Basta! is a licensed, casual dining Italian restaurant and pizzeria at the Renaissance Downtown Hotel in Business Bay. A high ceiling and full glass façade with a magnificent view of the Dubai Canal gives this handsomely appointed eatery an airy sense of occasion. And the fact that this is a restaurant owned and run by the Gypsy Chef, David Myers, gives it a sense of excitement: https://www.gypsychef.com/.
I came here to try their business lunch which, at AED79 for a 2-course, seemed like amazing value. It was. It is. My Spanish BFF, brother, business partner and guru, José Diego, is a regular here. He quickly ordered a Chopped Salad to start followed by Penne Pasta with what looked and tasted like a spicy Arrabbiata sauce. I went for the Buffalo Mozzarella Caprese and the business lunch cut (= small cut) of Sirloin with Rocket and Pickled Onions. José Diego may be the modern incarnation of Casanova, dating some of the most modelesque and exotic girls in Dubai, but when it comes to food, let’s just say he is far less adventurous. His salad and pasta were good but deserve little more than a yawn and his favourite on their colourful menu, pizza. Hmm.
My mozzarella and tomato salad, as cliché as an Italian starter as it may be, was better than most (I love good quality mozzarella). My thinly sliced steak was very good and cooked exactly the medium-rare I like. I found that the rocket and pickled onions, drizzled with balsamic, went so well with the meat, adding a little crunch and tartness to each bite. Ever since I first tried the steak at Frankie’s Italian Bar & Grill, the now closed Frankie Dettori and Marco Pierre White restaurant in JBR, I have secretly believed that Italian restaurants may have the answer to that perfect steak. They don’t. Nonetheless, Basta’s is excellent and well worth a try.
The staff at Basta! are friendly, polite and well trained. Dining out with José Diego is like dining out with Don Juan DeMarco, women are naturally attracted to him, and our pretty waitress was no different. She fluttered around our table (his side mainly) like a female butterfly high on pheromones. As a consequence, even I really enjoyed my meal there. Jokes aside, the food and ambiance are truly special. Worth a visit.
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Xerxes physically dines at, or orders from, each and every venue he reviews. He pays in full for whatever he and his companions eat, drink, take away or occasionally throw at each other. Xerxes accepts no money, gifts, discounts or free meals in return for reviews or favouritism. What you have read was NOT influenced in any way by the venue. Join me on Instagram @ravenousxerxes or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.