In a city teeming with Italian restaurants, it’s perhaps difficult to select any one favourite. Or even top five favourites. From Michelin-starred chefs to home cooks, from hole-in-the-wall eateries to fancy fine-dines in almost all the top hotels, you will never be short of choice if you want to dig into a good pasta.
So what makes Vivaldi by Alfredo Russo different? Well, many things. For one, the location. The old part of Dubai isn’t where you would perhaps expect an extremely refined Italian restaurant by a celebrity chef but that’s exactly where Vivaldi is. So yes, it can be safely said that it’s definitely one of the restaurants that should make it to the ‘best views’ list in that side of town. Huge wall to ceiling glass windows give you expansive views of the creek while the brightly lit abras bobbing up and down is quite a sight indeed. So be it a romantic dinner or a delightful brunch, if you are looking to enjoy a risotto while soaking in the views of the creek, this should be your address.
Then of course, there is the chef. Alfredo Russo, best known for his modern Italian fine dining restaurant Dolce Stil Novo alla Reggia in Turin as well as Café Torino in Mexico City, has brought his definitive touch to this space. In Dubai, his restaurant matches up to his brilliance with a menu that is sophisticated, delicious and very well presented. It sticks to Italian culinary traditions, not veering away from the flavours but has an international touch that is impossible to miss.
We went for the most familiar dishes and weren’t disappointed. The Eggplant Parmigiana was an excellent starter – perfectly made, not too cheesy, with just the light Italian touch. Another recommendation is the Spinach Tortelli that achieved the right balance and texture. Dry tortellis served on a napkin had the spinach filling and moist parmesan cheese. Paired with a light rose, it melted in the mouth.
The seabass that followed was excellent with the surprising crunch of seaweed topping and a generous dose of mushroom. The combination was unique for a simple grilled seabass but worked well. We also relished the lamb shoulders that were soft and flaky inside but slightly crisp on the outside. Once again, it was the balance that took it to another level. The saffron-flavored risotto was a little too heavy on the cheese though.
The best was for the last though. The light as air, fluffy tiramisu was just what we needed to end a lovely meal that almost ticked every box in the perfect Italian dinner. Highly recommended.