Italian venue Circo at InterContinental Abu Dhabi

Chef Luca Banfi leads restaurant after winning TV show 'Chef Wanted' competition

Circo has opened at the Abu Dhabi property.
Circo has opened at the Abu Dhabi property.

InterContinental Abu Dhabi has opened its new Italian restaurant Circo, marking the debut of the New York-based restaurant group Le Cirque International (Maccioni Restaurant Group) in the Middle East.

With locations in New York and Las Vegas, the new addition to the family will be the first Maccioni venture in the Middle East.

Ivor Prestwood, general manager of InterContinental Abu Dhabi, said: “We are very excited to be presenting the first Circo restaurant to the region. Circo’s authentic traditional recipes will take our guests on a journey of discovery combining contemporary Italian cuisine alongside traditional Tuscan dining, guided by the experience of the Maccioni family."

Circo offers upscale Italian fare built upon signature Tuscan recipes from the kitchen of Maccioni matriarch Egidiana and prepared by chef Luca Banfi. The menu features Tuscan dishes with authentic recipes passed down through the generations of the Maccioni family who founded the first Circo restaurant in New York in 1996.

Osteria del Circo has been "a family affair" since it opened, a Maccioni family collaboration between Sirio (Le Cirque), his wife Egidiana and sons Marco and Mauro. The restaurant offers a setting reminiscent of the old-style European circus tents, which inspired the restaurant’s name and ambiance.

He added: "This new restaurant is certainly an exceptional addition to our already extensive food and beverage offering which makes of InterContinental Abu Dhabi the perfect dining destination at the heart of the UAE capital."

The Italian restaurant will be helmed by Banfi who appeared on American TV show ‘Chef Wanted’. After spending more than 10 years in San Diego, Banfi moved to Casa de Campo as the head chef of both the Beach Club by Le Cirque at Minitas Beach and La Caña by Il Circo at the Casa de Campo Hotel from May 2011 until 2013, when he took on the TV challenge to become the executive chef of Circo at InterContinental Abu Dhabi.

Since his win on ‘Chef Wanted’, Banfi has been working as chef de cuisine at InterContinental Abu Dhabi, responsible for the kitchen operations of Boccaccio, the hotel’s former Italian venue, which has now closed its doors to make way for Circo.

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