Review: Gaia Restaurant, DIFC, Dubai

Gaia Restaurant, DIFC, Dubai

I’m sure I have been to every Greek island over the years – most recently, Santorini, where it’s impossible to take a bad picture. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited. So where better to choose my first glass than that very region. Tonight I was dining with my guest at Gaia, named after the Greek Goddess of Earth.
The decor is not in any way typical of a Greek taverna, in fact, it’s the total opposite with muted, light decor, ornate lights, black and white sea-themed prints, comfortable cushioned booths, and crisp white table cloths. Gaia has already hosted royalty including Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and 50 Cent, now that’s a royal seal of approval.

50 Cent with Chef Izu Ani
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Ruler of the Emirate of Dubai with Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Chef Izu Ani, with Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Chef Izu Ani and Chef Orestis Kotefas

The evening we visited was cool, so we opted for an outside seat. The restaurant was packed, and I couldn’t see an empty table – quite an achievement for a relatively new eatery on a Tuesday evening. Scanning the menu, there was a good choice, not overly complicated, and no more than 6-8 items in each section. Created by Chef Izu Ani and Chef Orestis Kotefas, the menu combines traditional flavours, fresh ingredients and the simplicity of Greek and Amaliada cuisine.

The decor is not in any way typical of a Greek taverna, in fact, it’s the total opposite with muted, light decor, ornate lights, black and white sea-themed prints.

You can hand-pick your fish from the fresh ice market in the centre of the restaurant and have it prepared exactly to your liking. I’m such a creature of habit; I love seafood, so lobster spaghetti and cherry tomato sauce was an obvious choice. Another creature of habit, my guest ordered the lamb cutlets with pita bread and tzatziki. As we were not sure what else we should try, our waiter asked what we liked and disliked, and we let him choose on our behalf.

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Lobster and spaghetti

The lobster arrived beautifully dressed and topped with fresh basil leaves; this is my food heaven. The sauce wasn’t overpowering – just the right amount of flavour to showcase the lobster. The lamb was perfectly seasoned too. Although I’m not a lamb fan, I tried a bite, and I may now have to revisit lamb cutlets. Our table by now was full of various dishes, courgette salad, seafood pasta, ribeye steak and roast potatoes. The food just kept coming; we enjoyed all the dishes, but the standout was the lobster. Taking a break, we were soon talked into ordering desserts, and our waiter insisted we should try the filo mille-feuille – filo sheets, pastry cream and pistachio. The crisp pastry, soft cream and crunchy pistachio were too hard to resist. We had a wonderful evening overall, and the food definitely didn’t disappoint. Whether you’re looking to stop by for a few drinks or a light lunch, this has to be my big fat Greek Dubai favourite hang-out!

Gaia, DIFC Gate Village 4, Dubai
12pm to 3am and 7pm to 2am.
BookingsTel: (04) 241 4242. gaia-dubai.com

 

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