Another one where my prayers to the scheduling gods finally paid off! This week, I was able to attend the business lunch at Roberto’s Restaurant and Lounge, and I’ll be the first to say it was definitely worth the wait. As familiar as I am (not) with The Galleria, I ended up parking on the far end (away from the restaurant), which was a bit of an error on my part (the website clearly lists where to go). To save you some frustration, valet park at the Rosewood Hotel and head downstairs where Roberto’s has a cozy spot on the boardwalk level, with both indoor and outdoor seating.
Sighting the familiar ‘R’ logo, I breathed a sigh of relief and was quickly escorted to my seat. While the staff thought I was a party of two, I assured them I was perfectly fine to dine on my own. Imagine my surprise then when both the General Manager and FOH Manager came over to say hello, and could they join me? Which is how I ended up dining with Mr. Vladimir Gelev, an engaging and professional man, who has seen successes from London to the GCC (and does not want to see his guests dine alone). Our conversation (and the food) was a treat for me, and I left with a new (unexpected) friend.
And the meal, you ask? Three words you need to know: value for money! For a very reasonable AED85, you will get two (completely filling) courses, and for those with a sweet tooth, pay AED119 for three courses. Even if you add in drinks (and the ubiquitous taxes), the deal is certainly one that is easy on the wallet (and yes, there are lighter options for those who are calorie conscious). For my selections, the Carpaccio di Tommo (Yellowfin tuna carpaccio with celery and pomegranate) arrived first, and although I would add a pinch of coarse sea salt, I loved the presentation and taste. Indulging me, I was also able to try the Zuppa di Zucca e Licuiriza (Pumpkin soup and licorice) off of the Antipasti menu, which was an absolute delight. The licorice played on the already sweet nature of pumpkin, which balanced with the freshly cracked pepper delivered table side. The main was an absolute GIANT portion of slow cooked beef short ribs with mashed potato (officially Constine di Manzo, weighing it at over 200g). Tender, and without too much sauce, it was everything a protein like this should be. Honestly, I challenge you to find a better deal for service, selection, and price in the city.
At the insistence of the kitchen, I was also treated to a table side preparation of fresh pesto (complete with basil frozen with liquid nitrogen -!), dressed simply over pasta (actual carb heaven).
After all of this (plus 3x cheeky amuse bouche, an extra appetizer and a clever petit four!), I decided to have my charming host fall on the proverbial sword and order a dessert that wouldn’t go waste (I certainly did not have room for it). The pastry chef pulled out all of the stops and presented a plate full of sweet intricacies.
It was evident, as the lunch hour progressed, that other enlighted citizens of Abu Dhabi knew about this deal as well…
Would I go back to Roberto’s? You better believe it! As mentioned with Matto, it’s rare I crave Italian when I’m out, however, the Crudo bar definitely caught my attention and I would love to give the Friday brunch a go. Furthermore, I did not get a taste of Burrata, so that’s an easy excuse to go back. #alldayeverydayBurrata 🙂
Have you been to Roberto’s Abu Dhabi? What should I try on my next trip?