Cucina brings a relaxed and rustic dining experience to Palm West Beach
The city is no stranger to standout Italian restaurants, a fact that Emanuele Rizzo is well-aware of — but unfazed by. An Italian national with a deep-rooted passion for his country’s cuisine, he is the Chef de Cuisine of the newly opened Cucina at Marriott Resort Palm Jumeirah. An original Marriott concept, Cucina fuses old-school Italian charm with a contemporary flair.
“Dubai’s dining landscape has many Italian restaurants, but few create that perfect neighbourhood feel in terms of food and ambiance,” says Rizzo, speaking of what sets the new eatery apart. “The mix of simple, and fresh flavours from our green herb garden and local ingredients are the perfect recipe for a homely, unpretentious yet reimagined Italian experience. Cucina is proud and excited to be setting a new standard for the Italian dining scene in the MENA region.”
Naturally, the always buzzing Palm West Beach plays host to Cucina’s latest outpost, where a rustic, sharing-style dining experience is the key attraction. For the uninitiated, the Italian word “Cucina” translates to ‘kitchen’, so expect a setting that echoes the relaxed and welcoming surroundings of a true Italian kitchen. Whether you’re stopping by for a morning espresso or lingering over a feast with family, a slice of Italian dolce vita is promised. Of the three neighbourhood themes within, the cosy Sbarra is first.
Here, diners are invited to socialise at the steel benchtop for custom-roasted coffee and Italian pastries, or pick up a delicious Tuscan schiacciata or fresh focaccia for a grab ‘n’ go lunch. Come evening, guests can opt for one of the many expertly crafted aperitivo options, including Cucina’s signature sodas that are fermented in-house. Alternatively, guests can order a glass of wine served on tap with three Italian wines and three contemporary blends, a first-of-its-kind concept in Dubai. Diners can then journey on to the Trattoria, which serves sharing portions. And in true Italian style, a selection of freshly baked breads and a 15-year-aged balsamic vinegar appears before dishes are brought to the table.
We’re told that all of Cucina’s dishes can be shared, as encouraged by the concept — think: handmade pasta, risotto and artisanal pizza alongside elegant antipasti such as Frisella di Grano Duro e Polipetti and Carpaccio di Barbabietola. The mains spans the likes of Veal Milanese, Brasato Lento di Capra (traditional slow braised goat), Costolette D’Agnello (lamb rack served with a vegetable caponata and pine nuts), and Salsiccia e Spinaci (pork sausage and the butcher’s board selection).
But it’s the pasta at Cucina that reigns supreme, courtesy of a dedicated pasta-making room and the chef’s weekly rotating menu. Rounding off the experience is Gelateria by Cucina, the in-house gelateria, where 18 varieties of gelato are crafted. As for the flavours? Traditional options such as stracciatella and pistachio aside, there’s a handful of signature specials to try, espresso and gorgonzola with balsamic included.