Review: il Pastaio Dubai, Al Habtoor City

Review: il Pastaio Dubai, Al Habtoor City

Sponsor: il Pastaio is one of Los Angeles’ most acclaimed Italian restaurants, with a star-studded diners list at its Beverly Hills location. Now, the famous concept has chosen Dubai as its only other location in the world.

il Pastaio, which means “pasta maker” in Italian, was founded twenty-six years ago by the Drago brothers in California. Giacomino, Celestino and Calogero Dragos grew up in the small town of Galati Mamertino in the Sicilian region of Italy, always surrounded by the aroma of ripe tomatoes, rich olives, fresh handmade pasta and cheeses and grapes typical of the region. Inspired by these memories, they started serving rustic pasta made with beautiful seasonal ingredients. Fast forward to now, and this Italian dining destination still offers a menu that stays true to its heritage.

Ideally located on Al Habtoor City Boulevard on Sheikh Zayed Road, il Pastaio Dubai offers a spacious, sophisticated and welcoming environment. We encourage you to walk around the space and explore the on-site pasta-making station before taking a seat on the indoor or outdoor partially enclosed patio.


We had the pleasure of meeting the restaurant’s chef, Diego Simonetta, who enthusiastically walked us through the menu. Every dish has been redefined A redefined selection of every Nonna classic recipe, thoughtfully conceptualized, crafted and, as we’ve come to realize, plated.

First, sip a vibrant orange-hued Italian blend, served as an aperitif in northeastern Italy, consisting of sparkling grapes, digestive bitters and sparkling water, providing a delightful entry into our dining experience.

Based on the culinary team’s recommendation, our Italian feast begins with four delicacies – triple tartar for the specials, and Burrata, Bresaola and Melanzane parmigiana for the appetizers section. Each dish is made to share because you’ll want to taste them all. We started with a delicious eggplant roast, perfect if you’re looking for a warm and hearty dish; followed by tender dry corned beef with fried lettuce, rocha salad, olive oil marinated artichokes, dried tomatoes and mozzarella Lira cheese, drizzled with a lovely lemon vinaigrette. Moving on to the last appetizer, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that the delicious Burrata was made locally in Dubai and the milk was brought from Italy. Finally, the Trio Tartar, as the name suggests, features three different flavored cakes of raw meat and seafood. First up is the Beef Truffle Fasona, which we particularly like, as it has absolutely no “fat” and gives it an almost rustic taste. Also on the side is a spiced cardamom sea bass tartare with lime and Queen Kaluga caviar, and a melt-in-your-mouth bluefin tuna tartare with raspberry pearls.

Needing a pause before serving, I took the opportunity to visit the restaurant’s live pasta-making counter, where a talented chef rustles up a range of different types of complex pasta used to cook many dishes some of them. The only other pasta used is from the famous Senatore Cappelli brand.

Next up was dinner with a show, and if you just had to order this, this is it. Taglioni tartufo, made with giant cheese wheels and garnished with fondue and truffle shavings, sounds as sinful as it sounds. The next main course is squid, scallops, shrimp, mussels and clams, and if you’re a seafood lover, we highly recommend the Scoglio with its rich sauce. Meat lovers have plenty to choose from, we opted for the Costa di bue, a juicy prime rib eye served with baked potatoes, seasonal vegetables and an aromatic rosemary sauce.

Good conversation and delicious drinks kept the evening going and gave us a breather before the final course. Dessert calls for Cannoli with three unique fillings – Gianduja cream, ricotta and pistachios; elegant Tiramisu; and decadent Cioccolato (flourless chocolate cake). Each is different in its own way, but equally delightful, making the perfect end to the night.


A sparkling restaurant with impressive food, eye-pleasing, well-crafted nibbles full of punch and impeccable service. Il Pastaio Dubai is a fine dining destination ideal for sophisticated celebrations, intimate occasions and sharing gatherings with loved ones.

Book now:

Daily from 12 noon to 12 am. Call +97154 791 3320 or email Visit the website or Instagram.

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