Experience authentic Italian flavours and creative fusion dishes at these trattorias, pizzerias and modern Italian restaurants you’ll find in Bahrain.
Whether you’re looking to tuck into a bowl of creamy pasta or sink your teeth into a thin-crust pizza, the island has many restaurants offering a true Italian dining experience, with unpretentious yet delicious food to share with friends and family.
Restaurant, Italian, $$$
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Opened in 2011, this restaurant is a favourite with the island’s foodies. Serving authentic flavours created using fresh, hand-picked ingredients, Cucina Italiana, as the name suggests, is Italian cooking at its finest. The menu features a wide range of seafood, meat and vegetarian appetisers, including soups, salads, pasta, pizzas and risottos. An extensive wine menu is also available. Simple yet stylish decor, including brick walls and wood panels, transports diners to a trattoria in Tuscany; the wall art depicting Mario Puzo’s The Godfather is the highlight and leads to an exclusive section with a long oak table that’s great for family events. The parking area right outside the restaurant is a plus.
Tucked away in the Palace Boutique Hotel, Masso is the perfect place to enjoy a weekend brunch or host an outdoor private event during the cooler months. Following a farm-to-table style of cooking, the restaurant uses fresh, local ingredients brought in from its Budaiya farm every morning. There’s a selection of cheeses and an extensive wine menu; the food menu features a range of cold cuts, salamis and homemade sausages. You can also enjoy seafood dishes such as lobster linguini and vegetarian delights such as pumpkin ravioli and mushroom pizza.
Located in City Centre Bahrain, the island’s busiest mall, Vapiano is always crowded but serves consistently delicious food. An open kitchen allows you to watch your dish being prepared with fresh ingredients and using sauces and dressings that are made in-house. While the flavours here are always on point, the chef will also be happy to incorporate your own preferences. All dishes are cooked to order and served in generous portion sizes. The ambiance is relaxed, in keeping with Vapiano spirit – the word means ‘easy-going’. Despite being a casual diner, the long oak tables, high seating and herb garden give this restaurant an upscale, urban vibe. If you want to enjoy an after-dinner coffee or drink, you can move to the bar or the comfortable lounge section.
Tucked away in Zallaq, this restaurant overlooking the Arabian Gulf serves authentic Italian cuisine. Diners can enjoy an elevated experience seated outdoors by the sea against the backdrop of the sunset, while sipping on premium beverages. If it’s too humid, sitting indoors by the window is a great option. The food is delicious and top recommendations include the gnocchi, lasagne, meat platter and pizzas. You can even watch the chef prepare your pizza in a wood-fired oven. Whether you dine à la carte or go for the buffet, great food, impeccable service and an exquisite fine-dining ambience are sure to keep you happy.
Tucked away on Amwaj Islands, this modern Italian restaurant serves a wide selection of dishes and is decorated with rustic touches such as wooden panels and warehouse displays. The menu features antipasti such as fried calamari and an assortment of cured meats and cheeses; there is a wide selection of creative mains such as Tuscany-inspired sea bass and thin-crust, wood-fired pizzas. For dessert, the house signature dish tiramisu is highly recommended. The dining experience is further enhanced by warm and friendly service, and the sunlit restaurant and the outdoor terrace overlooking the dancing fountain both offer a refreshing ambience.
A homely restaurant, Cico’s has been a magnet for the island’s elite for over 40 years. It’s trattoria-style ambience with checked tablecloths and whitewashed walls and its unpretentious yet delicious food offer diners a homely vibe, perfect for a weekend dinner with the family. The menu features staples such as risottos, pasta and pizzas, as well as creative mains made with local ingredients such as grilled hammour fillet with lemon garlic sauce. For dessert, there is the traditional tiramisu, a vanilla- and mango-flavoured panna cotta, and a melt-in-your-mouth chocolate fudge. An award-winning restaurant – in 2005, Cico’s was presented with the title of Best Restaurant at the International Hotel and Restaurant Awards in Madrid – it has a dynamic team of chefs and friendly servers offering diners consistently good food and a welcoming atmosphere.
This popular venue is a spacious, well-lit restaurant with warehouse displays lending it a rustic feel. It’s ideal for a casual brunch or even a quick afternoon meal on a weekday. The service is great, as are the staff, and the menu is primarily Italian. You can choose from a selection of pasta, pizzas and risottos. Appetisers such as Tuscany chilli fries, crumbed mozzarella and crispy parmesan aubergine are served and a few of the dishes have a local spin, such as the hammour scaloppine. For desserts, you can try the tiramisu, or a cake layered with strawberries and mascarpone. The restaurant has another branch in Riffa.
In September 2018, La Pergola, the oldest Italian restaurant in Bahrain, was rechristened La Pergola by Perbellini. Two Michelin-star chef Giancarlo Perbellini partnered with Gulf Hotel Bahrain Convention and Spa to create this, his first outlet in the Middle East. The menu features both traditional and modern dishes, from appetisers, pasta and pizzas through to creative mains and desserts. An exquisite fine-dining ambiance coupled with great service makes this place a must-visit.
This rustic Italian restaurant, said to be revived from an old Italian flour factory, has received rave reviews since its opening in 2016. It’s owned by the team that’s behind Bahrain’s beloved Café Lilou, so it’s no surprise that the food served here is consistently good. You can order the signature heart-shaped pizzas and salads or creamy pasta and risottos. Creative mains such as fried mac and cheese stuffed with beef Bolognese rosé sauce are also served. For desserts, there’s gluten-free chocolate cake, mascarpone-berry cheesecake with red-velvet crumble and more. All this along with a friendly staff and an inviting interior promise to offer a great dining experience.
Primavera means spring, but this restaurant, serving authentic Italian dishes, is a pleasure to dine at all year round. The new menu is a must-try and features a variety of vegetarian, seafood and meat options. Speciality dishes with a local spin, such as olive-crusted sea bass with vegetable caponata (salad), are also served. Diners can also choose from a selection of gluten-free dishes such as grilled octopus with potato salad, green beans and pesto and veal with tuna mayonnaise and capers. For desserts, staples such as tiramisu and unique creations such as yoghurt sorbet with goat’s cheese foam and strawberries are available. Spacious and chic, this Trattoria moderna – modern restaurant – is ideal for that weekend brunch or dinner with friends. You can sit indoors or enjoy an al fresco experience on the veranda overlooking the pool.