Before travelling to the Seychelles and Moscow, Jack and I celebrated a rather special occasion – our 1 year anniversary as a married couple.
The deal is he planned the first year, I the second and then it continues to swap each year after that. Realistically, a tactical move from me going second because he had to set the bar ;). He chose to take us to our first ever staycation spot in Abu Dhabi – St Regis Saadiyat Island – and it was the most incredible weekend of relaxation, laughter and great food, (Ultimately food is always high up on our list!). We went to two restaurants over the course of the weekend, Sontaya, which I will write about in a short while and the second, a favourite from Dubai – Roberto’s.
For anyone who doesn’t know the name, it’s an award-winning fine-dining Italian restaurant located in the 5* Rosewood hotel on Al Maryah Island.
And it’s quite the treat!
We started with olives at the bar and a round of cocktails from their new menu (great cocktails are a big thing here) along with some appetisers, compliments of the chef.
We have far greater things to discuss here, but if you dine at Roberto’s and don’t order a side of the green olives … you’re missing a real trick. Hands down, best olives I’ve ever tasted. So good that I would have allowed them to fill me up if not having already spied up the a la carte menu!
The ambience is lovely, upbeat but quietened music in the background and perfectly dimmed lighting to create the ideal ‘date night’ atmosphere. There were also quite a few men dressed in fine suits and larger friend groups too, showing Roberto’s appeal to all. It was a little quieter than usual I suspect, but as is everywhere in August in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi
We moved to the table and started with a round of freshly shucked oysters served with pumpernickel bread, shallot vinegar and butter. Given Roberto’s have their own Crudo bar in the restaurant, it’s no surprise these were a highlight of the night.
Those, followed by tuna tartare with sour cream and avocado (pictured above), an exceptional wagyu beef tartar with mustard mayonnaise and truffle pearl, the slow cooked roasted octopus, artichoke and cacio e pepe sauce (really tender and beautiful), and finally, the delightful result from a rather creative head chef – “Gambero Mezzo Fritto”, which are red prawns half fried and half raw with tamarind sauce.
A new one for me too.
I’m a firm believer in not doing this fatal mistake.
The mistake of visiting an incredible Italian restaurant and leaving for home without trying at least one of their signature ‘Italian’, carb-heavy dishes! For me, that’s mostly a risotto, occasionally a ravioli.
In this case, a signature wild forest mushroom risotto with shaved black truffle. Simply divine!
It arrives on a cart, one bubbling pot of perfectly cooked risotto rice and an even more enticing full wheel of Parmigiano Reggiani cheese.
The hot risotto is poured in and the cheese starts melting. Mmmm. A stir and a shave of black of truffle, and we were ready to dig into our favourite dish of the evening. Well worth a try.
Evidently, smiles all round!
We asked for something light and refreshing for dessert and was recommended the home-made pistachio ice cream. Not my usual choice admittedly, but I figured these guys knew their stuff.
And boy, did they…
Move over chocolate and strawberry – I’ve been searching for the perfect pistachio ice cream recipe ever since. The ice cream was undeniably velvety smooth, rich and refreshing all at the same time. They drizzle it with olive oil and top with crunchy pistachio nuts and really … bravo Roberto’s.
It’s a fab restaurant to visit, which I had somewhat already expected since visiting it in Dubai (for one of our first dates actually) but it lived up to all the standards. It’s hard to pick favourites, but if I had to choose, I would opt for the oysters, roasted octopus and truffle risotto, followed by the pistachio ice cream. All in all, such a perfect evening for a happy celebration!
You can check out Roberto’s website here to book, and to have a look at the full a la carte menu. If you have any questions or comments on my finding experience, please do write them below and would be happy to hear from you!