To-die-for Mussels Tarantina


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After waiting for 15 minutes at Outback (confused and disdainful staff) on a Friday night, we left and discovered this restaurant. And decided to take a chance. Romano’s Macaroni Grill is hidden at one end of Dubai Festival City, a level below the cinemas.
The service was delightful. After we were seated, a prompt waiter introduced himself and wrote his name on the table mat; adding a smiley. While waiting for the main course, we were served a freshly baked loaf of rosemary focaccia on the house. Warm and fragrant – we ended up demolishing half the loaf. By then, my daughter and I were served our orders – a Calamari Fritti and a Tarantina Mussels – both, a first for us.
The Fritti just blew our mind. Generous portions of fresh and succulent calamari (abso must try) with perfectly crisp batter.
But the moment of true awakening was the Tarantina Mussels served on perfectly done orzo (pasta shaped like a rice grain). Every spoon was a burst of flavours – garlicky buttery orzo, hints of olive oil, sea-stock, fresh mussels and parsley; asked for a generous dash of fresh pepper. After the first spoon, my daughter closed her eyes, sat still and actually put away her BB. It was that good. We ate in total silence but could not finish. Asked to pack the food and requested to add the wonderful leftover bread. They refused and said they would give a fresh loaf! And did not charge…
The staff seemed genuinely comfortable with each other despite the rush and it was a joy to see the camaraderie in a semi-open kitchen with chefs who seemed to love cooking. Yes, I am planning to go back and try other dishes. A serendipitous experience with a reasonable bill for casual fine dining. The next time, we went back, the chef overdid the stock for the Tarantina. As a result, it was more like a soup. So do remember to warn them.

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2 thoughts on “To-die-for Mussels Tarantina

  1. A fav with the family….have always had a good experience at Romano’s Mac grill in festival city…Have not tried the Mussels Tarantina…but will give it a shot on our next visit…Great first review and good luck for more to come:))

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