Review: Giornotte, The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal

Date: 2016-12-04
Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion, hosting visitors from abroad or just want to get the whole gang together for an afternoon of laughs, Friday brunch at The Ritz-Carlton does not disappoint. Although it will leave your wallet feeling lighter, you’ll emerge from Giornotte with zero regrets – except maybe that last piece of cake you just couldn’t resist.
From the initial descent down the grand marble staircase into Giornotte, it’s clear that this is no ordinary Friday brunch. Before you even set foot in the restaurant, you’re greeted by soft live music, incredible smells and smiling staff. Designed to mimic a classic Italian villa, the restaurant’s atmosphere is sophisticated without feeling too fussy or formal. This makes the venue remarkably well suited for all manner of occasions, whether you come for a casual family afternoon out, or for a birthday or anniversary celebration. Tables spill out into the wide hallway, and floor-to-ceiling windows let in loads of natural sunlight, so you don’t even have to sit on the patio to feel like you’re dining alfresco – although we do recommend sitting outside when the weather is agreeable. 
The food – oh, the food! – isn’t your typical brunch fare. Upon entering, you’ll have a hard time keeping your jaw from dropping. Inside the restaurant there are extensive buffet spreads, and the entire sun-drenched hall is lined with live cooking stations serving up treats like fresh pasta, lobster mac and cheese and scrambled eggs with truffle mousse. And while many restaurants sacrifice quality in favour of choice, Giornotte manages to maintain both to a high standard. Everything we tried, from the seared scallops and empanadas to the curry and salmon sashimi, tasted as though it was prepared with great care. The downside of such a spread is that there is so much choice you’ll be popping your buttons before you’ve had a chance to try everything. But be sure to save at least a little room for sweets. The end of the hall opens up into a dessert room which could only be rivaled by Willy Wonka’s candy factory. Homemade ice creams, waffles with flambéed fruit toppings (we ate two), cakes, candies and cookies are only a few of the desserts you have to choose from.   
The bill may be a bit higher here than other brunches in the capital, but at Giornotte you get what you pay for – Dhs.295 including soft drinks, Dhs.395 including house beverages, or Dhs.495 including bubbly.
Brunch commences at 1pm and runs until 4pm, but if you haven’t fallen into a food coma by then, Sorso Bar upstairs hosts a lively after party.
Call 02 818 8282 

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