Restaurant Review: Bice Mare, Souk Al Bahar
Location: Souk Al Bahar, Dubai
Tel: 04 423 0982
Dress code: Smart-casual
Cuisine: Italian seafood
Times: 12pm to 3.30pm and 7pm to 11.30pm, daily
Price Range: $$$
For starters we can’t decide and ask for recommendations. Bice Mare’s Francesco Guarracino is the typical Italian chef, bubbling over with a passion and authoritarianism over food that’s both infectious and overwhelming. We love how that superiority even features on the menu with claims such as “one of the best pastas in the world” (for the paccheri, a large hollow tube pasta served at Bice Mare with monkfish and mussels – it hold sauces well, we’re told).
With help from Francesco we finally decide (and we use the term loosely) to have almost everything on the antipasti menu and a couple of entries on the specials board too. The standout winner was the lobster, king prawn and avocado in a light pink sauce – a neat green circle of creamy avo slices filled with plump white meat – like a classic avocado prawn, only a million times better.
We were trying to avoid the devilishly tempting hot baked bread in order to save vital stomach space for the rest of the review, but the potted lobster in a warm citrus butter was begging to be dipped.
Moving on to mains, whole fish ‘al sale’ (baked in a salt crust), is a speciality of the house. On the day Ahlan! visits, branzino al sale (sea bass) is on the menu, but the chef assures us he has imported the best black bream from Italy, so we take that ‘al sale’ instead. As with any traditional Italian restaurant, it’s always worth asking what’s the freshest catch of the day to get the best dish.
Our bream arrives in its perfect crust, and is then filleted at the table and served with jam jar-like pots of seasoned potatoes and tuna, tomato, olive and crouton salad. Meanwhile, Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Lionel Richie’s Dancing on the Ceiling are among the musical soundtracks accompanying the eternally awesome Dubai Fountain shows erupting to our right every 30 minutes or so – on the terrace of Bice Mare we have ringside seats at no extra cost.
On the Menu
Tuna and sea bass tartare with watermelon, avocado and cripsy prawns, Dhs109
Seared scallops, grilled asparagus and black truffle, Dhs117
Paccheri “one of the best pastas in the world” with monkfish and mussels, Dhs150
Sea salt crusted sea bass for two, Dhs200
Traditional Napolitan cake from the Amalfi Coast, Dhs50
Bice New York cheesecake, Dhs50