The Venue: Sitting on the iconic destination that is Bluewaters Island, Alici is the new sister dining locale to the award-winning Il Borro Tuscan Bistro in Jumeirah Al Naseem. Another Italian-style gem, this venue beautifully and quite successfully channels the sights, smells, style and flavours of the Amalfi Coast.

The Design: A simply styled interior, yet one that pays attention to detail and authenticity, creates a consistent décor radiating comfort, class and calm. Designed by Orange Hospitality, the venue’s colour palette of soothing seaside shades of blue and white-washed surfaces and textiles, along with subtle greenery, tangerine, lemon and olive trees, carries the coastal theme throughout the space. The word “Alici” is Italian for anchovies, a typical, tasty Mediterranean fish, very common in the diet of southern Italy. This motif carries throughout the restaurant from ceramic design tabletops to pottery, serve ware and wall art. The Italian handmade ceramic techniques speak to the chic, unmistakable style traits found in the south of the country. The maestro behind all the Alici pottery is an artisan affectionately referred to as “Anchovy Man”, Lucio Liguori, a renowned pottery and ceramic maker based on the Amalfi Coast. Guests are greeted in reception by a hand-painted stone wall bathed in low light with a ceramic plaque that reads Alici. To the left, a pizza counter is beautifully customised with blue hand-painted tiles on both the counter and wood-fire oven. A vibrant hyper-realistic painting depicting the famous Positano hillside sits as a centrepiece in the main dining area and provides a delightful pop of colour. A slow walk up the stairs featuring Gio Ponti tiles offers perspective into Italian coastal life with a floor-to-ceiling collection of framed watercolours and sketches of the south of Italy. The relaxed atmosphere continues upstairs and flows into the private dining room, the bar counter as well as the roomy terrace. Blonde wood floors brighten the interior settings while a darker wood decking outside contrasts with the high-back white rattan peacock chairs on the relaxed terrace. Each seat inside and outside of the restaurant overlooks the spectacular waterside view with a plethora of yachts and the Dubai Marina skyline as a backdrop.

The Experience: The relaxed ambience of Alici captures the charm of a home with very chic styling serving up a fresh menu of southern Italian favourites. The first port of call is the raw seafood counter, where a delicious variety of oysters among other crudo are available. A selection of fresh and flavourful appetisers and a divine tagliatelle al tartufo are the opening act to the main event, branzino al sale – a 1 kg salt-crusted seabass  – which is an impressive sharing dish and quite a presentation. It’s worth noting that sustainability is at the forefront of Alici’s philosophy, exclusively serving seafood from sources that preserve the health of the water ecosystems. Classy, cosy, scrumptious and sustainably conscious -  a winner with us!

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