Restaurant Review: Il Borro Tuscan Bistro Dubai
Il Borro Tuscan Bistro Dubai is exactly as it sounds and more. I had heard about the restaurant before my visit and had read reviews. “Best Italian restaurant in Dubai,” I read. I was not disappointed.
The Il Borro estate in Italy, owned by the Ferragamo family, represents over 1,000 years of rich heritage and one of the most coveted resorts in the world. Sustainability and integrity lie at the core of the Il Borro philosophy. Il Borro Tuscan Bistro Dubai translates this history, innate hospitality and biodynamic approach for a new Middle Eastern audience. Central to the Il Borro story is the food offering, led by the brand’s Executive Chef Andrea Campani working closely with the resident Executive Chef Maurizio Bosetti and Head Chef Fulvio Opalio (pictured) bringing the authenticity of the Tuscan style of cooking to Dubai.
Invited by Piero Giglio, the General Manager of the restaurant, I was delighted to see what he was a part of. I had been craving Italian food and had not heard of any good options in Dubai. To say I was excited about this visit would be an understatement.
Located inside the Jumeirah Al Naseem Hotel in Dubai, right next to the Turtle Lagoon (a rehabilitation center for sea turtles located within the luxury hotel). The windows and doors when open allow a breeze to run past the restaurants fine drapes. The view of the water and the turtles must be a nice sight in the cooler months.
I arrived at 2 pm on Friday, peak brunch hours in this city. The restaurant was full, and not just that, the management and waiters were busy with a surprise visit from Sheikh Mohamed Al Maktoum.
We were promptly seated in the middle of the medium-sized dining room that felt more like my mothers’ dining room than it did a five-star restaurant. That’s a good thing, by the way. The side boards and the open concept kitchen leading into the dining room allowed us to see all that was happening around us.
Soon Piero came to greet us. This man is a true gentleman and impeccably dressed. (He gets his suits made by our very own Knights and Lords!) He apologized for being busy with organizing the Sheikh’s lunch and of course it was excusable.
As we were being served our colorful starters, Sheikh Mohamed himself walked into the restaurant with his entourage. It was quite the experience. It’s not every day you dine in the same room as royalty. I can tick that off my bucket list.
As the sheikh was being served so were we.
Breadsticks, focaccia, and other hearty bread perfect for dipping in flavorful olive oil were brought first. Followed by burrata di Andria, beetroot carpaccio, grilled octopus, melon Lorenzini and Chianina affumicata.
The burrata was simply amazing, the beetroot had an excellent texture mixed with crushed pistachios, and the octopus was tender. The melon Lorenzini was a work of art. I can’t imagine how long it took for the chef to shape each slice of melon and meat into intertwined roses. And the best part was how you could taste the work art. The melon was the freshest I’ve had in the middle east. I’m told all the foods are imported from Italy, and their quality is guaranteed. The melon was fresh and spicy at the same time. I cannot imagine a more creative combination.
The square table was big enough for two couples, and the waiters kept bringing out more and more food. I couldn’t imagine where we were going to put it all! And the thought of eating all this food made me feel heavy. Wasting food is a sin after all.
I was pleasantly surprised though. The food was fresh, organic, and even after devouring all this deliciousness, we never felt overstuffed. I blame the extra virgin olive oil for being so healthy.
Next was the pasta course. Piero brought us homemade pumpkin tortelli with Italian black truffles and homemade ravioli burrata with an organic tomato sauce, and eggplant parmigiana with smoked burrata.
The pumpkin tortelli was a perfect fall dish. The homemade pasta, again, were light and flavorful and the eggplant had a distinct smoky taste you couldn’t miss.
After all this food you’re probably going to be surprised to hear there are two more courses on the way.
Main course: veal chop and Scottish salmon with fresh peas. No words, just cooked to perfection.
For dessert, we were served by head chef Fulvio Opalio. There was a show involving fire and the breaking of the meringue shell! The Il Borro meringue flambe was a sight to see before they added the fire, you can only imagine what it looked like after! The prettiest pink and white dessert containing meringue, strawberries, and cream cheese. Sweet on top of sweet but still a pleasure to the palette.
The caramel chocolate mousse cake the standard mousse cakes you see at all the restaurants. The only difference? Il Borro knows how to make it and plate it.
All in all, we were not at Il Borro because we were hungry. We were there for an experience, and they did not let us down. A five-hour foodie experience in Dubai but we could feel the grandeur of sitting on the terrace overlooking mountains in the distance as we enjoyed our carpaccio.
Il Borro makes us yearn for the Italian lifestyle, and now I think we must take a trip to see the original Il Borro!
“I want to share our Tuscan traditions and way of life with the world.”
For reservations at Il Borro Tuscan Bistro call +97142752555
Lunch: 12:00pm – 3:30pm
Dinner: 7:00pm – 11:30pm
Bar: 12:00pm – 12:00am