Il Porto Italian Restaurant

Love the linguine. Shun the sushi behind the Marina Mall
  • 2

Time Out Says

Venture behind Marina Mall and you’ll find an attractive and affluent hamlet known as Marina Villas. Follow the road and you’ll eventually wind up outside what looks like a community centre. Il Porto, an independent restaurant, is to be found on the second floor.

The area is picturesque in an almost European way, set on a wide cove that could happily house a Greek fishing village. There’s an understated romantic feel to the scene that makes this restaurant a promising option come the cooler months. In the current climate, however, it’s best to sit inside (assuming they have the air conditioning on – ask, we found, and it shall be so).

The food certainly has its moments, providing you use the restaurant’s name as a guideline. Call us odd, but the last thing we’d expect from a restaurant named Il Porto is a freshly cut bowl of chirashi-don, and – unsurprisingly – the sushi was indeed woeful; dry, clumpy and (on the occasion that we visited) seemingly prepared by the waiter at the counter beside the till. Best stick to the likes of Toki if you’re out for a decent maki.

However, the Italian offerings were excellent, with a menu that burst at the seams trying to keep up with the myriad ideas the chef offers up. While many Italian restaurants pride themselves on their pizza oven, Il Porto likes to big-up its fresh pasta (making us wonder just how fresh the pasta is elsewhere). The fettucini al gamberetti is certainly worth a punt, and you can even watch the chef pounding away at the dough for you through the wall-sized kitchen window. We’d pay them a repeat visit for this dish alone.

The desserts, naturally, have the last word – the chef seems to go the extra mile for those with a sweet tooth. The molton fudge with ice cream was a mini pleasure volcano, erupting at the touch of a spoon and bringing the meal to a worthy climax. All in all, a decent restaurant, as long as you navigate west of Adriatic.

The bill (for two)
Insalata caprese
Diavola pizza Dhs53
Fettucini al gamberetti
Tiramisu Dhs37
Molton fudge with ice cream Dhs37
Dragon maki sushi
Total Dhs303

By Jon Wilks  | 27 Jul 2010

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Show number +971 2 635 9957
Abu Dhabi, Marina Village, Qasr Al Amouage

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