Splendido Dubai Italian restaurant review
- Splendido is one of 750 Italian restaurants in Dubai
- The Italian restaurant is located at The Ritz-Carlton Dubai, Jumeirah Beach Residence
- It boasts a mixture of classic Italian dishes along with contemporary dishes
- Splendido has indoor and outdoor dining areas, along with a small bar
By sheer volume, I can say that the city of Dubai has reached a saturation point for Italian cuisine.
After some careful estimation (looked it up on Zomato) there are more than 750 Italian restaurants just in Dubai. Throw that out to the broader Emirates, and that number goes above 1,000.
While I have not visited all of them, I can pretty much guarantee each serves pizza and pasta “just like mama used to make”, plates will be served on red and white checkerboard tablecloths, and there will be at least one man (probably not from Italy) who goes by the name of ‘Mario’.
That makes the Italian restaurant trade incredibly competitive here, and for any Italian to stand out, it needs to go above and beyond the oft flaunted stereotypes of ‘typical’ Italian cuisine, which is surely a bit of a concern for the likes of the Ritz-Carlton’s trademark Italian eatery, Splendido.
In the ridiculously competitive game of Italian food, does it do enough to sate the city’s diners (most of whom are already gorged-full of the stuff)?
Splendido Dubai: what’s the vibe?
Splendido is very Italian - no bad thing, all things considered. The staff are mostly Italian (or they feign it fantastically well), and the service has been dialled up a notch to reflect that this is a restaurant inside one of Dubai’s best resorts.
Walk through the big wooden double doors in the colder months, and you might be a tad disappointed to see an almost empty dining room and bar area. That’s because anyone and everyone should sit outside, on Splendido’s candle-lit terrace under the stars.
The clientele is generally rather dapper – a good mix of locals and well-heeled resort guests – and the overall feel is classy, but not stuffy.
Spill a good glob of linguini sauce on the bright, white tablecloth and – almost ashamedly – a member of staff will cover it up with another smaller, bright, white tablecloth. You don’t find that very often in good old Italy.
Splendido Dubai: how’s the food?
The menu is selective, and all the better for it. Gone are the days where punters wanted to leaf through a sixty-page menu. Instead, you get the paired-back list of Italian staples. That’s it.
In a world where seemingly every dish must come along with some sort of whimsical ‘modern twist’, Splendido didn’t get the memo. While the dishes are plated with Instagram in mind, the food is true to the best of Italian cuisine – find some good ingredients and then don’t mess about too much.
Stick with the classics here (or ask the waiters to recommend a dish), and you won’t leave disappointed.
Splendido Dubai: the verdict
What makes Splendido different in a city awash with Italian restaurants, is how little it has done to try and stand out. Far be it from trying out brand new recipes, or cheesy ‘out there’ dining concepts, it stays true to what makes Italian food so popular in the first place.
Throw in excellent service and the ability to dine under the stars, and Splendido does more than compete. It sets a benchmark that the other 1,000 or so restaurants in the Emirates should be aware of.
Splendido Dubai: where is it?
Splendido is situated downstairs from the lobby of The Ritz-Carlton Dubai, Jumeirah Beach Residence. During the colder months, insist on a seat on its delightful terrace. But given enough fellow diners, the interior dining room is also rather cosy.
For more information, head to The Ritz-Carlton Dubai