Bussola means compass in Italian language and Mare stands for sea. If you want to find the way to great Italian food next to the beautiful sea of Dubai, overlooking the Arabian Gulf, we recommend you to follow your compass and to find your way to Mare by Bussola. The Italian chef and his local team serve light, delicious, Italian dishes that perfectly fit the wonderful environment next to the pool and the beach at the Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Hotel. Be ready to enjoy the Italian Riviera…in Dubai !
Location & Interior
The three Bussola restaurants are part of the Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Hotel, just steps away from the Dubai Marina. Wherever you go, you will be stunned by amazing views of the Arabian Gulf. Mare by Bussola is located just outside the main restaurant and can be found next to the pool and the beach. Once you walk in, the first thing you notice is a cute, white Fiat 500 car which is parked there to remind you that you will be soaked under in the atmosphere of the Italian Riviera. Lots of wood is used in the design of the restaurant, which makes total sense for an outside beach restaurant. For who would still doubt about what atmosphere they want to create here, there is a big olive tree standing in the middle of the restaurant, that leaves no room for speculation.
The whole restaurant is a beautiful outdoor area where you find an escape from the bustling city. As the pool and beach area of the Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Hotel do not allow access to children, you will only meet an adult clientele in the restaurant, which adds to the calm and relaxing atmosphere. For who wants to enjoy Montanaro’s food without leaving the lounger near the swimming pool, also that is possible. The helpful staff, will not hesitate to serve you whatever you are craving for, without you having to leave the comfort of your beach chair. The whole restaurant has a great vibe and while a DJ is playing upbeat tunes, you can enjoy great al fresco dining, overlooking the pool, the beach and the sea.
The Chef & the team
Behind the stove of Mare by Bussola, we find Simone Montanaro. The still very young chef was born in Milano and it was also in that city that he decided to make a profession out of cooking and where he studied culinary arts. Once he got out of school, Montanaro immediately embarked on a culinary career outside of his home country. After an initial stint of a bit more than three years in Bahrein, he moved to Singapore where he got the opportunity to work in the kitchen of the St Regis Singapore Hotel near Orchard Road. That experience opened the door for him to move to the idyllic islands of The Maldives, where he got the responsibility to manage the culinary operations of the Como Hotel. With this international experience, but while not forgetting his Italian roots, Chef Simone moved to the amazing city of Dubai, where he was appointed head chef of the kitchens of Bussola Italian Restaurant, Mare by Bussola and Bussola Pizzeria. In Mare by Bussola, the focus of Montanaro is clearly on seafood. While in main restaurant Bussola you will find the very traditional Italian cuisine in a modern way, in Mare by Bussola the chef clearly aims at keeping the food a bit lighter, as they mainly cater for guests who are enjoying the beach and the pool. But also in the lighter and less complex dishes served in Mare, the Italian roots of the chef are never far away. On the menu you will find mainly salads and grilled fish, but also carnivores can find something to their liking on the menu.
The chef is heading the kitchens of the three restaurants and has dedicated teams for each of them. Even though each of the teams is dedicated to one of the restaurants, team members switch regularly to the other Bussola restaurants so that they get a broad understanding of the Italian cuisine and that they are able to work in all of them at all times. The kitchen team of Mare consists of six people and all of them are clearly trained very well in Italian cuisine, even though their origins are situated closer to Dubai than to Italy. Most members of the team have worked in Bussola already for many years, also with the predecessors of Simone, and clearly know how to cook the traditional dishes of the southern European country. In every dish, a lot of attention goes to the flavors and that cannot be omitted when you enjoy the delectable plates that leave the kitchen. Mare by Bussola is serving food from noon till eleven o’clock in the evening. So, the restaurant is continuously in operation. Taking into account that the service team is also taking care of the guests at the pool and the beach, there is a lot of work to be taken care of. To cope with that, the service team consists of twenty-five people.
We visited the restaurant during lunch and discovered a menu that offers exactly the kind of dishes that you expect when you are sitting next to a beach. Being an Italian restaurant, obviously in everything they serve you will find that focus on the typical Italian cuisine. The products are mostly coming straight from the home country of Simone. The chef has a strong conviction that the soil on which vegetables grow, contributes to the taste of them, and for that he prefers to work with products from the country he was born in. Every time he travels back to Italy, Montanaro visits farmers and local suppliers in order to find products that can inspire him for the creation of new dishes. The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Hotel has a team that is in charge of sourcing from local suppliers who are able to import the products the chef found in Italy. Plating of the food is done in a contemporary manner and every dish we saw coming out of the Mare by Bussola kitchen, looked very appealing and Italian, while you can also clearly discover the own style of Simone in them.
Some of the dishes we tried :
- Pappardelle with Ossobuco Ragout
- Grilled Tuna Steak with Mediterranean vegetables
The menu of Mare by Bussola changes at least two times per year so that they can offer something different to returning guests. However, several dishes became classics of the house and remain on the menu card to please those same returning customers. To create new dishes, the chef draws inspiration from trips to his home country. A lot of experimenting is involved, something the chef likes to do together with his team.
Service & Wine
The service in Mare by Bussola is friendly and attentive. Being a beach style restaurant, the atmosphere is rather casual and that is also reflected in the style the waiters are taking care of the guests. Many guests are coming from the beach or the pool for a quick bite and expect exactly this style of service, before heading back to their sun loungers. Evening time the restaurant changes and becomes more elegant and refined. Even the clothing style of the service team is changed in order to match that different style.
The wine selection in Mare by Bussola consists of ten to twelve labels and most of them are Italian. In order to match with the food that is served, most of the wines are sparkling, white or rosé. However, who is craving an Amarone or another traditional Italian red wine, can also get it served. For who does not find something to his or her liking on the wine menu of Mare by Bussola, ordering wine from the cellar of Bussola is also an option. Also there, the selection is mainly Italian, but also other regions are covered.
If you are looking for a great beach atmosphere in the Dubai sun, and at the same time you want to enjoy some light, traditional great Italian food, in an environment that makes you feel like at the Italian Riviera, then you definitely should visit Mare by Bussola. The restaurant’s location next to the pool and the beach, and its contemporary design with a lot of wood, make it a fabulous place to spend some time while unwinding near the blue water, away from the dazzling city of Dubai. Chef Montanaro knows his classics and will never disappoint your taste buds.