Dining with waves, views, and the flavours of Italia…

Athlete-backed vision, Italian classics, and premium gastronomy converge at Mamsha Al Saadiyat’s newest restaurant, TOTO. The Madrid-born concept, backed by football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and tennis titan Rafael Nadal has taken off to a sizzling start in Abu Dhabi, and we’re excited to unravel everything TOTO packs – its flavours, ambiance, feel and more.

The Concept

This vibrant, 1950s-inspired concept is renowned for its traditional recipes and extensive wine offering. Showcasing the unmistakeable flavours, hues, and aromas of Italy, the menu packs in a glorious selection of traditional antipasti, pastas, pizzas, stews, meats and seafood, all served with a modern, creative touch.

The Menu

Leaf through their menu for Italian classics you’ll never tire of. We decide to try their antipasti menu, with the cold burrata from Puglia, tomato carpaccio and basil pesto (Dhs90). The standout star? Thinly sliced, neatly-folded, almost petal-like tomato, lightly seasoned with olive oil and salt. We’re eagerly recommended the hot antipasti, with an order of the suppli rice ball al telefono (Dhs65). These rice croquettes with molten mozarella are a crispy contrast to the burrata opener, and admittedly, twice as filling. For mains, we forgo our customary inclination to gourmet picks and gastronomic innovations, and opt for a traditional Pizza Capricciosa (Dhs100). Margherita fan? You’re good. Meat lover? Check. Here for the sauce? No problem. And the crispiness and theatrics are the footnote you seek.

A cursory glance out into the now-night sky teleports us from an evening of flavours, to the charms of the Saadiyat beachfront. TOTO is glamorous and classy, but doesn’t overhit its serve – a casual, intimate tone reflecting the capital’s perpetual calm.

For dessert, our beaming server makes a classic TOTO tiramisu (Dhs55) appear, Slightly coffee-heavy, your preference for this timeless pick could depend on which way you prefer your coffee-to-cream ratio, but for javaheads such as ourselves, it hits all the right notes.

The Entertainment

While you can enjoy live music every weekend, what truly entertains is TOTO’s theatrical central oven, where you get to see the hands and minds hard at work, so they can bring your order to life in minutes.

Not that you’ll need an intermission while your chefs are busy doing what they do best in the kitchen, but we’re told the recipes here pay homage to the golden age of Italian cinema. And while its flavours are exemplary, don’t forget to stroll around and admire the art on display. Black and white imagery has us time-travelling several years back to when we were first introduced to Giuseppe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso. Which we recommend you watch, for it all to make sense.

What’s On verdict: Experience classy, flavoursome dining by the beach at what we’re positive is the capital’s newest culinary blockbuster.

TOTO, Mamsha Al Saadiyat, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, 12pm to 12am Sun to Thurs, 12pm to 1am Fri and Sat. Tel: (0)2 643 0228. @toto.abudhabi

Media: What’s On archive, supplied