While I’ve tried many an Italian restaurant in Dubai, especially given my love for the country and the cuisine, Splendido’s ambiance in Dubai Marina’s Ritz Carlton Hotel far outdoes most. Elegant, serene and replicating that of old Italian gentility, the restaurant has a special old-fashioned charm that is not common to most venues in the city.
My guest and I were seated outside on the terrace beneath the venue’s tall arched windows and flanked by overshadowing palm trees – I almost felt as if I were in Rome. The restaurant’s Chef Alfonso came out to greet us and introduce the menu, which as far as I could see, featured an abundant selection of principle Italian dishes with a slightly innovative twist.
For the antipasta, my guest and I chose the Pan-Seared Sea Scallops with pumpkin cream, amaretti and pickled vegetable. The dish interestingly combined the hearty pumpkin flavor with the sweet amaretti into a sauce which successfully complimented the the delicious and chewy texture of the fresh scallops, while the pickled vegetables offered a sharp contrast – certainly a veritable mash of elements from the land and the sea. We also chose the Caprese di Bufala comprising mozzarella cheese, tomatoes and pesto. While the Bufala mozzarella was certainly appetizing and moist, it seemed to be missing the creamy consistency and texture which I so love about this cheese and which has made it such a favorite world wide. Nonethess, the pesto topping compensated deliciously.
For our mains, we opted for lobster ravioli with clam sauce and porcini mushrooms which was an immediate hit. Nice and rich as ravioli normally is, this dish combined the porcini mushrooms and the clam sauce in a delicious fiesta – so addictive that our plate was finished soon after we took our first bite. We also ordered the Gnocchi di patate arrostiti con salsa al parmigiano e pesto alla genovese, roasted potato gnocchi, parmesan sauce, pesto genovese. Once again, quite a rich dish, the gnocchi was wonderfully chewy, creamy and cheesy and everything that this potato-based pasta is mean to be, while the pesto was wonderfully fresh and flavorful.
And for dessert, we chose something sweet, but light – a Torta al Limone – lemon tart, to round off our meal.
Splendido lives up to its name in presentation and cuisine and is worth many a return.
Splendido, the Ritz Carlton Dubai Marina, +971 43994000