The Ultimate Guide to Italian Food and Restaurants in Dubai

One of the best parts about traveling to Italy is the countless number of fresh and flavorful dishes available. From pasta to pizza, each and every dish is a window into authentic Italian cuisine. A mini tour of Italy for your taste buds.

Living in Dubai does not mean you have to go without the delicious fare though, the city is overflowing with choices and choosing between them is practically impossible, almost like having to choose a favorite child.

To make things easier for you, we've put together a guide to some of the best Italian food Dubai has to offer along with the best restaurants for each.

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Antipasti

Antipasti, plural of the term Antipasto, is traditionally the first course diners can expect during an authentic Italian meal. Various cheeses, mushrooms, cured meats, and olives are just a few of the many typical ingredients present in traditional antipasti. Commonly mistaken for hors d'oeuvre, antipasti are served at the table and signify the official start to a meal.

Here in Dubai, some of the most popular antipasti include burrata, bruschetta, and wide selection of Italian insalata. The Italian tradition of starting a meal with a light dish has found its way to the region and now its only a matter of choosing where to head for the best antipasti.

Antipasti Dubai Where to find authentic antipasti in Dubai:

  1. At The Artisan, they have an extensive Antipasti menu full of the classics. One dish worthy of checking out is the Selezione di Formaggi Italiani Tradizionali con Composta di Mele Golden e Marmellata di Pompelmo Rosa which is a selection of traditional Italian cheeses with golden apple compote and pink grapefruit marmalade. A delicious yet light way to begin your meal.
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  2. When it comes to authenticity, Il Borro Tuscan Bistro has some of the best options in Dubai. Their menu includes the ever so popular burrata and bruscheta, while also featuring an Italian cheese platter composed of fresh seasonal cheeses.
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  3. For seafood lovers, Serafina should definitely be on the top of your list. Their Antipasti menu includes a delicious rendition of the Fritto Misto, a platter of fried calamari, prawns, and white fish served with a saffron aioli.
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  4. If you're looking for seafood options,Matto has a tasty Tortino Di Carciofi which is an artichoke cake paired with a Pecorino cream cheese.
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Pasta

When you think of Italian food the first thing that comes to mind is probably pasta, and for good reason too. Pasta is one of the most widely recognized Italian dishes, and it has its countless variations to thank for that.

Italy alone is responsible for thousands of types of pasta, from the well-known fettuccine and spaghetti to lesser known handmade pastas like Maltagliati and Passatelli. Each region of Italy has its own cuisine and hence a plethora of pastas at their disposal that will best suit their style of cooking.

If you're a pasta fan in Dubai, you are in luck due to the sheer number of restaurants offering the hit dish.
Pasta Dubai Where to find authentic pasta in Dubai:

  1. BICE Mare has an entire page devoted to dry pasta made from the best artisan producer in Italy. One must try dish from that menu is the Linguine "Mancini" con Astice bretone e pomodorini pachino which is a Linguine with half of a blue lobster, cherry tomatoes, and basil, that is cooked for 18 minutes.
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  2. In terms of must try pastas, Vanitas serves up a homemade Pappardelle alla Bolognese which is topped with a Parmesan fondue and parsley.
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  3. If you're looking for a Risotto instead of a pasta dish, The Artisan's menu features Risotto ai Funghi Porcini ed erbe armoatiche which is a fresh risotto cooked with porcini mushrooms and seasoned with aromatic herbs.
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  4. Matto features a delicious take on one of the most authentic Italian dishes with their Carbonara Matta a must try if you dine at Matto.
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Pizza

Nothing compares to the smell of a freshly baked pizza, a smell synonymous with good food and a great time. But have you ever wondered how the tasty treat came to be?

In the early 1800's, Naples was known for its massive population of poor citizens known as Lazzaroni. Unlike the rich minority, the Lazzaroni could only afford to eat the cheap street food that was more readily available to them. One of the most popular of these dishes was focaccia bread or Panis Focacius, a flat bread that could be served with a number of toppings such as: cheese, tomatoes, anchovies, garlic, and oil.

Very little was done to innovate this dish until the late 1800's when Italy unified and King Umberto I and Queen Margherita paid a visit to the city of Naples. Bored of the French haute cuisine they'd been eating for the duration of their trip, they requested the famous Neapolitan pizza maker Raffaele Esposito to make them a selection of his best creations.

The Queen's favorite was a pie topped with mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and fresh basil (the colors of the Italian flag), and hence was given the name 'Pizza Margherita'. Years later, immigrants to the United States from Italy brought their own versions of the dish to states like New York and Chicago where the dish slowly started to take the form we know and love today.

Pizza Dubai Where to find pizza in Dubai:

  1. Il Borro Tuscan Bistro's features pizza that stands out among the rest, the Burrata affumicata, a pizza topped with smoked burrata, organic basil, and truffle oil.
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  2. Visitors to Il Faro must try their signature Bufala Pizza topped with tomato, mozzarella, buffalo mozzarella, fresh tomato and basil, all with the best views of the palm beach.
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  3. Serafina has an interesting variation on the classic Margherita pizza with their Green Margherita. Instead of being topped with only basil, tomatoes, and cheese, the pizza has a generous amount of olives giving it an extra touch of flavor.
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  4. If you want to enjoy pizza the way the Neapolitan's did in the past, Matto features a decent selection of authentic flat breads to sample.
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Dolci

The best part of any Italian meal is without a doubt the dessert. A perfectly fitting way to wrap up a journey through Italian cuisine in the most indulgent way possible. The intricate flavors profiles and rich textures that have become synonymous with Italian desserts, are a result of using only the freshest ingredients to prepare each dish.

Tiramisu and Panna Cotta are probably the most well known Italian desserts, but what about the countless others that are often overlooked? Dining in Dubai you are bound to find a variation of one of these desserts on the menu, but which restaurants should be your highest priority?
Tiramisu Dubai Where to find authentic Italian desserts in Dubai:

  1. At Il Borro Tuscan Bistro, a must try dessert is their Pannacotta al frutto della passione a passion fruit panna cotta accompanied by a red berry salad.
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  2. Diners at Il Faro must try their signature Tiramisu, a dish so good that even their Chef recommends it as part of the top 5 dishes at Il Faro.
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  3. Serafina offers a twist on a classic Italian dessert, with their Raspberry Panna Cotta using fresh raspberry and lemon zest.
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  4. Matto's dessert menu features a delicious italian classic, the Cannoli a Sicilian delicacy stuffed with sweet ricotta cheese, dark chocolate, and pistachios.
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What's next?

Want to enjoy traditional Chinese cuisine without the flight to China? Check out our guide to Chinese food and restaurants in Dubai.