Antonio Carluccio once said “Restaurants are for everybody and the earlier you start to appreciate normal food that grown-ups are eating, the better you will eat.” Carluccio’s Dubai Mall is exactly that – a restaurant for everybody with a children’s menu that serves smaller portions of the adult dishes on offer – a refreshing change from the usual assumption that kids won’t eat anything unless it’s deep fried and with chips on the side. With a stunning location on the mall Boardwalk at the foot of the Burj Khalifa and prime views of the Dubai Mall fountains, the setting alone feels special without being intimidating when there are young children in tow but more importantly the quality of the food was surprisingly good for a chain.
The entrance to Carluccio’s – just opposite Pottery Barn on the Lower Ground Floor – houses a great little deli style shop selling oils, pasta, sauces, biscotti and other Italian delicacies. Once we managed to prize the kids away from a mountain of beautiful swirly pink meringues (which we later bought and devoured en route home), we were seated at a table on the outdoor deck under the welcome shade of a huge umbrella which had a lovely bustling holiday vibe.
Carluccio’s is a good ‘go-to’ restaurant for a family Italian and the kids LOVE it!!
What’s On The Menu?
The main menu offers Italian classics including a variety of very authentic pastas, wood-fired pizzas made with homemade dough and topped with traditional simple ingredients such as buffalo mozzarella and fresh herbs, mains from grilled king prawns to chicken saltimbocca with pesto potatoes and some really irresistible sounding sides like mixed mushrooms sautéed in butter and garlic and crispy lightly battered vegetable fries. The kids menu includes breadsticks (which incidentally also double up as light sabres and swords when in the hands of boisterous boys), main course, drink and desert and comes with a little box of colouring pencils and colour-your-own puzzle kit. Kids can personalise their pasta, combining favourite shapes and a sauce or choose from Milanese di Pollo, Ravioli or Lasagne.
We ordered two starters to share between the four of us (five if you count the youngest diner, our little ten month old girl who surprised us with her appetite!) a delicious melt-in-the-mouth buffalo mozzarella and tomato salad topped with the perfect drizzle of oil and a scattering of basil and some really excellent calamari that included the little teeny whole squid, tentacles and all and was so lightly dusted with batter it was perfect – all accompanied by the restaurant’s signature bread tin with authentic homemade Italian breads, including some lovely freshly baked focaccia.
For mains, the seafood pizza was excellent, full of flavor, loaded with prawns and squid and with just a hint of a chili kick but the biggest success was the kids lasagna, layers of pasta with a really rich meaty beef and lamb ragu packed with flavour and a creamy béchamel and a mini Margherita pizza that was the right combination of crisp and chewy with not too much cheese and a fresh tomato taste.
We had high hopes for the pasta con funghi, envisaging a simple but heart-warming dish with earthy flavours and the unbeatable taste of thick egg pasta ribbons – sadly it was bland and felt like it had perhaps hung around for a little too long. The biggest disappointment however was the service which was slow at best and chaotic at worst, I’d like to say that we were unlucky with our particular waiter, but it looked as though other diners were equally frustrated. I also have to mention that the bathrooms are a fair walk for those ‘mama I have to go now!!!’ moments.
Yes, but space can be limited especially outside.
Yes, but this is quite a popular spot so you may need to wait for one to become available.
Yes and most of the dishes on the main menu can be made mini
Reasonable. Generous sized pizzas start at AED 38, main course salads at AED 46 and pastas at AED 48. The kids menu costs AED 35.
Opening Hours: 9am – 11pm daily
Carluccio’s, Lower Ground Floor Boardwalk, Dubai Mall, United Arab Emirates
+971 (0)4 434 1320, http://www.carluccios.com/restaurants/dubai-dubai-mall