You probably feel you didn’t go to Dubai to eat pizza and pasta that you can get any time at home, but the kids are with you and they want something familiar to eat. Where to go? Try Mamma Mia Ristorante, where there’s both Italian and Arabic food (“One olive tree, two cuisines” says the restaurant website), and sharing is encouraged.
Looking at the Italian menu first, starters range from minestrone at 27 AED to carpaccio at 49 — right now, one AED is worth about 27¢ US, but bear in mind that oil prices are falling. Salads, some with chicken or seafood, run 33 to 43 AED. There’s a charge for bread, but there seems to be everywhere in Dubai. A selection of olives in different marinades will run you 16 AED for one person to 28 AED for two. Pasta dishes are mostly the old favorites: spaghetti bolognese, lasagna, and fettucine marinara. Along with a few risottos, they run just under 50 AED. The grilled main dishes are more upscale, with tenderloin at 95 AED. Then there’s pizza — how could there not be? — in medium, large, and extra large, and two dozen kinds. The smallest and cheapest is 39 AED, the biggest and most expensive is 115. You can also build your own pizza.
Burgers may not be very Italian, but they may be very welcome, and they come in both beef and chicken at 47 AED. Panini, from 35 to 40 AED, also make a good light meal.
Hungry yet? I found myself getting a bowl of soup right in the middle of writing this. Okay, on to the Arabic menu.
Starters are classic mid-eastern: tabouleh, hummus, lentil soup and others. You can order a platter of assorted cold starters for 42 AED or just go with the tabouleh for 23. The grill selection is more extensive on this menu and includes lamb, chicken, beef, and prawns, most on skewers. They go from four skewers of chicken at 52 AED to a mixed grill of all meats for three or four people for 197 AED.
Desserts include something for everyone. Häagen-Dazs is available in several flavors; so is tiramisu, several kinds of cake, and “an assortment of luxury middle eastern sweets served with ice cream & fruits.” Or you might want to split a chocolate calzone with someone. That’s 42 AED; other desserts are mostly in the 30 AED range.
The beverages are many, as you’d expect, and all non-alcoholic, as you might also expect.
Mamma Mia Ristorante is located at the Radisson Blu Residence, which in turn is at the Dubai Marina, “just before the Marina Mall.” (That’s what it says on TripAdvisor — I get the feeling addresses in Dubai aren’t as formalized as ours.) It’s open Saturday to Wednesday, 12:00 PM to 12.30 AM and Thursday & Friday (the Islamic weekend), 12:00 PM to 1.30 AM. You can make a reservation online, and if the kids are too worn out to go to even a family-friendly restaurant, you can have your meal delivered.
Editor’s Note: Speaking of wearing the kids out, check out this article on kid-friendly cultural centers in Dubai.