I’ve been to several Italian restaurants in the UAE, but none are like Per Te. This place makes you fall in love with it from the moment you walk in. It’s a villa-style restaurant nestled behind Beach Road, and a true hidden gem in Jumeirah. The space is large and contains 3 different dining areas as well as an open kitchen, bar, woodfire oven, a chocolate boutique and a small shop area where you can purchase imported Italian ingredients. The chef, Gladwin, is so passionate about his work and what he puts on the plate, that even the flour used in his kitchen is imported directly from Italy. He really leaves no stone left unturned when it comes to perfecting his work!
I went there with my husband and baby, and we were seated in the front area of the restaurant where we had a great view of the pizza-making chefs. The staff was very baby and family-friendly and provided us with a baby highchair immediately. That’s definitely one thing I look for in a restaurant since we’re those parents that take our child everywhere we go, and its really nice knowing that Per Te is so versatile; it’s authentic, romantic and family-friendly.
Per Te staff spoil you with the best focaccia bread as soon as you sit down. It’s so light and flavorful, with a slightly crispy crust, and of course, it’s made freshly in-house.
We started our dinner with a huge appetizer sampler, called the Antipasto Verdure. It includes spicy salami, rocket and parmesan, grilled vegetables, olives, focaccia, prawns wrapped in bacon, pesto with buffalo mozzarella cheese, olives, beef bresaola with figs, and sesame seared tuna. All of the elements on the plate were so well thought out and have such a good story behind them. My favorite was the Ahi Tuna which is seared with a black sesame crust and drizzled with a sweet balsamic glaze, which I was later told that by Chef Gladwin that it’s an 8-year old aged glaze! This Chef really puts thought and detail into his creations. This platter alone could fill you up! We also had the Calamari, Shrimp and Clam Basket, which is fried in a light, crisp batter and served with a delicious creamy sauce.
For drinks, we ordered a fresh carrot juice and a Peach Bellini. The Bellini took me back to my days in Italy, where I literally ordered peach Italian sodas where ever I could find them!
For mains, my husband ordered the Gamberoni Al Guazzetto, which is tiger prawns that come in an absolutely dreamy red sauce with a focaccia bread to dip in it. I couldn’t resist but to have most of his bread and sauce!
Unfortunately my little Khalifa was up past his bedtime at this point and I had to deal with him being a bit of a fuss monster, but the staff were so kind to let me soothe him and they even helped by trying to play with him a bit. As a mom, going out to dinner with a sleepy/fussy baby is an absolute nightmare, but we didn’t get any rude stares or feel the least bit unwelcome, which I truly appreciate. Luckily, I had a few videos on my phone that I know will definitely keep him quiet, so I had to bust out the big guns and show him those. That kept his squeamishness at bay for the rest of our dinner, and that’s a huge tip to parents who go out with kids to restaurants— download videos for them on your phone and keep it as a last resort!
Back to dinner: For my mains, I had a perfectly cooked salmon, Salmone con Spinaci. It was served on a bed of spinach and finely diced vegetables that were so flavorful. Every element on the dish was seasoned so well.
We also had a dish of truffle gnocchi, Gnocchi con Porcini e Trafuto, which was absolutely delectable. I make fresh gnocchi at home all the time, so when I come across something that I am familiar with, I always try to dissect how to recreate it, but the flavors that Chef Gladwin uses are so unique and very hard to replicate. That’s also another reason to have me coming back to this restaurant— the flavors are so very different to other restaurants of its kind in the UAE.
Once we were finished with our mains (which I had to ask to be wrapped up for take away since the portion size was so filling— and if you know me, I’m no waster 😉 ), the Chef came and asked if we would like to try a more “cheesy” dessert or a more “chocolatey” dessert. I’m a curious cat so I chose cheesy, while the hubs is more of a love-what-you-know kind of person, so he got chocolate. We were presented with two of the most indulgent and thought out desserts we’ve ever tried.
The “cheese” dessert had me guessing as to what kind of ingredients were used, but at the end, I didn’t have a clue. Chef Gladwin later told us that it was derived from mozzarella of all things! It’s a stringy cheese called stratecilla (made from mozzarella) which was immersed in a sweet amaretto biscuit crumble, fresh figs in eucalyptus honey (imported from Italy of course), along with walnuts, a caramel cage and cream. Oh my god, so freakin’ heavenly! That’s literally the only way I can describe it.
Lieto, the chocolate dessert is a slice of a smooth bittersweet cocoa chocolate cake with a mousse-like texture. It’s super indulgent, but then you take a scoop of the passion fruit semifreddo and it gives it such a great fresh, fruity element. It’s served with a coffee cream, maraschino cherries, fresh berries, nuts and shards of hardened caramel. It’s perfect whether or not you love chocolate because it’s got a great balance of dark and sweet.
Everything about the food at this restaurant is just so on point! The flavors, the presentation, the quality of the ingredients— I could go on and on. One of the best things is that the chef is so creative and is always coming up with new dishes, so being a return customer here can never get boring. Chef Gladwin handpicks every single element, traveling all over to find the best quality ingredients to bring to his dishes. This guy can be described in one word—passionate!
Also, you would imagine that the prices for a place that serves dishes made of mainly imported and specialized ingredients are quite high, but that is definitely not the case. The food is so affordable and definitely worth the quality. Heck, you’d be paying the same amount at a typical “Italian” franchise restaurant like Olive Garden, but at Per Te you would get 100 times more the quality, presentation, flavor, thought and love in the food you eat. It’s almost sinful to even compare another Italian restaurant in Dubai to this place; it’s just that good!
- Staff/Service: 5
- Cleanliness: 5
- Food: 5
- Value for money: 5
Overall Rating: 5
Worth Trying?: Yes! Over and over again!
To book at Per Te, call +971 4 453 5216.