26 of the best Italian restaurants in Dubai
Serving up so much more than perfect slices of pizza…
Pizza… pasta… fresh seafood… Italian cuisine has something for everyone. And in Dubai, there’s no shortage of delicious restaurants serving top-quality Italian fare. From contemporary restaurants inspired by the artsy cities of the north to fresh ingredients you’ll find in beachside trattoria’s in the south, we’ve rounded up the city’s best Italian restaurants.
Amalfi Coast-inspired restaurant Alici is located on the waterfront of Bluewaters Island, and walking inside feels like stepping into a chic restaurant on the Italian coast. Everything inside Alici – which means anchovy in Italian – is beautiful. Contemporary cream interiors are blissfully interrupted by art and pottery, most of which has been hand-painted by ‘The Anchovy Man’, famed in Italy for his fish paintings. The menu is extensive but not overbearing, food is flawless, service is engaging without being obtrusive, and while dishes aren’t cheap, they’re not overly expensive either.
Alici, Bluewaters Island, daily noon to 3.30pm and 7pm to midnight. Tel: (04) 275 2577. alici.com
At the top end of the price scale for Italian restaurants in Dubai, you’ll find Armani Ristorante. Located in the glamorous surroundings of the Armani Hotel inside the Burj Khalifa, the restaurant serves lavish, thoroughly modern Italian cuisine that’s plated to perfection.
Armani Ristorante, Armani Hotel Dubai, Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai, daily 12.30pm to 3pm and 6.30pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 888 3666. armanihoteldubai.com
Bella comprises of an ultra-chic loft-like lounge area and a dining room and bar. One of the coolest things about this new Italian haunt is that it boasts a fully-retractable glass ceiling, meaning you can look up into the velvety night sky, when you can tear your eyes away from the twinkling skyscrapers of Business Bay.
Bella’s Restaurant & Lounge, 20th floor, Grand Millennium Hotel Business Bay, Dubai, opening now. Tel: (04) 873 3377. @bellarestaurantdxb
What makes Bice Mare at Souk Al Bahar special is the views – they have one of the most enviable spots in the souk for overlooking the Dubai Fountain. There’s a big focus on seafood and handcrafted pastas. Dishes are designed to be shared and the menu changes seasonally.
Bice Mare, Level 2, Souk Al Bahar Downtown Burj Khalifa, daily noon to 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 423 0982. bicemare.com
Settle into this handsome dining room, overlooking the pool at the Hilton Dubai Jumeirah, for authentic antipasti, grills and handcrafted pastas. Must-try dishes include the tortelli con salsa al tartufo (ricotta and spinach pasta parcels in a creamy truffle sauce), and the fettuccine with lobster.
Bice Ristorante, Hilton Dubai Jumeirah, The Walk, JBR, daily 12.30pm to 3.30pm and 7pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 318 2520. hilton.com
Basta! is one of two restaurants by the ‘Gypsy Chef’, David Myers. Promising a blend of Roman trattoria, Florentine steakhouse and Neapolitan pizzeria, Basta! is inspired by Myers’ travels to these regions. You’ll see elements of this throughout the restaurant, from the open-plan kitchen and wood-fire grill, to an extra-large painted artwork of iconic actress Sophia Loren. On the menu, it’s a modern-meets-traditional combination of stone-baked pizza, handmade pasta and boards of antipasti.
Basta!, Renaissance Downtown Hotel, Dubai, Business Bay, daily noon to midnight. Tel: (04) 512 5522. basta-dubai.com
Part lounge, part pizzeria, part restaurant, Bussola is all three in one. In the cooler months, we love nothing more than to sip sundowners on the upstairs terrace at Bussola, while tucking into one of their delicious pizzas. But in the summer, it’s also a great spot for a laidback Italian meal. While the menu is simpler than some of its counterparts, it’s famed across the city for offering pretty much every pizza imaginable. They’re generous sizes too, so bring your appetite.
Bussola, The Westin Mina Seyahi, Mina Seyahi, Dubai, daily 12pm to 3pm and 7pm to 11pm. Tel: (04) 511 7391. bussoladubai.com
Casa Mia is the OG Italian restaurant in Dubai. Lined with chocolate-toned timbers and creamy stucco, the old-school dining room looks like it’s been plucked from the backstreets of Rome. Outside, there’s a shaded patio, perfect for sharing classic renditions of pizza, pasta and antipasti.
Casa Mia, Le Meridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre, daily 12.30pm to 3.30pm and 7pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 702 2455. casamia-dubai.com
The Dubai version of the world-famous Cipriani restaurant collection is a must-visit when dining in DIFC. The high-end restaurant transports diners back to the 1950s and 1960s thanks to its white-clothed tables, retro decor and glossy wooden interiors. While you’ll find some delicious dishes on the menu (the gelato is arguably the best in the city), no visit would be complete without trying one of the signature Bellini’s, a peach and sparkling cocktail invented by Giuseppe Cipriani in 1930s Venice.
