Where: RIVA Ristorante, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
How much: AED 500 for 2 [approx.]
Recommended: All the pizzas!
A quiet poolside sanctuary, gentle lapping waters and a clear view of Burj Al Arab in the distance puts RIVA Ristorante at the top of our go-to locations, but it’s the food – the glorious food – that makes it one of the best.
Here’s an honest review of RIVA Ristorante – probably the best Italian Restaurant in Dubai – explaining why it deserves this mighty title:
Ambience and Service
The slight scent of chlorine created the delusion of a long holiday, with all-white outdoor seating and mint-kissed Mojitos. Perhaps the best feature about RIVA, apart from the spot-on Italian flavors, is the country club vibe.
You’ll find friends, families and couples chatting over pints and mimosas like they have all the time in the world. It puts you at ease in an instant – Not a bad way to recover from a stressful week.
Without the diversion of blaring music, we actually watched birds at the edge of the water, playing and skimming the surface. The servers amplified this feeling of calm and happy. Well versed with the menu items, they made thoughtful recommendations and stayed in the vicinity – a moment’s notice away.
Before you taste with your tongue, you eat with your eyes. Lightly fried calamari rings and the best-looking bruschetta we’ve devoured greeted us at the table. The seasoning on both exhibited an unparalleled finesse in flavoring.
The bruschetta bread, browned and toasted on the edges and soft in the middle was generously topped with faintly peppered finely diced tomatoes.
The batter on the calamari rings was thin and preserved the dignity of the fish underneath.
We know you’ve had countless Arrabbiata pastas served to you, at cafes, Lebanese restaurants and Italian ones, but you haven’t had this one. With a thick and slightly tangy tomato sauce, it was a hero.
The meat of the sea bass fell apart under the fork, skin still crisp from the pan, served with a simple side of sautéed mushrooms.
The pizzas – the verdure and the spicy chicken – were, simply put, delectable.
While not comparable to the mains and appetizers, the chocolate fondue as a finish is rich and oozes decadence. It’s served with vanilla ice cream and a chocolate crumble.
If you haven’t been yet, visit RIVA Ristorante for lunch or dinner. You won’t regret it. They serve shisha poolside with a full bar.
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