Corleone-themed Italian restaurant in Juffair, Bahrain 3 Reviews
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For a restaurant to be successful, it stands to reason that the food has to be a winner.
Yes, atmosphere and service play a significant role in the satisfaction of your meal but let’s face it, if you’re going out to spend your hard-earned cash on food someone else is preparing, then you want to enjoy it.
Either the food is good and you want to go back or the food isn’t up to par and a repeat visit is unlikely. That’s what makes this particular review somewhat of a challenge to write.
Stumbling across Cucina Italiana after finding our original choice closed for the night, turned out to be a delightful surprise in the most unexpected of ways.
Warm and inviting, you feel at ease from the second your eyes catch sight of the little terrace at the entrance. If you focus out everything else around you, you can almost imagine yourself in an Italian piazza.
A friendly welcome greets you at the door and, as you walk inside, the outside world disappears and you can completely forget you are in Bahrain at all. The decor is both elegant and inviting, with modern murals depicting Italian scenery and subdued lighting from both spotlights and table lamps.
It feels more like the comfort of home than a restaurant and as our waitress, the very amiable Melody, led us to our table my dining companion and I shared a happy smile and contented nod.
The Godfather trilogy plays silently in the background and Marlon Brando and Al Pacino stare out at you from a massive wall mural at the back of the room. Atmosphere? Check, check and check.
But that’s where things start to go downhill a little. Perusing the menu, there are so many inviting dishes it’s hard to choose what to eat but finally deciding on a starter of calamari for myself and minestrone for my companion we settled in to enjoy what promised to be delightful fare.
Sadly what we got didn’t live up to our expectations. While originally presented in a deep frying basket, my calamari left me more than a little disappointed when I realised they seemed cooked from frozen rather than fresh and covered in so much batter that it was hard to find the calamari.
The minestrone was thick and chunky as a good minestrone should be but was sadly missing the all important taste of tomato and seasoning.
We fared a little better with our main courses of bistecca grigliata con spinaci and spaghetti aglio, olio and pachino peper oncino e pan grattato. My steak was cooked to perfection even if the cut of meat was a little fatty but the overpowering amounts of rosemary mixed in with my spinach made it very hard to have more than a mouthful or two before abandoning it and concentrating on the steak alone. The garlic and chili pasta my companion was enjoying was admittedly very tasty, if a little dry and heavy.
The real winners of the evening however were our desserts. Large portions for starters and main courses meant that we both looked at each other when handed the dessert menu, sure neither of us had any room left but, since the point of a review is to try the different courses, we finally settled on pannacotta with berry coulis for myself and home-made vanilla bean gelato for my companion.
This is where Cucina Italiana’s food really and truly shines. Clearly home-made, both the pannacotta and the gelato were creamy, smooth, delicious and sinfully moreish and the beautiful presentation which included a cocoa stencil outline of a fork added a wonderfully whimsical touch to the dish.
So what was the unexpected surprise I hear you wonder? Well as a bit of a foody, it’s rare that I would want to return to a restaurant that didn’t blow me away with its food but while the food (apart from the deserts) does leave a little to be desired, I can quite honestly say this is one restaurant in Bahrain I most definitely want to return to over and over again.
The bill (for two)
Calamari pastellati BD 3.300
Minestrone BD 2.500
Spaghetti aglio, olio BD 3.700
Bistecca grigliata con spinaci BD 7.200
Pannacotta BD 2.500
Gelato BD 2.000
Diet Coke x 2 BD 2.000
Total (inc service) BD 27.840
Time Out Bahrain,
Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.