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A hidden Italian spot to bookmark in the city

How many of you have already visited Al Gusto, an Italian small café tucked away at the podium 1 level inside Etihad Towers Avenue?

If you happen to visit at lunchtime, you’d be surprised to see the restaurant is almost full with employees or residents from the different towers looking for a warm lunch meal. We were told customers may have to queue on some days in order to get a table at lunchtime.

Invited to experience this venue lately, we were surprised that this Italian bistro doesn’t focus on typical Italian dishes only. Of course, there are a selection of antipasti, salads with an Italian flair, pasta and pizza but what really appealed to us was the twist on a few classic dishes.

We opted for intriguing ravioli; filled with shitake and aragula, the large ravioli were served with a flavorful sage butter, topped with pine nuts and pumpkin seeds and came with with some greens on the side, a mix of salad, aragula and tomatoes. Delicious and priced at 42 AED, we enjoyed the shitake pairing.

We also tried the slow roasted lamb burger served with sweet potato fries, guacamole and homemade pickles. The roasted lamb cooked overnight was melting in the mouth and served in a homemade soft French brioche bun. The guacamole had a strong lemony taste that gave some punch to the dish but the potato chips were unfortunately over-fried. Overall, it’s another winning option to try listed in the daily specials and priced at 80 AED.

To end on a sweet note, you can either pick one of the desserts on the menu or opt for their daily specials. Ours were a carrot cake and pistachio cake. We had a preference for the first one that was soft, moist and not overly sweet and included some chunks of nuts inside that added texture.

This is a perfect venue if you have a business lunch to plan, colleagues or friends to catch up with. We liked the overall bistro ambience with many people chatting, laughing and the loud espresso machine at the back . This reminded us of local busy bistros or neighborhood brasseries we love visiting in Europe.

A simple place with good vibes we will gladly pay a visit again next time we are around!

AL GUSTO | Avenue at Etihad Towers | +971 2 666 64 44

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