The word Fi’lia is derived from the Italian word Figlia which means daughter. This is an apt name for the restaurant as it is an all-women-led restaurant. Located on the Business Bay of Dubai at the SLS Dubai hotel and Residences, this restaurant has recently become the talk of the town. Dubai is famous for its one of a kind experience, but this new Italian Mediterranean ristorante is unlike any other in the whole town. Let us know more about in in the coming sections!
About Fi’lia owner: Sara Aqel
The Italian-Mediterranean restaurant, Fi’lia, celebrates the generation of recipes passed down from the women in the family. Now carrying the mantle to the future generations, the 25-years-old, Sara Aqel, is heading the first fully female-led restaurant in Dubai.
The Chef de Cuisine studied Culinary Arts and Hotel Management at the renowned Les Roches school and now is turning heads in Dubai’s Food and Beverage arena. Trained under the legendary Italian restaurateur, Massimo Bottura, Sara Aqel follows a strict zero-waste approach in her cooking. Fi’lia resourcefully uses the ingredients that would otherwise go to waste.
Sara is a classically trained chef who was under the tutelage of World famous Michelin-starred chef Massimo Bottura. Massimo Bottura has his very own Italian Restaurant on the Palm by the name of Torno Subito that is a great success on its own. Sara proved her worth at Torno Subito before she got to lead her own team at Fi’lia. She and her all-women team is capable of doing wonders in the kitchen. Sara believes that her sisters in arms have got her back when push comes to shove.
The rest of the team stars, Romanian multi-lingual General Manager Michaela Straton, Assistant General Manager Iryna Lovalchuk, and Hannah McConnon, assistant manager from England. The executive Sous Chef Federica Scolta is an amazing Vegetarian and Vegan chef.
Fi’lia, located on the 70th floor of SLS Dubai Hotel & Residences. It offers 360° panoramic view of the entire city of Dubai leading to an amazing dining experience. The interior designed by the acclaimed Bishop Design is contemporary and creates a charming lively atmosphere. There is an outdoor terrace with a capacity of 76 to soak in the uninhibited view of the Dubai skyline. The moment one steps foot into Fi’lia they see a great view and the airy and bright interiors. Thanks to the view the guests get a feel of dining while sitting among the clouds. Eating in the dining room of Fi’lia is an ethereal feeling.
Fi’lia has a unique menu. This Mediterranean-Italian menu is uniquely divided into 3 parts based on the 3 most important women of one’s life.
- The Grandma (Nonna)
- The mother (Mamma)
- The daughter (Figlia)
The Nonna menu includes traditional evergreen Italian dishes that have been passed down through generations. It aims to infuse the traditional Italian flavours of grandmothers in the dishes. Lasagna and Ravioli quattro formaggi under nonna are a delight here. Other dishes include fried calamari, traditional antipasti, lasagne, grilled prawns, and Paavola. The aroma and the taste take you back in time.
The Mamma menu features dishes that strike the balance between traditional and modern. It is done by adding contemporary twists to the traditional dishes. These dishes include burrata, Vitello tonnato, cacio e Pepe pasta, pappardelle with veal ragu, and Angus tenderloin. Risotto alla milanese with osso buco is a must-try.
The Figlia is where the Chefs take their passion and creativity to unmask unique cuisine. The menu includes modern gastronomical creations that build upon the classics. These include dishes like sea bass with a feta crust, lobster orzo, truffle risotto, and sea bass carpaccio.
Chef de Cuisine Personal Recommendations
Jerusalem Artichoke Pizza
This pizza doesn’t have the traditional toppings you’d expect in one. The sunchoke puree topped with thinly sliced artichoke chips are well combined with the buttery gorgonzola and melted mozzarella. The spinach enhances the overall flavour and taste of the pizza.
The classic Piedmontese dish is usually served cold. The braised thin slices of aromatic veal are served with a topping of tuna mousse and pickled pearl onions.
The filleted and baked Sea Bass topped with feta crust, warm couscous salad, and grilled asparagus is tender, moist, and buttery. The added herbs aromatize the table and even increase your appetite.
Pizza Burrata and Bresaola
The salted, air-dried, and crumbled beef slices well combined with the soft texture of burrata is an artistic piece of cooking and it bursts flavours in your mouth.
To keep the female-led ethos alive, Fi’lia features a 100% female-produced wine list and a cocktail menu with female-led spirits. The team put in an outstanding effort to make the place a home for people away from home. Breaking stereotypes in the industry already, we hope along with Sara Aquel and her team that Fi’lia Dubai becomes the region’s ‘go-to’.
The ambiance, the food as well as the experience, and the warm and compassionate service are bound to make you feel homesick for Fi’lia once you leave. And the fact that you are supporting an all-female-led restaurant will leave you warm at heart and satisfied with our decision.