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Il Capo: Bringing A Little Italian American Flavor to Dubai

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Il Capo: Bringing A Little Italian American Flavor to Dubai

It’s always exciting to hear about new hotel openings in the city, mainly because of the opportunities they provide to discover new dining hotspots. As a lover of Italian food, I’m happy to have Il Capo at the Westin in Al Habtoor City as one of those opportunities.

il-capo-the-westin-dubai-al-habtoor-city

Il Capo is a New York import, and for a few moments after entering, you’ll feel like you’re in a fine dining restaurant at the Big Apple itself. The dining room is elegant, with contrasting tones of beige and dark blue to create a refined but inviting palette, along with floor to ceiling mirrors and framed black and white photos on the walls. There’s a nice view of the new Dubai Canal from the large windows; no doubt it will be even better once all the construction’s completed.

The sharply dressed servers are friendly and quite knowledgeable about the menu, and the service overall has a very intimate feel to it as the manager personally drops by every table several times (without being too intrusive).

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il-capo-pear-hazelnut-salad

After enjoying some slices of buttery focaccia with a lovely herbed goat’s cheese spread, I get right into the meal. Chickpea fritters are an interesting blend between arancini and falafel with a garlicky flavor that has a few hints of sweetness, and a very delicate texture. The fritters are served with a lemon rosemary aioli, which is mild and provides a good balance. My next starter of Pear and Hazelnut Salad isn’t quite so balanced. The hazelnuts, crushed and sprinkled around, end up being lost in a mix of much stronger flavors. There’s a strong sweet note from the pear, combined with pungent gorgonzola and red endive, all tossed together in a tangy vinaigrette. To me, the sweet and sour mix feels a bit discordant as my taste buds swing from one extreme to the other without finding any middle ground.

il-capo-saffron-gnocchi
il-capo-green-beans-marinara

The Saffron Gnocchi leaves me a bit confused at first, as I find it hard to detect the saffron in it. After a few spoonfuls, I can feel the sweet aftertaste, and I’m told that there is saffron in the gnocchi dough. The flavor is a bit too subtle, however, and is overshadowed by the gorgonzola-based sauce and shaved truffle topping. My side order of Green Beans Marinara with Parmesan and Mint brings its flavors together much more cohesively.

As I pore over Il Capo’s dessert menu, the manager recommends the Toasted Olive Oil Cake, a very popular dessert in Italy. It’s a dish I’ve been curious to try since I first heard of it years ago, so I take her recommendation and also order the Fresh Berries Tiramisu (it’s an Italian restaurant after all, there has to be a tiramisu involved at some point). With mascarpone, shards of meringue, berries and a cotton candy topping, the tiramisu is a lovely variation on the traditional dessert. As for the olive oil cake, it’s hard to describe the flavor in words, but it is probably one of the best desserts I’ve had in quite some time.

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il-capo-fresh-berries-tiramisu

Il Capo is in a fantastic location (which will only get better in the coming months) with a warm, elegant atmosphere and a gorgeous canal view. The food has its share of hits and misses, but dessert is an easy highlight.

10/10stars

GRASSY SUMMARY
Veggie Friendly: ✔  Vegan Friendly: X
Pros: Great environment and atmosphere, really good dessert, friendly service
Cons: Appetizers and main courses weren’t particularly great
Price: $$$ (200 - 500 AED)

Average price for 1 guest without alcohol

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