It’s a little pizza paradise…

It’s probably gone beyond hidden gem status now because anybody that visits Saadiyat Island’s authentic beachfront Italian trattoria, Antonia — is immediately converted into a passionate evangelist for the carby cause. If you haven’t been yet, there are no words that can describe how strongly we advocate giving it a try, only theatrical Italian gestures. You know the ones.

The highlight of the Antonia monthly calendar is their famous ‘Nonna’s Brunch‘, so grand and preparatorily intensive that they presumably have to give nonna the rest of the time off, as it happens just every 30 days or so. And if you miss it, it’s not just nonna that will be disappointed, you’ll probably taste some of the bitter crust of regret too.

It takes place between 3pm and 6pm on Sundays, with packages from Dhs245, house is just Dhs296, and you can add on a bottle of pink Italian fizz for Dhs120. The next sessions are this Sunday, January 22 and then February 19.

What’s On the menu?

Throughout the long-and-lazy four-course affair, diners will be to sample some of the restaurant’s insanely strong ‘off-menu’ antipasti, pasta and traditional mains, along with a dessert.

Dishes sparkling with Amalfi charm, such as a sauteé of Italian mussels in tomato sauce with an invitation to fai la scarpetta — soaking up that *shivers in Italian* sauce with a slice of Focaccia.

Then there’s a pasta of your choice, though the house recommends the homemade pappardelle with braised beef cheek (made with fastidious commitment to following ‘Nonna’s original’ recipe). Then there’s the main — Italy has you now — we’d suggest the pan-seared renaissance masterpiece that is the fat-rendered Rib-eye.

How else could you end such a guided Roman holiday other than with the venue’s signature tiramisu? Well, they do also offer cannoli, baba and a Nutella pizza so the choice isn’t as easy as it first seems.

Plus you could always save the tiramisu for your next visit. Arrivederci.

Antonia, Mamsha Al Saadiyat, Saadiyat Island, brunch promotion Sun, 3pm to 6pm, from Dhs245, house package Dhs295. Tel: (02) 667 2554, @antonia.uae

Images: Provided