Cipriani, Gate Village Building 10, DIFC, Dubai, daily 12pm to 2am (kitchen closes 12am). Tel: (04) 347 0003. cipriani.com
Certo is a cosy, no-frills Italian restaurant in Dubai Media City. The perfect place for an after-work dinner and drinks, the menu is well priced, staff are friendly, and you’ll find all the classic Italian dishes on the menu, as well as a few more creative options.
Certo, Radisson Blu Dubai Media City, Media City, daily 12pm to 3.15pm, 5pm to 7pm and 6pm to 11pm. Tel: (04) 366 9187. radissonblu.com
While Five Palm Jumeirah might be on your radar for its pool parties and picture-perfect sunsets at The Penthouse, it’s Italian restaurant is a brilliant choice for Southern Italian fare. While the bright, airy interiors that look out onto the pool might not transport you to the Amalfi coast, the classic dishes of pasta, seafood, grilled and roasted meats, sharing platters, and assorted pastries and desserts certainly will. There’s also a second, more casual outpost, Trattoria by Cinque, at Five Jumeirah Village.
Cinque, Five Palm Jumeirah, daily 12.30pm to 3.30pm, 7pm to 11.30pm. Tel (04) 455 9989. fivehotelsandresorts.com
Pipped as the region’s first female-led restaurant, Fi’lia is SLS Dubai’s stunning Italian restaurant, complete with Burj-facing terrace. The contemporary-meets-casual decor features rattan furniture and copper hardware to create a welcoming feminine space. The menu is split into three – nonna (grandmother), mamma (mother) and filia (daughter) – and features recipes passed down through generations. Expect fresh ingredients from the firewood oven and grill, handmade breads and pasta, overlooking Dubai from 70 floors high.
Fi’lia, SLS Dubai, Business Bay, daily, breakfast: 7am to 10.30am, lunch: 12.30pm to 3.30pm, dinner: 6.30pm to 12am. Tel: (0)4 607 0770. @filiadubai
Il Borro Tuscan Bistro
What makes Il Borro so special isn’t its stunning views (although it does have a lovely terrace that looks out to the waters of Jumeirah Al Naseem), nor its contemporary interiors, which still manage to feel intimate. What gives Il Borro the wow-factor is its dedication to serving authentic Italian fare, made with Italian-sourced products. The Italian restaurant hails from a famous Tuscan estate, which has more than 1,000 years of rich history, and is set among a sprawling 700-hectare estate. While its modern Dubai outpost may be world’s away from its Tuscan home, the team behind What’s On’s Restaurant of the Year 2017 and 2018 remain dedicated to creating a taste of Italy in Dubai, and do it to an unfalteringly high, and arguably Michelin-worthy standard.
Il Borro Tuscan Bistro, Jumeirah Al Naseem, Jumeirah St, Dubai, daily noon to 4.30pm and 6pm to 1am. Tel: (04) 275 2555. ilborrotuscanbistro.ae
This homegrown concept on Palm Jumeirah spot has an instant family feel, with welcoming, friendly staff and bright interiors. It’s named Il Passaggio, meaning ‘passage’ in Italian, because it has one running through the middle of the restaurant, with open kitchens on each side. Guests can happily peer in and whet their appetite by observing the preparation of pastries, desserts, bread, pizza and more.
Il Passaggio, The Pointe, Palm Jumeirah, Sunday to Thursday 9am to 10pm, Friday and Saturday 9am to 11pm. Tel: (04) 587 3111. @ilpassaggio_dxb
For the past 26 years, Il Pastaio has been a go to hotspot for lovers of Italian cuisine in Los Angeles. Now, the LA restaurant has opened its first international export right here in Dubai. Found in Al Habtoor City, Il Pastaio is set to shake up the Italian restaurant scene with homemade pastas, fresh meat and fish, signature sauces and a tempting wine list.
Il Pastaio, Al Habtoor City, Dubai, daily 12pm to 12am. ilpastaiodubai.ae
Isola Ristorante is devoted to the culinary traditions of Sicily, Sardinia and Capri, the new restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. Large windows allow natural light to beam in, while clusters of hanging lights provide ambient atmosphere come evening-time.
Isola Ristorante, Jumeirah Islands Clubhouse, Jumeirah Islands, daily 8am to 11pm. Tel: (0)4 583 3124. @isolarestaurantdubai
Homemade Italian dishes are on the menu at Luigia, the pizzeria housed in the Rixos Premium JBR. The expansive restaurant is kitted out in bold, brash hues of purple and red, and it’s well-priced for it’s prime location on JBR. There’s a dedicated kids’ menu and cinema room too, so it’s a good choice for families looking for hearty Italian food that won’t break the bank.
