“Reinterpreting Italian cuisine, the Roberto’s team seeks to offer a distinct culinary experience.” Roberto’s
We are accustomed to the frequent opening of new restaurants here in Abu Dhabi, one of the more recent newcomers to the capital’s dining scene has caused quite a buzz so it seemed a perfect place to celebrate my birthday with the whole family. Already renowned on the Dubai dining scene, the award winning Roberto’s has finally opened a sister venue here in Abu Dhabi on the ground floor of the Rosewood hotel’s restaurant mall concourse that is also home to Dai Pai Dong.
Anticipation was high as I finally got to make my long awaited visit last week. Roberto’s Abu Dhabi is a classy fine dining restaurant and lounge with an outdoor waterfront terrace. The large menu features traditional Italian favourites from the popular DIFC establishment along with some new dishes created especially for the capital’s discerning diners.
Roberto’s Chief Culinary officer, two-star Michelin chef Enrico Bartolini has created and designed the dishes and menus at both venues but the day-to-day running in Abu Dhabi is taken care of by Executive Chef Francesco Guarracino and his team. The interior is quite simple with lots of wood that’s punctuated with bold and contemporary modern art and separated into three distinct areas with a crudo (raw) bar, an in-house bakery and open-fronted show kitchen.
Roberto’s is a home-grown brand that celebrates Italian cuisine in some style, the usual suspects such as pastas, risottos, seafood, meat and even pizza are all on offer reinvented with an upmarket twist. We were greeted warmly and then seated in the main dining area, in true fine-dining style the tables were bedecked with pristine white tablecloths and a team of smartly dressed servers tended to our every need. The large space was surprisingly quiet for a Friday evening which attributed to a lack of ambiance but tables were filling up by the time we were leaving.
Baskets of freshly baked Italian breads are hard to resist especially when served with delicious homemade dips, perfect to curb hunger pains while perusing the menu choices. Myself and the teenager are great fans of Melanzane (oven baked eggplant) so naturally we both opted for that as our main course option even though it was listed as Antipasti, it certainly didn’t disappoint on either size and flavour. The other half opted for the roasted cod which was presented beautifully but was quite small, both sons went for the Canadian lamb tenderloin served with polenta, black truffle, mushrooms and asparagus which was also well presented but way too small to satisfy their hunger even when accompanied by additional side dishes.
Second son had made the booking and informed the restaurant it was my birthday so they very kindly presented me with a chocolate fondant served with sorbet and a candle, cue a rendition of Happy Birthday from the staff and family, a lovely and delicious surprise.
Roberto’s offers excellent Italian fine dining but at a cost, the menu is substantial but there’s no escaping that the main courses are pricey as you would expect from a restaurant with a two Michelin starred chef at the helm. I was very excited about dining here but I hadn’t taken into consideration two crucial things, hangry male family members and fine dining sized portions, two factors that when combined do not make for a pleasant experience.
This restaurant screams special occasion for the average person, the ideal place for a celebratory dinner but probably not your everyday standard dining option unless you visit in happy hour or aperitivo as it’s better known in Italy. I will definitely return sans family to try more of this culinary experience, I already have my eye on the cocktails, the burrata and all the desserts.
Roberto’s Abu Dhabi
Location: Rosewood Abu Dhabi, Al Maryah Island
Telephone: 02 627 9009
Online reservations: robertos.ae/abudhabi/reservation
Opening Times: 12 noon-2:00am
Daily Aperitif – 4pm – 8pm with signature cocktails and complimentary bites.
All the views are my own. Unless otherwise stated all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2016. All rights reserved. Additional photos used with courtesy of robertos.ae