Upon entering the DIFC institution, Roberto’s Fine Dining Restaurant, you’ll notice you walk past a temperature-screening camera – a high-tech solution for these new-normal times. There are also ample stations for hand sanitation. Which is also suggested and provided once we took our seats.
The place itself is everything you would expect from a restaurant of this calibre – a relaxed yet refined atmosphere, sleek, white tablecloths, and a mood-setting soundtrack. If you take a table in the bar, you’ll notice a DJ spinning with a zoom-style backdrop of the restaurant itself projected on an oversized, overhead screen.
Once seated, we were given the option of using a traditional and tangible menu or QR code on the table to view our options; we chose the latter. While scanning the contemporary take on Italian traditions, we were stuck on what to pick and so let the extremely helpful and attentive waiter make the decision for us. And when our appetisers arrived, we were thankful we did: he had chosen the tonno battuto, a tuna tartare with avocado and wasabi cream, along with the polpo, a slow-cooked roasted octopus with artichoke and a cacio e pepe sauce. Both were equally as delicious and set the bar high for the rest of the meal.
We opted for pasta over pizza, which can be gluten-free if requested, and tried the calamarata pasta with red shrimps, burrata, pistachio, and a cherry-tomato sauce. A delectable decision indeed; it was creamy but not too thick, and left our palate prepared for the main course of merluzzo nero, a citrus-marinated roasted black cod, with broccoli purée, sautéed pak choi and beluga lentils. We washed the soft, flavoursome entrée down with sides of the insalata ai 4 semi and the insalata verde, both great options for those with a penchant for elevated greens.
Again, we let the waiter choose our dessert, and it came with a touch of the dramatics. A lemon sponge cake displayed between real lemons and dry ice, along with a large helping of pistachio ice cream topped with traditional Italian olive oil – unconventional perhaps, but a pairing that truly works, even if it was discovered by accident in a kitchen in Italy.
Throughout our time at Roberto’s we were consistently waited on and made to felt at ease with the new safety measures in place. It’s an elegant choice for those looking to put protection first.