The Italians in Madrid love tradition, trattorias, simple, cooked-to-order food. It’s difficult to find Italian restaurants that take risks or create, but this doesn’t have to equal dull flavors or mopey dishes. Mahler warned: “Tradition means cherishing the fire, not adoring the ashes.”


In the shadow of Table Mountain we found trattorias reminiscent of Italy in the Seventies, with classic seafood dishes and Italian style steak houses. The choice in Italian grape varieties present and Italian products available is in net increase. Located 35 minutes from Cape Town, in a staggeringly beautiful light, we suggest stopping at Somerset West: the restaurant of the Morgenster winery, a soothing destination for both eyes and taste buds.

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Guess what the most sought after dishes are in Dubai? According to our surveys they are pumpking agnolotti and pici all’aglione. The classic recipes from Lombardy and Tuscany are the symbol of a city that adores traditional Italian cuisine. Dubai has just welcomed Niko Romito and is ready to welcome the new enterprise of Massimo Bottura. In the meantime, there’s others who offer plates of carbonara made with wagyu beef bacon instead of guanciale, and we also experienced an amazing pizzeria…

Chef Luca Tresoldi is perfectly at ease working in Dubai, transporting here the quality of renowned Enoteca Pinchiorri. The decor has been updated with warm colors and new paintings, the result is a modern and clean setting. Dishes rely on prime quality ingredients, especially the pasta specials. Among these we strongly recommend the mind-blowing pumpking agnolotti, sage and butter, with aged parmesan cream and topped with roasted almonds. Starters includes tasty bruschettas, a proper slow-cooked octopus or delicate fish tartares. Flavours are crisp and clean-cut, thanks to the quality products used.  As a main course we suggest the flavorsome roasted marinated lamb rack, served with mediterranean herbs. It’s hard to compare the cellar here to the one of the flagship restaurant of via Ghibellina in Florence, but the wine list is certainly commendable, with many options by the glass and some old riserva wines wich come at a fair price (for Dubai). The business lunch (around 100 dirham) displays an amazing quality/price ratio. Refined and contemporary cuisine paired with an attentive service. 2018 Dubai’s Best Fine Dining Restaurant.

Style, classic, contained, elegant, hues are typical of Tuscan trattorias. Handsome delicatessen counter at the entrance, the perfect slicer and the perfect espresso machine, too. And then finally, solid Italian cuisine that’s ingredient-based, focusing on organic products and using traditional recipes, and always under the close supervision of new chef Fulvio Opalio, who is very capable of managing the city’s tempo. Homemade dishes shine in the panzanella, or the chickpea cream from Chianti, the pici all’aglione (handamade Tuscan pasta dressed with lots of organic garlic, tomato sauce and basil), the pappardelle with mushroom and fabulous Fiorentina steaks. The bread and the pizzas are equally good. The wine list is well structured with reduced markups, even for Dubai. Tuscan wines of Il Borro take center stage. Meal endings feature cantucci, tiramisu or little apple crostatas. 2018 Best Traditional Restaurant in Dubai.

Two decades of home-style cuisine in Dubai. Casa Mia relies on carefully selected Italian imported ingredients. Great care is lent to place of origin, aging and other details that few others focus on in town. Meals may open with a traditional seafood salad, or a good selection of cured meats served with oil-preserved vegetables. Entrées may include spaghetti alle vongole (with clams) or small gnocchi all campidanese (dressed with sausage, saffron and fennel seeds), or traditional cotechino di Modena (cooked sausage) served with piquant fruit mustard, lentils and potato mash, ignoring the Dubai climate. The ambiance is that of a classic Italian restaurant of the past; the wine list is deep and the wood-fired oven offers about 15 different pies.

Roberto’s in Dubai is always crowded, a sure sign of success. Open daily for lunch and dinner, the kitchen is manned by Andrea Mugavero and Salvatore Miceli and offers a wide range of Italian classic dishes. The view over Buj Khalifa, and a well-constructed wine list that includes Italian classics as well as small Italian and New World wine makers enhance the menu. Appetizers tantalize with the schiacciata slathered with vitello tonnato, beef tartares, generous and rich (perhaps too rich) tagliatelle with lobster, ravioli filled with ricotta and spinach with truffles and carbonara made with Wagyu beef instead of the non-admitted guanciale pork element. The Italian cuisine is pretty adapted for local palates. It is severely forbidden to leave the table before having plunged your spoon in the tiramisu.

Sociable, elegant, essential, easy. Easy for being in Dubai. That’s the spirit of the Heinz Beck Dubai venue. In this case, the luxurious atmospheres of his other venues have been set aside to embrace simple but nevertheless stylish cuisine. Some of the dishes are those found on the Pergola menu in Rome, including the Beck restaurant’s most renowned dessert, the 1.1 raspberry, or some classic fagottelli carbonara together with others devised for the Dubai restaurant. Resident chef Francesco Acquaviva, from Rome, offers an extensive menu, with a focus on appetizers like

Panzanella 2.0 or Perfume of Sicily: cous cous with prawns in tempura. We enojoyed more the rich seafood risotto instead of the lobster spaghetti; then, the delicate sea bass with celery and capers sauce. All made with ingredients and techniques that have made Beck one of the top figures in today’s gastronomic scenario. The olive oil served at the beginning, and the selection of Italian wines, could use some improvement.