Dubai Diaries: Cocktails & Dinner at Palazzo Versace

La Dolce Vita

Sometimes, there’s just no getting enough of a good thing.

After whiling away the most idyllic afternoon over a lazy lunch at Vanitas earlier in the week (the burrata was the best thing that I’ve had in a long while), my mother, masi (mother’s sister) and I found ourselves basking in the splendour at Palazzo Versace once again on our last evening in Dubai…



We smoothly picked up where we had left off, starting our evening with cocktails at La Vita – a debonair watering hole inspired by the most classic English hotel bars over the years.


Outfitted simply with cream walls and a supple buttery leather, there’s a confident air of understated elegance in this softly illuminated lounge that’s reminiscent of the charm of a bygone era…



The cocktails seriously impressed too, with La Vita breathing new life into many an old classic, such as with the Smoked Sicilian Sours, featuring a delicate yet rich combination of lemon sherbert, grapefruit, lavender and a smoked-limoncello foam, for an Italian twist to the whisky-based drink!


While fresh ginger juice and a generous splash of prosecco did much to revitalise a classic Negroni, fittingly retitled as a Negroni Piccante.


As for those looking for a tropical escape, Kenta, the affable barman, would undoubtedly guide you to a Lennox 2.0 – a smooth but potent concoction of rum, beer reduction and madeira, with a hint of bananas and walnuts.



At some point between drinks and dinner, a spectacular display of fireworks sparked up by the creekside, luring us to the al fresco terrace adjoining each of the hotel’s restaurants…


… And as with our lunch at Vanitas, we were unanimous in our decision to make the most of the fantastic Dubai weather with dinner outdoors at Giardino. Although we did love the cheerful feel inside the restaurant, with bright jungle prints (designed by the house of Versace of course!) that added much vibrancy to the classic marble interiors and mosaic details.



The nature-focussed theme extends to the eclectic mix of international cuisines served up at Giardino too, which are rooted in local market ingredients with a street food element.

While it’s all presented as a buffet, there are live cooking stations at each of the counters so once you’ve seen what strikes your fancy, the food is freshly prepared as you’d like it and then brought out to your table!

It was a bit of everything for us.

My uncle made a bee-line for the Indian options, tucking into chaat (savoury Indian street-style snacks) and crisp naan with slow-cooked daal makhani (black lentils). My aunt joined in on the carb fest with pizzas served on a fluffy focaccia base, while mother enjoyed the earthy array of Lebanese dips and specials.

Whereas I commenced the feasting with a selection of cheeses (including my favourite, Roman pecorino!) liberally slathered with apricot jam on some rather moreish multi-grain crackers…



… And then switched to sushi, which deserves special mention as not only did chef send out the most beautifully plated dishes, but the avocado sushi was also some of the best veggie sushi I’ve ever had with a generous layer of creamy avocado smoothly enveloping the soft sushi rice.


As one would expect of Palazzo Versace, desserts were an extravagant affair, complete with a chocolate fountain, Arabic sweets and delicate bite-sized treats galore…


… But sometimes, even when you find yourself in surrounds as opulent as this, it’s  all about life’s simple pleasures. Like a scoop of oreo ice cream in a cone – not a cup – enjoyed by the pool-side.


It was a beautiful evening in more ways than one, and the perfect note on which to end the holiday.

Although with five more of the hotel’s restaurants and/ or lounges still left to experience, I’m sure we’ll be making our way back here quite soon… In case you get there before we do, do drop me a line with how you found things!

Giardino, Ground Floor, Near East Pool, Palazzo Versace, Culture Village, Al Jadaf, Umm Hurair, Dubai

Giardino Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I was hosted by Palazzo Versace. As always though, all opinions are my own.

If you’re interested, you can read more about the hotel and our experience at Vanitas, the Italian restaurant, here.

Author: The Foodie Diaries

A food travel & lifestyle journal, chronicling my culinary and other adventures around town.

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