Restaurant Review: Al Forno, The Dubai Mall

Expectations were exceeded at this charming and cosy Italian trattoria
ByOlivia SpadavecchiaFriday , 06 December 2013
Restaurant Reviews
Restaurant Reviews

It’s not often one can visit a busy mall and expect to eat real Italian fare that’s both reasonably priced and wholesome. Hidden away in a corner of The Dubai Mall, and right next to the indoor waterfall, Al Forno is a welcome treat with the abundance of fast food-style Italian eateries one would usually expect to encounter.

We chose to sit outside on the terrace overlooking the Burj Khalifa and outdoor fountain. With dishes listed by their Italian name, the menu was varied with a good selection of appetisers, pastas, pizzas, main courses and grills. We tried the funghi ripieni al forno – baked mushrooms stuffed with Parmesan and goat’s cheese, and the marinated feta cheese salad with grilled mixed vegetables, lemon and virgin olive oil dressing. Both were equally delightful, with the baked balls of mushrooms nicely crispy on the outside with a soft, mildly cheesy centre.

For mains, the chef’s signature dish of lamb shank with rosemary sauce was slow-cooked to perfection. The incredibly soft meat effortlessly fell off the bone and was accompanied by herb-roasted potatoes with leeks and a caramelised garlic bulb, which brought an added dimension to the meal. Another dish we enjoyed was the monachelle al forno – pasta baked with rosemary chicken, roasted pine nuts and baby spinach in a creamy cheese sauce. The freshness of the in-house pasta was evident, with the overall flavours balancing each other beautifully without being too creamy. 

All of our portions were more than generous, particularly desserts like the popular chocolate fondant and Nutella pizza, and we’d probably have enjoyed them more as smaller offerings. 

If you’re looking for Italian food with character at a good price point in a quiet spot, then Al Forno will definitely be a welcome break for any hungry mall-goer. 

INFO: Level 1, The Dubai Mall, 04 388 2784 

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