DIFC has long been a haven for upmarket dining in Dubai and with a slew of new openings in recent weeks, the financial centre has got tongues wagging when it comes to what’s hot and what’s not. The current talk of the town appears to be Amazonico. Located in the DIFC pavilion it is hard to miss the restaurant with its jungle-flag exterior and yellow parasols peeking above the rooftop.
Amazonico opens in Dubai following success in Madrid and more recently, London in a concept that aims to take diners on a sensory journey along the Amazon River and through Latin America. The multi-level venue is open from lunch until late and makes quite the impression from the moment you enter as if the natural environment of the rainforest has been transported into the very heart of Dubai. The ground floor features a well-stocked bar that materializes from a wall of vegetation like some long-forgotten ruin and provides a nice place to relax for a post-work drink. The bar leads out into a lounge which is beautifully decorated with golden stools, a sushi counter and pleasant terrace. A spiral staircase winds seductively upstairs where you’ll discover the main dining room where supportive columns have been designed to resemble trees and a canopy of foliage hangs from above. A glass show kitchen is home to plenty of activity and is buzzing on the evening that we dine.
A cacophony of parrots squawks and the sounds of wildlife are piped through the speakers as intervals throughout the evening and help to complete the feeling of dining within the depths of the Amazon, but for the ultimate party vibe, we’d suggest heading to the rooftop for sundowners. The mixology on offer is as impressive as the glassware and you can expect to find your drinks served in a vessel shaped likes a monkeys head.
Amazonico fully commits to its jungle theme and the atmosphere and surroundings are exciting and vibrant. The food reflects this feeling too, using traditional ingredients and modern techniques to transport guests to South America, dishes like the Tuberculo des Andes (Andean root roasted in salt crust) or the Ancas de Rana (Fried frogs legs with a habanero mango dressing) make for exciting departures from the Dubai norm and provide the restaurant with a distinct talking point.
Our meal begins with the Guacamole con Erizo (AED 82) in which the avocado is stuffed with sea urchin before being mixed at the table. The smooth mix is beautifully complemented by crisp green plantain chips, though the flavour of the sea urchin is near impossible to detect. The Hamachi tiradito (AED 78) is a pleasant surprise and with the dish prevalent on so many menus throughout the city, the tropical take presented at Amazonico is both memorable and delicious thanks to thin slices of yellowtail marinated in passion fruit.
The Japanese Peruvian approach to Nikkei cuisine is apparent in the sushi selection which boasts an impressive Atun Picante (AED 105) that features spicy tuna tartar with green apple, yet it’s the vegetarian Amazonico (AED 58) which will have us coming back again. A blend of mango, avocado, coconut and cacao nibs work seamlessly to create a tropical feeling that refreshes and tantaluses the palate with each bite.
For main courses, guests can choose from fish, wok-fried specialities or charcoal-grilled meats. With ten meat options available it was the Hokkaido Wagyu 9+ (AED 580) that captured our attention, Cooked to a beautiful medium-rare temperature, the meat was both tender and nicely seasoned, accompanied by an array of side dishes such as yuca y papa, a combination of creamy mashed potato and yuca, and the queso grillado, which is essentially josper grilled cheese and an absolute delight.
Desserts include the traditional Peruvian speciality Suspiro (AED 45) with the name translating as “the sigh of Lima.” Compiles mango and avocado pavlova with a lime chantilly cream. The chocolate al motezuma (AED 55) is not to be missed and is perhaps Amazonico’s must-order dish, combining an oozing hot chocolate fondant with a scoop of pistachio ice cream.
Amazonico makes for an impressive dining experience and though similar in concept to Mama Zonia at Dubai Marina’s Pier 7, this DIFC spot stands out in a crowded marketplace, thanks to a winning combination of great food, innovative drinks, striking decor and a lively atmosphere. Start your South American journey and book a table now.
Out & About UAE were guests of Amazonico and all views are our own.