The best of Italy in the heart of Dubai – Al Fresco – Crowne Plaza

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Arabian Gazette’s review of Al Fresco Italian Restaurant, Crowne Plaza, Dubai 


‘’Lunga Vita Chef Gabriele ‘’ roughly translated from Italian, it means Long Live Chef Gabriele.

These were precisely the words the Arabian Gazette team uttered right after an incredibly satisfying dinner at the Al Fresco, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Dubai.  The words came from a deep sense of admiration for the Sous Chef who let us taste the finest Italian food in the heart of Dubai right around Christmas time.

We’ve done Italian several times before, but certainly nothing could match the experience at Al Fresco, at least not in our assessment.  This cosy Italian Trattoria certainly impressed us beyond words with its finest array of food and the warmest level of hospitality in a hotel in this part of the world.  Needless to say, we have bookmarked Al Fresco as the ‘place to go’ to for anything deliciously and authentically Italian!


Gabriele Pezzimenti, the sous chef at the Al Fresco is a master at creating impressions and he does that only too well with the splendid array of food he creates, few of which are his own creations and can’t be tasted anywhere else, but here.  He’s one of the busiest person around at Al Fresco, but that doesn’t stop him from randomly dropping by at the tables and suggesting the most popular and must-try delicacies to guests. He also goes out of the way in explaining about the dishes and at special request, serves it too.

Authenticity and quality are two things Al Fresco is really very particular about and they take great trouble to ensure that only the finest quality of ingredients are used in preparing the dishes. The vegetables and fruits are sourced fresh from the best organic markets in town. Some ingredients are imported directly from Italy, just so diners enjoy the real and authentic taste of Italy.

It reflects on the quality of bread too which is delicious and freshly home made. It is served complimentary along with roasted garlic, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

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For the starters we ordered Burata Caprese  and Bruschetta Alle Fave. Burata Caprese came with fresh heritage tomato and burrata cheese. Brushetta was certainly one of the best we tasted in Dubai – Not like the usual ones with tomato and olive oil topping but it was a wonderful melange of rustic Tuscan bread, tomato pesto spread mixed with Fava beans, wild mushrooms and herbs ricotta.

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For the main course, we went for Vitello Tonnato Della Nonna – marinated roasted veal, served with tuna and anchovy mayonnaise. Delicious is not the word. It was simply amazing. Seafood risotto with Lobster Bisque filled the stomach and Cacciucco alla livornese con pane all’ aglio e capperi(Fish stew served with garlic bread) served as a perfect choice for a cold winter night.

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Now it was time to wash it down with some dessert and what could be a better choice than classic Italian pannacotta with mixed berries?! The panacotta was delectable enough to let us continue pampering our sweet tooth and taste buds with some more sweet indulgence. We went for Carpaccio d’Ananas (Pineapple Carpaccio, Coconut ice cream, pink peppercorn and fresh mint),  Cioccolato Fondente – a warm dark chocolate pudding with vanilla ice cream and finally culminated it with  Montebianco alle castagne (Chestnuts Mont Blanc in vanilla sauce).

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Our Verdict

To define the experience in one word. Bliss.

This award-winning restaurant along the Sheikh Zayed Road is certainly a place every Italian food lover in Dubai must add to their list of ‘’must visit’’.

Décor:                ****

Service:             *****

Food:                  *****

Ambiance:        ****

Value:                 *****

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