What’s it like: Merletto is the sort of place you’d really want to get dressed up for, but what you get here is a fine-dining experience, with a bill that doesn’t leave a gaping hole in your pocket. The contemporary eatery is one of the newest Italian restaurants to join the fray, and boasts Venetian influences in the décor, comprising of masks, hot pink fixtures, a bar to one end, and open kitchen on the other, as well as on the menu, with dishes like the super light poached veal loin dressed in tuna sauce – a specialty from Venice that we polished off within minutes. The dishes can be ordered in small or large plates and are all absolutely tasty and innovative. Creamy, gooey burrata cheese with crunchy fava beans and tomato, was our starter of choice, along with warm baked eggplant with buffalo mozzarella, tomato sauce and parmesan cheese. My main course choice was a rather large, grilled fall-off-the-bone style veal chop placed atop roasted sweet potato – the sweet potato was just right, and not overly sweet, while the green herb pesto provided added texture. While I enjoyed the pesto, I also helped myself to the sweet reduction that my partner’s beef tenderloin was drenched in. The dish was accompanied by a soft, tender slab of sautéed foie gras, and fluffy, creamy truffle-mashed potato. We ended with a light dessert of fresh cream, figs and berries that rounded off the meal perfectly.
If you want to go: Around Dhs450 for two (without drinks). Call 04-3177700.
Best for: An affordable yet elegant meal