Now, hear me out.
Truth is, I have some kind of sensitivity to gluten, to anything with flour. It makes me bloat and uneasy and I feel very heavy (and groggy afterwards). Research has led me to precious information that it is because most of the wheat (flour) used now are heavily modified our bodies do not recognize them as food any more (at least for my system!). So no pizza, right?
HOWEVER, this was different. And I am not being paid to say this.
I had 3 slices of Pizza Daviola (goose salami, antonella tomato sauce, mozzarella fior di latte, chili flakes and basil). Probably the most I’ve had in a long, long time. Why? Because it was unbelievably easy on the stomach. I think I’ve heard the chef from Eataly talk about how the flour that they use are different from the overly processed flours in the market. “In Eataly, we eat pizza like it’s nobody’s business and there still there are more obese people in America!” (or here in the UAE, really).
Eataly is a temple of all things Italian.
I think what Eataly lacks if you would expect it from an “Italian” restaurant is cozy, soft yellow lights (if at all, it is very bright inside Eataly), sweet music in the background and probably, VINO. Here at Eataly inside the Dubai Mall, alcohol is not served*.
Celebrate Dubai Food Festival at Eataly at the Dubai Mall and enjoy a late lunch or early dinner For the whole month of February, for just AED 39 per person. You can choose two courses prepared by our passionate chefs, with the finest Italian ingredients, starting with soup or salad, followed by pizza or pasta, and ending with an Illy espresso. All throughout the month of February only, from 3pm-7pm Sunday to Thursday.
February is also Festa Del Tartufo Nero…black truffle feast! A whole menu dedicated to black truffle is available from now until the end of the month to enjoy! I went for the taste testing and it was truly buono!
UPDATE: Due to popular demand, the black truffle menu is extended until 31st March 2015!
So the verdict, if you like a light, upbeat ambience and still great Italian food at a more affordable price than the ones at fine dining restaurants, Eataly is worth a visit.
*Despite being a Muslim country, alcohol is available all over the UAE. It is more prevalent in Dubai, having more of a tourist focus, but, alcohol is essentially available in most hotels, which have a license to sell alcohol. Eataly is not serving alcohol mainly because it is located in a more open, public space (inside a mall) as opposed to a hotel setting which is more ‘intimate’ and ‘discreet’.