What’s it like: The Don Alfonso name is renowned internationally when it comes to Italian cuisine, and has picked up multiple awards for its establishments – in Rome and Sant’Agata Sui Due Golfi (Don Alfonso’s hometown); the brand has outposts in China and Morocco as well. Upon arrival, you will experience the wow factor right from the red carpet in the doorway, to the pistachio and dark brown ceiling fixtures that resemble chocolate, in this glamorous, intimate space. Everything on the menu is made from fresh produce that comes from Don’s farm back home, which is why the cherry tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella that we devoured for appetisers were absolutely juicy and flavoursome – especially when eaten with the smooth basil cream and extremely good crusty bread. My partner and I tried a pasta course, as recommended by the lovely restaurant manager Claudio, and went for the potato gnocchi – tiny bites of soft, puffy potato, doused in a heavenly mushroom sauce – and mezze maniche with tender chicken, pistachio, and heaps of sauce, a signature dish on the menu that’s a must-try! For mains, I chose the seabass with poached chewy asparagus complemented by tomato confit topped with generous amounts of caviar – the fish was fresh and meaty, while the sweet tomatoes complemented bites of the caviar and fish. My partner opted for the Irish beef tenderloin with foie gras and a reduction, with every bite being absolutely moreish. Lemon fritters with yoghurt, cream and a palate-cleansing lemon sorbet were polished off between the two of us for dessert, along with ricotta, caramelised pear and gingerbread crumble, which reminded me a little bit of Christmas thanks to the lingering flavour and aroma.
If you want to go: Around Dhs650 for two (without drinks). Call 04-3551591.
Best for: Stylish dinner date