I have fond memories of Italian food. There was the time we walked through a maze of tiny winding roads in Rome to end up inside a lovely sidewalk restaurant, from where I first tasted Beef Carpaccio. Then there was the time my pregnancy cravings went haywire and we home-delivered Gnocchi dripping in cheese and my husband caught me licking the plastic plate clean. And now I have a new addition to the list – Prego’s.

Prego’s is one of those places that swaddle you in warmth as you step in. Soft lights, softer music and comfortable cushioned sofas set the mood just right for a hearty voyage around Italian cuisine. You may also choose to sit in the chairs facing the kitchen that are open for the world to see, where the chefs weave magic with pots and pans. The giant block of Grana Padano set on the kitchen counter could distract you, but hey, that is probably just the cheese-craze in me talking.

Settled and sipping on some Rosé, we started browsing through the menu. Freshly baked bread with cheese and a dip of white canolini beans sauce was brought to the table by our smiling server.

Mr. Foodkisser considered the Antipasti section vigilantly and rounded on the Seafood salad with calamari, king prawns, scallops, octopus, black mussels, cherry tomatoes, black olives, celery, tossed with lemon and parsley. The seafood abundance made the starter dish a bit pricy with a Dh 103 tag, but when the husband whooped and smacked while plunging into it, I knew the price was worth something.

My joy lay in the Carpaccio I had ordered. The dry beef carpaccio came with seasonal mushrooms (yes, I’m a sucker for anything with good mushrooms), rucola salad, summer truffle shavings and a delicious walnut dressing. The price tag was on the heavier side for this starter as well, but again, the meat was fabulous enough to trump the rate.

For the main course, it was a confusion of sorts. The description of risottos were tempting me to go their way, while the pastas and pizzas worked on a conspiracy to mar my will. And then there was the Piatti di Mare section giving vivid descriptions of seafood dishes – Grilled lobster, fillet of Chilean sea bass, Sole fish fillet, baked Salmon and what not! However what allured me the most was the Carni page showcasing the meat lover’s dreams in words. With extreme difficulty, we finalized on Redwine braised lamb shank with juniper berries and Mediterranean herbs, fried artichokes and roasted potatoes. The second maincourse was ridiculously hard to settle on. Finally, considering the fact that I should try a pasta at the Italian joint, I went for the Tortelli pasta filled with braised beef cheeks with red wine, gorgonzola sauce and black grapes reduction. (Alas, the Chilean seabass and Grilled beef tenderloin must wait until next time.)

The lamb shank was everything it was supposed to be. Soft, falling off the bone meat, infused with the lovely flavors of red wine, herbs and berries. The artichoke didn’t strike a chord for me, but the roasted potatoes were good to bite into. The battle of the forks and knives for this dish, as you can guess, attracted the attention of the neighboring tables. Luckily, we were too busy in the sacred task of downing the dish.

The tortelli pasta came as a surprise, but then again, it was my first time with the said tortelli. The monotony of the creamy rich white sauce was broken by the red splash of the grapes reduction. It was a dish that thrilled the eyes. Did I like it? Yes, it was something out of the ordinary for me. Something that my taste buds were not accustomed to. Having said that, I did feel I should have probably gone for the tenderloin or the lobster, as the portion could have been better for the price.

The menu also featured a page for the Pork lovers. The cured pork meat and salami selection sounded impressive, with dishes ranging in description from “Cured for 14 months, this ham earns the nobility degree to become the ‘Contessa’ selection”, to “Lean and soft cured pork belly with a traditional subtle flavor”. The special White asparagus and fresh artichoke promotion had a separate leaflet to itself, including appetizers ranging from Aed 30- 70, soups, first courses (risottos and tagliolini) and Mains, namely Pan-fried blue eye cod fish fillet, Rolled veal loin and Pan-fried king prawns.

Finally, it was that time again. The crucial determiner of the evening. Marsala Tiramisu was imperative. After that we went crazy and ordered the White chocolate mousse and the Hot lava chocolate cake. #nowillpower

Tiramisu, the way it was meant to be created. Drenched in lovely marsala. Moist, delectable and downright dandy. Licked clean in approximately 5 minutes.

White chocolate mousse came with a warm nutella heart. Not for the faint hearted. This was so loaded that I wished for something to break all that creamy chocolate-ness. Maybe a biscuit base or some berries?

The hot lava chocolate cake with lemon sorbet and wild berry coulis brought about the perfect end to the night. The cake was wonderfully warm, fresh from the oven. It cut beautifully under my dessert spoon, letting out the chocolate center flow out just amply. The best part, however, was mixing it with the lemon sorbet and coulis. The tanginess was so perfect that it made my lips go smack with squinty eyes. Needless to say, I spooned out every last drop of the sorbet.

Prego’s gave me a pleasant night. Starting with the fresh breadbasket to the oven-fresh chocolate cake, it was a delicious ride. Though a tad high-priced, it is a great venue to relax, sip some vino, nibble on some cheese and have some good food.

Prego’s – the pricing story.
Aqua Panna (large)- Aed 32
Carpaccio- Aed 105
Seafood Salad- Aed 103
Lamb Shank- Aed 150
Tortelli Pasta- Aed 95
Tiramisu- Aed 55
White chocolate mousse- Aed 45
Chocolate lava cake- Aed 45

The Foodkissers were invited to the venue. What you have just read are honest opinions based on personal experience. Thank you for reading through! 🙂
Prego’s is located inside Media Rotana, Dubai, working from 12 noon to 3:30pm & from 6:00pm to 11:30pm. You can contact them at T: (+971) 4 435 0201 or Email: fb.media@rotana.com.