Club Vista Mare on The Palm is swiftly becoming one of my favourite areas in Dubai. With so many dining options, beautiful views of the beach and a huge, stunning outdoor terrace what’s not to love? I’m slowly working my way through all the restaurants there and just recently was invited to visit Simply Italian.
I love Italian food. I know I say that about pretty much every cuisine, mainly because there is no food that I don’t love (well except celery, who likes celery?) but Italian really does have a special place in my heart. If you are in a carb-mood there’s pizza, pasta and risotto. If you are in a healthy-mood there’s fresh salads and seafood. And if you want to get tiddly there’s Italian wine. Basically Italian has it all, so I was very excited to try out Simply Italian…
The restaurant is bright and open with some chic touches and funky artwork. As with all the restaurants in Club Vista Mare it has huge floor to ceiling windows and doors that open out onto the terrace, with lovely tables and chairs for when winter finally arrives.
We were advised upon arriving that the chef had planned a special menu for us with a focus on fresh seafood and I was very happy about this, especially when there was talk of octopus. We started with delicious, homemade focaccia. Did I mention I love carbs? No? Well, I love carbs and when they are homemade, well-seasoned and combined with quality olive oil and balsamic then I am one very happy lady.
Following this we had a selection of starters. For me the standout had to be the Polpo e Patate, which consisted of beautiful, delicate and perfectly cooked octopus with mashed potatoes, topped with crisped potatoes and paprika oil. It was absolutely divine!! My husband had the beef tartare since he isn’t a huge octopus fan (the thought of tentacles in his mouth is enough to turn his stomach apparently) and I have to say this was really delicious. The dish was finished with roasted bell capsicum, pickled red onion and “salsa tonnata” which was a bit different yet the combination worked really well.
Next up we were treated to Simply Italian’s signature risotto. I have to be honest, I normally wouldn’t order risotto in a restaurant but these have definitely changed my opinion. The Risotto Alla Milanese made with saffron and topped with Grana Padano was so simple yet so tasty. The cheese could have easily overpowered the saffron but it was very well-balanced. I think I’d struggle to eat a whole bowl to myself as it was so rich but it’s a perfect sharer. The Risotto Gamberi was definitely the winner of the risotto competition. Made with orange and lemon it was nicely zesty and this complimented the super soft, juicy prawns perfectly. The Roasted Grey Sea Bream was next up on the menu, which came with a zucchini puree and caponata of vegetable. This was a lovely light dish, with subtle flavours. The fish was perfectly cooked and had a well crisped skin, which I just LOVE! If you are trying to avoid the carbs I would highly recommend this dish.
Lastly, we moved onto dessert and were treated to the Cannoli Di Ricotta. This was made with cinnamon and cocoa, sweet ricotta, pistachio and orange compote. This had the potential to be a bit heavy but was actually really light and hit all the right spots without being too sweet. It was quite large so I’m glad that we were sharing it or the zipper on my jeans may have been in trouble. My one criticism is I felt the plating could have been improved, it wasn’t the most beautiful dish in the world, but that may just be me being picky.
In terms of drinks we visited for lunch on a dry day unfortunately (major bad planning on my part!) so we didn’t get a chance to sample the wine or cocktails on offer but we were treated to a couple of lovely mocktails. I’ve heard they serve some fantastic wines which are reasonably priced so will most definitely be visiting again for research purposes obviously!
Overall we thoroughly enjoyed everything Simply Italian had to offer. The food was delicious, well plated and authentic. It’s the perfect spot for a low-key date night or a gathering with friends or family and I’m personally very excited about returning and sitting on the terrace with a lovely glass of wine. Lastly I can’t finish this review without saying a huge thank you to the staff and manager who were so welcoming and helpful throughout our visit. This always makes a huge difference to a meal for me and they couldn’t have done enough for us.
For more information please visit: http://www.simplyitaliandubai.com/ or call 0 4 55 88 354