Restaurant review: Roberto's ruined our keto diet and we loved every minute of it

We tried the beloved Italian restaurant to test out its business lunch
Restaurant review: Roberto's ruined our keto diet and we loved every minute of it
Roberto's outdoor terrace overlooks the dazzling Burj Khalifa
By Lubna Hamdan
Mon 04 Feb 2019 12:23 PM

Thanks to a number of unfortunate business lunches-gone-wrong, we found out that it’s not at all easy to perfect the meal.

Most restaurants promise light dishes to help you slip right back into your work flow, only to serve carb-heavy meals followed by awfully sweet dessert that leave you longing for a nap.

Given our ill-fated history with business lunches, it’s fair to say our expectations were not necessarily high when we visited DIFC favorite Roberto’s. But the high-end Italian restaurant is famous for hosting the financial centre’s arguably most popular lunch meal. So we headed there to find out what the hype was all about. 

To put our experience in a nutshell before going into the details, we had arrived at Roberto’s with the intention of sticking to our strict keto diet, having faithfully followed it for about 10 days (For those lucky enough not to have had to follow it, keto allows about 20 grams of carbs per day and relies on certain fat and protein to help with weight loss).

Of course, all hopes of maintaining our diet went out the window, and we blame the mouth-watering ravioli with burrata in rich tomato sauce (we couldn’t resist pasta in an Italian restaurant) and a heavenly light coconut parfait with mango compote and passion fruit. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. I'll start from the beginning.

Shortly upon ordering, we were served a small portion of creamy pumpkin and chestnuts soup to prepare our palate, followed by baby spinach and kale salad with peanuts, which we were initially horrified by, given kale’s rather tasteless reputation.

Luckily, the Italians know how to spice things up, with Chef Alessandro Miceli having skilfully added a hint of sweet agave dressing to give it that flavourable touch.

Next up was the rich tuna tartare with avocado and wasabi cream. The fact that we were starving for food due to our rather torturous diet probably played a part in us devouring the dishes, but we have to give credit to Miceli’s culinary skills.

Not only did we enjoy a kale salad but we also relished a seafood dish we generally stay away from: Octopus. It has been nearly impossible for us to find a place which genuinely knows how to cook the dish, but Roberto’s excels in its slow cooking technique with an added side of artichoke to cleanse the palate.  

But our favourite part of the meal was the citrus marinated roasted black cod with sautéed Scarola and edamame. Buttery and intensely flavoured, it was the highlight of our business lunch. And to our surprise, we were left longing not for a nap, but for more restaurants to follow in Roberto’s culinary footsteps.

One thing is for sure - the Italian favourite can add one more fan to its list of devotees, who enjoyed a 5-star meal and service with a dazzling view of the Burj Khalifa for just AED155.

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