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Don Alfonso 1890: Italian cuisine at its finest



Don Alfonso has become a byword for high-quality Italian cuisine across the globe. The brand, based on the original restaurant in Sorrento, in Italy’s Campania, had already expanded to Macau and Marrakesh before it made its Dubai debut in early 2014, bringing an outstanding array of contemporary Italian food to the first floor of the Shangri-La Hotel on Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road.

The latest incarnation is more than upholding the standards. The interior – wood, gold, vases, light panels – won’t win many awards for innovation, but it combines to provide a refined, elegant air in keeping with the unobtrusive service. This is fine dining as it used to be; almost demanding that conversation be reduced to a reverential whisper.

Helping to underscore the first impression that Don Alfonso 1890 is a thoroughly grown-up dining experience for food connoisueurs is the learned wine suggestions of maitre d’Claudio, from the fresh Ferrari Prosecco as we perused the menu to the fruity Insolia white that partnered the seabass.

Here are our must-try dishes from the menu:

Starter: Chilled veal loin tonnato
Served with fried capers and cauliflower pickles, this dish is a supple, subtle delight, with slippery strips of pink veal reclining beneath a tangy cream, tuna and garlic sauce.

Optional starter: Mozzarella soufflé
A house special, this comes served with crispy basil, a cherry tomato sauce and mozzarella snow. It is as well-balanced as it was imaginative.

Primi piatti: Tortelone with porcini mushrooms
Served with a pumpkin purée and truffle caviar, this continues the theme of precision, balance and delicacy, offering a superb precursor to the main. Pure Italy.

Main: Sea bass with seasonal greens
Yes, there are other great options, including the house special of pan roasted lamb and purple potato mash, but this is the best dish we tried. Cooked to perfection, and accompanied with a artichoke purée and Baeri Royal caviar, it had a pleasing, peppery finish. A perfect serving size, too.

Dessert: Neapolitan sfogliatella
A triangular parcel of coiled pastry with dark cherries and an almond cream – an indulgent finale.

Don Alfonso 1890



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