ILA: The New Mediterranean Eatery
ILA (Arabic for: To or Heading to) is the latest addition to the cool and temporary Arabic restaurant scene. Located in the newest development by Meeras, AlSeef Marina - with gorgeous Dubai Creek views - and with a relaxing atmosphere and delicious food, ILA will be your new go-to weekend spot.
We tried it, we loved it, But is it a place for you? Below are a few of the reasons why you should be headed there as soon as you can.
LETS START WITH THIS VIEW
I'm such a beach girl at heart and so during the great weather season in Dubai, I spend the majority of time scouting for cool beach/waterfront cafes and restaurants to spend my weekends at.
ILA's view does not disappoint. The Whole Alseef Marina has a very relaxed vibe, marrying the old with the new Dubai in such a cool and different way and overlooking the lovely Dubai Creek which is the perfect setting for ILA. Imagine getting your lunch with a side of sun and water? Just gorgeous.
You can also view the video review here
ABOUT THE FOOD
ILA's menu is filled with authentic Arabic dishes as well as some modern Mediterranean fusion ones. From Lebanese bites and grills and Moroccan Tajines to (My favorite) Egyptian specialties. The menu - even though varied - its really focused with a handful of signature dishes to choose from. In addition to Arabic options, there is also a small selection of international food, so there is something for everyone.
We started off with the appetizers, and we picked some classics; We went for Hummus, Mumbar, and Batata Harra. Everything tasted spot in, however, the Batata harra was a bit too spicy for me, although my family really loved it that way.
The main course here was everything that I hoped for, and then some more. Back home in Egypt I knew this little place which did the Sharkaseyya dish, a mixture of Rice and chicken topped with a cashew-based sauce. The dish is one that is very hard to find as its really authentic. Not only did ILA offer it but it basically smached it. The dish was perfect in every way, and with the simple twist of adding Sumak on top it really brought out the best of tastes.
In addition, we ordered the Arabic Veal with rice dish, which my mom just fell in love with, as well as the mixed grill which we all agreed that was truly one of the best crafted grill dishes we've seen. It was juicy and tasty, and the added side of Arabic rice just made it all oh-so-perfect.
After we finished, we didn't think it was possible to eat another bite. But then dessert round came with a side of tea with mint and we were all over it again in seconds. We got to try the Umm Ali, a dish that even though simple, is almost impossible to find a place that does right. So its not a surprise that when we took that first bite, we were all in love with the place even more. My husband also went for the Mehalbyya with Ice cream on top (Just the way he likes it back home) and it was again a huge winner.
THOSE COOL AND RELAXING VIBES
I think ILA strikes extra points with having the grand view with the trendy interiors and the relaxed vibes. Although shortly after we arrived at 2 PM on a Friday, the place quickly filled up yet it was still not buzzing and I deemed it the perfect Friday Family Brunch/Dinner spot. The kids got to enjoy running around while we sat back, soaked up the winter sun with the cool breeze and the lovely view. An extra positive is that Alseef Marina (Unlike other beach-front developments) is not too busy. But even if it did get too crowded, ILA offers free valet parking so you can drop your car right infront of the restaurant and walk in! #Cherryontop
- Overall experience: 5/5
- Food: 5/5
- Service: 5/5 (Service was really good and food arrived relatively fast)
- Vibe: 5/5
- Great for: Family dinners, Weekend long brunches
- Location: 5/5, Make sure you get some extra time to walk around AlSeef Marina. The easy access with the free valet parking is an extra.
- Reservations: No reservations needed.
- Website: @ilacafeuae