Alici Dubai: A La Carte dinner for two with a selection of signature spritz (gifted dinner by the host… did not see the total dinner receipt.) Alici Dubai, Bluewaters Island, +971 (0) 4 275 2577, www.alici.com

After a nearly endless day of working, which proceeded to more after-work meetings that left me numb in the head, a phone call from an old friend inviting me to dinner was received with sluggish dread. For the first time ever, the thought of going food hunting was a daunting task. Simply put, all I wanted to do was get home, curl up in my bed after a long shower and slip into the sweet weightless embrace of sleep. 

I did all I could to talk my way out of the invite, but they were very persuasive. Well, kinda, sorta – see, they mentioned it was a mostly seafood place that served up Italian cuisine that have been kissed by the Gods. And when they mentioned it was Alici, a jolt of adrenaline bolted through my body, resulting in an involuntary gasp and squeak of joy. I heard the “YES I’ll be there at 9 pm” before I even said it out loud. I was excited! 

But it wasn’t the food at Alici that had me all revived and resurrected from near-dead tiredness; it wasn’t even the drinks (okay, maybe it was the drinks – those free shots of limoncello from the bar definitely helped.) 

Alici carries a certain spirit that reminds of summer, the very typical south European style of summer. With the soft and gentle summer breeze bringing in fresh clean and salty scents from the ocean, the trees sway with lazy abandon while the setting sun casts its golden aura over everything. 

I’ve visited Alici countless times; its ability to bring me the simplest pleasure, allowing me to lose myself in the moment while enjoying genuine good food in the company of my closest friends with a scenic sea view from the iconic Bluewaters Island has cemented this location as one of my favorite restaurants across Dubai. 

AMBIANCE

My host commented consistently about how everything in Alici practically screamed “Italy” (he’s Italian) the old traditions of the coastal city of Amalfi are ever-present at Alici. I was constantly taken by the hand-painted tables and plates which crafted with classic tastes. Beautiful olive trees dotted around the interiors against blue and white colors add an element of elegant freshness to the space, with the cute branches hanging peacefully across the venue.

A large piano welcomed us right in the middle of the room, with a small stage setup, the slow gentle live jams made me close my eyes and for a second to take it all in. The air was light and fresh, carrying a cocktail of savory aromas. 

THE FOOD

Our journey in Italy began with the Tartare Di Tonno, a delicate hand-cut bluefin tuna tartare, blood orange dressing, chili, radish. It tasted as fresh as the sea like it was caught barely minutes before being plated. The chili wasn’t hot, but rather offered a nice mouthful flavor, which gloriously heightened the blood orange dressing. 

Tartare di tonno

We followed with the Carpaccio Di Ricciola, properly portioned slices of Amberjack topped with pomegranate, then finished with apple and lemon dressing. I expected very high citric notes, instated, my taste buds were greeted with a balanced – yet slightly spiced – flavor profile. Eating pomegranate is something I’m still getting used to, this dish was certainly a great example of its application. 

Each bite of the starters tingled my taste buds, setting the stage for the main course.

Carpaccio di ricciola

For mains, we stayed very traditional. I had the signature Spaghetti “Gentile” Alici e mollica, a warm plate of homemade spaghetti IGP Gragnano, anchovies, capers, black olives, and toasted bread crumbs which added the perfect crunch to the dish. 

My host went mostly green with the Fusilli broccolini e ‘nduja di tonno, cooked to the perfect Al Dente bite. Nothing really show-stopping about this plate, except that well, it was cooked inside the Alici kitchen, lol.

Alici does Italian seafood the way its creators intended, the cuisine is honest and authentic and the ambiance offers a temporary escape like none other. The staffs are well trained, attentive, and gracious with their service. They have excellent menu knowledge and you can just feel their passion and personality ripple through the air when they welcome you and make recommendations.

Perfect for date nights, work meetings, and random catchups with old friends like I did. Would I go back to Alici? At the drop of a hat! 

Tell me what your favorite Italian food is in the comment section.

Thank you for reading,

IG @Benson Ekpo

N/B: All food images in this post were provided upon request by Alici Dubai.

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