Review: Via Toledo, Address Beach Resort
It claims to be home to one of the best pizzas in the city. That’s a bold claim – but one we’re willing to back up…
In Dubai’s burgeoning culinary scene, it can be hard to make an impression. Opening in the low summer season adds another layer of challenge. So Via Toledo has its work cut out.
It helps that the concept, which opened recently in Address Beach Resort, has a pizza master and star chef at the helm in the form of Francesco Calo. The Italian chef first established Via Toledo in the cosmopolitan city of Vienna six years ago, where he perfected his unique take on classic Neapolitan pizzas. With this knowledge, we expect to walk into a cosy trattoria-style setting with a ceramic pizza oven the star centerpiece. Instead, we’re struck by how large the restaurant is. An exposed, industrial ceiling is filled with twinkling chandeliers and hanging fauna and soft furnishings in teal, dust pink and cream are set for groups of anywhere from two to ten. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow us to gaze longingly at the sea-facing terrace that will undoubtedly be the perfect aperitivo spot once the weather permits. But save from a large lemon tree right in front of the semi-open show kitchen, it’s hard to tell this is an Italian restaurant.
Undeterred, we move to the menu, which is much more concentrated to the concept. In fact, the first two pages are dedicated to proudly explaining the brand, and explaining detail that’s gone in to making chef Calo’s personal blend of “Intensa” pizza. Before we get there, we start with the Polpo alla Brace (Dhs180), which arrives as a piece of grilled octopus fried in breadcrumbs that resembles a chicken tender, serve with fennel velouté. Unique? Definitely, and we’re impressed by the flavours. But, the dish is a little small for the price.
For mains we try a pasta dish: a linguine vongole (Dhs190) and enjoy whirling every perfectly cooked piece of pasta around our spoon, slurping the tomato-infused garlic sauce with it. But really, you’re here to find out about the pizzas, and out of 18 delectable creations, innovatively packed with only-in-Dubai toppings like caviar, burratina and bluefin tuna tartare we opt for the Marinara Doppio Crunch (Dhs120). Chef Calo’s double-cooked (the dough is first lightly fried for about a minute before being baked) pizza topped simply with red and yellow tomatoes, capers and crispy oregano, is simply incredible. The perfect ratio of crispy base and just-enough topping, with a crust that’s still a little doughy inside, we begin politely cutting each slice with a knife and fork, but quickly abandon cutlery in favour of eating from our hand, licking our fingers clean as we go.
Dessert lovers can look forward to a trio of sweet pizzas for dessert, or go for a creamy millefoglie (Dhs75) elegantly served in a martini glass with a chocolate drizzle. For those looking for something with a little less sweetness, the classic Sicilian Cannolo Scomposto (Dhs110), is given a chef Calo upgrade with a crumble topping and white truffle.
The restaurant may be quiet right now, but with a pizza this good and a terrace just waiting to be enjoyed in the winter, Via Toledo is packed with potential.
Via Toledo, Address Beach Resort, The Walk, JBR, daily 6pm to 2am. Tel: (050) 54 59 278, viatoledo.ae