Ravioli&Co is one of the newest restaurants in town, situated directly opposite ‘The Artisan’ (arguably the best Italian in town……..so I hear). An interesting choice of location! The wife and I dropped by for a Thursday night after-work dinner to see if it hit the mark.
The first thing you’ll notice about the restaurant is its size. It’s tiny! It makes for a warm, romantic atmosphere and we both commented on how much we loved the rustic feel of the place. It reminded us of being in Europe, just walking into a random, authentic restaurant. There was not a whiff of pretension about any of the interiors and we were greeted like family by the Italian manager.
We sat down at our table and it was evident that there were a lot of Italians dining around us -always a good sign in a restaurant marketed as “traditional”!
The menu is simple and authentic; as per its moniker, ravioli features heavily in the mains section, proudly all homemade and fresh (no Barilla here!).
We started off our meals with a couple of starters, the baked mushroom and the traditional soup both sounded appetizing, so gave them a whirl.
The mushrooms really were delicious. Cooked beautifully, the mix of breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic and Pecorino cheese with shallot cream sauce offered a lovely balance of flavour and texture.
The soup was also a winner, the asiago cheese croutons giving the soup an umami punch with the sweetness of the onions. We took it in turns dipping and enjoyed immensely.
Choosing a main was a difficult task, but we finally settled on a couple of pasta dishes and a delicious-sounding gnocchi dish after seeking advice from our waiter. The dishes all arrived together and were as follows:
Across the two pasta dishes, it was obvious that the chef was a master in his dough-work; it was silky, al dente and constructed with precision. The mushroom dish had a strong, earthy flavour, complimented well by the sweetness of the pumpkin and the classic lamb and thyme combination in the tortelli worked well with the tangy tomato sauce.
The baked gnocchi (something new to me) was also tasty. The method gave the gnocchi a bit more a crunch than your regular fried version, but they were still smooth in the middle. The cheesy sauce was very moreish and you can’t go wrong with a generous handful of shaved truffle!
Whilst none of the dishes were completely showstopping, they were all strong examples of good, honest, Italian food and both the wife and I were very happy. The restaurant was completely full at this time and despite it being pretty chilly outside, people were braving the cold to enjoy the food on their terrace.
For dessert, we gave the Nutella Tiramisu a try:
Although not really traditional, it was a very pleasing way to end the meal; the coffee flavour was pronounced and it had a naughty creaminess that kept us digging for more.
We settled the bill and were pretty happy with the total, the prices on the bill didn’t include all the taxes though, which is frustrating but it still makes for reasonable value. Think 50-70 AED on average + taxes per course with the odd more expensive option if required.
FOOD: 12.5/15 – A strong selection of well-cooked, traditional food.
SERVICE: 12.5/15 –Service was attentive and efficient all night.
DRINKS SELECTION: 3.5/5 – Not a huge drinks list, but very heavy on Italian bottles of wine to fit with the traditionality.
AMBIANCE: 4.5/5 – The restaurant was full and there was a loud chatter of happy people all night. Would have perhaps liked to hear a little more Italian music just to keep with the theme, rather than poppy dance music.
DESIGN: 4/5 – It won’t win any design awards as it’s really simple, but we appreciated how authentic it felt.
VALUE: 3/5 – It’s in the mid-range bracket, but loses a mark for not including all the taxes within the final prices.
TOTAL: 40/50 – All in all, Ravioli&Co. is a solid new addition to the Dubai dining scene. It provides a sanctuary from the typical glitz and glamour and serves up honest Italian fare from the heart. I sincerely hope it continues to thrive.