Restaurant Review: Cipriani Yas Island

The historic Cipriani has its roots in Venice where an army of white-jacketed waiters served celebs such as Ernest Hemingway and the British royal family.

The world-renowned Cipriani restaurant in Abu Dhabi offers much more than just fine-dining, and your experience starts the moment you step on board this yacht-like restaurant. Set in Yas Island, the restaurant serves Italian cuisine that is as impressive as the service, ambience, and the views it offers, which encompass the Yas Marina waters, Marina circuit and the dazzling blue iconic lights of the Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi.

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Cipriani is decked out into several parts; the main restaurant, the bar, the cigar lounge, a wine room, the private dining space, the banquet room, library and a sprawling outdoor terrace. The well-appointed restaurant has all the makings of a destination for special occasions. It is a great place to mark a birthday, memorable anniversaries and even business galas.

Our first port of call at the restaurant is the nautical-themed bar positioned by the entrance fashioned in white walls, navy blue couches, wooden-columns with portholes and smartly turned out staff dressed in starched white shirts. We sip a Bellini, a delicious and refreshing mix of peach juice and Prosecco wine created in the thirties by the restaurant founder Giuseepe Cipriani. It is particularly enjoyable as we view the blue waters on the numerous computer screen-portholes that provide a sense of drifting offshore.

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We also have a nice chat with the hotel manager who tells us that sourcing from the best producers is the mainstay at Cipriani. Some high-quality ingredients are also sourced directly from Italy including olive oil, fresh homemade pasta – which is also retails at the restaurant, sauces, tomatoes and lemons.

Quite appropriately for starters, we choose Cipriani’s famous invention – the Carpaccio alla Cipriani and a seafood salad. The Carpaccio of thinly sliced beef sirloin is dressed with a mix of mayonnaise mixed in lemon juice. As acclaimed, the dish is delicious and tender and the seafood salad with extra virgin oil and lemon is flavoursome. The starters establish the freshness and quality of the ingredients in the courses to follow.

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For the mains, our waiter, Valerio, guides us through the lengthy menu. He suggests we share a baked green tagliolini with bresaola. The lightly baked homemade tagliolini with salted beef and grated Parmesan tastes rich, creamy and moist.

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We appreciate the waiter’s advice as the cheesy pasta dish is filling and sharing it leaves us room to sample the sea bream with grill vegetables and a grilled chicken. The sea bream is delicately flavoured with herbs and olive oil and I enjoy every mouthful of its moist succulent flesh. The grilled vegetables on the side nicely compliment it. My companion’s grilled chicken plated with roasted vegetables is also done perfectly.

We round off the Italian meal with the traditional tiramisu. The espresso soaked dessert serves as an ideal “pick-me up” as its name suggests, giving us the boost we require after a satisfying meal to go the full nine-yard. We polish off the homemade pistachio ice cream that was delightfully unusual.

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Overall, dining at the restaurant felt like we had sampled an old world charm of elegance and sophistication. And the good service offered was proof that the staff took pride in being part of Cipriani’s fine-dining legacy.