Luigia, Rixos Premium JBR, Dubai Marina, Sun to Thu 5.30pm to 12am, Fri and Sat 12.30pm to 12am. Tel (04) 349 6950. luigia.ae
Having spent a decade at the top of its game in New York, Marea has been voted one of the best Italian restaurants in Manhattan. At the sophisticated Dubai outpost, there’s a chic cocktail bar as you walk in, with a wall of amber art glowing from behind and a row of plush blue velvet bar stalls for guests to enjoy a drink before their meal. Downstairs is a more expansive bar area, with intimate seating for 65. The menu serves first-rate Italian food, with carpaccio, pastas and seafood the stars.
Marea, DIFC Gate Village 7, daily 12pm to 5pm then Sat to Tues 7pm to 1am, Weds & Thurs 7pm to 3am and Fridays 7pm to midnight. Tel: (04) 583 6366. marearestaurant.com/dubai
Housed in Atlantis The Palm, Ronda Locatelli is the brainchild of acclaimed chef Giorgio Locatelli. It’s dimly lit and has a rustic, welcoming feel thanks to its wooden interiors and central pizza oven. There’s indoor and outdoor seating available, and while the restaurant only opens for dinner through the week, it’s a great family-friendly spot for a weekend lunch, with just about every pizza imaginable on the menu. The restaurant has also recently introduced a vegan menu, with more than 40 options catering to vegans including pizza, pasta and desserts.
Ronda Locatelli, Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, Thu to Tue 6pm to 11pm, Fri to Sun noon to 3pm. Tel: (04) 426 2626. atlantis.com
Tucked away on the ground floor of the Restaurant Village at Jumeirah Four Seasons is Scalini, an Italian restaurant by way of London. The cosy restaurant is littered with pictures of celebrities who’ve frequented the London haunt, while an outdoor terrace is covered in leafy foliage and a central tree twinkles with fairy lights. The real shining star at this restaurant, though, is the staff, many of whom have come to Dubai from the award-winning London spot. They’ve mastered fine dining in a refreshingly modern way, silver-serving dishes of beef carpaccio and creamy burrata while laughing and joking with guests. The menu is authentically Italian, with each dish full of flavour and beautifully presented.
Scalini, Restaurant Village, Jumeirah Four Seasons, Jumeirah, daily noon to midnight. Tel: (04) 349 0068. scalini-dubai.com
Social by Heinz Beck
The offering at Social by Heinz Beck has recently been refreshed to reflect a more informal approach to Italian cuisine. The new menu features generous portions offered at a more affordable price point, allowing the restaurant to appeal to a new demographic of diners who may have only previously visited to celebrate special occasions.
Social by Heinz Beck, Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah. Tel: (0)4 818 2222. instagram.com/socialbyheinzbeck
Settle into this art-filled dining room in the Waldorf Astoria DIFC for a meal that combines Italy’s culinary heritage with contemporary polish. Chef Luca Tresoldi draws inspiration from the full length of ‘the boot’, creating elegant dishes that are rooted in tradition. Highlights include the rich and rewarding ravioli di ossobucco, in an aromatic porcini and saffron sauce.
The Artisan, Waldorf Astoria, DIFC, daily midnight to 11pm. theartisan.ae
At Torno Subito, modern, neutral colours and furnishings are forgone in favour of gelati-coloured hues of green, yellow, pink, blue and red, mismatched together with monochrome stripes that give the restaurant a retro, Italian-Riviera feel. The menu features pastas, pizzas, antipasti, mains and desserts, all available for lunch and dinner. Torno Subito may not be Osteria Francescana, but nor does it want to be. It’s certainly up there with some of the tastiest Italian dishes we’ve had in Dubai, and it delivers on its promise of laidback, Italian Riviera-style dining.
Torno Subito, W Dubai – The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, Sun to Thu 6.30pm to 11.30pm, Fri and Sat 11.30am to 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 245 5555. marriott.com
With a prime waterfront position at Souk Madinat Jumeriah, Trattoria offers a relaxed alfresco experience. From the rustic Italian menu, kick things off with stuzzichini (small bites, such as arancini and bruschetta), a serve of golden fritto misto, luscious pastas, and pizzas with just the right amount of chew.
Trattoria, Souk Madinat Jumeirah, daily noon to 11.30pm. Tel: 800 666353. @trattoriadubai
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The elegant Vanitas restaurant is reminiscent of a grand Italian palazzo, which is not surprising considering its location inside the Palazzo Versace in Al Jaddaf. While this might not be your closest Italian restaurant, it’s worth a trip for a romantic dinner served in lavish surroundings.
Vanitas, Palazzo Versace Dubai, Al Jaddaf, daily 12pm to 11pm. Tel: (04) 5568820. palazzoversace.ae
One of the city’s longer serving restaurants is Vivaldi, found in the Sheraton Dubai Creek. Here, it’s all about the views, with floor-to-ceiling windows giving way to one of the most romantic vistas of Dubai Creek. It’s a more casual offering compared to some of the city’s fine-dining offerings, and a smaller menu too, but it packs each of its dishes full of flavour.
Vivaldi, Sheraton Dubai Creek, Dubai Creek, daily 6.30am to 10.30am, noon to 3pm, 7pm to 11pm. Tel: (04) 207 1717. vivaldidubai.com