One of the many very respectable restaurants inside the Beach Rotana 21 Reviews
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Pregos is one of the many very respectable restaurants inside the Beach Rotana. But sadly, this particular restaurant looks like it could be serving almost any cuisine. There is little in the way of atmosphere here, at least little for anyone who has a passion for Italian food and its associated culture. And the Italians are very passionate people. Ambience aside, it is nevertheless an extremely comfortable restaurant and the staff were certainly very attentive, but it just has no sense of place. Even the music was non-descript.
While we mused over the menu, we were served some complementary rustic loaf, with chunks of parmesan and dish of tapenade and cannellini bean and garlic paste, which was nice. To start with we opted for the thinly sliced marinated swordfish with shrimps and avocado salad and the spinach salad with endives, artichokes, goat cheese and vine ripened plum tomatoes.
The swordfish was actually quite delicious and cut so thin that it practically melted in the mouth, and the avocado and sauce complemented it very well. The latter was a refreshing salad, made up mostly of raw baby spinach, lightly sprinkled with chopped endives and trimmed artichokes. For contrast, the tangy taste of goat cheese had been added.
Next came the real test: the main course. We believe the benchmark for any good Italian restaurant is the lasagne. It is not just a mouth-watering blend of mince meat, herbs, pasta and cheese sauce – this is art. Many have their own interpretation of this divine dish, indeed the recipe changes as one travels through Italy, from North the all the way down to Sicily. Prego’s offering was, on the whole, not bad. Not great, but not bad. The flavour was simple, but not outstanding. The thickness of each layer was reasonable and the béchamel sauce was pleasant. Personally, we prefer more tomato in the ragù and slightly stronger flavours from the marjoram, parsley and thyme.
In addition to the lasagne, we chose the homemade pasta, fresh herbs, cèpe mushrooms, smoked turkey, asparagus and black truffle oil. The combination of cèpe mushrooms and black truffle oil gave a nutty, earthy and meaty flavoured dish. It felt more like a dish you might order on a winter’s night.
To finish, before the inevitable espresso, we opted for two more so-called signature Italian dishes, panna cotta with fruit salad and white chocolate sauce, and traditional tiramisu. The former was not as creamy as one would expect, however, the flavouring of vanilla seeds was delicate and not overpowering. It was nicely accompanied with a fruit salad of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blue currents.
The latter was a light, frothy textured cream topping that tasted more of egg white than mascarpone or even double cream. There was some evidence of lady fingers dipped in espresso at the base, but not very much. Tiramisu means ‘pick me up’ and unfortunately there was nothing in this version that uplifted our spirits.
The bill (for two)
Marinated swordfish Dhs69
Spinach salad Dhs53
Pasta with mushrooms Dhs83
Panna cotta Dhs36
Total (excluding service) Dhs346
Time Out Abu Dhabi,
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