Oregano

A casual new Italian restaurant with a vast menu that’s easy on the pocket Discuss this article

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This casual Italian eatery takes inspiration from the north-western coastal region of Liguria, and the seaside influence is apparent as we walk in. Coral starfish, boat oars, lifebouys and wooden anchors are strewn around the dining room. It manages to look kitsch without being cheesy.

Oregano is no stranger to the country’s dining scene. The home-grown brand boasts no fewer than eight outlets up the road in Dubai, and we are keen to see how the new Al Forsan Village location matches up.

The exposed brick walls and crockery cabinets lined with curiosities add to the homely charm. It all helps create a vibe that makes you want to settle in for a lingering meal.

Seafood plays a prominent role in Ligurian cuisine (as you might expect), so starters of prawn arancini and salt and pepper calamari seem like sensible options. The crunchy deep-fried rice balls are usually filled with beef and mozzarella, so the prawn makes a welcome change. And it comes with a spicy kick that lifts the dish. The squid has plenty of flavour thanks to the seasoning but the light batter could be crunchier. At the moment it lacks a bit of bite.

The menu here is huge and includes dishes and combinations that some Italians would turn their nose up at.

We can be adventurous though, so gnocchi polpettine (that’s mini meatballs to you and us) seems perfectly reasonable.

The potato dumplings are feather-light and work well with the tomato sauce. Chuck in those meatballs and you have Italian comfort food at its best.

The Toscana linguine comes with a generous helping of turkey ham, beef pepperoni and shreds of chicken all tossed in a chilli oil. It’s a new combo on us, and while it’s filling it’s a little bit “everything and the kitchen sink” and we’re hardly wowed by it.

The hearty portions leave no room for dessert, but the menu covers all the usual ground.

Decent food at decent prices.

The Bill (for two)
1 x arancini Dhs33
1 x salt & pepper calamari Dhs41
1 x linguine Toscana Dhs42
1 x gnocchi polpettine Dhs43
1 x large water Dhs14
Total Dhs173

The bottom line
A simple, home-grown Italian – we’re fans.

By Time Out Abu Dhabi staff
Time Out Abu Dhabi,

Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.

Details

  • Location: Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi
  • Tel: 02 554 0144
  • Travel: Al Forsan Village
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Times: Open daily 11am-midnight

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