To many long-term Dubai folk, BiCE Ristorante is just such a place.
Substantial and varied competition has landed since its debut - and it refuses to rest on its laurels.
Thus, following a facelift and some menu additions, this city favourite is back and firing on all culinary cylinders.
Based in the Hilton’s JBR resort, itself a veteran on Dubai’s most famous tourist thoroughfare, BiCE is an Italian gem, buffed to dazzle us once again.
There’s also a hint of classic - albeit with a modern twist - decadence with the food.
None more so, perhaps, than fois gras terrine. This delicate treat is coated in raspberry powder, lending sweetness to the taste and colour to the eye, and accompanied by bell pepper marmalade. The silkiness and epic taste are indelible.
Although befitting our surroundings, beef buttata can also be something of a polarizing dish. Word has it BiCE introduced this subtle Piemontese take on steak tartare to Dubai. They set the bar extremely high with a meat lovers dream enhanced by organic egg yolk and truffle.
Across the table a generous grilled whole Dover sole is showcased on a large white plate aided by lemon slices and fennel, completed by portions of truffle mash and asparagus for a winning combination.
With Italian food this refined – including moreish fresh bread - it’s hard not to gorge, so it fell to something light for dessert. Unsurprisingly, pannacotta also hits high notes at BiCE, the smooth texture given a memorable basil edge.
With a beloved following, BiCE hasn’t reinvented itself, but is doing what it always did, well…and has thrown in more menu stars to keep it centre stage with families, couples and friends for years to come.
While many Dubai restaurants like to put on a show – be that a truckload of fancy ingredients or glitzy presentation - recently opened eatery Ricetta displays a sense of no-nonsense honesty with its food.
Head Chef Alex Sebastianutti confirms the menu and execution harks back to his home and family life growing up in Italy.
Among several meanings for the word “ricetta” is prescription or fix – and that’s what the man hailing from near Venice appears to be doing with his menu.
The emphasis is on freshness and authenticity rather than flashiness, perhaps a surprise when this chef’s antecedence includes up market Abu Dhabi Grand Prix favourite Cipriani, at Yas Marina.
The moment you walk into Ricetta, you’re in no doubt as to restaurant genre.
While hotel home Four Points by Sheraton was lacking signage for the newcomer, Ricetta bristles with fun Mediterranean colour in an otherwise bland upper lobby.
A tasty seafood broth – Brodetto de Pesse - is generous with squid, octopus, shrimps, clams and muscles.
There’s further colour with arancini; risotto croquettes stuffed with beef ragu, mozzarella, peas and tomato sauce. The egg-shaped appetizers are decent value and accurate styling means they’re much bigger on rice than other ingredients, so the well-flavoured tomato sauce is welcome.
Alongside crispy edged focaccia, this would have been a decent lunch.
But this was dinner and Ricetta’s ravioli agnello e broccoli spelled further authenticity. Homemade pasta filled with lamb ragu, it’s delivered with vivid green broccoli sauce, plus florets, and is filling without being heavy.
Orate alle Erbe - fresh sea bream cooked in its juices in foil – is also unfussy. Although seasoned with fresh sage, rosemary and lemon, this palate yearned sauce (optional); just as well as Chef Alex makes a gorgeous garlicky marinara and a knockout aioli, both of which lit up the white flesh. Slices of baked potato accompany.
BiCE Ristorante is located at lobby level, inside Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Resort, The Walk, JBR. Call 04 399 1111 or click on http://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/uae/hilton-dubai-jumeirah-beach-DXBJBHI/dining/index.html
BiCE is also included in The Entertainer app, offering two for one on Friday brunch, main courses and some beverages.
FIND Ricetta at Four Points by Sheraton, Khalid Bin Walid Street, Burjuman, Dubai. Call 04 397 7444. Or go to http://www.fourpointsburdubai.com