After living in the UK and having excellent Italian food there, and going to the US and gorging on Giordano’s deep dish pizza, I’ve developed a hankering to find good pizza and Italian food in the UAE.
One night I had plans for an evening out, which got cancelled (curse you, O ditcher!), and I was feeling too…meh…to go home instead. I wanted an evening out damn it, and an evening out I would have.
I called up my most recent food-partner-in-crime, Wajiha, and moaned in frustration. Always up for a fun time, she said she’d go out with me for dinner that day (in spite of having another dinner planned late that night; yes, really). I looked around for places which I hadn’t tried before, and remembered another partner-in-crime, (my coffee/chai/desserts/photographer crime buddy) Shruti, had mentioned Red Tomato Pizza. Wajiha had been there before, but was ready to go again.
“I’ll work on my laptop while you eat, before I leave for my second dinner at 10pm,” she said (yeah she said ‘second dinner’). Here’s Wajiha working on her laptop:
Soak in the sight because that was the scene for all of 15 minutes before the food arrived.
The venue, hidden among the streets of Al Barsha, very close to the Mall of the Emirates, attracted me from outside.
A rustic exterior with charming wooden chairs and plants evoking an Italian countryside touch, Red Tomato Pizza was calling out to me. “ENTER DEVINA, ENTER!” And enter I did.
The first thing you’d notice is how homey the place is. I can see why Wajiha thought she could work there. Well, you could get some work done there, but probably not with me, lots of food and a massive camera flash going off in your face.
The next thing you notice is the wood-fired oven nestled towards the end of the space, safe behind a glass barrier. But you know it’s there even before you enter, if you look closely at the sign outside where it’s mentioned.
The pizza…ooohhh…the wood-fired up pizza! I watched them make the pizzas with aplomb, and distracted them a bit with my flash before abandoning it altogether (thanks for the very practical and logical suggestion Wajiha!) and clicking without. Watch:
After settling in, we ordered arancini (deep fried rice balls filled with cheese and meat sauce) and for the pizza, I picked the Pollo e Ricotta. While waiting, we ate a lot of bread (and I drank home-made lemonade)!
The food doesn’t burn a hole in your wallet, but is more or less reasonable for what they offer you: good food in a comfortable setting (and a VERY romantic ambience I might add; how you doin’ Wajiha?).
The arancini was pretty good (so much cheese), which is why I rather felt like a cheese snob when I wished it wasn’t mozzarella I was chomping into. Hot and cheesy goodness was had.
So the pizza (chicken and ricotta) I got was very good – light, soft and very, very, very fresh.
I was happy. Wajiha said the beef one she had the last time was better, so I think I will return and try out the beef variety too.
And what, pray tell, is the point of going to an Italian restaurant without having dessert there? I bet there’s a law against it. I bet they (whoever, ‘they’ is) come and issue warnings for this sort of thing. So we ended our relaxed night out with tiramisu.
Which was good. I approve. I stamp my FooDee seal of approval on it. It’s not the best tiramisu I’ve ever had in my life (actually, only a few days back there was a very good tiramisu I gobbled in Bombay, but that’s another story), but it’s one of the good ones I’ve had in Dubai. I am happy. I shall eat you again, tiramisu. I shall!
Wikipedia tells me that the translation of tiramisù is “pick-me-up” or “make me happy,”. I was happy. Which means it worked. It also tells me “tiramisu” is thought to be a name in Italian – so now I have two baby names in mind for potential children: alfajorés and tiramisu. I sense a trend. Somebody stop me.
Word of advice: don’t get them to deliver to you when you can go there and eat. Please, don’t. You’ll love the interiors and the way it enriches your enjoyment of the meal. It may not have been the evening I planned but it was a darn good one – company-wise and food-wise!
Parking tip: If you see a parking spot in the lane leading up to the restaurant, take it there without a second thought. Once you get to the traffic light in front of the restaurant, you can either go straight and get stuck amidst traffic-of-people-dodging-SALIK or go right and get lost in Al Barsha.