I once lived in Manhattan – a long, long (pre mama-hood) time ago and regularly frequented an Italian deli/restaurant with an industrial vibe. It was the perfect place to pick up some delicious produce, stop for coffee or have a really good lunch or dinner without breaking the bank. I’ve dreamt about this place since but have never found anything that comes close here in Dubai.
Well mamas, that place is now here! In fact it’s been here for a few months, but I only just stumbled across it recently, which is rather ironic given that it’s in the world’s largest Mall and is absolutely HUGE – pretty hard to miss! Eataly, an Italian marketplace that not only offers the most incredible fresh and store-cupboard products as well as a number of dining options is my little slice of New York and Italy right here in Dubers. The idea behind Eataly is very simple: to gather all high-quality Italian foods under one roof, where you can dine (everything from breakfast to a quick gelato), shop (if you’re in any way interested in food, then Eataly has everything from fresh homemade mozzarella to pasta, truffles to cured meats) and learn (that superior ingredients make for superior food – fact). This mamas, is my latest and most exciting foodie find.
What’s On The Menu?
The thing with Eataly – and it’s a big thing – is that they use only the very best ingredients in their menu of Italian favourites. The food is seriously good. If you closed your eyes and took in the flavours, smells, noise, you could easily be in Italy itself. We chose to eat at the restaurant which is less formal than that sounds, next to a big working kitchen surrounded by shelves and shelves of divine products to buy and complete with a rotisserie oven. With a hungry husband and three little ones on the verge of a ‘need food now’ meltdown in tow, we ordered fast and we ordered big.
For the kids (although secretly I knew I could nibble on this too) – pizza Margherita, Penne With Antonella Tomato Sauce & Basil, Penne With White Sauce & Parmegiano Regianno and Grilled Corn-fed Half Chicken Breast Served With Mashed Potatoes. For the bigger people, we went for a Burratta Cheese with Sundried Tomatoes, Fresh Basil & Homemade Ciabatta, Fritto Di Calamari, Paccheri With Mussels, Shrimps, Calamari, Clams In A Rich Seafood Stock and a fresh traditional Romagnola Flatbread stuffed with Bresaola, tomato and rocket leaves (yes, you are reading this right, we are a very greedy family).
Every single ingredient in every dish at Eataly is the very, very best (the menu outlines the origins of each item and the wait staff carefully explained how the dishes were composed). Given that we had ordered enough food for a family double our size, I was rather embarrassed by how much was delivered to our table. I was convinced that we’d need to smuggle some away in a takeaway bag but with flavours like these we just couldn’t resist eating everything at once (thank goodness for waistbands with a little give). Our choices for ‘I Bambini’ couldn’t have been more perfect and I can honestly say that I’ve never seen my kids wolf down a meal with such gusto. Their pasta and chicken was simple, but delicious and just the kind of thing that mama was happy for them to get stuck into.
The husband, who’s very hard to please since he’s convinced he can cook everything better at home (often because he can), was really impressed with our seafood pasta. It was light but earthy and perfectly al dente, and I loved the crispy but tender calamari – as did my 18 month old daughter Violet who decided they were all for her!
Quite frankly, everything gets a huge thumbs up from me and from the kids (my 4 year old announced that this was his ‘best place ever’, in between mouthfuls of pasta). I loved the industrial feel of the space, rows and rows of Italian foods, the fresh food deli counters, the olive oil display complete with olive tree, the feeling that you’re in some kind of food heaven… I hope you’ve got the picture by now! Eataly have a magnificent manifesto on their website that promises to deliver superior food and a superior customer experience. Their goal is to have you as a customer for a lifetime – and they’ve certainly won my heart.
Nope, can’t think of a thing.
Yes lots, Eataly is on one level and has oodles of space so there aren’t any awkward steps or skinny little aisles to navigate.
Yes, wooden. And, by the way, the grown up chairs are by Kartell – we like!
Yes, the ‘Menu Per I Bambini’ is a refreshing change from the usual kiddie options found around town – at Eataly they believe that kids should also experience authentic Italian food and the very best ingredients.
Very reasonable considering how good the food is and how decent the portion are. Breakfast starts at AED 29 and lunchtime main courses at AED 46. The kids menu choices start at AED 25.
Sunday to Wednesday: 9:00AM to 11:30PM
Thursday to Saturday: 9:00 AM to 00:00
Eataly, Lower Ground Level, The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, (+971)(0) 800 328 259, www.eataly.ae