Prego’s, Media Rotana’s Italian-Mediterranean restaurant
Category: Food & Beverage

Robert De Niro’s waiting…talking Italian.

Prego is Italian for “Don’t mention it,” or “You’re welcome.”

Prego’s is Media Rotana’s Italian-Mediterranean restaurant, where you’d most probably be hearing a lot of Pregos as you grazie your way out with a smile following a sumptuous meal. (Grazie, by the way, is Italian for “Thank you.”)

Which is not farfetched, all things considered – from the seductive antipasti corner to the luscious salad bar, awesome cheese selection, an indulgent oyster bar, succulent carving station, the fulfilling main courses and mind-tingling dessert row.

Add the restaurant’s somewhat art deco-ish, minimalist layout and the friendly staff, and you’ll have it all in spades.

“I believe what’s important is the basic concept of combining taste and structure of the food. There is not one right way or concrete idea to follow when creating a new dish or taste,” says Daniele Capobianco, Prego’s specialty outlet chef from Sardinia.

Capobianco, who grew up in Umbria, that part of Italy home to a range of delicacies, and which apparently has an influence on his cooking style, dismissed the seeming popular notion about Italian cuisine being mostly tomatoes and olives. “We use a lot of tomatoes, but really Italian cuisine is vast. The ingredients, the variety, the combinations, the authenticity… so many factors make Italian cuisine great, including passion,” he says.

Prego’s, which sits up to 120 people, regularly runs a Friday Brunch special, where for about AED200 one can experience Chef Daniele’s Italian-Mediterranean preparations.

Antipasti or starters include insalata di mare (seafood salad), pizza marinara con salmone affumicato (pizza marinara with smoked salmon) and peperoni ripieni con funghi misti (bell pepper stuffed with mixed mushrooms).

There is also a wide selection of cheese like the popular Grana Padano, a hard cheese brought to the world by the Cistercian monks 900 years ago; and the ever-popular Buffalo mozzarella, yes, cheese from water buffalo milk.

Nine main courses are also on offer, among them Stinco d’agnello con vino rosso, bacche di ginepro e alloro (lamb shank with red wine, juniper berries and bay leaves), and Polipi brasati con patate e olive (braised octopus with potatoes and black olives).

Tiramisu, as always and as in any other Italian restaurants, is the star of the dessert row.

Chef Daniele runs Prego’s with fellow Sardinian, Alessandro Fressura, the restaurant manager who, himself, was born in a hospitality family, which has been operating a bar and a pizzeria in Sardinia for five generations. Fressura had worked at a Michelin-starred restaurant in London and continued his career as a general manager, “always bringing forward anything I took over with success,” as he puts it.

It’s been rumoured Robert De Niro was once spotted at Prego’s. So yes, you might just catch a glimpse of him, talking Italian.

For all who are still not in the know, Prego’s is among preferred restaurants in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

(Jojo Dass)